I was glad to see this question pop up on Reddit
, because it's something I've often thought myself. The artistic "cakes" (and I do believe the term deserves the use of "scare quotes") you see so often on television reality shows often seem more like constructions of plywood and Tinker Toys, covered with a bunch of fondant.
Don't get me wrong - these art cakes show a lot of truly impressive artistic skill. But can you really call it a cake?
I think my problem is that "meant to be eaten" is inextricably bound up with the word "cake" in my mind. A cake that isn't meant to be eaten is like a car that isn't meant to be driven, or a plate that isn't meant to be eaten off of. Oh wait, there are lots of those in the world! After all, what is a Franklin Mint collectible but "a plate that isn't meant to be eaten off of"?
At any rate, a cake that is beautiful but not meant to be eaten - yes, I do sometimes have a problem with this. However if you watch enough episodes of "Ace of Cakes" you will notice that there is an actual bakery in the front of the store, where they sell actual baked goods. It doesn't come up very often, because most of the show takes place in the back room.