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)

Shapes you cannot make using circles:

Larger circles
Curious George's head

Shapes you CAN make using circles:

"Bust A Move" video game

Cupcake Cake Decorators, please take note.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJ Rob

This was so funny, I couldn't stop laughing!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette

I think the turtle cake looks more like Curious George than the "monkey" cake does...

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersarcasm397

Oh gosh, I can't stop myself... last one, really...

1. Wilton makes square silicone cupcake thingies. I hereby declare that if cupcake cakes MUST be made for some reason, they should be made with square cupcakes. Then you'd have a lot less space between cupcakes and you'd have cleaner edges. I think you'd still get wrecks, but at least they might be a little less wrecky.

2. I just can't believe I missed the most obvious lolcat joke.


September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKansas girl

I wasn't thinking Teen Wolf as much as I was thinking Chewbacca.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Granted, I love cupcakes a lot. They are like tiny cakes that can be enjoyed on the go.

I love cake. Who doesn't love cake?

Cupcake-cakes are just...Not So Good. At all.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRubyfruit

I have always agreed- cupcake cakes are a lazy man's way to do ugly cake decorating.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I own a cake design company, and recently have been considering the wisdom of offering cupcake cakes (something not currently available in Australia.)
As a fellow Australian, I beg you not to :)
Seriously, even the best decorated cupcake cake is just glitzed up tackiness.
Cupcakes = cool
Cupcake cakes = tack-o-rama

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJodie

Yea I agree 100%

If I got one of these for my birthday I would be oh so pissed!!!

Talk about a downgrade from an ice cream cake!!!

Hey did you know Chuck Norris "developed" jeans??

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthelogicalsmoker
September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJ

But these aren't any worse than a lot of the regular cake wrecks you post! If these are an argument against cupcake cakes, then your whole blog is an eloquent argument against cake in general!

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHolli

Are these a recent invention? I'd never heard of one until the one posted the other day. They seem totally inefficient and a waste of icing.

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCeleste

The Ojai cake ... second cupcake from the top on the right-hand side ... have you ever seen a more appetising colour?!!

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRo

I love the "Curious George" cake. I can't belive a professional cake designer did that!

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoJo

As much as I love cupcakes, the whole basis of it is to be individual. So I agree on the cupcake-cakes being an abomination (and it makes cupcakes ugly anyway)

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlysambre

those were really weird ones. i wish they'd just back out instead of sending them over to the poor kids.

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShalum

ROTFL! As a general rule, I dont like them either and I have seen a few that are well executed but these? Cant stop laughing. My kids were all like "euwww". Still laughing.

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlanda

Sure,you remember Jaimie Sommers. The Bionic Woman?

1970's? C'mon...really?

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarcia


September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan

LOL -- well, there are some people who can make attractive cupcake cakes:

I guess it's sort of like "western" theme wedding cakes -- it's VERY easy for them to go very "wrong"

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRebeccaS

I've never liked cupcake cakes...even though I have seen some that were really nice. But...cake is cake and cupcakes are cupcakes...the two should never be combined.

BTW..when did the nuclear bomb hit Ojai? You'd think I would have seen something about that on the news..hmm.

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShannan

Kimberly, girl I sure your a nice gal and all, but I did warn people that if I saw anything more about the lovely town of Ojai I was going to Scream' So.....


[Eh, em,cough!]

So Holly, great picture of individually decorated cupcakes put together in a nice design, hon.
It looks good even with the green icing,(now there is something that SOB cake decorator should have done to that wedding cake rather than that nasty thing he/she drip on the side.)

If only.....


No really no more Ojai, enough!


September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterclueuin

@ Judge: Anything cupcake cakes can do, real cakes" REL="nofollow">can do better.


September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I grew up in Ventura, just south of Ojai. Poor Ojai to be subjected to that nasty wreck. Love the other wrecks though...too funny!

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermousekemom

This blog is so funny! I check up on it a couple times a week. Even my 4 year old said that doesn't look like a turtle.

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLancastermom

I'm with you on the poo souffle. EESH. That is REALLY unappetizing. I have never seen a cupcake cake in real life either, but based on these pictures, I hope my luck holds out!

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSheri in Rehoboth

This was the funniest post for a while, I have tear stains - those 'cakes' are baaad.
On a serious (but perhaps pompous) note though aren't cupcake cakes just a consequence of a fast food culture? Proper cakes take time and effort and are (mostly) much better for it.

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

So on Pokey the turtle, am I missing something or is he missing HALF HIS BODY??????????????????

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I just saw a great cupcake cake at walmart this past Sunday. It was designed to look like a puppy (think maltese)..and it was...OK, I guess..the real kicker was the icing decorations on the carboard underneath. I had to stare at it for several minutes before I realized the piles of black on it were supposed to be paw prints...not piles of can imagine how enticing it was! (My camera phone sucks and I don't have a digital camera....otherwise I'd send you a picture of sorry!)

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKatharine

The Curious George cake probably gave the child nightmares.

The Ojai! cake reminds me of an unfortunate incident with my cat and too much tuna.

The baseball cake should be in the hall of shame. There are SO many ways to make a single cupcake look like a really cute baseball. Most of us would jump for joy if our kid wanted a simple baseball cake. I did not think there was a way to screw that up.

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfuzzandfuzzlet

Love you Jen...may I call you Jen? I rarely comment, but I'm a follower none-the-less. Keep on keepin'-on!

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterd0nn3ll

Everyone! Ojai is East of Ventura and south east of Santa Barbara. It is a very pretty place. Many tree huggers. By the way Larry Hagman who played JR on "Dallas" lives there. The cake looks like blobs of frosting. Yuck.:/

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


O.M.G. ..."Poo Soufle".
I was laughing pretty hard at the curious Curious George and the cement truck comment, but then I go to the poo soufle. I am cracking up all over again as I write about it! That term will pop into my head at ramdom in the grocery store and I will maniacally laugh out loud. People will wonder... I love making people wonder.
I haev been reading here for a couple weeks now. I love the drama you inject into your writing. Keep up the great work!

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersuzanne E

Can't stop laughing at your comments....

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkathy

It's like a Spengbab Curious George.

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I couldn't agree more. Cupcake "cakes" are absolutely tragic. The first one I ever saw was at the supermarket, it was a football shape with white poopy details on it.

September 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteradozeneggs

Every time I see a cupcake cake, I feel compelled to make one just to show it's possible to make them nice. I think you'd just have to like...put thought into it, though.

September 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterZenne

At least the Teletubby Poo cupcake cake was somewhat attractive...

September 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBriana


September 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterhalfgk

I have laughed SO HARD at that supposed to be a monkey cake. I was like, "Um, chewbacca, maybe" but you're right, when I scrolled down, it was definitely Teen Wolf!

And then I laughed even harder.

And forced the people I work with to come see it.


And Poo Souffle? Excellent vebage.

September 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachael M.

Sam's Club has a cute Umbrella Baby Shower Cake. The baby is a little creepy looking, however, the umbrella (the important part) is really cute, in the picture online and in person (they actually look the same! LOL). My mom has bought 2 or 3 of the Umbrella Cupcake Cakes recently!! :o)

September 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

I was dying laughing. I thought the cake was Chewbacka (sp?).
Now, I don't hate cupcake cakes. I think they're really handy at birthday parties because you don't need a fork.
However, I'll agree, having made two now, that they just cannot look like the thing you are trying to portray. It's impossible.
Teen Wolf. Still about to pee my pants on that one.
Thanks for the laughs.

September 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAJ and Dexter's Mom

The 'Gorgeous George' effort - surely, SURELY the best wreck ever?
And Jen's comments - genius.
Tee hee hee.

September 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteralice

OMG, I laughed so hard when I saw the monkey cake, I almost pee'd my pants! LOL
I love this Blog!

September 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnita F.

Those of you recommending the silicon cupcake-cake mold thingies...have you ever tried to actually bake a cake using one of those things?

I suggest you don't bother trying it.

I was given one of those silicon mold "cupcake" "cake" pans not long ago by well-meaning relatives. So I gave it a whirl -- for the family, not for the "real" birthday party.

Even though I've never seen a successfully decorated version of one of those things. And now I know why.

It's impossible to get those bizarrely shaped little cakes cleanly OUT of the mold, silicon or no silicon, so the sides of the cakes are malformed and crumbly. And there's no paper liners, of course. So when you go to frost the cakes, you are compelled to try to frost the sides. It doesn't work; they end up blotchy and weird.

Plus, each little oddly-shaped cake is usually much smaller than a regular cupcake.

End result: Frosting-to-cake ratio even more whacked out. Even messier to serve. Plus: Uuuuuugly.

I can make a pretty darn good "shape" cake out of standard round, square or rectangular cakes. Or I can make very cute individually decorated cupcakes. For my kids' birthday parties I often do BOTH, because we give big parties. It's just Not. That. Hard.

Silicon mold doohickey: Never again.


September 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You are killing me, smalls! I haven't laughed that hard in a long time! This is hilarious! The monkey and spidermans face....I just can't stop laughing!!

September 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChilly Beans

The monkey cake, with the cartoon first and the cake second, made me laugh out loud.

Wonderful set up. Horrendous cake.

September 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterwillyum

You got me at "poo souffle". I haven't stopped laughing YET.

Those cupcake cakes, these in the post at least, strike me as being a lazy way out. If you're going to bake a cake, bake a real cake. These things remind me of those recipes where people would just slap frosting on a pile of Twinkies and call it a day.

September 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfug estate

the one with the palm trees more than mildly resembles the "farewel sixth grades" cake...hmm...

September 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjenna and sarah

It's sad today that cupcakes are so insecure that they feel the need to conform to the 'accepted' cake standard. See what the media is doing?? We must reassure cupcakes that they are beautiful in their own right and shouldn't have to pretend to be something they're not!!

(Now I'm gonna go bake -- I need to remind myself of what an untainted cupcake looks and tastes like.)

September 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKara

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