The phrase The Cake is a Lie has become a popular metaphorical catchphrase, originating from the video game Portal. It has nothing to do with Cake Farts.
The expression is mainly used to describe a promise or reward that is either non-existent, unattainable, or straight up misleading. It serves as a reminder that things may not always be as they seem, and that we shouldn’t get our hopes up too high.
Example: Imagine receiving a phone call from a company that you’ve been dreaming of working for. They offer you a fantastic position with a hefty salary and promises of a flexible schedule. Excitedly, you start preparing to leave your current job behind, only to find out that the company has retracted their offer. Yes, you guessed it, the cake is a lie once again.
The origins of the phrase “The Cake is a Lie” can be traced back to the iconic video game called Portal.
Released in 2007 by Valve Corporation, Portal takes players on an adventure in the shoes of Chell, who is the subject of tests, overseen by a sarcastic artificial intelligence named GLaDOS. Throughout the game, GLaDOS manipulates and deceives the player, promising a slice of cake as a reward for completing the tests. However, as players progress, they discover graffiti, that indicate the cake isn’t real, and instead, they are subjected to more tests and deadly obstacles.
The phrase quickly gained popularity among gamers, finding its way into online forums and discussions about the game. From there, it leaped out of the video game realm into broader internet culture, becoming a metaphor for false promises and disappointment.
With the rise of internet memes and social media, “The Cake is a Lie” took on a life of its own. It became a widely-shared catchphrase, popping up in various contexts beyond gaming. You might come across it in discussions about politics, relationships, or even the latest TV shows, as well as graffiti on the streets, replicating the ones found in the game.
The phrase may appear in several forms online, including image macro memes, parody videos, as well as chats and comments on social media. It has become ingrained in popular culture and has hijacked our collective sense of humor, reminding us to take everything with a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of skepticism.
After it was seen in Portal, World of Warcraft adopted it for one of their achievements called “The Cake is not a Lie”. In another video game, Hanna in a Choppa, you can find the idiom scribbled on a wall.
So, the next time life teases you with the prospect of cake, remember that sometimes, the cake is just a cruel trick, a tantalizing mirage. But hey, at least you’ve got some lemonade from those lemons, right?