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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
Thursday
Sep112008

Is This a Wreck? You Decide.

Today we Americans and our friends around the world should pause and remember those lost in the attacks on 9/11/01. We each do this in our own way, and some people commemorate the day a little differently. Some people, for example, make a cake:


I've received several different pictures of this cake - each taken from a different angle - so it's obviously getting a lot of attention from passers-by. Some believe this is just the baker's way of using his unique skills to make a tribute. Others think it's disrespectful: halfway through serving those towers the cake is going to look pretty darn macabre. Personally, I'm on the fence. I see the skill involved, and I think the baker's motives are pure, but in execution I can see why so many are offended.

Your thoughts?

Thanks to Anna B., Patrick C., Dubi K., and Marc Felion, who took the original photo.

« Inappropriate, Much? | Main | Don't Do It, Billy! »

Reader Comments (317)

Depends... did they use cherry pie filling to glue together the tower layers? That would be *really* bad when the cake was cut!

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternoricum

I think the bakers intentions were totally respectful. I agree that so many of us see today as just another day. This person took time to show he or she still cares deeply.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris

holy crap that is scary. would you ask for a piece of the tower in which your friend burned to death? yay!

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

The moment the cake is cut, it is wrong. Cakes are meant to be part of a celebration, not part of a memorial. I don't believe the baker meant to be insensitive, but a cake as a tribute to something so terrifying is inappropriate.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

That is so tacky...truly awful. The incredible pain, devastation and horror that was September 11th does not belong on a sugar confection. I don't care how well meaning the baker was...this is just stupid.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkateypie35

I don't think any harm was meant. However, eating the towers would be completely lacking in respect. And I would certainly like to think that it was meant only for display and never to be sold.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm with you, I think the bakers intentions were sincere... it would be creepy to eat it, but hopefully it is just for show!

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBanana

I bet it tastes good!

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

A cake in a window is an advertisement, and this event shouldn't be used to advertise or attain financial gain.

Additionally, a cake is a celebratory, frivolous luxury, and has no place in a so-called "tribute" to what occurred 7 years ago.

Way, way, wayyy out of line.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNicky

why on earth would somebody cut a cake to celebrate such a tragedy?
and why would somebody make a cake like this? it really is tasteless.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You might call that one a recipe for disaster. < My dad said it, not me. I think it's ok. Kinda cool, actually. IDK if you do eat thwe towers, though.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergncurrier

It's not a wreck and I won't be too censorious wrt the baker but whoever commissioned that is daft at the very best.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHereward

hmm, I have to agree with the sentiment that it's a tribute, not meant to be eaten (just a window piece), because yes, the moment it gets served/ cut up, it's really just ... awkward.

That's the thing with a lot of very realistic cakes as well- people don't really think through the end point of cake as having to be served (i.e. the puppy /baby/ football player head cakes)..

although in this point, I think the baker was just trying to do a tribute/ window display...

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter*daisy

To the posters that say cakes are for celebration, pies are for funerals, has obviously never been to a Southern funeral or a wake.


The large gathering after the funeral service IS a celebration of the person who passed, where you exchange happy memories, eat lots of good food, comfort each other, and enjoy wonderful cake. It's FOOD. It's COMFORT. No one feels guilty for smiling or laughing. You're brought together in your respect and love for the people that passed.


I see nothing wrong with this cake, even if the towers are made to be edible. I feel, however, that it is a cake made only for display, and it was beautifully done.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergothicbeauty21

My brother died in the towers, and I find this incredibly tacky, tasteless, insensitive, and crass. Cakes are usually meant to celebrate a happy occasion; and this is a day of sorrow for me, my family, and our friends, as well as the families and friends of all of the other victims in all of the 9/11 tragedies.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I don't think it's offensive if taken care of appropriately. In short, you present the cake as is. THen when it is to be cut, you remove it to the kitchen, cut the ENTIRE cake into squares, and present the cut pieces. This is what my local bingo hall did when presented with a sheet cake shaped like the US flag and some objected to cutting into it and leaving squares and vacancies visible.

The intention was to honor those who gave their lives and the buildings that were destroyed, not the ones who did the destroying.

Making a 9-11 cake in the shape of an airplane. Now that would be offensive.

My only concern is the gray icing. I can't even imagine what flavor that could be.

Just my opinions.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterArlene C. Harris

If the real WTC had been made of chocolate fudge and topped with crumbled graham crackers I would have eaten it too. ;)

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRaschel

I would say skip the towers all together...the flag is fine with the sash detail...but skip the towers....especially if it's going to be served.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I agree with sandi (5th comment). I see the cake as a tribute by the baker. I don't believe he/she was just "trying to make a buck."

However, I think actually putting the WTC on the cake as a lapse in judgement.

Myself, I completely forgot about 9/11 until I saw this post. Call me callous, but I really think it is time we moved on.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

If there were candles on top of he towers, it would be offensive. As it is now, it's just kind of tacky.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTori

It's tasteless, as many have already said, for exactly the same reason the baby/dog/photorealistic-severed-head cakes are tasteless. It's one thing for an artist to make a tribute the only way he knows how, but some media just aren't appropriate.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I just think it's tacky and maudlin.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMiranda

The assumptions are this is a bakery window and it has icing so it HAS to be a cake. Could be styrofoam or cardboard or plastic under there. It's very square and my guess is the deisgner wouldn't feel right eating a real cake either. I think it is a beautiful piece of tribute art done for display only and accurate in design.
And for those that mentioned them...the stick on top is one of the antennae that was on top of one of the towers and the "windows" are actually bands of metal that were part of the tower design. If you look at any picture of the original towers those things are quite prominent. Take it as a memorial and not a dessert people!

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLadyMau

I think the baker used his/her art to make a tribute and I can't get too worked up over it as it appears to me to be a window display only. Debris from the real WTC ended up in dumps so even if the cake is thrown away, it's hardly disrespectful.

And the last 7 funerals I have gone to (yeah, been a rough couple of years for the family), there have been bakery-decorated cakes afterwards. I've seen "We Love You", "We will miss you" and like tributes on them. Perhaps it's becoming a more accepted thing.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterholly

Looking at the picture again has me wondering - is it even a real cake? Or is it all foam or cardboard, decorated? If it wasn't meant to be sold (and it would be pretty impossible to transport like that), I can't imagine a baker going to the trouble of actually making a cake.

I think it's just a decorated form, no different than any other statue or painting. I'd bet anything it's not even cake.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterholly

Not offended in the least. It's not as though the baker stuck a plane in the side. Honestly I feel like people are so rigidly opposed to mentioning 9/11 in any original context. How is this cake any more tacky then a commemorative plate with a giant eagle and flag silhouetted against the towers like you always see in ads? America has this "Always remember...but don't ever actually think deeply about 9/11" attitude that gets us so up in arms about things like this. Its a cake. Not the actual towers. Relax and have a slice

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Fresh from the Soylent Green Bakery.

"PEOPLE! It's made from PEOPLE!!"

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaige

It is one person's tribute to something important to them. I do not think it is in bad taste. I think if there were poeple jumping out the building or the planes flying into them, or even if maybe the towers were smoking it would be bad judgement.

I think there are too many uptight people concerning this cake.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I have to agree with the people who've already said they think it's okay as long as it isn't actually supposed to be eaten (at least, the tower part...although eating any of it seems almost celebratory so it's kind of strange). At any rate, I think the baker probably meant well.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Really? I don't think it is bad... then again I doubt the towers are cake. I don't think that is was intended to be offensive or disrespectful at all.

Truly... $5 says that the towers are not even made of cake.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeepLee

Reminds me of my favorite joke:

Knock knock!

Who's there?

9/11

9/11 who?

YOU SAID YOU'D NEVER FORGET?


Personally, I like the cake. No disaster.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterValentein

jingoism. using a tragedy to generate profit.

although, being a nation of soulless capitalists, it is about the most patriotic thing one could do.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChaucer's Bitch

Ditto the Onion reference, which I remember well (that was one of the greatest issues ever because it just captured what reasonable people were all feeling that week).

Let's hope it was for decoration only, which would be bizarre.

On the other hand, maybe the baker was making an ironic statement about people who "feed" on others' catastrophe and all the surrounding melodrama. I've always hated this anniversary, partly because it forces me to relive it all over again in my head, and partly because I just can't stand the ghoulishness of the "Never Forget" crowd, the vast majority of whom did not have family members or even acquaintances who died that day.

Sorry, didn't mean to get carried away...

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteratsah

Be cool if they could figure out a way to make raisins pop out of the windows!

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I don't care about intentions, and I agree with the Pearl Harbor/Holocaust post. Whether or not the cake is meant to be eaten or for decoration - it's just in bad taste, period. You don't go and make a sugary treat out of a structure where thousands burned alive and many jumped to their deaths.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The towers are what make it weird. Without the towers, it's just flag cake with a nice little banner on it. With them... well, yeah. Serving it is an issue. "WHO WANTS 9/11 CAKE? JESSIE? MARK?"

"Ooh, I do! Can I have the 35th floor? That's where my uncle died."

That said: I laughed when I saw this. I laughed in an "oh. my. god. they can't be serious." kind of way, but it was still a chuckle.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan

Yep, about as inhumane as presenting a breast cancer survivor a booby cake to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Although, in the baker's favor, perhaps this is another case of bad news being good news, gaining attention for winding everyone up?

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLaura in VA

This cake looks delicious. I'd demolish both towers and then ask for a five-tier Freedom Tower to follow.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm on the fence. I really dont think its that bad.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Shellac that thing and call it art. But knife into it and serve it up with a cold glass of milk? Horrifying and atrocious.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenelle

Do the bakers of these cakes ever show up to comment? A couple of people have said they know where it is from.
I think it is a lovely tribute to the memory of the people lost. Cake is a valid medium in my mind. What I find offensive is people trying to remember the deaths of these people and not their lives. I hate roadside tributes commemorating the site of someone's demise for months or even years later. Remember the good they have done in their lives and save the flowers for people who are still with us and need the human contact. Of course the day is a sad one but the time has come for us to stop letting the shock tactic of the attack rule us. Sorry my rant wasnt all cakey.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBianca

I think it just needs a "For Display Only" sign in front of it or something. It would be way tacky if it was meant to be eaten.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterheels

I see nothing wrong with this -- as many have said, it could very well be decorative and not for consumption. Even if it is, there are several ways to go about it that wouldn't be offensive.

And hey, keep in mind the cake could have been much, much worse.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

oNicely made, but rather morbid.

I must say I'm far more offended by the idea of making cakes for the sole purpose of throwing them away than I am by making a cake shaped like anything. Wasting perfectly good food like that is just disgusting in a world where people are dying of starvation. It's a cake, it's edible whatever the hell is stuck on the top! Don't waste it!

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

WOW! Sure, the woman is talented, she knows her stuff. I'm sure that she baked and decorated this cake as an homage to our fallen heroes, with the most appropriate and patriotic respect in mind. Unfortunately, it was a gross error in judgment. I'm thinking of many historical events that our country honors that are too horrific to idolize on a cake. Let's keep 9/11 in our hearts and minds, not our tummies!

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersumatra22

I don't think it was meant to be eaten. It was the baker's tribute to the day.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermjlayman

Umm, yeah, I actually work there and I am pretty embarrassed by that cake. Like, as in, I hope it goes away soon. The good news is that it's not a real cake, it's a dummy cake. The bad news is that it's on display because I'm pretty sure somebody commissioned this cake and our (fairly misguidedly) patriotic employers decided to put it on display as a testimony to our decorators' skill and to their own Americanism. So, yes. Pretty much on par with those folksy, old 18th century crocheted samplers prophesying doom. Definitely a fail.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Is that CHOCOLATE icing? The towers look like the most delicious part of the cake!

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSL

When did cakes stop being frivolous, ephemeral treats and start being "memorials"?

When did Americans (at least) start making cakes that weren't meant to be eaten?

I'm not sure that any cake is appropriate in connection with the commemoration of 9/11. This one isn't the most inappropriate imaginable, but it's close.

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterR J Keefe

I think it was a store window tribute...not a cake that everyone would buy. Who would buy it anyway?

September 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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