They walk around certain levels (usually indoors) carrying pieces of cake on long forks. If Wario treads too near to a Cook, it will toss its cake and run away. If Wario touches the cake, he will immediately eat it and become Fat Wario, which can be either a hindrance or a necessity for completing the level, depending on the situation.
A very similar species of enemies known as Doughnuteers appeared in Wario Land 3. They behave identical, but look different, wearing pants in favor of toques and appearing overall grouchier. Another difference is that they throw doughnuts rather than cake. They shared their status as a source of the Fat Wario form with Applebies in Wario Land 3, and both enemies were replaced by Ringosukii in Wario Land 4.
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