19 Unbelievably Realistic Book Cakes that Will Have You Side-Eyeing Your Bookshelves

Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you’ve probably seen the realistic cake videos. They’re short clips showing a knife cutting into what seem to be everyday objects—a sudsy bar of soap, a Croc shoe, an oyster, someone’s hand (!)—only to have the exposed innards reveal that they were freakishly realistic cake all along. They’re certainly skilled creations, but there’s something unnerving about seeing your expectations upended, and it’s inspired many people to start doubting everything: is your TV remote secretly a cake? Your quarantine partner? Your couch? Nothing is safe!

So why not capitalize on this existential fear by bringing into the bookish world? We’ve all seen the library cake that your Grandma shared with you on Facebook, but no one’s expecting to actually check a book out from that library. While there are all kinds of beautiful or adorable book cake designs out there, today I want to highlight the ones that really make you doubt reality. Here are 19 book cakes that will have you questioning if the books on your TBR have been deviously disguised desserts all along.

Book Cakes

Let’s start simple, with the cakes that would blend into any bookstore: the imitations of a single, recognizable book.

The Penguin Classics are beautiful and simple designs that work well in cake form. Is that font slightly different? Is that curve on the spine more fondant than paper? It definitely takes inspection to tell for sure.
Any time you’re working with famous books like To Kill a Mockingbird, there’s pressure to get ever detail right. This one looks like it could slot onto the shelf next to any other copy.
The imitation of worn books are even more mind-blowing to me: look at how the cover is just barely beginning to separate from the spine!

Most of these books are classics, so it’s nice to see a modern book be given this loving attention. If it wasn’t on a cake board, I’d expect to see this on a bookstore display table.
Who wrapped this beat-up book? The cover is coming off!
I don’t know why seeing this cake in someone’s hands makes it even more unnerving. When I’m looking closely, I can see there’s something fondant-ish about this, but I wouldn’t give it a second glance in any other context.
This Rainbow Magic cake has really given the book an upgrade: while the paper version is a flimsy, floppy paperback, this looks like a collectible edition that should be shelved next to Enid Blyton.
Speaking of Blyton, this painted cover is a work of art, and I cannot believe that bookmark isn’t a ribbon. But I would definitely take a bite out of it to make sure.

Deckle Edges

I did a post on the history of deckle edges, and now I am powerless to resist looking at pictures of beautiful, hand-bound books. These ones may be slightly less realistic than the above, because they’re a little larger than life in their artistry, but I definitely wouldn’t expect to see them on the dessert table.

Every detail here is stunning. I love how there seems to be staining around the “metal,” and even the cover has wavy edges. According to Google translate, the caption is asking what you think this book would be about. It definitely looks like you’d be discovering some hidden knowledge from lifetimes ago.
My university had a display of book art where I promise this cake would completely blend in. I don’t know why pages that look water damaged just make this creation look more magical—and I’d never guess this was more flour than paper.
This is another one that may not look like it belongs on your shelf, but I’d definitely never think to nibble on it. The moss looks vibrant and plush, and the petals curl beautifully on the edges. I shudder to think of a knife cutting into this one.

Book Stacks

The book stack is probably the most popular bookish cake design. It gives you the height of a multi-tier cake, and gives you room to name several of your favorite titles. While I’ve seen many gorgeous takes on that concept, I’ve never seen any that I actually mistook for the real deal—until I stumbled on these!

If it weren’t for the cake board, I’d expect to see this stack waiting to be reshelved at my local bookshop. While many book cakes are able to exactly duplicate the covers through edible printing, this stack adds enough detail to the page edges that they look ready to leaf through.
The deckle edges again! How can you resist those curvy, whimsical lines? I love how the paper is slightly different shades, as if they’ve aged and discolored in spots. The endband looks indistinguishable from silk to my eyes.
Okay, this one isn’t actually cake. It’s just books on a cake stand. Did you believe it for a second, though? Have these cakes altered your perception of reality yet?

Books and Flowers

After all my research in hunting the absolute most accurate book cakes, I stumbled across this trend that I cannot stop staring at. @semi_cake, a Korean cake decorator, seems to be most prolific in this: cakes that look like books with an eruption of flowers emerging from the pages. It is breathtaking, and definitely prepare to replan your wedding cake as you scroll.

Look at how the top edge of the dust jacket seems to be curling away from the book, and the chips taken out of it. Every petal is exquisitely crafted. This cake makes me wanting a fainting couch to swoon into.
I know we’re looking at the books, but how do they get that volume from the flowers? They seem weightless!
Now here is a book stack cake unlike any I’ve ever seen. Tell me you would pick this out from bookstagram as an impostor. You couldn’t! And why do the hashtags include buttercream? What here could possibly be buttercream?!
Okay, this one is definitely just a bouquet stuck in a book, right? Every petal is so distinct. How does it not just collapse? Please let any Wilkie Collins fans in your life admire this.
Advanced class? Yeah, I’d definitely say so. I’m genuinely beginning to think this is a conspiracy, especially with that #buttercreamcake hashtag. Maaaybe that cover is a little thin, but you’re telling me all that greenery is sugar-based?
Admittedly, I have overloaded this post with flower book cakes, but this is the pruned down version, because I can’t help it. And of course, I couldn’t leave off this Pride & Prejudice cake, because the Jane Austen fans need to know this exists.

And that’s it for the unbelievably realistic book cakes! Still hungry for more bookish desserts? Check out these posts, which are less likely to have you second-guessing reality: