TV

Is It Cake? on Netflix is perfect for frazzled, post-pandemic jelly-brains

"These bakers make the Bake Off contestants look like the least gifted toddlers in the IKEA ball pool, and can whip up entire worlds with eggs, butter and fondant"

Is it Cake?

(L to R) Arturo Castro, Jon Gabrus and Rebecca Black in episode 5 of Is it Cake? S1 Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Last week I accidentally (and ironically) donated my husband’s beloved copy of Spark Joy by Marie Kondo to the charity shop. This action sparked arguments, so I spent the next few days trying to claw it back, along with all his other favourite books that I’d mistakenly donated. (By the way, I don’t recommend doing this – it is NOT a good look and involved several fraught conversations and frantic moments in the back room, combing through bags of unwanted Jeremy Clarkson autobiographies.)

Now, you could argue that you shouldn’t put your favourite books on top of a pile that’s destined for the charity shop, but these little mistakes seem to be happening more and more. What with Covid and World War 3 constantly looming in the background like Jacob Rees-Mogg at a cheese and wine party, our brains are losing the capacity to process even the most basic things.

Everything is a surprise, a shock, a mix-up or a fuck-up. I can’t go to the supermarket without forgetting the thing I came in for, I hover and splutter and get my headphones tangled in my mask loops, I nearly got run over by a bus the other day and if one thing goes wrong (which it does, all the time) I need eight hours to recover.  

But I’m not the only one cocking up on a regular basis. Even the most punctual people now lose track of time, forget what day it is or text garbled nonsense as if they’ve been sitting on their phone. Two of my closest friends are planning to go to the doctor for entirely unnecessary early onset dementia tests – that’s if they can remember to go to their appointment. And someone I know not only sent an embarrassing email to the wrong person at work, but also managed the incredible feat of SPELLING HER OWN NAME WRONG.

Confusion reigns supreme. So what do we do while our world is in such brutal and complex disarray? Do we go full Kondo and start folding up our socks and arranging them in order of how much they mean to us? Or do we just accept that everything is upside down and back to front and nobody knows what the hell is going on any more?

Which brings me seamlessly – like someone in a pair of clogs clattering down a corridor – to my new favourite show, Is it Cake? on Netflix. Do I really need to explain it? Well, here goes. “IS IT A BOWLING BALL? OR IS IT CAKE?” booms the hyperactive host, before slicing up an object with a knife to reveal whether it is made of cake or not. Finally, I have found a show that’s the perfect accompaniment for my brain, which is now made of jelly. 

Every episode, three bakers are tasked with making hyper-realistic cakes to fool three celebrity judges. If they succeed, they get the chance of winning up to $10,000. The tension is palpable. Will Karamo from Queer Eye and a bunch of people I’ve never heard of be able to locate the cake cheeseburger among the real, sweaty cheeseburgers on display?

These bakers make the Bake Off contestants look like the least gifted toddlers in the IKEA ball pool, and can whip up entire worlds with eggs, butter and fondant.

“There are people saving lives, and I’m making cakes that look like other things,” says Instagram cake genius Johnny, in a moment of painfully acute self-awareness seldom seen on American TV shows about whether things are cakes or not. But maybe it is important, Johnny Cake Guy! The way things are going, one day we might need you to rebuild society – preferably with a light vanilla sponge and a delicious chocolate ganache filling.  

@lucytweet1

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine. If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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