Yeah, there’s definitely no way to “unbake” a cake app, but I understand the sentiment to an extent.
CakePHP is a fairly extensive framework and might often feel a bit overkill for smaller projects. Every time I start a new project, I consider whether it really makes sense to use Cake, but in 95% of the time, it totally does.
Even small projects usually aren’t as simple when you review them closely. You’ll spend a lot of time thinking about how to structure and architect your project, probably run against a few walls and waste a lot of time trying to reinvent the wheel. You’ll be writing boilerplate code for no reason (when it’s all ready to use in CakePHP) and then end up with something framework-like, but inferior to Cake.
Also, custom built apps have actually a much higher likelyhod of not working or breaking; The core of Cake is remarkably stable and secure, as a lot of talented people are constantly working on making it better.
So it’s a bit of an illusion that we all have sometimes, thinking that our project would be simpler without a framework.
That said, CakePHP is fairly difficult and time-consuming to learn, and there are also a few things that are more complicated to achieve than with pure PHP, but ultimately it’s more than worth it.