These days people go viral for all sorts of reasons: being a sexy felon, having an internet-breaking ass, challenging your friends to pour buckets of ice water over their heads, going ape shit on your brother-in-law in an elevator or simply being the dredges of our society, the Kardashians. When Ohio State University alumna and Cleveland native Natalie Sideserf’s talent put her on that list of viral sensations, she was shocked. Probably as shocked as the rest us of were when we looked at what she had created.
Inspired by hyper-realistic sculptors such as Evan Penny and Ron Mueck, Sideserf creates works of art from cake ingredients that give the self-proclaimed Cake Boss a run for his money. Not long after graduating from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in fine art specializing in drawing and painting, Sideserf relocated to Austin, Texas, where she aggressively kicked her foot through the door at a local bakery. With absolutely no prior baking experience, unless you count her Easy Bake Oven, Sideserf taught herself the basics of baking, which allowed her to express her artistic talent through a non-traditional medium.
So how exactly did flour, eggs, sugar, frosting and an art degree make Sideserf a worldwide viral sensation? As fate would have it, a country-wide competition, “That Takes the Cake,” was taking place 20 minutes from her new hometown. She entered her first cake, a portrait of everyone’s favorite pot-smoking country music star, Willie Nelson. Without her knowledge, Siderserf’s brother posted her Willie cake on Reddit, and her amazing, edible rendition skyrocketed to #1 instantaneously. After winning the overall prize and realizing she was now internet famous, Sideserf’s wheels started to turn. The path was clear and she had to top Willie, but the question was how and, more importantly, when?
Naturally, as Sideserf’s wedding approached, she saw an opportunity to shock all, horrify some, but most importantly, create the most unique wedding cake she could imagine. As her guests entered her reception, they were eerily greeted by her and her husband’s heads…severed and served up on a bloody platter: “’Til Death Do Us Part.” Safe to say Willie had been dethroned and Sideserf was viral before the DJ called for the last dance at her reception. While her husband Dave, who has a passion for horror flicks, relished the non-traditional cake plan and was proud of his wife’s astonishingly lifelike representation of the couple, the rest of the internet had mixed reviews. Negative comments came rolling in one by one. Sideserf was not fazed by the haters: “I knew what I was doing, and I just didn’t give a fuck.” She heard it all: she was tacky, satanic, her marriage was doomed, she needed to find God and so on. In response to the negativity, Sideserf explained, “I’m not doing this for religious reasons; I am getting married to get married. You know what I mean?! I’m not going to the church and saying, ‘Hey, thanks God. I’ve got my man now.’”
Internet trolls love to hate, but Sideserf’s cakes also landed her some positive attention. Her cakes have been featured in Cosmopolitan magazine, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post and “The Chew.” The Food Network has featured Sideserf on “Duff Till Dawn” and their Halloween special “Outrageous Cakes.” Various production companies have contacted her to be on other shows, but she says, “My goal is to be bigger than just a half hour.”
Sideserf’s creations continue to top one another and her no-bullshit attitude fuels her creative visions of edible art. Her cakes can make people feel uncomfortable, but she enjoys that a cake can induce such an intense emotion. Now that she has created her own severed head, a unicorn farting a rainbow, Seymour’s Little Shop of Horrors plant, and Ninja Turtles alike, it is hard to tell what will be next. Sideserf explains, “Everyone is offended by everything,” so whatever the next viral sensation is, it is sure to astonish.