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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)

All it needs is a plane halfway into one of the towers and some flames made of orange icing.

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think it's a neat tribute. I wouldn't eat it, though...mainly for the fact that gray cake doesn't sound appetizing.

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Not offensive if it was never intended to be cut into and served. I can see how this could be seen as the baker's tribute. Cake decorating is an art and he used what he knows how to do to honor 9/11.

If it was meant to be sold, however, that would give me pause. Otherwise, I think it's beautiful.

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

Probably shouldn't have been done, but I agree with any and all who thought it might be marginally okay as a tribute, but once cut...well, some things will just never be appropriate or humorous. Tell that to Sarah Silverman and those commemorative coin hawkers.

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Godin

I agree with Deven from Nashville I don't think it was meant to be disrespectful. I think it is very well done. :)

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMeichelle

When I was in grad school (I majored in elementary education), we had to do an "edible lesson"- basically a lesson we could do with our class that culminated in something our students could eat. The professor showed us a few examples from previous classes. Sure enough, someone made a September 11th cake, complete with towers, a wreath and pictures from the site for decoration. I didn't ask if that class ate the cake.

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Amaterasu

It could have been a LOT worse.

I think the baker should have just stuck with the scroll and the flag.

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLa

this doesn't inspire an offensive response for me, more an overall "WTF???!!!!"

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

It's offensive... that goes double if you cut the cake with an airplane shaped knife.

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm not a US citizen, but I find it utterly tasteless too (anyway, I tend to find displays of patriotism tasteless in general, so I'm probably not the right person to judge)...

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

First time posting. Love the blog!

Hmm........Kinda hard to call this one, at least IMO. It's very well-done and you do have to have some appreciation for skill and hours put in to create it. No airplanes or fire in sight. Something to be grateful for.

Now if this thing were meant to be eaten, that could get touchy, especially if the towers were also edible. As another poster said, you could cut it up out of sight of the crowd and then serve the pieces in that case. Thankfully, as the employee who posted said, it's NOT meant to be eaten.

All in all, I guess somewhat tacky, but not offensive. Offensive would be if the whole thing was edible, along with half an airplane sticking out of one of the towers. That would cross teh line for me.

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCalantha

Mmm, tastes great with Dachau/Holocaust Memorial ice cream on the side... 2 scoops please!

I'm sorry, but if cake is your artistic medium, than some subjects aren't appropriate. Save it for occasions to be celebrated.

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLiouxLioux

My vote is with the folks who pointed out that this display is really about making money by showing off cake decorating skills in a store window. That's just crass.

No really- if they really wanted to do a "tribute", they could have chosen to paint a lovely sign to hang in the window. Whether it was to be sold or not is not the point- the very MEDIUM with which they chose to pay tribute was wrong.
If you worked at the circus, would you pass out Twin Tower balloon animals to the kids? How about Twin Tower pinatas?

...question- would the bakery owner donate all of the profits from the sale of the cake to the Twin Tower relief fund? ha.

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterUnder The Radar

To me, cake is a celebratory food. Enough said.

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

It is at least better than last years sentiment from a Starbucks coffee maiden of "Happy 911"

September 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWicked MoXie

Not a wreck. The only thing this baker did wrong was forget that people are still on edge, even after seven years. Everyone deals with things in their own time and in a unique way; the person who dreamed up this cake is simply dealing with this definitive moment in our history in the only way he/she knows how, by making a cake.

I hope the cake was served. The country is still healing and cake always helps. Being offended takes a lot of energy and fails to acknowledge the intentions of people trying to do the right thing.

I'm glad you posted this one.

September 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

I'm with Dea: the highlighting is possibly the most tacky element. What were they thinking?

Baker, stepping back from big chocolate-icing-covered towers: Whaddaya think?

Baker's assistant: Pretty good, even though they only look like they're 25 floors high. But will people know they're buildings?

Baker: You don't think that's obvious?

Baker's assistant: Well, they just look kind of like tombstones. I know what the problem is--no windows.

Baker: Do you know how many friggin' windows there are on two 110-story buildings?! By the time I finished, it'd be next September 11.

Baker's assistant: Oh, good point.

Baker, thinking: I know! I'll just highlight the floors where innocent airline passengers were smashed into the building, instantly killing them and the workers on those floors and dooming everyone on the floors above in the worst mass murder in US history!

Baker's assistant: Great idea, boss!

September 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I would assume best intentions. I am sure that the baker would be horrified to think that ppl thought his/her cake was mocking anyones pain, or an effort to make $$ of a tragedy.

September 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMindy

Good idea (in theory)
Bad, BAD execution...just because the idea was executed at all.

I'm sure no harm or profit-making was intended, but it's poor taste period.

September 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersunshyne

No, it's wrong. Just plain wrong. Everybody knows what happened and we certainly don't need to see those two towers commemorated on a cake. When I looked at this pic it brought back memories of seeing those towers collapse and of all the horror that happened on that tragic day. This is just so unnecessary and so very insensitive

September 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBec

To all those who are saying this isn't a wreck because the baker had good intentions: virtually all of the bakers who made cakes featured on this blog probably had good intentions. I'm sure the baker of the infamous baby cake thought it was beautiful, and in fact there are very few wrecks I can think of where the baker clearly intended to make a wreck (aside from the fancakes).

To those saying it's the baker's craft, and so he made a memorial the only way he knew how: I make origami. It's pretty much the only craft I'm really good at. However, I have never felt the urge to make a set of origami twin towers, and I think that would be a lot more appropriate than a cake. Just because you have a skill, that doesn't mean you HAVE to use it to make a tribute. You CAN choose to remember the day in a different way, and in this case, I really think the baker should have.

To those who simply don't see why a twin towers cake is worse than a commemorative plate: The big difference is in the cutting and the eating. The commemorative plate is presumably not going to be used in a way that recreates the destruction of the towers. Now, apparently this cake is only for display, and to me that's a BIG relief. Even so, I still think it's a bad idea. When people see a cake, they naturally assume it's meant to be eaten, so even if the destruction of the towers isn't actually recreated, it's still inevitable that most people will imagine it when they see this cake. Overall, I call it a wreck.

September 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbionelly

I find the fact that so many of these people commenting are so offended ridiculous. Especially when several of them keep talking about the windows... They're not there because that's where they were hit, they're there because they stood out on the buildings as someone mentioned earlier. Same thing with the tower on the left; they're not lighting a candle, it had an antennae on the top. Can you really be that offended if you don't know what the towers even looked like?

Seeing as how it's a simple display of what they used to be, I don't see anything wrong with it. I would totally have a slice. Worse things could have been done and I think have been done to cakes on purpose with the 9/11 theme. It's a cake. I don't think it's that big of a deal. There are worse things in the world to be worried about.

On a side note, I'm glad to have seen Jameth comment.


As for the topic of having cake to celebrate September 11th? We usually do. For a reason other than the tragedy, I don't forget Sept. 11. It happens to be my mother's birthday. I hate to see it when someone mentions how terrible it is that her birthday is the same day as the attacks. Why remind someone of such a thing on what is supposed to be a happy day for them? We should be celebrating, and we do.

Don't get me wrong, we paid our respects and grieved like everyone else at the time... but you can't grieve forever.

September 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterInky

I'm fiercely patriotic. And I am so anti-terror that it freaks my friends out. Also, I get the whole "we grieve differently" thing and I respect the skill involved and believe the makers were pure in their motives.

But am I the only one whose first thought thatthe only way to make it worse would be to stick a toy plane into the side of one of the buildings?

It just creeped me out in the extreme.

September 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKaryn

Inky, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Trade_Center" REL="nofollow">This was what the towers looked like. The top few floors and some other floors were darker than the rest. In some other views of the WTC some floors do look lighter than the rest, but they are at the same height in both towers. Do you think that's what the baker was trying to convey with lighter floors at different heights from each other? If so, it's a total flop.

An artist (if that's what we can call this decorator) needs to pay attention to how his work is perceived, not just what he intended. This sure looks like it's highlighting the floors that were struck, one several floors below the other.

And if not, I'm still going to laugh at how horribly wrong the whole project went. A cake. Of the twin towers. For people to cut into and eat. I'd sooner cut into a hyper-realistic baby.

September 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Oh my God. I'm floored. Cake to remember those who died on 9/11? That's just strange in and of itself - but to put the towers on the cake? As the wife of a NYC firefighter who lost a lot of friends that day, it's wrong. It's distasteful. I can see how people not from around here might not understand - but that cake is just incredibly wrong.

September 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKate B

I think if it is just a display, and not meant to be eaten, it's ok. The baker used his art to create a tribute. But to break down the towers to eat them...that's pretty tasteless.

September 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Also, if this is a DISPLAY cake, what is the difference between a decorator constructing this memorial, and an architect or model builder constructing the same thing? Just because there's icing on it instead of paint???

September 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

It doesn't even look like the Twin Towers to me so it fails on design as well as conception.

It is tacky. People's bodies fell from those towers.

September 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan G.

I can just imagine someone doing the whole "Wrreeeeooww!! Here comes the aeroplane!" thing with a teaspoon to get baby to eat it...

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTim

I dont know what all of you are talking about. I think it's the coolest cake. That shows major talent and it's not like she was trying to tare apart the towers. Come on!!!! she can pay honor to it if she wants. people did die there and honorably so if she wants to honor them....FINE!!!!!

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNecia and Joe Shumway

Hey, hand me a piece of that right tower. Yeah, with ice cream.

Cake: fail.

Who celebrates the anniversary of 9/11 with a friggin' cake?????

September 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

This is seriously the best idea I've ever seen and would definitely eat this cake. Why can't people see how funny this is? It's so hyper-ironic! Where are the plastic airplanes and fire? On 9/11 my friends and I ate "Freedom Fries" to celebrate this fine day in history. I also walked around work harrassing my co-workers by saying, "You must hate freedom because you aren't wearing the colors of freedom: red, white, & blue!"

September 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlaurel

I think if it was a display only cake as a tribute and never intended to be eaten then yes it's a nice tribute. But if it was intended to be sold it's kinda creepy and yes macabre. It all depends on the intention.

September 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKazuki

Would you eat the Golden Gate Bridge in a cake ? You probably would...
What about the Pentagon ? Same thing !

Although... wait a sec... people died there... so that makes it a no-go ?
It's a cake... it's no flesh !

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I am Australian and I found the comments on this cake so telling of how much the Americans love their country and feel so torn up over September 11. The comments alone are a touching memorial to the awful events and loss that occurred that day.
Nobody here has forgotten and we never will I am sure.
Americans cop a bit of flak from the rest of the world sometimes but nobody can doubt your patriotism and your real love and good intentions.
Good on you.

October 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFoxyMoron

I could one-up you on that if i had photos. My friend Tim made a cake for my other friend Jeremy's birthday on Sept. 11. It was two towers with fire and little plastic planes sticking out all over the place and gummy bears jumping out the windows.

October 2, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlibrary-chair

Wreck? Nope. Excellent execution on design.

Is it for sale? That would be wrecktastic, because it goes into marketing.

Was it a commission by another party? The Wrecktasticness is on the client, not the baker(y).

Are the towers edible? If they are to be consumed, if they're cut into in front of the group to whom this is being served, that's Wrecktastic. If the cake is presented for Ooohs and Aaahs, and then taken back to the kitchen/staging area to be parcelled out without an audience, then, no, not Wrecktastic.

The design and build of the cake is excellent, but the subject matter makes it very iffy.

October 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSnobahr

Not the most tasteful cake I've ever seen, but is it really the kind of thing to get offended by? Perhaps some people are just angry with themselves that they didn't even remember the anniversary...

October 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

I think the making of the cake is fine. I think displaying it is fine. I think eating it or cutting into it would go into the disrespectful area. So if it were just for display, I think it's perfectly good - a lot of work I think.

October 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternc

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO BAKERS EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!:
I appreciate good realism as much as the next person but please try to remember that cakes are meant to be eaten! That means no babies, no dogs, no cats, no other animals or humans of any kind (unless they are drawn or scanned onto the flat surface of the cake), and NO RECENT HISTORICAL TRAGEDIES!!!!!

This has been a public service announcement. Thank you for your attention.

January 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The cake does not LOOK too bad, but please remember that CAKE IS MEANT TO BE EATEN. If you would not feel comfortable cutting into what you want to make, DON'T MAKE IT!
I did not really do anything to honor 9/11 this year, except for the moment of silence that we did at school (I'm in 7th grade). Does that make me unpatriotic, immature, moving on, what? I'm not sure what to do seeing as I was only in kindergarten when it happened. I feel fake commemorating something that I lived through and did not even care about at the time.

By the way, has anyone ever noticed that the date 9/11 writes out the number 911- the emergency number in most places? I have always thought this was a weird, if morbid, coincidence.

March 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My husband did a double take at this cake. At first glance the flash in the corner of the picture looked like the lights on a plane coming in on the cake. As others have said if this was an "edible sculpture not meant to be eaten" then I can appreciate it. (much like the life-like baby cake)

May 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My dad and my cousin died in those freaking towers, so I'd sooner be cutting into the throat of the baker than cutting into the cake.

June 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRiver

Give me a break. How can CAKE be disrespectful? People get so up in arms over the stupidest things. Any cake, no matter how expertly executed, is going to look horrible when cut. If you ordered a cake shaped as a person would you feel like a cannibal for eating it?

The real issue here is why anyone feels the need to have cake to commemorate Sept 11 anyway. I assume it's because if we don't, the terrorists win.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrianne

Ever think that maybe it's a mock cake? You know, styrofoam or summat that's been decorated?

It's a bakery. They're not going to do a window painting, they're going to decorate something cake-style. I could never believe that they meant to disrespect those loved and lost, and that serve us now.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZev

The baker was an artist expressing his/her feelings towards what happened on that fateful day. It was a horrible day, and I believe the baker wanted anybody who looked at it to remember one of our nation's greatest tragedies.

Should it be eaten? I think it really doesn't matter as long as they are respectful of what those towers represent.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

That is both tacky and disrespectful. A cake memorial for heavens sake? How much more unaware can people get?

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdoggiemom

Okay so, the cake is definatly tacky, but cut the guy some slack. I think he was trying to make a tribute to the occasion. Artists made paintings, Musicians wrote songs, so it only follows that cakemakers woudl make cakes. If the towers had be made disfugured, or the cake as a whole was a wreck, then it would be disrespectul, but this cake was beautifully made, so I personally applaud the man for a job well done.

September 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHailey

i think it was nice of the baker, but maybe a little stupid I mean, can they throw it out if it gets moldy?

September 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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