Over the past week, social media has been flooded with videos of knives slicing into ordinary objects only to reveal that they are actually made of cake.

These hyper-realistic cakes have taken the shape of a bottle of hand-lotion, a chicken thigh, a bar of soap, rolls of toilet paper and human heads. It is unsettling to see them cut open to reveal their sweet insides.

The trend took off on July 8 after Buzzfeed Tasty shared a compilation of videos from the Instagram feed of a Turkish baker @redrosecake_tubageckil.

''These are all cakes,'' the caption reads, as a kitchen knife cuts into what first appears to be a red Croc.
''You try to call for help but the phone is a cake,'' one Twitter user replied. ''Help arrives, but they are also a cake,' replied another.

The bizarre intricacy of the cakes, and the cabin fever of the moment, has helped the meme spiral into further absurdity. The BuzzFeed Tasty video amassed nearly 30 million views as people began sharing their own disturbing cake videos.

Natalie Sideserf, owner of Sideserf Cake studio in Austin, Texas, saw several of her cakes go viral as part of compilations this past week.

She's been baking hyper-realistic cakes for years. ''I've always called them 'still-life cakes','' she said. ''They're like a still life painting. I try to make them as realistic as possible.'' She said she has seen an uptick in orders and just got a request for a shoe cake this week.

Viral cake videos sit at the perfect nexus of ''satisfying'' and ''gotcha'' content. Watching a sharp knife slice cleanly through what appears to be an everyday object is surprising and somehow deeply gratifying.

The cake videos are similar in form to soap-cutting videos in which a person cleanly slices and dices a bar of soap- which can attract millions of views and have been popular for years.

[When a video shows a bar of soap-cut in half and it is revealed to be cake, it becomes doubly intriguing and shareable.]

In 2016, a clip from a Japanese game show titled ''Candy or not Candy,'' in which contestants hit into various household objects to determine what was made of candy became hugely popular.

The video shows a man smiling as he bites off a doorknob that is revealed to be made of chocolate. it amassed more than 25 million views.

Before that, in 2008, a stop-motion video by Adam Pesapane
 called ''Western Spaghetti met similar acclaim; in it, Mr. Pespane prepares an absurdist meal with inanimate objects including a Rubik's cube and dice, in the style of a cooking video.

It has more than 212 million views and is captioned ''The stop-motion cooking film that started them all.''

Another predecessor is the current cake meme is 2010's unwittingly gross ''bigger than better'' egg video - a how-to-craft video in which an egg is dunked in vinegar and dye over the course of several days with the result that it is bigger [and bluer] than before. [Why someone might want that remains anyone's guess.]

Don Caldwell, the editor of Know Your Meme, a website that documents memes, said that part of the reason these videos spread so far is that they're generic enough to appeal to a broad audience and don't carry a particular political view, agenda or message.

They can provoke strong reactions [shock, surprise, disgust, horror] and the innocuous subject matter easily leads the viewer back to humor. Plus, cake jokes are easy to make in any online format.

The World Students Society thanks author Taylor Lorenz.


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