First we had stab cakes, and now a new theatrical edible is taking over TikTok. Enter burn-away cakes: flammable creations which are set ablaze to reveal an image. The trend has gone viral over the past couple of weeks – which is no surprise, really. TikTok loves a dramatic dessert, and this one lends itself well to many situations: so far we’ve had Mean Girls-inspired Burn Book cakes, celebrity birthday cakes, proposals and even gender reveals. Whatever will be next? We delve into the burgeoning foodie trend below.
What Are Burn-Away Cakes?
A burn-away cake is a classic iced cake topped with an image printed on paper, which is then set on fire to unveil another picture or message hidden underneath. They’re all over TikTok at the moment, with Ontario-based baker Namaya Navaratnaranjah spearheading the trend via her account @CakesByNams.
Inspired by a video she saw from cake artist Denise Steward, Namaya started baking burn-away cakes inspired by pop culture and memes. The most popular? Surprise surprise: a Taylor Swift-themed creation which has racked up over 2.5 million views, recreating the moment Swift wiped her social accounts before announcing the release of her Reputation album.
@cakesbynams Replying to @Liz EP if this goes viral can taylor give me tickets to the eras tour #taylorswift #reputation #erastour #taylorsversion ♬ glow up challenge – spencer 💅
And then there’s the now-viral Mean Girls-inspired creation, which sees a Burn Book image sizzled away to reveal a quote from the film, along with a picture of Regina George. She’s also done Pokémon cakes, Halloween cakes, Valentine’s cakes and more.
Speaking on the Today programme, Namaya said: ‘I first came across Denise’s Delights’ burn-away cake right before New Year’s, and I thought that was really impressive. At the time, they weren’t known as burn-away cakes but I decided to give it a title. I was like, “Well, you’re burning something away.” So it was just right there for me.’
The trend has spread like wildlife, with people adding their own twists. Even the celebs are getting in on the action: Ellen DeGeneres, for instance, celebrated her 66th birthday with a blue and white burn-away cake, with the top layer saying ‘Happy Birthday’, revealing Ellen’s name beneath when set on fire.
How Are Burn-Away Cakes Made?
Burn-away cakes are made using an edible ink printer. First of all, the cake is topped with an image which is printed onto a white frosting sheet – this is the picture that will be revealed. Another thin sheet of rice paper or wafer with the outer image is printed on top, and then the cake is piped with a frosting border. As a result of the potato starch and olive oil in the rice or wafer paper, the top layer burns when set on fire, while the thicker, sugar-based sheet remains unaffected. The frosting border creates a gap, protecting the lower layer from the flames.
If you want to give it a go yourself but don’t have an edible printer at home (fair enough, it’s pretty niche), you can do a DIY version using food colouring marker pens. And don’t worry: it’s all pretty safe. Of course, anything involving fire should be approached with caution, but the flames will be pretty slow and weak, and will taper off once they reach the frosting border.
For those looking for a burn-away cake for a special occasion, but don’t fancy the labour of creating it, it’s worth checking if your local bakery makes them. More and more New York bakeries have started offering them after being inundated with requests, and British bakers are cottoning on: the Surrey-based Cake Girl London, for instance, is doing a Valentine’s burn-away cake. After some inspiration? We’ve picked out some of our favourite creations below.
Burn-Away Cakes: Our Favourites
@staijandco Burnaway cakes are on 🔥🔥 right now #burnawaycake #burnawaycakes #valentinesday ♬ Lovely Fire in Another Love – Gabriel Albuquerqüe
@denises_delights93 Swifties are going to the Super Bowl babyyyyy ❤️🔥🤭🎂 #swiftie #swifttok #superbowl #burnawaycake #chiefskingdom #kcchiefs #taylorswift #nfl #cakedecorating ♬ original sound – BEAT KANSAS CITY
@cakesbynams another burn away cake 🥰 #rip20s #cakedecorating #cakedesign ♬ High On Life – Martin Garrix feat. Bonn