Literally Every Situation Calls for Cake

Not sure how to approach a friend in the midst of a life-altering event? Bring a cake.

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Jim Belushi poses with cake that reads "100 EPISODES"
What better way to celebrate 100 episodes of According to Jim?
Photo: Stephen Shugerman (Getty Images)

Last month, TikToker Sarah Landry shared a video showcasing an unusual baked good: a novelty cake she commissioned in honor of her husband’s vasectomy. The cake is generously frosted, with the words “Sorry about your balls” scrawled across the top in puffy icing letters. The sentiment is a little too 2010 Rob Dyrdek-esque for my tastes, but it does present a compelling theory: cake is welcome in truly any situation, however awkward.

When is the right time to serve a cake?

As a society, we’ve conditioned ourselves to a somewhat limited scope of cake occasions. You’ve got your birthday cakes. You’ve got your wedding cakes. You’ve got your corgi cakes to celebrate 70 years of crushing marginalized communities under the weight of Chanel-draped imperialism. But what about all the situations in between?

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For example: for me, 2021 was a year of soaring highs and crushing lows. Cake was involved at both ends of the spectrum. My beloved dog died; a friend left a cake at my front door. I got a book deal; another friend made me a cake adorned with the words “Lillian Fucking Rocks” in red buttercream. Whether I was mourning or celebrating, cake was very, very welcome.

In my case, cake was used to mark two life-altering occasions—one good, one bad. The vasectomy cake was also employed to celebrate a life-altering, ahem, alteration. But I’d argue that cakes are appropriate for literally any occasion—life-altering or not. Kids going back to school? Hit ‘em with a cake. Friend halfway through their masters program? Cake! Neighbor getting gallbladder surgery? Cake. Spouse had a weird week for no real reason? Cake! You want a casual breakfast? Cake, cake, cake.

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My point is that cake is an excellent reminder to take a moment and celebrate life’s milestones—big or small. Even if those milestones are sad or discouraging, cake is the perfect way to let someone know they’re in your thoughts.