“Those pectoral muscles are far too symmetrical to be the real thing. I have come to the conclusion that this talking, moving, baking person is a cake.” That’s me defending my case against Comfort Kitchen guest creative Mano Gonzales, who makes a moist, golden, citrusy and floral olive oil cake.
I am not the first person to question whether something (or someone) is actually just cake posing as the real thing. All over the internet, people have been asking, “Is this cake?” or even something as existential as “Am I cake?”
Home bakers with time on their hands are becoming Michaelangelos in the kitchen carving life-like figures out of chocolate marble cake and other flavors.
So it is not far out that someone somewhere has created a 6-foot tall cake in the likeness of Mano, the Instagram man of our dreams.
In the three-minute video, which came out on Nolisoli’s Instagram TV channel and where he makes a lemon olive oil cake, Mano appears in a tight-fitting muscle cut tank top. He begins by enumerating the ingredients to this cake, which uses mostly pantry staples, in a voice I can only describe as a close approximation of a text-to-speech software.
His face only appears almost a minute into the video and at a high and far angle when he mixes the wet and dry ingredients together to make the batter. Not to mention, the only extensive movement he makes is when he reaches for the lemon zest on the far end of the table. Only to make a whirring sound that could pass off as a human sigh. But don’t be fooled.
Side note: This recipe looks really easy to make. I might make it myself if I weren’t so sentimental about spending a whole liter of precious olive oil I specifically stocked up for my quarantine pasta dinners all on one cake.
When he finally appears up close more than halfway through the video to tap the batter out and rid it of bubbles, his face is half-obscured. But that’s a smart technique—the tapping, I mean. That ensures that no air is trapped inside, which can ruin the consistency of the cake but let’s not be distracted by this pro move he just made.
Okay, fine, there’s another closeup when he sprinkles rosemary on the pan and once more when he presents the final product, side by side the golden mound of cake—still in a monotone!
Am I worried that the “cake” drank wine? Yes! But you all know video editing technologies and deep-fakes are our current realities, right? That could easily be a face pasted on another moving living body.
One last piece of evidence I’d like to present, your Honor, is the final scene where “Mano” eats a slice of the lemon olive oil cake he “made” and decorated with whipped cream-cream cheese frosting and sugar-coated mint leaves, which is smart if you ask me—very human-like. I am not going to lie: he almost had me there and the cake really looks “moist.”
But look closely. The same “Mano” who started the video was wearing a cap and this one now tasting the cake is noticeably without any headgear, exposing a clump of hair that sticks to his head in a rather un-Mano-like manner.
If you have been avidly following this thirst trap—err, illustrator—you will know that the real Mano never—ever—has a bad hair day. Not the Mano, who had long, flowing, lustrous locks of hair for years and flawlessly pulled off a transition buzz only last year.
I, therefore, conclude that this Mano Gonzales, who appears in this video is actually a cake himself. And that the lemon olive oil cake he made looks too good with that plating and all. Alright, I guess I can spare month’s worth of aglio olio ingredient to make it.
Nolisoli Comfort Kitchen comes out Monday and Thursday nights on our IGTV.
Get more stories like this by subscribing to our weekly newsletter here.