My Other Blog

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)

#1 rule as a cake decorator.....
Never make blue roses. NEVER!!!!! Roses are not blue, end of dicussion!


December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarie

Oh, I'm hoping that they didn't have to pay for those cakes. Ugh.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBailey's Leaf

Great blog. Those cakes are absolutely horrible. I love seeing the examples before and then the actual cakes. WOW!!! I hope for the sake of future brides and grooms, those bakers are out of business now.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkccat

Wow, those are really sad. My mom made my wedding cake and it looked a million times better than any of those. I can't believe how badly they messed up the last one, too. Square white tiers? How hard is that??? I think I could make that.


December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh this is just sad. I feel bad for those brides. :(

Who the hell are these bakers anyway??? I could do better than that. Seriously.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterErika

Wow! And these are "professionally" done cakes? I hope they all ended up not paying for those disasters.

A good friend did my wedding cake as a gift to us for free. She wasn't a professional cake maker, but the cake was beautiful! Way better than those nightmares.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkalos_eidos

I agree with Stephanie -- I don't get why the flowers were assigned to the bakers instead of the florist. My mother is a floral designer for weddings, and as a matter of course asks the bridal couple if they would like any florals for the cake -- she has done cake toppers, arrangements around the cake, etc. I am a baker, and if a bride asked for floral elements on the cake, my bakery would recommend she work with her florist on that.

It's my impression that it is not usually the bakers that work with the floral elements of the cake -- which may be why the hydrangeas provided were (badly) replicated in buttercream on that cake. They probably thought the flowers were models and the ribbon was a color sample.

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAuntie Maim

You have GOT to be KIDDING ME!

I feel much better about raising the prices on my cakes. Maybe I'm not as much of an amateur as I thought. I don't think I could duplicate any of these wrecks if I tried!

December 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfarmgirl beth

I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! YOU HAVE recieved a BLOG AWARD from my BLOG!! Go check it out!!! XOXO

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterglam R baby

i'm really annoyed by the many commenters blaming the brides for their wrecks. you should not have to pay several hundred dollars to get a presentable cake. none of these cakes involves enough artistry to justify such an expense. none of these cakes should have ever left the bakery. that is the fault of the wreckers, not the person who ordered.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterprofessional daydreamer

I would have been SO upset if I were one of those brides! How sad! Boy am I grateful for my wedding cake lady - she did a great job.

Wedding wrecks are my favorites though cause they're always extra wrecky.

I was glad to hear from the first bride - it appears that she was just as shocked as us! She only wanted a few petals, not murdered roses from the grocery store!

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Sea Monster

Jen, I am shopping for my wedding cake this weekend and now I'm terrified!

I wonder if I should tell the bakers that I love Cake Wrecks... Think that might ensure I get something pretty and simple?

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLyra

Oh me oh my....these are just...oh. I'm speechless. I will say, though, that these kinds of cake decorators give us decent ones a bad name!

The one with the ribbon and hydrangeas is the worst - the very IDEA that a client would provide the detail, and then the detail wouldn't actually be USED...OY!

What I really want to know is, what are these poor brides PAYING for these pathetic cakes?

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteremzeegee & the hungry thre

I love the way the blue flowers in the ribbonless ribbon cake have been organised on one side to cover up the fact that the cake isn't straight. The lengths bakers go to hide their fails. And fail in hiding them, too.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Do we ever get to find out what the brides say to the bakers who create these things?

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

while my heart goes out to those poor brides, what a field day for us CAKEWRECKS fans!

keep up the great work!

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNechama

This is why I come here. I have recommended this site to about 50 people this month because I can't get enough.

I LOVE the photos of what folks ordered and what they got! I wonder how many bakeries have fired folks in fear of being featured here!

What you need is a TV show, not a book! I'm thinking an expose - we send the wrecks, you go out and catch their heinous crimes against frosting on tape!

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWomen on the Verge

OMG with that rose petal cake! I stared at it in open-mouthed astonishment for a good minute!

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHerbee

Oh, dear. All three of these make me sad.


December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary O.K.

This, right here, is why I will make my own wedding cake.

I have to admit I loathe the idea of spending $700+ on a wedding cake but that's because I loathe the idea of spending 15 grand on a wedding. For a couple hundred dollars I could buy all of the supplies and make a half dozen practice cakes before the big day until I'm happy with a design.

I can see the "you get what you pay for" argument on both sides. I've been to a lot of bakeries that seem to have beautiful cakes on display but you see stuff come out of them and go "Yag! What happened? Did you drop it?" only to find out that the baker that did the lovely cakes in the display quit last year and the bakery has just kept an assortment of decorated styrofoam cakes in storage.

At the same time... if bakeries with good reputations quote you $700 for a cake and another baker quotes $100 you SHOULD be wary. If on the other hand both bakeries quoted $700 and a wreck showed up on your wedding day? Well, I'd refuse to pay them.

It's such a pity for the brides though. I hope none of them were TOO upset about it... but considering the cake is probably the 1 food item to be immortalized in the photos it's a disappointment when it doesn't turn out.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShadowsfyre

Oh no! I actually gasped out loud at these!

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

This makes me so incredibly grateful that my wedding cake turned out as well as it did. We went with a small local artist (that's how she referred to herself - an artist whose medium is cakes), gave her a sketch, and she delivered a beautiful, delicious cake at a fraction of the other prices we were quoted.

At the time we were just grateful to have gotten such a good price, as we were on an extremely tight budget. Now, looking at these cakes, I'm even more grateful - as others have commented, I'm sure some of this is due to ill-fated bargain hunting. We were lucky to get cheap AND beautiful!

Word verification: calesses. At first glance I thought it said "cakeless," which is what these poor brides were - or wished they were!

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

dear god. we paid less than $200 for our wedding cake (which was 3 tiers and served up to 100) and it was beautiful. it was also simple -- we picked a design out of the bakery's book. but i really think if we had asked for any of those they would have been able to pull it off -- especially that first one, that's
simple! how do you screw that up??

(oh. that's how.)

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthat_girl

As a wedding planner, these 'wrecks' just give me major pains...I feel so bad for those brides that these cakes affected. A great wedding planner can sheild any bride from having to deal with unprofessional vendors such as this. I hope each of them got a full refund, because I would not have expected any of my couples to pay for one of those horrible creations.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJolyn - Nuance Occasions

As a bride-to-be who thought is was safe to just ask for a plain cake with ribbon around the layers; I am now having heart palpitations. I mean, the plaid cake would be hard to do, but how hard is white? Does anyone have an asthma puffer? I think I'll need it...

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

The wedding cakes are my very favorites! More please?

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Re: the "you get what you pay for" comments.
We paid $75 for our wedding cake - granted it was a small wedding. But the cake was not only positively gorgeous but also the most delicious cake I've ever had.
My only complaint is that during our one night away at the hotel (our honeymoon per se) our house guests polished off the leftover cake so we only each had one small piece. *sniffle*

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

Okay, there is just NO EXCUSE for that last cake. Anyone who claims to be a professional and comes up with a sorry mess like that needs to just close up shop and move on. I can't believe the bride left stuff for them to use and instead of using it they "created" that cake. Shame, shame, shame!!!

On the other hand, I LOVE this blog--it's hilarious!

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Actually, the last cake really amazes me. I did something similar for my wedding (gave the cake person swatches to match the color and flowers to put on) and mine did a great job--although the color of the icing turned out quite a bit darker than what I'd been expecting, it actually "matched" the wedding colors a lot better! I just don't understand how a cake decorator could receive a picture, the ribbon, and the flowers, and come up with such a mess. The mind is boggled.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

For those who are saying "Why did the brides pay for that?" I know for my wedding, we had a significant deposit put down already. When the baker delivered the cake, I was busy getting my hair done, etc, and I did not actually deal with her myself. I had given the rest of the money to someone I trusted and she made sure the vendors got paid. I think it's fairly common that the cake gets delivered to the reception site and may remain sight unseen by the bride until it is too late to do anything about it.

Luckily, mine was gorgeous. We did it based on the baker's portfolio and the flower topping was provided by the florist, as were the flower petals for the cake table decoration.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Re the "you get what you pay for" discussion: When I was about 10-11, I participated in a cake decorating contest that had EXTREMELY low standards. A few Boy Scouts from a local troop -- none of whom had ever iced a cake before in their lives -- submitted an entry that consisted of regular chocolate frosting, with a real camellia flower in one corner. The Boy Scout entry actually looked pretty good.

Since that time, I have always considered it to be a basic rule of life that:
"plain frosting" + "a real flower" = "a 12-year-old kid who has never iced a cake in his life can do it successfully"

Now I see that I was wrong. These poor brides would have been better off hiring a Boy Scout.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGM

Thanks for commenting, Elodie M. I'm glad that this cake didn't ruin the day. I hope that it was at least tasty even if they managed to screw up the look.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKPP

Seriously? And the purchasers actually took the cakes out of the store and put them in their receptions?

I'm not much of a screamer, but you better believe that if my WEDDING CAKE were to arrive looking like that, somebody would be deaf by the end of the hour!

You know, if a bakery can't make a decent wedding cake, they shouldn't be allowed to advertise that service - it's just too important of an event to get the cake wrong!

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTranquility

SOMETIMES the cake wreck IS the fault of the bride. when i worked in the kroger bakery (hey, the bread always turned out great!) we had a bride come in and order a cake. she wanted pound cake, cause "other cakes are too dry!"

ok. you cannot stack pound cake, it WILL fall. its too heavy. 'oh no, its going to be just fine!' the bakery made her sign a release stating that she HAD been told that the cake would not hold up to being stacked (she wanted 3 tiers separated by the little pillars) and that there was a GREAT chance of it falling. collapsed. she tried to sue for the bakery ruining her wedding. no dice, we had the signed release that she HAD been warned, and the case was thrown out. some bridezillas want THEIR way no matter what.


word verification: purrolia. how fitting!

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterladytwnks

I paid $75 for my wedding cake....3 double layer carrot cakes with cream cheese frosting from QFC. Can you tell from the picture?? (Ignore the horrible lighting and the fact that the top layer somehow was on a gold base rather than silver like the others). I didn't tell them it was for a wedding, just got 10", 12" and 14" cakes. And added the flowers myself. Although I must say--I would have totally cracked up with a stupid cake. Actually the guy marrying us totally mispronounced my first name and my husband's last name several times in our ceremony. We thought it was hysterical. Relax. Something WILL go wrong. Be happy that it is something small, and not the marriage itself.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteralyca

You know when I got married I asked for a heart shaped cake with white fondant icing. The decorator quickly let me know she wasn't comfortable working with fondant and that if that's what I truely wanted then I needed to find someone else. But because she was honest about what she could do, I gave her a chance to show me some of her work, I still wanted heart shaped layers, and I found this very detailed rose pattern with vines that I wanted around the egde. When I got my cake it was gorgeous and it was only $110 and it was delicious! Well all except where my husbands grand mother ran he finger through the icing that's another story. If only these bride would've had my luck. I almost cry for them everytime you do one of these post.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChrista

The thing is... the cakes get delivered to the catering company at the venue, usually while the wedding is going on elsewhere. So, between the photos, introductions, toasts, dances, and dinner, most brides don't even get a good look at their cakes until it's time for the big cake-cutting photo op.

December 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKatey

How sad! I hope the brides got refunds.

I love this blog, but is there any way you can start NAMING bakeries? To save us all from these awful wrecks?

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa Gill


I showed my husband the last one...

He said upon seeing it :
"What a cool volcano"

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

"MSK" on the monogrammed mess should have been edited to read, "TSK."
Actually, many, MANY "TSK"'s...

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

OMG. How depressing that must've been to arrive on your wedding day, expecting everything to be perfect or at very least, as you'd ordered it, and instead find one of those disasters!

Absolutely LOVE this website for providing me with a regular giggle :)

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterphillygirl

Oh lord, those poor brides!
Did these women not look at other examples of the bakers 'work' ??!!

I've seen instances where the bride made her own cake that looked better!

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

LOL...oh, sorry to laugh...I really am sorry for these brides!!! I would have absolutely lost it if one of those were my wedding cake!

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Oh, for the love of...I am a fully amateur baker and I definitely could have successfully reproduced the first cake at least. Do people really not know that you have to stick dowels or straws in to keep them from sliding? That piping ain't just for looks, honey.

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

it is just me, or does the first cake have dill weed sicking out the side of it?

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh no. I just gasped at all three of those. I wasn't a "my day my be PERFECT" bride, but I think all of those would have made me cry.

December 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love the blue-green "waterfall" cascading down the side of last cake--don't look much like hydrangeas, however...

December 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

I'm so perplexed by the 2nd cakewreck. Aside from the fact that anything pictured in a Martha Stewart magazine is probably not to be duplicated by mere mortals, professional or otherwise, I'm really confused about the monogram concept. If Martha's version is a wedding cake, wouldn't that be the first initial of groom, first initial of last name, first initial of bride? As in: Matthew and Rachel Thomas, or whatever. I don't quite know why a bride would have a monogrammed cake for her wedding (with her old initials) and it's even kind of odd for a bridal shower...I'm so perplexed.
I'm pretty sure that middle letter (on Martha's cake) is a fancy "T," so the baker not only just copied whatever initials were on the picture, he/she misread them!

wvotd: sterat, as in "I can't help but sterat these cakes!"

December 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I absolutely love it when you show the inspiration photo and the actual result. More please!

December 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoodle Whore

Okay, I think it comes down to this...just because you can bang on the keys of a piano it doesn't make you a pianist. And just because you can squeeze the icing out of a piping bag it doesn't make you a cake decorator.

Word verification: Monses - those uninvited New yorker relatives that show up at every wedding.

December 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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