What To Know About The Burn-Away Cakes That Have Engulfed The Internet

Move over gender reveal and hyper-realistic cakes, a new cake trend is making its rounds and setting the Internet on fire, literally. We're talking about the fun burn-away cakes going viral and engulfing Instagram and TikTok. What appears to be an ordinary cake with an edible printed image transforms into a spectacle complete with a theatrical reveal. Burn-away cakes feature a unique characteristic: a top layer that reveals another design or image beneath when burned with a butane lighter. These burn-away cakes thrive on the element of surprise, making them perfect for birthdays, gender reveal parties, and occasions like book and music launches. 

Celebrities are in on the fun, from Ellen DeGeneres celebrating her 66th birthday with a burn-away cake to Taylor Swift fans going wild for a Reputation-era style cake by Namaya Navaratnarajah, known as @cakesbynams on TikTok. While Navaratnarajah is the leading creator who popularized this cake trend, she did not invent this technique, as burn-away cakes have been seen on the internet as early as 2022.

Cake artist and engineer Huiwen Lu, known as @cocobellycakes, made a viral and chaotic "Hellmo" cake. When burned away, the cake revealed Rick Astley. This was Lu's way of "rick-rolling" her audience. While burn-away cakes appear complicated to craft at first glance, they are actually not too difficult to replicate at home.

How to easily make a burn-away cake at home

As burn-away cakes continue to trend online, burn-away cake tutorials are gaining traction as well. Those with access to an edible ink printer, wafer or rice papers or frosting sheets, and some frosting piping skills are in luck. To make a burn-away cake, start with any frosted cake, including store-bought cakes.

Top the cake with an edible image, which you will reveal later. This first image can be printed on wafer paper, rice paper, or a frosting sheet for more durability. Next, pipe a frosting border around the image. This border is crucial as it creates a small gap between the first and second images, ensuring the burn-away effect works correctly. Then, place another printed image on top. Use thin wafer paper about .30mm thick, which will be set on fire (thicker paper takes too long to burn). To finish, pipe another frosting border around this top image to neatly cover its edges.

Then, it's time to burn away the first layer for a dramatic reveal. Since fire is involved, children should always be supervised when participating in this trend. As burn-away cakes continue to set the internet ablaze, their longevity remains to be seen. Will this trend have staying power, or will it burn away with time like the images on the cakes? Thanks to their wow factor and how each cake allows for personalization and creativity, it's a safe bet that these cakes are here to stay.