It's cake — really! 12 mind-boggling cakes that look nothing like cake

This San Francisco baker creates custom cakes like nothing you've ever seen before.

Cakes that look like other foods. This one is a ham.

Nope, not actually ham!

When we stumbled upon San Francisco baker Debbie Goard’s cakes, we couldn’t believe our eyes. A platter of delicious sushi… that’s actually cake. Her creations are so realistic looking, it’s hard to believe they’re not the real thing.

Incredibly, Goard has no formal training as a baker or decorator. Her career started when the cake decorator at the deli/bakery where she was working retired and Goard was asked to take over, even though she had made one cake before in her life — in Grade 5! She learned from other sculpted-cake bakers, and through trial and error.

Most cakes take Goard a full day or two to create. Her most time-consuming to date took 57 hours — a metre-high replica of a bank for a company’s 100th anniversary. Her prices start at US$250 plus delivery — steep, yes, but remember, her smallest cakes still take a minimum of four hours to decorate.

All of Goard’s cakes are completely edible. Instead of fondant, she uses modelling chocolate — a type of candy clay she describes as tasting like a “high-end Tootsie Roll” — along with candy, cookies and gummies that she makes herself.

One of her specialties is cake that looks like food (that isn’t cake). We picked some of our favourites: