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"The cake is a lie."
Doug Rattmann[src]

The cake is a Black Forest cake[1] promised to Chell by GLaDOS during Portal.



The cake, a radio and the Aperture Science Red Phone on the desk of the lobby of GLaDOS' chamber after the end of Portal.

The Black Forest cake, alternatively referred to as the "Black Forest gateau," Or called "Fish shaped cracker cake" or simply "cake," typically consists of layers of chocolate, with whipped cream between layers, cherries on top, and sprinkled with white icing. However, some Black Forest cakes alternate with a covering of chocolate shavings, such as the type produced by Aperture Science.

For a time in the Aperture Science computer-aided Enrichment Center, Black Forest cake was used as a motivational object for Test Subjects utilizing the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. After GLaDOS' takeover in May 200- however, she incinerates Test Subjects after the completion of tests, negating the need for the cake as a reward, but still uses it to motivate Test Subjects.

Upon Chell's awakening, an unknown period of time after the facility was taken over, GLaDOS makes her navigate Test Chambers utilizing the Portal Device, with the promise of cake and grief counseling at the conclusion of the test. Upon arrival at Test Chamber 16 however, Chell discovers desperate messages scribbled on the wall by former Aperture employee Doug Rattmann, who went mad during his captivity, and was convinced that the "cake is a lie." Upon the completion of the test, Chell is met with an incinerator, apparently confirming that the cake is indeed "a lie." While making her way through the abandoned facility, GLaDOS tries to convince her to turn back by telling her that "somebody cut the cake" without waiting for Chell. However, GLaDOS later states that she is going to kill Chell, and that "all the cake is gone." But after Chell partially destroys GLaDOS and is taken by the Party Escort Bot, GLaDOS activates a series of Personality Cores, while at the same time extinguishing the candle on the cake, which was not a lie after all. Rattmann is not entirely wrong: while the cake itself exists, the lie resides in receiving the cake after the tests. It seems the cake is actually intended for GLaDOS herself; how she is presumably going to consume it is unknown.

The cake is briefly mentioned in Portal 2 when GLaDOS creates a trap for Chell with a door labeled, "GLaDOS Emergency Shutdown and Cake Dispensary, Keep Unlocked" (revealed to be a trap by GLaDOS, who comments, "I honestly, truly didn't think you'd fall for that."). The cake recipe is also seen on lab monitors, and a reference is briefly seen in the Ratman Den containing the ASHPD, in which a mural of GLaDOS attempting to offer Chell a slice of cake can be seen.


Escape 020000

Desk and Aperture Science Red Phone in the lobby of GLaDOS' chamber, with the cake recipe scrolling on the screen.

"Anyway, this cake is great. It's so delicious and moist."
GLaDOS in "Still Alive"[src]

GLaDOS displays the cake's recipe on many computer screens in the office areas, but it is heavily corrupted. The recipe includes the standard ingredients to a German chocolate cake, not a Black Forest cake, along with inedible garnishes such as drilling equipment and parts to a tool used to embalm bodies. In the final battle, GLaDOS drops an Intelligence Core which lists an abridged version of these ingredients:

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package chocolate cake mix
  • 1 can prepared coconut–pecan frosting
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Don't forget garnishes such as:

  • Fish-shaped crackers
  • Fish-shaped candies
  • Fish-shaped solid waste
  • Fish-shaped dirt
  • Fish-shaped ethylbenzene
  • Pull-and-peel licorice
  • Fish-shaped volatile organic compounds and sediment-shaped sediment
  • Candy-coated peanut butter pieces (shaped like fish)
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • Alpha resins
  • Unsaturated polyester resin
  • Fiberglass surface resins and volatile malted milk impoundments
  • 9 large egg yolks
  • 12 medium geosynthetic membranes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • An entry called: "How to Kill Someone with Your Bare Hands"
  • 2 cups rhubarb, sliced
  • 2/3 cups granulated rhubarb
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose rhubarb
  • 1 tsp. grated orange rhubarb
  • 3 tbsp. rhubarb, on fire
  • 1 large rhubarb
  • 1 cross borehole electromagnetic imaging rhubarb
  • 2 tbsp. rhubarb juice
  • Adjustable aluminum head positioner
  • Slaughter electric needle injector
  • Cordless electric needle injector
  • Injector needle driver
  • Injector needle gun
  • Cranial caps

And it contains proven preservatives, deep-penetration agents, and gas- and odor-control chemicals that will deodorize and preserve putrid tissue.

Ingredients omitted by the cake core (that are part of the recipe, according to Valve) include:

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 to 2 (16 ounces each) cans vanilla frosting
  • A 20-foot thick impermeable clay layer

Behind the scenes[]

The real cake

The real cake at The Regent Bakery & Café.

Wiki stub This section is empty or incomplete. You can help by expanding it.
  • The cake was inspired by a Black Forest cake made by The Regent Bakery & Café, located in Redmond, WA, not far from Valve's headquarters - one of their most popular cakes. Valve included it in Portal without telling them. When the game was released, the customers asked them "Did you guys know your cake is in a game?" and they were surprised, as they did not know.[1]
  • The last few items in the recipe ("Slaughter electric needle injector, cordless electric needle injector," etc.) are tools used by embalmers to prepare a corpse for a funeral.
  • The quote "The cake is a lie" heavily contributed to Portal's success, and has become a very popular phrase and Internet meme.[2][3] An example of which is in "Starcraft II"; when clicking on a unit multiple times, they will usually say things outside of the selection dialogue (if they are capable of speech). When doing so to the Terran unit known as the Raven, clicking it enough times will cause it to say "Who said anything about cake?"
    • In Counter-Strike: Source and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (another Valve games). If the round ends without MVP (Most Valuable Player), sometimes a special message of 'The cake is a lie' will appear.
  • The cake is not as present in Portal 2 as it was in Portal. Primary Portal series writer Erik Wolpaw stated he is sick of the old Portal memes and has had enough cake jokes, and that trying to resurrect an old meme would have been "sad" and "not a good idea." According to Wolpaw, the team had been careful not to retread too much of the same ground, preferring to explore new gameplay and an interesting new story, as the surprise spawned by the first game is long gone.[4]

Related achievements[]

Image Description Location
Portal beat 2advancedmaps Cupcake
Beat two Portal advanced maps.
Portal beat 4advancedmaps Fruitcake
Beat four Portal advanced maps.
Portal beat 6advancedmaps Vanilla Crazy Cake
Beat all six Portal advanced maps.
Portal beat 2advancedmaps Cupcake
Beat 5 advanced chambers.
Portal: Still Alive
Portal beat 4advancedmaps Fruitcake
Beat 10 advanced chambers.
Portal: Still Alive
Portal beat 6advancedmaps Vanilla Crazy Cake
Beat all advanced chambers.
Portal: Still Alive

Apperiences & Gallery[]

Half-Life 2[]

Cake Poster

A poster from ROUTE KANAL showing a poster of Aperture Science promoting the cake.


Portal 2[]

List of appearances[]

Imagecat The Half-Life Wiki has more images related to Cake.


See also[]