“Is It Cake” Review

Story posted March 28, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Evan Smith.

“Is It Cake” is a cooking-game show series that was released to Netflix on Mar. 18, 2022. The series is hosted by Saturday Night Live star Mikey Day.

As the name suggests, the show is based on the social media trend of guessing whether a realistic-looking item is made out of cake or not.

This idea is a product of the pandemic as many streaming producers decided to turn social media ideas into full-fledged shows.

The premise of the competition is nine bakers compete to make hyper-realistic cakes that a series of guest judges cannot distinguish from real items.

In each episode, three bakers take their chance to win $10,000 that week. $5,000 is earned by fooling the judges and another $5,000 is earned by playing “Cake or Cash”

In “Cake or Cash” two money bags are placed in front of the winning baker. One is filled with cash and one is filled with cake. If the contestant guesses which bag is cake, they win $5,000 plus any money that wasn’t won in the previous weeks.

The bakers have eight hours to create an item that they choose out of a group of five, depending on the theme. They then pick out one of four decoy items it will be up against.

There were a few instances of bakers manipulating the decoys as well to give their fake items an advantage.

The job of the judges seems beyond difficult, as they have only 20 seconds to guess while looking at the items from a far distance.

Each baker has an eccentric personality that allows viewers to connect with them. There aren't any of the stereotypical villain characters thrown into the lot.

The stakes are clear throughout the season and they take a step up late in the season when each completion is a qualifying match for the $50,000 finale. The stakes are also felt by the competitors after they spend 8 hours creating their cakes.

Watching the creation of these intensely detailed cakes is mesmerizing in a way and each competitor is an expert in their craft. Seeing their creative techniques and the bakery items they use to make realistic-looking textures is an interesting learning experience, while also being enjoyable to watch.

The most engaging aspect of the show is playing along and guessing which item is cake or not. There are very few instances this season where the answer is obvious to the viewer.

The main detriment to the show is the host. Mikey Day spends the season over-acting in a way that distracts from the competition. The show makes a mistake by repeatedly highlighting the fact that Day doesn’t know anything about cake making. He also continuously makes jokes that are unfunny or intentionally basic.

While the show isn’t meant to be a serious event, Day’s attitude is not fit for a game show host of any time, and, even in this lightened setting, does the show more harm than good.

Overall, “Is It Cake” is an engaging competition that is far more entertaining than it has any right being based on the concept. The skill of the bakers carries the show to be an interesting experience.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Evan Smith is a first-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ers5828@psu.edu.