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What's a Wreck?

A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate - you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it's simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I'm not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.

Now, don't you have a photo you want to send me? ;)

- Jen

Wedding Wrecks

Pay very close attention to these cake pairs, now; I wouldn't want you to get the Wreck mixed up with the Inspiration Cake. [eye roll]

First up:

Elodie M. asked her baker to do this, only with far fewer rose petals. The baker obliged by providing this:

Ah, nothing symbolizes the beginning of a new life with the one you love quite like shriveled old rose petals. On the plus side, at least they distract the eye away from the poor cake construction. The weird grass sprigs sprouting haphazardly from the side and top help in that arena, too.

Next, Claire G. discovered the hard way how important "pipemanship" (as opposed to penmanship) is.

What she wanted:

(I believe this is from Martha Stewart.)

What she got:

Such delicacy, such grace...

By the by, I don't monogram much, but I think the middle initial is supposed to be larger than the other two. I also think that if "msk" were a word, it would accurately describe the leveling job done on the leaning wonder here.

And lastly, Hannah W. asked for this, only with square tiers instead of round:

She even brought in the brown ribbon and fresh blue hydrangeas for the bakery to use. Pretty simple, right? Just make some white square tiers. But you know how some bakeries are, always complicating things...

Let's see. Misshapen layers, lumpy icing, no ribbon, electric teal icing "flowers"... What seems to be the problem, Hannah?

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Reader Comments (215)

I can see the wanna-be pro screwing up plaid or the monograms (I shy away from even writing happy birthday on my kid's cakes but can do just about anything else), but seriously- was this the first time the decorator picked up a pastry bag?

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I snorked bacon and eggs all over the screen.

Alix said "The first one looks like it was left outside on the doorstep just as the broom swept out the remnants from a funeral."

That cake reminds me of our city after Hurricane Juan. It looked like some giant had chewed all the trees and spit the leaves everywhere. There was green mulch everywhere.

Brides! The simplest fondant cake from the cake bible with bleeding hearts piped on it costs about $70 to bake and hours to assemble correctly. I know, becasue I made one for my tenth wedding anniversary in 1995.

The fondant had to be redone (and replaced) a few times. The piping had to be redone. It was a little lopsided, a bit lumpy and had an "accident" in the car on the way to my Sisters house. I should post a pic. Homemade fondant is a bee-otch for a novice.

Anyone who presents a cake like these to a bride obviously doesn't give a crap about you or your wedding.

That's what makes wedding cake wrecks so spectacular. It's such a big day, so many people are going to see it and no one is going to let you forget. There's so much that can go wrong. I love it.

I agree with the advice to BHB's. Money talks, wrecks walk (or sink and slide in the case of these ones). One thing you can do is arrange to bake your own cake if you have a favorite. Ask a local baker to decorate it for you. Some of them will.

The last one with the stripes. Is that the Cat in the Hat's Easter Bonnet?

wvotd unalin: "the layers and stripes are all unalin compared to the inspiration cakes."

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHyena Overlord

Part of me always tries to defend the bakers, asking, "how could this have been the client's fault?" I look at the first one and say, "well maybe it was about right, except the baker forgot the 'fewer rose petals' thing, and then it got fried in a hot car, or the wedding was delayed two weeks after delivery of the cake.

The second one, wow, um, did the baker believe s/he had recreated the model? The bride could have provided a personal designed monogram, I suppose, or looked more closely at work samples. It's a baker competing out of their league of technical skill and knowing how to build a multi-tiered cake that doesn't fall over. The baker should have said, "it won't look as good as the picture."

And then the final one. I cannot defend it. The person who made this cake saw the picture, but was not given the ribbon or the instructions. "Square" and "round" should be concepts mastered by age five. And the baker knew damn well it was hideous, as they tried to gussy it up with the hideous roses.

I think cake #3 is the best wreck example ever, combining overall incompetence, with blatant lack of instruction following and huge gobs of icing. Now if only one of those flowers looked like a penis, and they'd chosen to pipe "ribon arund egges" on one of the tiers, it would be the perfect cake wreck.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAviatrix

I want to read an interview with brides who have received these wrecks. How explicit were they, what did they pay, how well-known is the bakery in town, how did they react when that hot mess showed up?

I would love an interview with an authentic wreck creator even more! What was the wrecker's training background? Did they worry that the original request was out of their skill level? Did some horrible tragedy occur in the kitchen or in transit? Did they feel the reactions of shock and horror were warranted, or were they blindsided? Did they ever play "One of these things is just not the same" on Sesame Street?

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSugarshock

I. Just. Don't. Get. It. The rose petals are dead dead dead and the grass really is oddly skewering that cake; the one on top looks like a random chin whisker. On an elderly woman. I can at least fathom the wreckitude caused by a lack of skill or language/spelling errors or the ability to discern color or...(ran out of steam)...but that first wreck almost seems deliberate!? Did the decorator once date the groom? That cake is not only a wreck, it's low down and mean. I think it oozes hostility. What kind of frosting tastes good with that?

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Wow. This made my heart hurt thinking fo the poor brides who had to have this as their wedding cake. Our wedding cake was done by a famous baker, who caters to celebrities and charges a small fortune for her work. Wouldn't ya know, she did our colors wrong and didn't listen to our instructions. Not to mention, when we went to our tasting she informed us that there was nothing to taste, as we should take her notoriety as all the proof she needed. Um, whatever. Were I a nastier person I would've written to all the cable shows that feature her to tell them she is a meanie!

I am soo linking to this post on my blog. Great stuff! Please do MORE weddings!

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCageQueen

Umm, is that powdered sugar on #1?

It scares me to think they probably paid money for those. although I still think the plaid cake is worse than these.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterReam O Rama

I'm pretty sure if one of these wrecks showed up at my wedding, it would get thrown.
Preferrably at the baker but the delivery person or the floor would be satisfying too.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrrr

I agree with Sarah. You CANNOT, no matter what anybody says, duplicate the look of a fondant cake with buttercream. It's never going to look the same.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Mr. Twistie says the last wreck looks like the Geico Gekko as roadkill was carefully placed on the cake.

I think he may be right.

Each and every one of these wrecks makes me glad that Mr. Twistie and I had homemade individual fruit tarts instead of cake at our wedding.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTwistie

Clearly these cake decorators aren't watching enough of Duff! Where we all learn from Geoff to put STRAWS in the bottom layers so as to prevent the aforementioned leaning issues.

Sheesh! ;)

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterhydrangeasarepretty

A rose by any other name would still look weird stuck to a vertical surface...

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElephantschild


those hurt to look at- but i will admit that wedding cake wrecks are my favorite

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterreindeerpizza

wow this is hilarious...i feel bad for the people, but this is so funnnyy!!! it'll give those couples something to laugh about in the future

esp. the marthastewart attempt HAHA

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermothermayi

As a florist with 15 years of experience, I have decorated thousands of wedding cakes. Let me say here, that I have never seen it turn out well when the flowers are placed by the decorator. So my tip would be you pay for a florist let them do their part as well, and no frosting bombs/roses will end up on your cake instead of hydrangeas. Ohhh, the wrecks I have tried to hide with a few well placed flowers.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

woah! im not a decorator, just things for home and 'fun' but the cake i did for my sis' wedding last wknd was a million times better than those wrecks! and here i was concerned because it wasn't exactly what she wanted. i need to direct her to this post just in case she was hiding disappointment, teehee! of course my service was free, so she'd better keep her disappointment to herself and be glad my imperfections were not a wreck

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbecka

I agree with SmallShake. Being a victim of one of those terrible bang cuts by a family member - that is definitely what the brown stripe looks like. I can't believe that a bakery would actually take those to a wedding and ruin the bride's day like that. It makes me very thankful for mine - not top of the line, but better than that. #3 was definitely the worst.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJulianna

Our wedding cake was great--we were going for taste more than looks, and it helped getting married on April Fools Day, too ! Gotta laugh.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjoyce

Did you notice on the rose petal cake that there's a fork with a cow horn for a handle stuck in it? Yikes, that just about makes it perfect!


December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBibi

I think the bride who ordered the "MSK" cake was unusually fortunate that her monogram was also "MSK."

Or does "MSK" stand for something else?


December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You know, as a bride planning a wedding, I take strange comfort in the idea that if my cake is a disaster I can submit the photos to Cake Wrecks -- at least a bit of amusement would come out of my misfortune! :-)

Unfortunately a fair number of wedding "professionals" (DJs, florists, and yes, cake bakers) are people with little to no training looking to make a quick buck on the weekends. Some of these people are genuinely talented and will do a great job. Many are not. Ask for portfolios and references before you pay $200 for a wreck!

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBride in Exile

Number 1 & 3 do not look edible. It doesn't matter how much it cost, it should be appetizing. I cannot believe a professional would let these out of their shop! Just gross.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterslack

Monograms: The largest central initial is the last name. So the mSr (or was it a k) in the original photgraph seems to be for Martha R/K Stewart's own initials. (Why someone wanted Martha's initials on their cake eludes me but that's a separate question.)

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Nobody has mentioned the really disturbing knife and fork by the first cake with the roses. The handles look like they are big animal teeth or something?! ROFL

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterValGal

Did the decorator apply the icing with his/her fingers??? It sure looks like it.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMiranda

And...ah...ah...I am not a professional. I am an amateur who has spent several years learning at home. My cakes are way, way better than those by these "professionals!" I've done many wedding cakes and they have all gotten rave reviews. How these dummy decorators can be professional just is beyond belief.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMiranda

That first wreck reminds me of ugly mosaics you find in elementary schools. Nobody said anything about mushing plant life into the frosting.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfunnycide

Ok, these perfectly represent what happens when I take a photo of a gorgeous haircut into an affordable salon. The picture has no bangs and an a line cut in back and somehow I come out with a mullet.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMy Ice Cream Diary

What I just can't understand is how decorators are sending cakes out lopsided! *Maybe* it was hot at the reception site and it started to melt, but how common is that? It happened to my cousin's fondant cake when her North Woods wedding happened in the middle of a freak heat wave and the reception site had no air conditioning. But at least it looked good before the layers started sliding!

And really, if you are provided with materials and don't use them, you're a moron. I used to help do wedding flowers and yeah, there are definitely cheapskates and Bridezillas out there, but honesty goes a long way toward a happy bride. There is no excuse for that last cake. Any of them, really, but especially the last one.

My wedding cake was made by a retired farmer who told me a) he only does butter cream (no problem!) b) he couldn't do the layering the way I wanted but had an acceptable alternative and c) he'd do the frosting design based on whatever he felt like doing that day. Based on his portfolio I didn't see a problem with that. I got a beautiful cake for 200 people for about $175. Granted, it was 10 years ago, but boy do I feel lucky after looking at these pictures!

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJRM

These bakers must have been some awesome salespeople. I just can't think that anyone paid for these without seeing previous work. I am a baker and honest enough to say that I too, have wrecked before but NEVER a wedding cake! On the other hand, I am left to ponder how much was quoted initally for these jobs. I am willing to bet the brides went cheap and got what they paid for.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

This scares me a bit... I'm getting married in May, and the only thing I gave to the baker was a pic...eeek!

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHorribleLicensePlates

Bargain brides get wrecked cakes, 'nuff said.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Honestly, they're hideous. But I can't help but wonder in these situations if the brides "got what they paid for." If they used a less expensive baker, maybe they should have chosen cakes from the baker's portfolio rather than expecting Marth Stewart quality for less. If they paid loads of cash for these cakes then it's a totally different issue. Why not roll with the punches and laugh it off? If we spent more time preparing for our marriages and less time planning for our weddings then maybe things like this wouldn't be such a big deal.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCareBear

Poor, poor brides... hopefully they tasted better than they looked!

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

So these cakes were accepted and paid for?! WHY?

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCLD

I agree with Sarah - if these bakers don't know how to use fondant, they have no business saying "sure, I can reproduce that".

Fondant =/= buttercream, and as we've seen time and time again trying to replace the former with the latter is doomed to wrecktastic failure.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMaral

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December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterwael

I am getting married on Saturday, I hope my cake turns out much better than these! God.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Holy cow. The first cake looks as if the decorator grabbed up the rose petals dropped by the flower girl and plastered them on the cake while the wedding party members were having the pictures made.

The second cake. Um ... no. It reminds me of the E.T. cake.

The third cake: Horrifying. What happened to the embellishments the bride provided? Did the dog eat them? Were the square layers so misshapen that the baker decided to cut them into circles? And why am I hearing Paul Simon's song "Slip-Slidin' Away" in my head right now?

I hope these brides got their money back.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterScritzy


That last one (inspiraton photo, that is) is actually the photo I took to my baker for my wedding cake. Thankfully, she is awesome and did a beautiful job recreating it!

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I wonder if the brides checked the baker's portfolios. Even so, shame on the bakers for supplying such garbage. Especially #3. The bride gave them brown ribbon. Why did they use icing? It sounds like they ignored everything but the picture.


December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKasey

If someone showed up with a cake like these at my wedding, they would get punched in the face.

No excuse for this kind of "work."

If you don't have cake decorating ability, you should never, ever, ever take on the task of something so important as a wedding cake.

I love this website. It makes me laugh and makes me violently angry at the same time.

No wonder people have resorted to cupcake and doughnut towers these days.

Oh, my blood pressure! That last cake reminds me of why I left the flower business. Incompent workers that are too lazy to read their orders and follow simple directions. I can't count the times we got complaints over simple, careless mistakes. (Wedding mistakes were RARE, I will say.)

I hope the bride shoved those ribbons and flowers down their throats.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterruby42

Oh wow... that extra stuff that isn't rose petals that are stuck to the cake just make it for me. .. and was this made on the wedding day or like... a week in advance?

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

Sad, sad, sad... but I agree- You get what you pay for.

(um... Why did they pay for these??)

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFluffy Cow

I'm bothered by two things, both with the 2nd cake:
1) the girls name is Clair G, so presumably her monogram is going to be cGx (don't know her middle) so how did the bakery get that so wrong? You don't accidentally substitute mSk for cGx. It wasn't a mistake, clue 1 that this is a fake wreck.
2) who takes a cake like this home? It's clearly sitting out on her table, surrounded by party favors. So presumably Claire G got to the bakery and decided that, despite this being a laughable joke, she would to fork over money for this thing. If she was worried about feeding her guest, a 19.99 supermarket plain cake would have looked better. Which makes this clue 2 that this is a fake wreck.

I'm calling it - fake wreck.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

i don't often comment on the wrecks, but i just can't keep quiet on this one!

these are truly awful and wrecktastic all at the same time.

upon closer inspection of the first 2 pictures - it looks to me like the original may actually be buttercream frosted very smoothly, and the wreck looks like fondant under all that mess. does anyone else think it looks like the wreckerator actually used icing to attach the petals to the fondant? you can kind of see it peeking out from behind some of them. it also looks like the entire thing was dusted with powdered sugar. huh?

the second 2 wrecks have got to either be extreme budget hunting brides or shower cakes or both. who has a stack of paper plates sitting next to their wedding cake? and doesn't it look like the last one is sitting in someones unfinished basement? maybe just small at home receptions?

the awfulness is horrible (and really really funny!) but you do get what you pay for. i design wedding invitations and know what a pain the BHB brides can be. They all want the Martha Stewart invitation at the print it at home kit you get from Office Max price.

word verification - relfo - the bride relfoed all over the floor when she saw her sad sad cake.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAMB

hahaha. this is hysterical... just got my first laugh at the workplace this morning. Those poor brides!

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSeaside Prep

I'm surprised by all the "You get what you pay for" comments on these -- the original cakes are SO SIMPLE! I mean, 3-tiered round white cake with rose petals sprinkled on top? Honestly, that's the kind of thing that you SHOULD be able to get at a WalMart bakery (OK, maybe have your florist provide the petals).

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

I posted about our very own wedding cake disaster on my blog today... but in all honesty, seeing these wrecks makes me feel a little better about ours- which looked like an earthquake had hit.

Thanks for these!

And to the couples to whom these cakes were delivered: I feel your pain.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIt's Loverly

I will concur with many of the other posters, wedding wrecks are my faves.

I'm getting married in six weeks here, and am getting a very simple cake from a very highly recommended bakery with a website full of gorgeous pictures, so a wreck isn't likely. Thank God. Keeping the price within my budget may be harder, but they also have a reputation for making cakes that taste good, so I think it's worth it. I hope these poor brides have senses of humor, and got their money back...

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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