burn-away cake

Toss the candles… make a burn-away cake instead! Here’s the easy tutorial

A burn-away cake is a show-stopping birthday dessert!

Candles make birthday cakes extra special. But if blowing out a couple of candles isn’t enough, this new kind of cake sets itself on fire—literally.

Leilani Cannon mastered the magic behind this technique shared how to make a burn-away cake.


Burn-Away Cakes


  • A cake frosted with chocolate ganache or buttercream
  • Edible icing/frosting sheet
  • Edible potato starch wafer paper
  • Edible ink and a compatible printer


  1. Print Your Images.

Edible images are printed using specialized edible ink and dedicated edible printers. If you have access to these tools, great! Proceed with printing your images directly onto the edible icing sheet or wafer paper. If not, use the following alternatives:

  • Order a special cake printing kit, like this one from Amazon, or go to your local grocery store and have the bakery print for you on icing sheet.
  • Contact a local custom baker to print an edible image. Leilani offers this service!
  1. Size Matters.
    • Cut the first image to be slightly smaller than the circumference of your cake.
    • Trim the second image to be about 2 cm (3/4 inch) smaller in circumference than the first image.

The Science Behind It

Wafer paper is made of starch and oil, which makes it highly flammable. In contrast, the thicker, sugar-based frosting sheet has a wet consistency and is not as flammable, remaining intact.

  1. Assemble the Cake:
    • Place the first thick image on top of your cake.
    • Create a border of frosting around the cake.
    • Lay the wafer paper on top of the frosting and pipe another border around it to hide the edge of the paper.
  2. The Magic Border:
    • The frosting border between the two layers serves a specific purpose: it leaves a slight gap. This gap allows the wafer paper to burn without affecting the second image.
  3. Ignite the Surprise:
    • Now for the grand finale! Light the wafer paper on fire and watch it burn away to reveal the hidden image beneath.

Leilani offers custom orders, classes, and more. Find more of her work on Instagram, @uglymuffinbakery.

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