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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
Wednesday
Aug062008

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

Remember the cake that started it all? Of course you do. Here are a few more cakes that show you can know English without understanding the language.

I especially love how the decorator tried to cram in some quotation marks - which, ironically, would have been the correct usage for once.

Sometimes stupidity takes so much more effort.

The instructions were "Write 'Happy Birthday Calvin' in green," as in green icing. I'm surprised the decorator didn't write it like this: "Gre - Happy Birthday Calvin - En".

Today's Wrecks provided by: Erin M., Debbie M., and Emily G.

« FHOTD, This One's For You | Main | Proof That Shameless Begging Works »

Reader Comments (50)

I had students do that: I told them to "write on the right side" of the blue exam book, meaning for them to only write on the facing page and not the back of it. I had two students literally write on the right side only, cramming their essays into about two inches of space per line.

Ah, literally minded people.

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdie Frau

LOL - so he doesn't get mistaken for Calvin (Blue) or Calvin (Yellow).

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKarin

Nothing prevents me from eating cake, but I have a feeling these would make me laugh so hard that I wouldn't be able to chew and swallow.... either that or I'd still be laughing while eating the cake. Then, I'd probably drool icing. And that blue icing gets pretty ugly... :)

Few sites make me as happy as yours.

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSally

Okay, the patheticness (I'm making it a new word, gosh durnit!) of the first cake's "decorations" somewhat led me to expect the kind of linguistic mistreatment displayed thereupon. I'm rather inclined to forgive and forget that one.

However.

When one looks at the meticulous care with which the decorator of that second cake wrote every last word, letter, and mark of punctuation -- to which I shall return momentarily -- it boggles the mind that such a simple thing as *meaning* would have gone so painfully and abysmally overlooked and unnoticed.

And then there's that apostrophe. Oh, that apostrophe. The pain! The anguish! The horror! Whereas quotation marks are the bane of the collective existence of worth-their-salt cake decorators the world over, That Darned Apostrophe is the same for those who aspire to teach English to teenagers. If there's one thing I'd rid the world of, it'd be the Inappropriate Apostrophe Used In Plurals. That someone glorified such an apostrophe in pristine glow-in-the-dark orange icing for everyone to see (and laugh at) just kills me.

Moving on to the third cake, I do have to wonder what made the decorator choose red, as opposed to something not quite as completely opposite the requested color. Spite? Or does Obliviousness really trump that completely? :-)

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I've got a cake to order at Costco this weekend. I'm nervous. lol

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter*~*Cece*~*

Chris -- I agree that the literalness is boggling, but I'm willing to suspect that the stray apostrophe was there in the text the person wrote on the form originally.

Someone THAT literal was probably just copying right off the paper...

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjen shikami

LOL!!

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterManders

Got an even better one, because it was permanent. This story comes from a pastor at my former church, and it's true.

When this pastor's uncle died, When the family picked out his headstone, they told the company to write "Daddy" and "Pawpaw" in the corners. A few months later, when the headstone was placed, they discovered that the company had carved "Daddy and Pawpaw in the corners" across the top of the headstone!

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Years ago - and I mean YEARS ago
(1973) I worked in DP (data processing - now known as Information Systems) with a guy who was, well, shall we say "literal". Part of the job was to transmit information on tape to our Mother Ship in Iowa. One had to type "SEND TAPE". (Can you see where this is going?) When I explained - verbally - this to Al, he typed "SEND SPACE TAPE"
Ya gotta love it.

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMaryO

These are just TOO funny! Totally in agreement with Chris on apostrophe's ;)! Sorry, Chris...I had to do it!

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBridget

LOL! It's almost like a computer scanned the notes, and just output what was written! Do people not PROCESS what they read BEFORE they write??? :doh:

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDea

I can't get past the small sperm-like icing riding on the larger sperm-like balloons.

Can I "say" sperm on your blog?

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTheCourteousChihuahua

I think I am "dying".

You see, I had abdominal surgery about 6 weeks ago. My abs are still sore but healing nicely.

I'm laughing SO hard at this post tonite and now I think I may have pulled something and have to take a pain pill, my first in WEEKS.

so thanks "cake wrecks", in advance, if i am forced to become a habitual "pill popper".

i owe my husband "big time" for directing me to this blog (sorry, no horses involved).

i will never look at "quotation marks" on cakes, or anything, the same ever again (my MIL puts "quotation marks" on EVERYTHING and your blog made me realize how insane that makes me!).

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarissa

great. now reading the comments makes me quite certain i have internal stitches that are most certainly now busted.

thanks for the laughs. didn't realize how very much i must have needed them!!! :)

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarissa

Oh my goodness. This blog makes me laugh SO hard. LOL. I am so blogging you. :P

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrandi

The last cake... why does it look like there are little "swimmers", shall we call them, on the balloons? Maybe Calvin (Green) hasn't been born yet?

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

it is so sad that the writing on the second cake is so perfect and really very pretty, but come on...this obviously was not her first trip around the icing bag, what was she thinking???

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Ahhh... fantastic! :) Seriously, folks...

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdidyouhavejuice

I can't actually imagine the *fury* I would feel if I turned up at a bakery to collect my cake and found that it had been decorated like that! It's like somebody's pet dog has developed the manual dexterity to handle the icing bag and has been let loose with the order instructions.

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJacq

Haha. If it was a former techy they'd write;
< green >Happy Birthday Calvin< / green >

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Nolan Photography

Had they simply turned the first cake horizontally, all of the (unnecessary) writing would have fit! But judging by the terrible color of the icing, they weren't too concerned with appearance.

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStampest

If the letters weren't written so well, I would say there is no way these people could read, otherwise they would know their mistake!

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRonnica

These remind me of Amelia Bedelia (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelia_Bedelia)
& I'm fairly sure all the new traffic is in part due to
www.notcot.com

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJo

Man, I missed you while you were away!! I love this site... need it for my daily laugh.

"Cheers!" (on the signature line)

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDodi

I love your blog.

A former coworker once ordered a cake over the phone and asked them to write, "Happy Birthday to the Queen of Toxicology." She was concerned that the word "toxicology" might be unfamiliar to the bakery, so she carefully spelled it out - t-o-x-i-c-o-l-o-g-y.

When the cake arrived, it said, "Happy Birthday to the Qween of Toxicology."

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermulerider

Mulerider: your post totally cracked me up. If only we had a photo to go with it! :)

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen

These are so wonderful, and really brighten my day. But I'm wondering if the cake-writers in the back of the supermarket bakery just don't speak any English. That might explain most of this, if they're simply receiving forms and transcribing whatever's on them. I guess that makes this slightly less funny and more understandable. However, that doesn't explain Calvin (Green). I think I can say with authority that there is almost never an occasion to use parentheses on a birthday cake.

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm so glad these have been brought into my life! I'll be so careful next time I'm ordering a cake.

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSari

OMG!

I just found your blog and one minute in, I'm hooked... in fact I should be careful I'm diabetic and this blog could push me into a coma...

LOVE IT!

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMisster Kitty

I cannot believe how stupid some people are. Also, that "birthday's" apostrophe bothers me a lot.

August 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

I know a lot of people are quick to defend the cake decorators who may not have a solid grasp on the English language, and while it's true that they may have a good reason for being ignorant, their bosses need to step up. I mean, if one of your decorators isn't so good with English - even if he or she is a whiz with a pastry bag - take over the writing on cakes duty for them!

These are just ridiculous!

August 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachael M.

there is something disturbing about the highlights on those ballons...I can't figure out what, but they make me feel uneasy.

August 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

This reminds me of a story my brother-in-law told me. His neighbor built a deck and they had a party to celebrate. The cake decorator at the store where the cake was ordered apparently had a shaky grasp of English and wrote on it, "Congratulations on your new dick."

August 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I worked at a Baskin Robbins long ago. Somebody wanted a cake for Valentines Day. It was a small cake, so my "decorator" wrote "Happy V.D.".

We had to eat that cake and scramble to make a new one.

August 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMojoMark

My eldest son is named Dillon but when he was young we called him Dillie (Dillie is my grandfathers name so it's a family thing) for his 4th birthday the cake maker wrote Happy Birthday Dillie in pink, so the next year I ordered the cake and told them the story about pink letters, so she wrote happy birth dillie (it's a boy). Well that is what they wrote on the Cake for his 5th birthday. Poor kid

August 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I'm a former bakery worker and I made sure I did all my cakes right but we once hired this girl and she totally just messed this one cake up by making it in bright pink and bright pink letters and to top it off wrote "HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSH, MAKE SURE TO SPELL NAME RIGHT AND PUT HAVE A FUN NIGHT!" needless to say she got fired for awhile lol.

August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm surprised this could happen once, let alone time after time, everywhere around the world. How does this happen???

August 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

ESL anybody? Or no English at all. The person decorating your cakes most likely speaks/reads Spanish only.

August 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMagatha

Aw GEEZ!! I get it now.... they spelled "Birthday's" in the possessive! That's pretty funny!

August 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

I can't find such vivid colored cream in Japan. It's amazing!

August 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I teach pre-k and when the school was celebrating Dr. Suess and Read Across America the cakes for the celebration read:

Read A
Cross
America!

The delivery people left them in the front lobby just as the children and parents were arriving and everyone that had read them screamed MOVE THOSE TO THE CAFETERIA!!! There were 4 of them, full sheets!

August 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAdiktive

That's greatness!!

August 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter~Amy

"August 6, 2008 11:50 PM Amanda said...

The last cake... why does it look like there are little "swimmers", shall we call them, on the balloons? Maybe Calvin (Green) hasn't been born yet?"

I think they're quotation marks.

August 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

And I thought I had a colorful cake-ordering history...now it seems totally boring.

When I was in an acting company in 7th grade called the Performance Project, I hosted a cast party at the end of the year. I ordered a cake to say "Congratulations Performance Project". Kind of like the "qween of toxicology" story, I took great care to ensure the proper spelling of both "Congratulations" and "Performance". Imagine my surprise when I opened the box in front of all my fellow cast members and found the message "Congratulations Performance Projet". For the rest of the party, everybody insisted on pronouncing it in an obnoxious French accent like the one used to say "Target".

Finally, this may be somewhat off-topic, but I feel that a story with a happy ending may be necessary to restore your faith in the baking industry. I directed a middle school production of The Taming of the Shrew, and we set it in New York in the 50's (hey, it worked!). We called our group The Lord Chamberlain's Men (since that was the name of Shakespeare's first company). For the cast party, our local bakery successfully executed a beautiful 50's themed cake featuring a vinyl record with "THE LORD CHAMBERLAIN'S MEN" written on the label, and spelled impeccably. Keep the faith!

August 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTommy

Ohmygosh....that first cake was very wrecked.

August 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You know, I'm a baker and a Culinary Institute Grad, and these cake decorators really offend me! I mean, it makes me laugh, but it's embarrassing! I hate to do cake decorating, but it isn't THAT hard to write something!

Okay, you're allowed the occasional slip now and then when you're just cranking out cake, but slips like this is just shoddy. This makes me so embarrassed to be a baker, even though they are cracking me up.

September 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenni

Clearly they didn't need to abbreviate. They had plenty of room for November and December and about 300 more extraneous apostrophes. Maybe five more bulbous icing balloons, too.

September 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkelly

"Wrecks" is exactly the right name for the site. It's like the classic wisdom about car wrecks: you don't want to look, but can't tear your attention away from the carnage. I don't want to believe that someone iced that bit about abbreviating into a cake. And the apostrophe in "Birthday's" just, um, takes the cake.

I'm grateful to you and this site not only for the serious stomach muscle workout but for the cautionary tale on never assuming that the baker understands the cake order.

October 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAviatrix

Talk about taking instructions TOO literally! I remember back in primary school, there were a few kids in my class who, when given the instructions "make sure you write your name at the top right corner", had instead written "your name" at the top right corner...

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

You know sometimes this sort of thing is a result of how nasty the *customers* are.

The bakery in my neighborhood appreciates the "Ed Debevic's" style of customer service. And they get enough work that they feel comfortable enough to screw up your order if you treat them wrong. (Like talk to them like they're dumb.)

It's a very entertaining place to people watch. My friends and I love their stuff and we've learned to order with a smile!

(This is in no way a reflection on the above cakes!)

April 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhunieshine

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