You’ve Got To See These Wild Food Optical Illusions

During a quick midnight scroll, Ben Churchill’s Instagram page looks normal. But really, his page is full of amazing and bewitching food optical illusions. Here are some of our favorites.

A Dirty Kitchen Sponge

Dirty sponge optical illusion made of food, from chefbenchurchill Instagram

It’s one of his most well-known creations. Although this photo looks like the sponge you use to scrub the sink, it’s actually an olive oil sponge cake.

Sponge cake? Sponge? We see what he did there. It’s topped with a mint crumb and served with foamed sweet milk and a toffee sauce. Delicious.

Honestly, we wouldn’t have to be persuaded to dive into this delicious, sudsy masterpiece. Although it’s not appetizing at first glance, we’re sure it’s absolutely tasty.

Just a Simple Breakfast for One 

Breakfast for one optical illusion with food from chefbenchurchill instagram

The accuracy of this “egg” is phenomenal. Made with coconut pannacotta, mango gel, and a grilled lemon sponge this “breakfast” is actually a decadent dessert.

Even if you’re not a fan of real fried eggs, you would have to give this dessert a try. After all, you can’t go wrong with pannacotta.

We wonder if the lemon sponge in this dessert is the same recipe he used to make the dirty kitchen sponge. Who knew cake was so versatile?

A Perfectly Pretty Plant

Plant and plant pot made of food on a grey surface, from chefbenchurchill instagram

A plant that’s safe to eat and you don’t have to water it? Count me in! Chef Churchill constructed this out of chocolate creme and carrot cake.

It’s topped with grated chocolate and an orange and carrot gel. We admit, we’re a little iffy on how chocolate creme and carrot cake would taste together

But this dessert is, without a doubt, one-of-a-kind. I mean, do you know anyone else who’s crafting realistic flower pots out of chocolate? We don’t.

Fried Chicken with a Side of Fries

Fried chicken made of cake on a white plate with fries and gravy, from chefbenchurchill instagram

This. Is. Amazing. Chef Churchill didn’t leave too much of a description for this one, but we’re already drooling. It’s fried chicken, made of cake.

And just take a look at those fries, would you? They’re covered in what we assume is supposed to be gravy, which is probably chocolate.

This is another instance where our appetite is just a little bit confused. Do we want sweets, or do we want savory? The answer: both.

An Ashtray Filled with Butts

Black ashtray filled with ash and cigarette butts, optical illusion made out of food, from chefbenchurchill instagram

This one is a hard pass. This edible ashtray is made with vanilla pannacotta, smoky lapsang gel, meringue powder, and chocolate. It’s just not very appetizing.

We could get our head around the other designs, but this one? Maybe not. We know the aesthetic is unappealing desserts, but this might be too far.

It’s definitely creative, though. We’ll give him that. And it wouldn’t be so unappetizing if it wasn’t so terribly realistic. So, mission accomplished, Chef Ben!

Trendy Toast is At It Again 

Toast with an egg on it on a white plate, food llusion from chefbenchurchill instagram

Remember when artisanal toast was having a moment? (Maybe it’s still having a moment?) Well, this is Churchill’s imaginative representation of trendy toast—in cake.

It’s a vanilla cake topped with cream and a mango gel yolk. Churchill painstakingly fashioned these sweet ingredients into something that defies your initial expectations.

Who says you can’t eat cake for breakfast? This dish is a true celebration of culinary creativity. We’re not sure whether we’re hungry for toast or dessert.

A Raw Beet Covered in Dirt

Terra cotta pot, tipped over and spilling dirt and a large beet root, food optical illusion from chefbenchurchill instagram

This, dear friends, is a chocolate and beetroot brownie tumbling out of a chocolate plant pot (like the one from earlier). How is it possible?

To make this cute creation, Churchill formed a brownie batter out of beetroot juice, brownie crumbs, and chocolate. He then wrapped it in cellophane to set.

He set it in the fridge to form a root-like shape. Once it hardened, he dusted the root in beetroot meringue powder and cocoa powder.

Sickenly Sweet Soap 

Man with a beard eating a bar of soap that is actually made of food, optical illusion by chefbenchurchill instagram

Did your parents ever make you eat soap as a kid if you swore? Well, if this was the soap, you might have sworn more often.

This talented chef created a completely believable replica bar of soap out of lemon parfait and then filled it with lavender gel and chamomile. How?

He took the lemon parfait and set it in a soap-shaped mold. He topped it with lavender gel, and then chamomile shortbread. And it looks absolutely delicious.

A Moldy Orange 

A moldy orange on a white plate, optical illusion with food by chefbenchurchill on instagram

It’s actually a fresh orange parfait. This “moldy” orange is made with fresh orange parfait and bubblegum meringue powder. It’s another instance where we’re just not sure.

While we’re sure this dessert smells really good, we’d still be a little hesitant to put it in our mouth, parfait or not. It must be the mold.

Churchill sure has a knack for constructing disgustingly delicious masterpieces, don’t you think? Thanks for leaving us confused and disgusted but also hungry yet again, Chef Ben.

Summer is Canceled

Orange creamsicle with one bite out of it on the pavement surrounded by broken glass and dirt, edible optical illusion by chefbenchurchill on instagram

A long time ago, Dairy Queen advertised the fact that you could turn their Blizzards upside-down without spilling. Well, we can report that wasn’t the case.

As a child, one member of our team (who shall remain un-named) made the mistake of turning their Blizzard upside-down. It was just a little too late.

It ended up looking a lot like this. While this realistic ice cream is giving some of us flashbacks, we’re impressed by how real it looks.

A Dessert Hot Dog 

Hotdog made of cake and dessert syrups on a white plate, by chefbenchurchill on instagram

Because why not? This “hot dog” is made with chocolate, cake crumbs, and chopped strawberries that have been mixed together and frozen into a hot dog shape.

Once frozen, Churchill covered the dog in chocolate before preparing a choux pastry for the bun. This strange delicacy is then topped off with condiments.

That is, it’s topped with marinated apples, orange cream, and strawberry coulis made to look like classic dog toppings. Again, it’s a deliciously confusing masterpiece.

And a Dessert Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger made of cake and dessert foods, illusion by chefbenchurchill on instagram

Two isn’t always better than one, except for when it comes to dessert. Churchill used a chocolate rice crispy cake to make the “hamburger” in this video.

He then placed it atop a sponge cake that was covered in orange ganache, green chocolate, and caramelized pear. What about the cheese, you ask?

He finished the burger off with white chocolate (dyed yellow) for cheese, diced pear, and another sponge cake. Did we mention it’s a double cheeseburger?

A Pizza Cake 

Pizza made out of cake, by chefbenchurchill on instagram

Who wouldn’t want a pizza cake? This creation started out as a normal sponge cake. It was then topped with strawberry jam for the sauce.

Next, Churchill added grated white chocolate, and then? He took a pastry torch to it, of course. The cheese has to be melted, after all.

Following the fire show, the chef created a pepperoni topping out of strawberry marzipan. It’s hard to imagine this not tasting like greasy, cheesy pizza.

Chocolate Nuts and Bolts

Nuts and bolts on a plate, made of chocolate by chefbenchurchill on instagram

It’s strange but intriguing. To make this somewhat industrial-looking treat, Churchill filled a mold (that looked like nuts and bolts) with chocolate and banana syrup.

Once frozen, he sprayed the chocolatey pieces with edible silver and placed the tiny, tool-like treats on a bed of crumbled chocolate. This imitates dirt.

Churchill then sprinkled the nuts and bolts with caramelized banana and bite-sized brownie pieces. Whoever’s nuts and bolts these are really needs to practice tool maintenance.

Pasta and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs dessert illusion on white plate, by chefbenchurchill on instagram

It really looks like the real thing. Chef Churchill starts this dish off with watermelon jam and chopped strawberries. In the end, this will make the “marinara.”

In a separate bowl, he mixes chocolate ganache with brownie crumbs to make the meatballs. Then, he ever-so-carefully slices vanilla egg custard to create the pasta.

The dish is garnished with grated white chocolate and lemon balm. Because you can’t have pasta marinara without grated parmesan and some basil for garnish, can you?

A Beautiful Terrarium

Terrariums on a window side table, but one of them is edible, by chefbenchurchill on instagram

Have you ever looked at a gorgeous plant terrarium and thought how much better it would be if it was edible? Apparently, Chef Ben did.

To be fair, Churchill is no stranger to making inedible things into beautiful dessert masterpieces. This terrarium is made of chocolate cake and edible plants.

Churchill uses chocolate cake topped with ganache for the soil, then some lime sponge as a touch of moss. Lemon balm and mint sprigs are the plants.

Eat Worms

Worms with soil and stones on a white dish, made of food, illusion by chefbenchurchill on instagram

There’s just nothing more appetizing than a pile of dirt with worms slithering out of it. Okay, so there are some things more appetizing than that.

But we would totally be down to try this soil and worms created by Chef Ben Churchill. He used chocolate cake, of course, with strawberry worms.

Adding in some stones made of ganache really completed this work of gross-out food art. It would be a great dessert idea for a Halloween party.

A Yummy Softboiled Egg

Pink softboiled egg in an egg cup with yolk spilling out on a table, dessert illusion by chefbenchurchill on instagram

It’s hard to imagine that this drippy yolk doesn’t taste like egg at all. In fact, the egg is made out of coconut pannacotta and chocolate.

Churchill formed a hard shell out of chocolate, apparently colored a bit pink for an Eastery feel. He filled it with pannacotta for the egg white.

Finally, Churchill added a dollop of mango “yolk” to bring the dessert together. It’s a drippy, runny masterpiece. We wouldn’t mind sitting down to this for breakfast.

Dessert Chicken

Torn open package of raw chicken, actually made out of dessert, by chefbenchurchill on instagram

Here’s another one that’s just confusing and slightly offputting. After all, we rightfully have a deeply ingrained aversion to eating raw chicken. And you should, too.

But this raw chicken isn’t raw chicken at all. It’s actually a jelly made out of strawberry milk. So in the end, we would probably try it.

That is, as long as this packaging isn’t reused from last night’s chicken. There’s nothing better than strawberry milk, especially in jelly form. Count us in.

Beans on Toast Cake

Beans being spooned onto toast, food illusion by chefbenchurchill on instagram

Okay, there’s no way these aren’t actually baked beans, right? Wrong! This is a sweet treat, no beans involved. As usual, it starts with a sponge cake.

Then, Churchill makes a syrupy golden sauce and creates the beans out of marzipan. When added together, the marzipan and syrup look just like baked beans.

Finally, he adds the beans to the grilled sponge cake to imitate a classic breakfast dish. All it needs is an egg and some grilled tomatoes.

A Very Cheesy Cheesecake

A wedge of stilton cheese that's actually made of cheesecake, on a white plate, by chefbenchurchill on instagram

When you order cheesecake, you don’t want it to taste like cheese. At least, not like blue cheese. We’d be a little worried about this particular cheesecake.

The good news is that this cheesecake, which Churchill created to look just like a wedge of Stilton, doesn’t taste like moldy cheese at all.

In reality, this cheesecake has touches of vanilla and mint, which we imagine is in the form of mint jelly. That would explain the, uh, mold.

Yule Log

Yule log on a wooden cutting board, made of dessert, by chefbenchurchill on instagram

Have you ever wanted to chomp into a piece of wood? This culinary illusion gives you the perfect chance. It’s a Yule log, made of chocolate.

Churchill doesn’t give us a behind-the-scenes for this creation, but we imagine it involves cake and some cocoa powder. We wonder if it has any Christmas-y flavors.

You could use this Yule log as a classic Christmas dinner centerpiece. Then, surprise your guests by slicing into the centerpiece after dinner. It’s a surprise dessert!

And a Burnt Yule Log

knife cutting into a burnt log that is actually a cake, by chefbenchurchill on instagram

It wouldn’t be a Yule log if it didn’t get set on fire at some point. Actually, this is a totally separate creation, made to look burnt.

How did Churchill get such a charred and crispy-looking finish on this masterpiece? He used real firewood to create a mold, which he filled with chocolate.

He filled this chocolate mold with thyme-flavored caramel, and then added a layer of chocolate sponge. Charcoal chocolate ganache makes up the outer shell of the log.

And a Mossy Log

Mossy log cake on a white plate, by chefbenchurchill on instagram

Did you think we were done with the edible wooden logs? If so, you were mistaken. Next up we have this more natural-looking, mossy forest log.

If you’ve been paying attention up to this point, you should be able to figure out at least part of what makes up this creation.

Yes, chocolate is heavily involved. This chocolate log is filled with orange bavarois and covered in mint moss to finish off the look. It sounds heavenly.

Marzipan Beans

Open can of beans that are actually made of marzipan, chefbenchurchill instagram

If you don’t want the toast part of the beans and toast included above, how about just a can of beans? These beans are so realistic.

No, the can element of this food illusion isn’t edible, as far as we know. Maybe that will be Chef Ben’s next food illusion challenge.

For now, we’re just happy with this already amazingly realistic presentation. The beans are made of marzipan, and the syrup is made of, well, syrup.

Your Grandma’s Soapdish

Dessert that looks like foamy bar soap in a seashell soapdish, chefbenchurchill instagram

This soapy dessert brings back so many memories. We can almost smell it now. But it isn’t soap in this seashell dish; it’s actually a sweet dessert.

The seashell soap dish really is a seashell soap dish, as far as we can tell. But the soap is made of cereal milk pannacotta.

It’s set on top of some orange caramel, and topped with sea salt foam. It’s hard to imagine this dish not smelling and tasting like soap.

A Suspicious Petri Dish

Dessert that looks like a culture in a petri dish, chefbenchurchill on instagram

Normally, we wouldn’t recommend putting something that looks like this anywhere near your mouth or nose. But in this case, we can make an exception.

This dish is actually made of a vanilla base, topped with lemon, mint, strawberry, and bubblegum flavors. No bacteria was harmed in the making of this dessert.

One commenter on Instagram had the brilliant idea of making this dessert if you don’t want anyone else eating your pudding. Yeah, I’d stay away.

A Normal Cup of Coffee

Cup of coffee made of chocolate next to a pile of coffee beans, chefbenchurchill instagram

Typically, the containers holding Churchill’s desserts aren’t edible. Remember that tin can full of marzipan beans? You don’t want to try biting into that thing.

But in this case, you can actually eat the coffee mug when you’re done with the dessert inside. Or maybe before, if you don’t mind a mess.

At least, we’re pretty sure it’s made of chocolate, although Churchill doesn’t go into great detail. We also wonder if those coffee beans are real or chocolate.

A Gorgeous Orange

Glistening orange on a white plate, made of candy and cake, chefbenchurchill instagram

This orange looks like it was just plucked from an orange tree after a morning dew. And this time, there’s no offputting mold in sight.

The moisture on this orange is actually a sweet glaze, made to imitate water sitting on the textured surface of an orange. It looks tasty.

Based on Churchill’s posts, it seems that the orange itself may be made out of meat pate, coated in an orange glaze. We’re not sure about that.

A Pretty Perfect Pear

A pear sitting on a bed of almonds, food optical illusion by chefbenchurchill instagram

This pear dessert actually tastes like pear. But this food optical illusion is made of pear parfait, set atop of bed of overnight oats, almonds, and honey.

It looks like the steam may be made of chocolate with lemon balm for the leaf, but we’re not sure. Either way, it looks delicious.

This is a more perfect pear than you’ll find in any grocery store, and it probably tastes better, too. Who needs real fresh fruit, anyway?

A World of Delicious Illusions

Food illusions book by chef ben churchill, chefbenchirchill instagram

If you’re a huge fan of what you’ve seen before, you’re in luck. Chef Ben Churchill not only has an Instagram full of food optical illusions.

He also has a book. Some of the creations we’ve included above are included in the book, presumably with more details than we’ve given here.

It’s safe to say none of these dishes are what they seem. Would you be down to try one of these crazy creations? Let us know!

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