Faux food is totally confusing to our brains. We see a certain food and we know what it should taste like, but then to bite into something typically savory, and get a mouthful of cake or other sweet flavors, can be a total mind blowing moment.
A few years ago I made these hamburger cupcakes for a baby shower for a boy. They are actually very easy to make, but maybe a bit time consuming. You make yellow cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes. Cut the yellow in half for buns, and cut the chocolate into "patties." For lettuce drop some green food coloring into a bag of coconut flakes until they take on the green color. Use various piping tips and colored frosting for "cheese, mayo, mustard, and tomato." Then use a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar) to brush on top of the "buns" as a form of edible adhesive and apply sesame seeds or pipe on white frosting spots to look like sesame seeds. Looks like a slider for sure and most of the guests were really confused by the "burger." Someone even took the plate they were on off the dessert table and moved it with the regular food, lol!
Here are some other dessert/cake designs that are pretty mind blowing. Many tricks are employed like using candies like starbursts/taffy which can be shaped to look like things like peas, cheese, onions, and butter. Colored shortbread for bacon. Frosting used for potatoes or ketchup or spaghetti. Pound cake for subway buns or fries coated in sugar. Fondant shaped and colored to look like meat or just about anything. Truffles coated in syrup for meatballs. The list goes on!
It's cake, frosting, food dye, and fondant, seriously!
If you want to try your hand at crafting a few of these faux food goodies yourself, try the books: