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

Cupcake Cakes: Always Wrecktastic. Always.

I've recently been accused of hatin' on the cupcake cakes. Alright, you got me: I guess I can't hide the truth any longer, and it's time for me to come clean. [sigh] Ok, here goes:

Hi, my name is Jen, and I hate cupcake cakes.

Why? 'Cuz they're ugly.

Don't believe me? Keep reading.

For Shara's birthday her son asked the baker to make a "happy monkey cake" ala Curious George. Now, as a reminder for those of us who haven't watched Saturday morning cartoons in a while, here's what Curious George looks like:

And here's what Shara got for her birthday cake:

So apparently what the decorator heard was "Curious George after he's been flattened by a cement truck". That, or maybe he/she was going for an homage to Teen Wolf:

After he was flattened by a cement truck.

Yes, I understand that in concept these things are great: no clean-up, equal portions, blah blah blah, but in execution I've yet to see a nice one that wouldn't give you blue poo.

Wait - I have to take that back. If you happen to want a skinned Spiderman face, then you're going to love Alyson B.'s birthday cake:

All it's missing are little pegs holding down the edges of his mask. (Yeah, let's call it a mask; that's less disturbing than "face skin".)

Or how about this appetizing little number?

According to Mei L., this is supposed to say "Ojai! It's worth the drive!". Now, I would love to ask what the heck "Ojai" is, but I'm way too distracted by the poo souffle on the bottom. Honestly, this thing is in serious competition with the moldy camo cake in my "dry-heave-inducing" category.

What's that? You're still not convinced that cupcake-cakes are always wreckalicious? Oh, I get it: you're saying these designs have been too complicated, right? That a simpler design would look better?

Something, for example, like this?

Ah, you're right. This IS better. I mean, "round" is a concept obviously beyond the decorator's grasp, but at least she stuck with plain white frosting. Nik P. was the manager on duty at the bakery where this was ordered (and subsequently rejected). He writes, "As the manager on duty, I immediately took the appropriate action: I took a picture to post on the internet."

I like your thinking, Nik.

Have I convinced you yet? No? Ok, my last argument, at least for today's post:

Monique R. sent in this "creative" gem taken by Jen S. You can see that Pokey's head was obviously tacked on as an afterthought: it's not even on the cake board. Plus, the angle of his face makes it look like someone twisted his unnaturally long neck 180 degrees; last I checked, turtles don't walk around facing the sky. From the giant American flag he's resting on, I would assume this was taken around the 4th of July or Memorial Day, both holidays known for their inclusion of... turtles. Erm. Yeah.

Come to the Cupcake-Cake-Hating-Side. We have real cakes.

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Reader Comments (258)

Ojai is a town in California. It's where Jamie Sommers was from.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMel

The Ojai, it looks like it's made out of meat. Tasty cake indeed.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Well, I've never seen a cupcake cake in real life, I don't want to! Thank you for today's dose of enlightenment.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlilacsigil

wow, that's alot of icky cake designs.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMad Izatie

I am a teacher and loathe cupcake cakes. Have you ever tried to pass them out? It's like having a shelf of overhanging frosting oozing around your hand as you pick up each cupcake. Ewwww....and usually in kindergarten it's some charming color that will make your hand and mouth neon for a couple of days. Thanks for posting to readers everywhere what a wreck the cupcake cake can be! Whew...I feel better!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Frederick

The "Ojai" cake is making me nauseous.

No, really.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarah


That's all I've got to say about these.

And I'll join the club of not liking CupCake cakes......

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnn Hedvig
September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJudge

Creepy monkey thing!!! It could also be a really screwy beast (ala Beauty and the Beast). Maybe the spiderman one was a party in the theme of bad guys win? I wholehearted agree with the cupcakes are not a cake substitute.... but the last one is kinda cute! It would be nice if his head wasn't about to fall off... but at least it doesn't have an EWWW factor.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter*Michelle

These cakes are a great way to kick start a new diet. I actually don't crave cake after looking at them.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

I loved" REL="nofollow">this cake, which was on the cover of the Jan 04 issue of Gourmet, I think. It got flack from readers that it was cliche and not gourmet, though. I think this is the way to do a cupcake cake.

Speaking of cupcakes, I was appalled to see these cupcakes on the cover of Bon Appetit, and am surprised that no one else seems to have noticed: white cupcake, pale pink circle with red raspberry center? They're" REL="nofollow">boob cupcakes!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGirl Detective

Not only are they generally ugly and deformed, they're also annoying to make many times...((I was a decorator at Albertsons for nine months...I've made my share)). Though, the baseball one CAN be done successfully...I've made many...all these other designs are awful. I don't understand why people don't just buy...cupcakes. I mean I've made a Spiderman-themed cupcake for my pastor's had red and blue frosting and a white frosting web on it...Simple, yet decidedly more appetizing than eating what's left of Spidey after a scalping...

-Chelsea C.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea

OK, you've convinced me! I was just about to suggest a cupcake cake for my 4 year old's birthday next month. I've been scared straight!!

Love your blog and read it everyday when I'm supposed to be working!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterColleen B

Ojai is a city in southern California, a couple hours out of LA.

I've never thought that it's worth the drive, though...

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTania Darnton

Conversation with my three year old...
D: Mommy, look, it's Curious George
Me: Yes, Baby.
D: (looking at cupcake cake meant to be George) Hey, that's not George. What is that?
Me: laughing out loud!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStacie

I don't think it was "worth the drive" to get that horrible Ojai "cake".


September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

LOL!! Wow, I don't do this professionally, but I made a Curious George cake that wasn't nearly that scary for my 2-year old's birthday....cupcakes were only used as his ears.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Cupcake cakes don't work for me either, but I'm not sure you can blame cupcakity for the Ojai cake. That would look horrible on any foundation. In fact, my first reaction was, "why did someone try to make a cake representing the aftermath of Hurricane Ike?" No, I'm serious: my second reaction was, "oh, someone's celebrating they're still alive" (misreading "drive") "so I should cut them a break for managing to make a cake at all under the circumstances." And I'm not making light of the disaster: my point is that a cake that evokes such a disaster is truly bad.

My sympathies and good wishes to those who have been affected by Ike, and if I could send y'all cake, I would.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKansas girl

I love your site!
By the way, Ojai is a city in California. It's rather far from most centers of civilization, but it's also quite beautiful.


September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Wow, those are some pretty awful wrecks, but the Spider Man one isn't TOO bad. If they would have made is less of a ball and more of an oval, I think it would be a bigger hit, but cupcakes aren't cakes for a reason, haha!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterhappy-cupcake

No, they are not. The ones you have featured have always been hideous, but I know many professional bakers, including myself, who make very beautiful cupcake cakes. Don't believe me? I'd be glad to provide photographic proof!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTrudi

Oh, these are just sad.

There is never any reason for a cupcake cake.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTheCottonWife

You know, I was on the fence about cupcake cakes, but I think you've pushed me off onto the disliking side. Thank you for enlightening me!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRuth

Now, now... let's not malign cupcakes. Cupcakes are fabluous... individually. I've even seen some amazingly well decorated cupcakes. Just never in packs. I guess the lesson here is that we should be vigilant against cupcake gangs... the poor dears, they're fine on their own, it's when the get all bunched up that bad things happen to good cake.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMim

Ok, I have to revise my previous remark. The Ojai cake would be ugly on any foundation, but the lumpiness and irregularity of the cupcake base are definitely making a contribution to this cake's resemblance to a wrecked beach area.

Also, though I know that Ojai is a place, I feel that there is probably some sort of lolcats joke to be made here, but I have to go to work now.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKansas girl

Ojai is a city in California, somewhat north of LA in the Ojai Valley. My husband and I went there last year. It was nice, but I don't remember anything similar to the 'poo souffle'...

Also, if you are relying on a cupcake cake to market your city, you might want to find a baker than can actually make people want to visit.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrhondadixon

I hate cupcake cakes. Hate them. So much so that I even nixed the idea when it was presented for our annual recognition dinner.

Trust me, I was as tired of handing out pre-cut cakes as the next board member (have you discussed the pre-cut cake yet? what a disaster those are), but at least I was in my right mind when I suggested we go with a catered dessert.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Please tell me someone did NOT pay $14.99 for that turtle "cake"....I mean I could make the same thing for $6 if I wanted too LOL!!!! *shakes head*....hopefully the taste out shadows the fugliness.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous,_California" REL="nofollow">Ojai is a city in the Ojai Valley in Ventura County, California. I'm sure it's much prettier than the cake might otherwise suggest.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

*note* Ojai is in California :).

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMeganDean

That Curious George - wow. That wasn't even in the same species as what the client wanted. Why can't decorators just leave cupcakes alone? Think of the cupcakes!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Ojai is some town in California I believe, pronounced "oh hi".
Some of us from back in the paleolithic era have vague memories of Jamie (the bionic woman) being from there...

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterpseudosu

Oh, they're all so horrible!

Ojai, btw, is a city in California. But it doesn't look like a lumpy pile of cupcake poo!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRana

That "monkey" cake is the freakiest thing I have ever seen! Seriously, what the heck?!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterorianna2000

Ugh! I am TOTALLY with you on the cupcake cake hating thing. I remember when I first saw one of those hideous things in my local grocery store...I just thought, "Oh no. I hope this doesn't become a trend." *Sigh...* It did. Blech.


September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Ojai is a small town in California. It's really pretty. I grew up there. But that cake is NOT. Pretty that is.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCat


FYI: Ojai is a town in southern California.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlisa

oh my. the poo souffle. wow. i mean if the brief was "make a cake that looks like it's crafted from poop" that cake would win gold in the poop cake olympics.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterZoƫ

I think these are, by far, the best (worst?) I have seen here! Excellent!
I can't tell if the Curious George or the Ojai! is more disturbing...

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrianna McCarthy

that Ojai cake looks familiar! is it the same design as a different wreck from before?
the curious george cake is Too Much.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShirky

Well, the cupcake cakes are good to take to school on your kid's birthday. They don't allow cake because of all the utensils and plates needed.

At least with cupcake cakes, they can get something decorated. 6 year olds don't care if it is 'ugly' ;)

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love the pseudo-Curious George! How hideous is that? I can't imagine what part of "Happy Monkey" the decorator was envisioning!!!

By the way, just so you know, Ojai is a little town in California, East of Ventura, which is about 2/3 of the way from L.A. to Santa Barbara. I used to work at a camp in Ojai. It's incredibly beautiful and definitely "worth the drive". However, not if I have to eat that cake!
-Anita in San Diego

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnita

Cupcake poo!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRATSAWGOD

I'm a cupcake cake hater as well. They never look appetizing to me.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLildonbro

The first one looks like Eric Stoltz in that movie "Mask."

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterOvermatter

Okay the one cake looks similar, and I use that loosely, to the one cupcake cake that said Farewel 6th Grades!!! Only this one looks like it has melted LOL!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

All I can even think to say is "WHAT are these decorators thinking?!"

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterV. Nicharico

Ojai is a town in California. It's northeast of Santa Barbara and northwest of Ventura.


September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPam

hi jen! okay, i too was at first skeptical of your cupcake-cake-hatin'. I love to make cupcakes, but, honestly, would never attempt a full-on cake. it looks like a pain in the a**. anyway, Ojai is some tropical place, I believe, but I thought the "Ojai" cake was a celebration of someone learning how to drive. I thought it said, "O Jen! It can drive!" or something to that effect.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEtiquette Bitch

Ojai is a city in California. It's quite cute too, so the cake just ruins it...

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Cochran Zoo

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