Burn-Away Cakes Are on Fire All Over TikTok — Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Viral Trend

published Feb 19, 2024
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Lunar New Year Dragon Cake before and after heat is applied.
Credit: Angelina Bakery

A brand new cake trend is setting the internet on fire. Literally. Burn-away cakes are the latest dessert craze to make the rounds on TikTok, and for anyone who’s scrolled through the hashtag #burnawaycakes, it’s not hard to see why. With more than 200 million views on the social media platform, burn-away cakes are blazing a trail through the culinary scene.

Tony Park, CEO of QB Hospitality and founder of Angelina Bakery in New York City, is no stranger to the viral confection. “We first noticed the burn-away cake trend gaining traction on social media platforms, particularly TikTok,” says Park. “It was fascinating to see how these cakes captured the imagination of viewers worldwide.” We spoke with the acclaimed restaurateur, who broke down what exactly a burn-away cake is, how they’re made, and why he believes they’ve taken the internet by storm.

What Are Burn-Away Cakes?

Burn-away cakes lie at the intersection of magic and dessert, a feast for the eyes as much as the taste buds. “A burn-away cake features an innovative design where an outer layer — typically made from a special edible paper — is ignited to reveal a hidden message or design underneath,” explains Park. “This layer burns away quickly and safely, creating a memorable visual effect without harming the underlying cake.”

Angelina Bakery, located in Manhattan, prides itself on establishing the perfect balance of traditional Italian baking with the innovative flair one might expect from a New York City bakery. When burn-away cakes hit the culinary scene, Angelina was quick to adopt the captivating trend.

“The concept of burn-away cakes intrigued us as a novel way to merge these two worlds — introducing a cutting-edge trend while staying true to our roots in quality and creativity,” Park says. “We saw this as an opportunity to offer our customers not just a cake, but an unforgettable experience that aligns with our mission to bring joy and surprise to the table. We began experimenting with these designs a couple of months ago and officially introduced them to our menu for Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year.”

To Park, the viral response to burn-away cakes is far from shocking. “Their popularity stems from the element of surprise and the visual spectacle they offer,” he says. “In a world where sharing experiences on social media is ubiquitous, burn-away cakes provide a perfect, shareable moment that goes beyond the traditional cake-cutting ceremony.” While the memory of a traditional cake may be fleeting, the memories of celebrating a special occasion with a burn-away cake are likely to last much longer.

With Burn-Away Cakes, Precision Is Key

So, what’s the secret to a showstopping burn-away cake? As far as Park is concerned, it is all about attention to detail. “Precision in every step — from the baking to the final assembly — is crucial. The quality of ingredients, especially the edible paper, and the icing’s consistency, play significant roles.” 

For the team at Angelina Bakery, making a burn-away cake is no small feat. “The process involves careful layering,” explains Park. “We start with the cake itself, then add a layer of icing. The hidden message or image is placed on top, followed by the special edible paper. Key to the process is ensuring the top layer burns away cleanly and safely, revealing the surprise without affecting the cake’s flavor or edibility.”

Park has witnessed some truly stunning culinary creations since Angelina Bakery first embraced the burn-away cake trend. “One favorite was a Lunar New Year cake that revealed a golden dragon beneath a burning layer, symbolizing prosperity,” he recounts. “Another memorable creation was for Valentine’s Day, where a burning cupid revealed a heartfelt message. Each cake tells a story, making them all special in their own way.” The possibilities are undeniably endless, and with each new cake request the scope of what the team at Angelina Bakery can create will only continue to expand.

Credit: Angelina Bakery

Should You Try to Bake a Burn-Away Cake at Home?

For those considering attempting to make a burn-away cake at home, proceed with caution. Enjoying a burn-away cake requires the use of open flames, which poses a risk, even to seasoned professionals. Park’s advice to at-home bakers is smart and sound. “Start simple, ensuring you use the correct type of edible paper and keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Focus on safety first and enjoy the process of creating something truly unique.”