Friday, April 19, 2024

Review: Netflix’s ‘Is It Cake?’ not your typical cooking show

By Matt Pascarella

Three seasons
Average episode time: 40 minutes

I’m not a fan of television cooking shows, but this one is a bit different. The purpose of this Netflix series is to identify which items are cake. A variety of bakers compete to advance in the competition with the three best bakers making it to the season finale and competing for $50,000. Many of the bakers have a cake business or are known for their cake decorating and designs.

The goal of each episode is to fool judges and then win money identifying cash from cake in a segment called “cake or cash.” The host can be more than a bit obnoxious, and parts are obviously scripted, but it’s still a fun show and it’s cool to see what people can create and how realistic some of their cakes are.

“Is it Cake?” is hosted by Mikey Day and guest judges feature a variety of TV actors and writers along with “Saturday Night Live” cast members from past and present.

Episodes begin with contests having to find the cake in a scene or setting, such as a living room or beach display. The competition starts out with nine bakers who must find the cake in a particular setting or group of items. The three or four bakers who find the cake the fastest get to bake cakes of their own based on a theme, usually associated with the initial setting or scene, while the other contestants watch from the gallery and ask obviously scripted questions, like “What flavor will your cake be?” or “How’s it going?”

Once finished, each baker gets their cakes displayed for the judges – along with three decoys. The judges must identify which one from the items that are displayed is the baker’s cake. The judges then get to taste the cakes and determine a winner; the baker with the least popular cake, for lack of better terminology, is eliminated from the competition. This leads up to the season finale, where the three best bakers compete for $50,000.

During the baking portion of the episodes, viewers get backstory into the bakers as they reveal a bit about themselves and how they got into baking and making cakes.

These bakers are very talented and during the portion where the judges must identify which item is cake, the camera gives the viewer ample time to see all four items. Sometimes it can be really hard to determine which one is cake because they’re so well made.

Whether they make it to the final round or not, these seasons feature crazy-talented bakers who make realistic cakes that really resemble burgers, shoes, or even a block-like cell phones from a bygone era. This is a family-friendly show that is OK for all ages to watch. My only caution is the annoying host. While the contestants are competing against each other, they also help each other out and ask each other for advice, which is a nice touch – it’s not an aggressive competition.

Two cake pans up!

Available to stream on Netflix. <

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