Does anyone still remember “the cake is a lie” meme from a decade ago? It was a catchphrase popularized in the game Portal, simply meaning that one’s promised reward is merely a fictitious motivator.
Well, there’s now a trend in the vein of the cake being a lie, but not in the sense that it doesn’t exist but rather “this doesn’t look anything like a cake, it’s actually a [insert random item here] but let me just cut it open and, oh my god, it’s a cake,” leading many to think that anything can be a cake at this point.
Meet Natalie Sideserf, a baker from Austin, Texas, who makes hyper-realistic and cartoony cakes that don’t look like cakes until she slices them open on her YouTube channel. Her videos not only show the process of making each cake, but are oddly satisfying to watch.
Bored Panda made a list of some of the best cakes that Natalie has made over the years that you can check out below, along with our exclusive interview with her. And while you’re there, why not upvote and comment on the ones you liked the most!
Natalie Sideserf of the Sideserf Cake Studio is a fine arts major who one day tried sculpting a cake for her friend—you know, one of the fancy ones you see on TV. One thing led to another and now she does this for a living.
“In 2008, a friend of mine suggested that I try making a sculpted cake like the ones she had seen on TV. So I tried making a cow skull cake and found the materials to be really interesting and wanted to learn more,” said Natalie.
“In 2011, my husband Dave and I moved to Austin, TX where I started working at a bakery. In 2012, I entered a cake in the shape of Willie Nelson into a cake competition. At the time, I tried looking up reference photos of bust cakes, but couldn't find any, so I was going for something that looked hyper realistic because it had never been done before. My brother posted photos of the cake to Reddit where it reached #1 on the front page. So at that point, I knew I was onto something.”
Natalie’s channel currently clocks in at 38.7 thousand subscribers and the channel overall has received a million views since its launch in the end of 2017. During that time, Natalie has released many videos detailing how she made cakes in the shape of virtually anything: pigs, brains, aliens, fruit and vegetables, and even full-blown busts of the likes of Michael Scott, Wolverine, Freddy Kreuger, and many others.
“My cakes are a mix of customer orders and personal challenges. Sometimes I want to try out a new material or technique, so I do my best to come up with designs that let me experiment,” said Natalie. “When I put new videos up on YouTube, I am sometimes trying new things that I may have never done before so it's very rewarding when the effort pays off. I feel like trying new things and stepping outside of my comfort zone is the best way for me to get better.”
Natalie’s cakes may look amazing, but they’re no cake walk as they do come with their own challenges, as she explained: “Some complex designs require a structure to hold the cake up, especially when it comes to "gravity-defying" cakes. So, getting a stable structure is super important and sometimes the biggest challenge.”
She continued: “As far as sculpting, my bust cakes are definitely the most difficult. Getting the proportions right and color matching different tones takes a lot of time, usually around 40 hours from start to finish. That's not to say the cake sits out for 40 hours while I sculpt; I always sculpt the faces ahead of time and add the cake at the very end to make sure everything is fresh and delicious.”
Now, before you ask what she does with the cakes once they’re cut open because eating every single one of them would probably be overkill for anyone, Bored Panda has you covered. Natalie often shares the cakes with her friends and neighbors:
“Smaller cakes like the fruits and vegetables, we usually keep and eat ourselves but sometimes we will give them to friends or neighbors. The other cakes that you don't see get cut on YouTube or social media are the customer orders, though we try to get pictures of the cut cakes from them as often as we can.”
Lastly, we asked Natalie if she has a favorite among the many cakes that she has already done. She had this to say:
“I think my #1 favorite cake was a bust cake of Jonathan Banks, the actor who plays Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. I made him sort of beat-up looking, which gave it some extra character, and it was featured on an AMC commercial spot for a season premiere of The Walking Dead. The coolest part, though, was Jonathan Banks brought it up on Conan and personally thanked me for making it while on the show. That's my favorite cake.”
You can check out more sweet goodness on Natalie's YouTube channel as well as her Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. What are your thoughts on this? Have any ideas on what shape or theme of cake you’d love to see made? Let us know in the comment section below!