Let’s face it—the Internet has become a petri dish of the lowliest sorts of characters to exist. It is here that Trolls find courage to express their darkest selves, a mélange of ugly, aggressive hateful blather that suggest misery not only loves company, but that it is desperate for attention.
Countless people have gotten caught up in the nonsense, only to realize it was a losing proposition all along since Trolls feed off negativity like buzzards feasting on carrion. Yet ignoring them doesn’t quite satisfy a desire to show them who they are. Taking the high road isn’t always easy, but it can be a cakewalk if you call Kat Thek, founder of Troll Cakes, a bakery and detective agency based in New York City.
Troll Cakes lets Internet Trolls eat their words, literally, as customers can order a cake bearing the nasty comment and have it delivered to a Troll’s place of work or residence. It comes packaged like a fabulous surprise—which indeed it is, for who would expect to see their ugly words coming back in such glorious form?
Thek speaks with Crave about taking sweet revenge with Troll Cakes.
You mentioned you were inspired to start Troll Cakes after seeing someone try it with Dolly Parton on her Facebook page, saying “Your momma be so disappointed in you.” I love that. Dolly is a national treasure and I’m thrilled she was the inspiration for such an ingenious idea. What made you think of the idea of putting the words on a cake?
Kat Thek: The Dolly dis was so bizarre and out of place — I thought that it’d be funny to see it show up in another bizarre, out of place location, like on a homemade cake.
Did you teach yourself how to bake exclusively for Troll Cakes, or did you do it as a hobby before this?
Kat Thek: When I was growing up, our threshold for making a celebratory cake was probably lower than most families. if there was any kind of special event, we’d make a cake and decorate it wildly. It got to a point where we’d use an entire container of sprinkles on a single cake. I think there’s something very delightful about a homemade, garishly decorated cake.
The detective agency part of the story is ingenious. It adds a dynamic element to the enterprise, reminding us how vulnerable we are to our words coming back to haunt us. How challenging is it to find someone’s identity and personal information when they are using an alias?
Kat Thek: It depends — some people are incredibly easy to find but others are much more difficult to yoink from their Troll holes.
I imagine your customers must be deeply satisfied with taking such sweet action against a Troll. Do you send them photos of the cake before they ship so that they can see the final product before it goes out?
Kat Thek: Absolutely! Every customer gets two pictures of their Troll Cake: one nicely plated and another in-box, just before the cake is shipped. I include the in-box photo so that my customers can get a sense of that the experience will be like for their Troll — it’s sort of a confusing moment!
On one hand, there’s colorful confetti all over the place and a note that says “Congratulations!” But if you keep reading, you’ll see that it says “Congratulations! Your internet comment has been made into a chocolate chip brownie Troll Cake.”
A little bit above that is a label that incorporates a screengrab of the original Troll comment — including the Troll’s profile picture/avatar and username. And then, to top it off, there’s a cake! But the cake is mean! It’s a lot to process all at once.
Have you heard back from any of the Trolls (or the customers) after the cake was delivered?
Kat Thek: My customers are usually very excited to get photos of their Troll Cakes. One customer ordered a cake on behalf of her mom and gave her the Troll Cake photo as a gift for Mother’s Day [it was a “Tiny Hands Special” cake that went to the White House]. I haven’t heard back from any Trolls, but sometimes folks post photos of their Troll Cakes on social media. I love seeing those.
What is your favorite part about the job?
Kat Thek: I love putting a Troll Cake in the mail — after I hand it off, it passes through the hands of many more people, rides in a truck, and maybe even a plane, and then gets literally carried around by stranger before it arrives to the Troll. It’s so funny for me to think about the number of strangers who are working together to get a cake with some off-handed slight written on it in icing delivered to a person who probably forgot even saying the slight in the first place.
All photos: © Troll Cakes
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Aperture Online, and Feature Shoot. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.