The hidden truth behind Gen Z’s insane TikTok bakeries
Kate Bowie takes a closer look at the extreme baked goods sold on TikTok and tries to explain why the bakeries are doing better than ever.
Imagine this: You’re 45 minutes into a 5 minute TikTok reward-break. Well and truly in zombie-mode, not engaged with the app but unwilling to tear your eyes away either. That is until your ForYou page offers up something too absurd to ignore. Emerging from colossal vats of melted chocolate and a sublime amount of crushed mini eggs, it’s a Frankenstein’s monster of baked goods. An erratic voiceover informs you it’s a ‘brookie’, half-brownie, half-cookie. Simultaneously awed and nauseated, you spend the next half hour scrolling through the creator’s similar crazed creations. The TikTok bakery black hole has got you.
Admittedly, internet-savvy bakeries been promoting their goods on social media for as long as it’s been around. But those currently blowing up on TikTok are something different all together. They specialise in fever-dreamt, outrageous baked goods – think Biscoff cookie dough topped with layers of Cadbury milk chocolate. Think Blondie bars sandwiched with Milky-Bar-marshmallow filling. Think ‘cookie pies’ – sweet pie cases filled with cookie dough.
It appears that, in 2022, the days of delicate mille-feuille and tiny macarons are long gone. Going by the numbers that over-the-top TikTok bakeries are racking up, those in the market for sweets want more than the subtle work of French patisseries. St Ive’s based George’s Bakery, current king of TikTok bakeries, boasts 5.2 million TikTok likes and a constantly sold out online shop. Other honourable mentions include Chanel’s Cakery and Elle’s bakery, with a respective 167k and 27k followers.
The pies 😍
But how do these creations taste? Amelie, a 19-year-old student who purchased from Chanel’s Cakery, said that ‘They were so sweet and massive that I felt sick after a couple of bites. There’s just so many layers of sugar and chocolate and cookie dough and different Cadbury’s bars that made it way too sweet and way too much, even though it looked delicious’.
Tiktok user @eatdrinkandvibe gives a similar review, saying that products purchased from Georgie’s bakery tasted ‘like I was munching on sugar’. The thing is, these reviews don’t surprise me – I don’t even think they surprised the people who gave them. These products aren’t made to be delicious, they’re made to be an intriguingly visual spectacle.
Promotional photographs are taken cross-sections pointed up, with the desserts’ innumerable layers on full view. ‘How it’s made’ style videos are staples of these account, as showing the ridiculous qualities of ingredients needed for a batch emphasise the grotesque proportions. George’s Bakery even gives his products scatological names, calling them ‘bulges’ and ‘crevasses’, words designed to reflect their obscene density.
Gen Z is enthralled because, although these desserts would clearly be sickening to eat, they feed our eyes with taboo overabundance. Enormous cookie-pies and brookies break the dietary guidelines we were all taught as children. Our inner seven year old not only drools over the clips of dense layers of Biscoff, but they delight in the transgressive excess of the baked goods. In an online world without smell, taste or touch, TikTokers have discovered that hypnotically taboo visuals are the best marketing strategy.
It’s no surprise, then, that these questionable baked good are thriving on a platform that relies on creators grabbing minuscule attention spans within a few seconds. The internet’s answer to gastronomy, TikTok’s bakeries are simply filling the online gap left for them.
Words by Kate Bowie