Burn-away cakes are hot on social media: what are they and how do they work?

As Taylor Swift might say, these cakes are as pretty as a “picture to burn.”

There’s always a new food trend cooking on TikTok, and the latest to take over the feeds is the burn-away celebration cake.

The desserts initially appear ordinary with edible photos printed over the frosted top — until a match is put to the top layer, burning it off and revealing another image underneath.

Burn-away cakes have lit up TikTok since the beginning of January, and the tag #burnawaycake has already raked up 154 million views.

The enflamed confections have captivated viewers live and online for all sorts of occasions: birthdays, engagements, New Year’s and, of course, gender reveals.

Ontario-based baker Namaya Navaratnarajah, who posts her creations as @cakesbynams on both TikTok and Instagram, was the one who got the trend going — especially when her Swift-inspired burn-away cake went viral.

The cake teases the soon-to-be-announced re-recorded album “Reputation (Taylor’s Version)” — and the post garnered 20.4 million views and 2.5 million likes.

The cakes are ordinary looking — until a match is put to the top layer, burning it off and revealing another image underneath. TikTok/cakesbynams

Another cake of hers that went viral, with 24.8 million views and 4.7 million likes, is “Hunger Games”-themed and reveals a meme of Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark in the movie trilogy.

But Navaratnarajah said she first saw the idea from cake artist Denise Steward, and Paper2Eat said in a blog post that they are “99.9% sure she started this cake trend.”

Though the concept has allegedly been around for at least a couple of years, seeing as there’s a TikTok of a burn-away cake posted in August 2022.

At first glance, it seems like the burn-away cake is some sort of magic or witchcraft — but there’s a science to it.

According to the blog post from Paper2Eat, the anatomy of a burn-away cake includes the cake itself, a frosting sheet and wafer paper.

“Essentially the idea consists of stacking a couple of printed edible sheets on top of each other and lighting the paper on top of the cake on fire to reveal what is shown on the sheet below it,” the blog post explained in simple terms.

The materials that Steward used for her burning cake included 0.30mm wafer paper (which comes in plain and vanilla), frosting sheets, and edible ink cartridges in an edible ink printer.

The wafer paper is used for the top layer of the cake — the image that will be burned. It’s made primarily of potato starch and olive oil, allowing for an easy burn.

Frosting sheets are used for the image that will be revealed under the burning image. These sheets have a thicker consistency, consisting of white icing mostly made of sugar, which helps it stay virtually intact.

The edible ink cartridges and printer were used to print the images onto the frosting sheet and wafer paper.

There are tutorials all over social media showing how to make a burn-away cake on your own, ensuring your next party will be fire — literally.

Written by New York Post