“Cake Zine” is the Brilliant New ‘Zine That’s All About…Cake

by stephanie ganz

When you think of cake, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s that Fudgie the Whale ice-cream cake you got for your 10th birthday, or the mind-bending Louis Vuitton handbag cake you just saw on TikTok. For professional baker Tanya Bush and writer Aliza Abarbanel, cake is the perfect device for examining society at large. The duo launched their indie print mag Cake Zine in spring 2022 to do just that, with surprising essays, provocative photography, recipes, comics, and even poems, after the Instagram-to-IRL friends identified a mutual appreciation for the dessert dominating their feeds.

Tanya Bush and writer Aliza Abarbanel

“Cake is this very nonessential but also very essential food item, in that no one can exist off cake by itself,” Abarbanel says, “and yet, there are also so many occasions in our lives—like weddings, birthdays, and even funerals—where cake is such an essential part.” That cultural and personal significance, as well as cake’s boom in popularity online, make it ripe as a conduit for contemplating deeper subjects, and their ‘zine is the proverbial cake stand it deserves. “Contemporary food media is trying to do everything everywhere all at once, and dessert feels like something that has been bypassed and sidelined,” says Bush, who is also behind the existentially minded baked goods IG account @will.this.make.me.happy. “This is a way of reclaiming its significance and using it to think about unexpected themes.”

The first issue, “Sexy Cake,” explored the erotic side of cake (see: Abarbanel’s interview with artist, sex worker, and cake sitter Lindsay Dye); “Wicked Cake,” the second installment, grappled with cake’s perceived evils in essays like KC Hysmith’s “On Being Bad and Snacking Well.” For its next act, Cake Zine will turn its lens on another classic dessert in an issue they’re calling “Humble Pie,” out this spring.

The success of Cake Zine, which has prompted well-attended events and cake-related merch, is indicative of an interest in art that explores the ordinary in unusual ways, says Abarbanel: “People are hungry to be doing creative collaborative work right now, and I’m inspired by that.”

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.