Best Of 2022

Best Reason to Bite into a Stick of Butter

A screengrab of Arington slicing into the butter cake

As Surrealist René Magritte would say: This is not a pipe. And the assorted grocery and home-good items posted to the Instagram account of Cincinnati’s Fat Ben’s Bakery aren’t what they look like either. Instead, they are hyperreal cake creations made by pastry chef Ben Arington, the “Ben” of Fat Ben’s. Arington, known for his over-the-top, imaginative baked goods, has been in the pastry and food field for more than 15 years. He creates aesthetically pleasing treats, all while keeping it “weird” and pushing the boundaries of what conventional baked goods should look like. Recently, he’s been delving into the world of hyperreal cakes and posting the results to social media. He adds very satisfying videos of him cutting into the baked goods, which look exactly like a stick of butter, a bowl of chicken noodle soup, a ripe tomato and even a COVID-19 at-home test kit. These amazing cakes are edible, and Arington says he uses everything from scissors and cake molds to even (clean) loofah sponges to get the textures he wants, with an artist’s eye for food coloring to apply the most realistic light, shadow and finishes.