They're not just for birthdays.

return of grays anatomy
Credit: Mitch Haaseth / Getty Images

Most people probably have positive connotations with cake. We get them for great and happy occasions after all—birthdays, anniversaries, weddings (royal or otherwise) and graduations. Unfortunately for stars of ABC’s long-running Shonda Rhimes medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, cakes strike up less than pleasant thoughts. In a recent interview with E! Live from the Red Carpet, Grey’s star Chandra Wilson explained how cakes had become a trigger of sadness and anxiety for cast members. Apparently, it has a lot to do with the when the cakes make an appearance.

“The joke on set is just don’t bring the cake,” Wilson says. “Just don’t—turn the cake around. Just don’t tell anybody. Just leave the cake over there.” Apparently, when a character is about to get the ax, the cast gets treated to a cake.

Developing a fear of cakes—even ones that are beautiful—makes sense in the context of Grey’s. The number of main cast members that have been killed off or that have departed is alarmingly high, even for a show that has aired for over a decade. But why is Wilson all of a sudden talking about death and cakes? Her reveal of the sweet and sad behind-the-scenes ritual didn’t spring up out of just anywhere. Her character Dr. Miranda Bailey had a recent and scary stint in the hospital, raising questions about whether Bailey’s time on the series was coming to a close. It was enough to make most fans want to eat cake to quell their own anxiety.

While most fans probably can’t think about a Bailey death, can Wilson? The Grey’s star reveals to E! that she’s just like the rest of us. “I think I live too much in denial to be able to receive that Miranda would die. I don’t think I allowed myself to go to that place,” Wilson laughs.

Wilson does eventually acknowledge that departure is the nature of television though, and that “Grey’s is one of those shows… that’s been able to ride so many waves.” As she notes, the series is still going strong, so get ready to eat more cake along with the cast.