If you need a reminder of just how weird this year has been, cast your mind back to July when a spate of videos of cakes masquerading as everyday objects managed to break the internet. Kicking off with a BuzzFeed Tasty compilation of everything from a Croc to a toilet roll being sliced open to reveal layers of delicious sponge, the ‘everything is cake’ trend swiftly went viral, and in turn was hailed as a symbol of our collective pandemic paralysis.
“I think it goes back to the age-old thing of magic, magicians and illusionists,” says cake artist Ben Cullen, who saw interest in his spectacular illusion cakes explode in response to the trend. “People love being tricked, and food illusions work particularly well because food is relatable to everybody, so it’s a widespread way of tricking people straight away.”
Cullen, better known as The BakeKing, launched his cake artistry business back in 2014, and has since built up a fanbase of over 280,000 followers on Instagram. His painstakingly crafted, hyperrealistic designs have earned him a place on Channel 4 show Extreme Cake Makers and a whole host of celeb fans, including Liverpool football manager Jurgen Klopp (Cullen created a bust of Klopp for his birthday in 2016).