This Is It Cake, Too? Star Thinks Cake Pops Are Overrated

Fan-favorite contestant Liz Marek dishes about her early elimination and the first cake she ever decorated.

When Is It Cake? premiered in 2022, baker Liz Marek knew she was meant to compete. “Is It Cake? is sports for me,” Marek tells Bustle. “I desperately knew right away that I wanted to be on Season 2.” So Marek took matters into her own hands, sharing her hyperrealistic cakes all over social media, tagging Netflix and Is It Cake? on Instagram. “When somebody finally reached out, I was like, ‘Did you see my videos?’ They’re like, ‘Yes, we saw your videos.’”

About 16 years ago, the former graphic designer turned to baking as a way to de-stress, sharing her self-taught decorating journey online with her YouTube channel and website Sugar Geek Show. Marek quickly realized her calling was teaching people how to bake, design, and decorate sculpted cakes on Sugar Geeks. Her creations go beyond simple wedding cakes and cookies, transforming cakes into everything from Baby Yoda to sneakers, along with teaching people how to make realistic sugar eyes out of Isomalt (a technique she invented).

Despite her passion and strong start in the show’s second season, Marek was eliminated in the third episode, after the judges were able to pick out her cake from the decoy. Looking back, she says the hardest part of the competition was the element of surprise. “You don’t know what you’re going to be making until you have to make it,” Marek says. “It’s the biggest test of your skills for a cake decorator at this level.”

She also realizes that she may have focused too much on perfecting the cake itself, rather than altering the decoy, as other contestants have done in the past. “The game is how realistic you can make [the cake] look [in comparison to] the decoy,” she reflects. “But the way that the game also works is sometimes by luck. The judges panic, they guess, and sometimes they guess not in your favor.”

Below, Marek tells Bustle about her shock elimination from Is It Cake? Season 2, her favorite sugary creations, and overrated baking trends.

Liz Marek in Is It Cake?Netflix

How did it feel to be eliminated in the third episode?

I was devastated. It’s not so much [that I was] crying because I was eliminated — I wanted to do more. I wanted to play the game. It all hit me at once, and I was in shock. It’s been a year, and it still hurts.

If you could have chosen something different than the pile of sweatshirts, what would you have baked?

I don’t know why I thought a pile of sweatshirts was going to be the thing. I would’ve chosen the six-pack of beer. Or even the ukulele. Anything other than the sweatshirts. That was my downfall.

What was the first cake you ever decorated? What do you think about it now?

The first cake I ever decorated was for one of my best friend’s daughter’s first birthday. She is now 15. It was a little lemon box cake with canned lemon cream cheese frosting that was melting off of the cake. It was the first time I used fondant. I wanted to make polka-dots, and I didn't know how to make dots out of fondant. I bought big flat sprinkles to make the polka dots.

I put it in my book as the first cake I ever decorated. It’s nice to see how far you've come.

The first cake Liz Marek made.Liz Marek

What cake are you most proud of?

I made this chocolate sculpture a long time ago called “The Faun In The Moon.” She looks like she's floating; she's only supported by a tiny piece of her toe. It won me an award for Best Sculpted Cake Artist at the Cake Masters’ Awards in Birmingham, UK, which was an incredible honor. People that I look up to — Karen Portoleo, Kaysie Lackey, Mike McCarey — voted to give me this award.

Usually, if you make a cake, when you look at it years later, you're like, that’s not as good as I remember it. I still love her.

The faun fell in love with the moon cake by Liz MarekLiz Marek

What’s the most overrated baking trend?

Cake pops. I know that’s not a cake necessarily, but I don’t understand cake pops. I don’t know why you would make them or eat them. I can’t believe people buy them from Starbucks. It’s leftover cakes squished into a weird consistency and dipped in chocolate. They’re gross.

Which viral baking trends on TikTok don’t make sense to you?

This trend where you had a doll inside a rounded cake. You put a piece of plastic around the doll, and you put a glaze inside the plastic, and then you lifted the plastic, and the glaze covered the lower cake like a dress. It’s supposed to be a presentation, but most people who would try it would accidentally drip the glaze onto the doll, or it wouldn't cover all the way. I was like, why? This is not appetizing to me.

Who’s your dream baking client?

A big part of Sugar Geek Show was built around Alton Brown’s show from Food Network. I wanted to make a show that was Good Eats but [centered] around sugar, explaining all the science and why things are the way that they are. My dream is to bake something with Alton Brown and be in his presence.

If you had to screw, marry, or kill ganache, fondant, and buttercream, what would it be?

I would marry ganache. I love it forever. Screw fondant. I love it, but sometimes I hate it. Then kill buttercream. It’s the worst.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.