Egyptian woman arrested for 'violating family values' with suggestively decorated cupcakes

Abbie Cheeseman
·2-min read
File photo  - The Picture Pantry/Ruth Black/Getty Images Contributor
File photo - The Picture Pantry/Ruth Black/Getty Images Contributor

The arrest of an Egyptian woman for baking and selling cupcakes bearing iced genitals sparked national debate across Egypt on Monday when the state’s security apparatus turned its full attention to the “cupcake incident”.

The baker, whose identity has not been released by the authorities, was arrested on Monday reportedly on charges of ‘violating family values’ after photos of the adult cakes went viral on Facebook. She was later released on bail worth EGP 5,000 (£233).

A group of “older” women had been enjoying the cakes at a birthday party at Cairo’s elite Gezira Sporting Club and posted the photo in the club’s Facebook group. Though the photos were taken down by the club’s management after complaints, they went viral on social media after being leaked outside of the private group days later. This led to the involvement of MPs and the formation of a legal committee to investigate the crime.

According to Egypt’s Youm7 newspaper, the baker denied making the graphic decorations on top of the cakes. It is unclear from reports whether the group of women ordered the cakes, were sent them by accident, or decorated them themselves.

The incident has garnered massive attention across Egypt’s state-controlled media, with the female baker being made an example of, in the country’s latest attempt at controlling public morality.

The scandal quickly became the top-trending topic on Egyptian social media and prime-time TV hosts began to condemn the women on air, adding to the growing debate over cupcake gate. An Egyptian MP on Monday evening called for Dr Ashraf Sobhy, the minister of youth and sport (as the incident took place in a sporting club) to be summoned to provide an explanation.

The minister quickly announced he had formed a legal committee to investigate the incident. According to newspaper Akhbar el-Yom, fines may be issued against the group of women - who were not arrested alongside the baker - if the investigation finds them guilty. The newspaper also reported claims that the toppers had been imported from America.

From TikTok influencers to actresses, belly-dancers and novelists - the arrest of the baker is the latest in a string of charges and jail-time brought against Egyptians in recent years for harming public morals.

Earlier this month two female TikTok influencers, who had served time in jail also for “violating family values” were acquitted, in the continued struggle for freedom of expression in the conservative country.