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

The Great Cupcake Cake Debate Continues


Apparently last week's post in which I 'fessed up to my cupcake cake aversion hit a nerve. Or, a hundred nerves. Yep, my inbox has been inundated with e-mails both defending the hapless creation and joining me on the side of decency and real cakes.

(And just to be clear: I have no problems with cupcakes. C'mon: mini cakes you don't have to share? What's not to like? No, it's only when you cram a bunch of them together and slop on a gallon of icing to make a smooth surface that my eyelid begins to twitch uncontrollably. Ok? So, to sum up: cupcakes good, cupcake cakes baaaad.)

The best part about all this public outcry, however, are the photos you guys have sent in supposed "defense" of cupcake cakes. Many of them are so bad I can only hope you guys are being sarcastic, 'cuz if not, daaaang.

An example:

If this looks familiar, it should: it's what the Ojai cupcake cake was supposed to look like. However, looking at it you can see that Ojai actually wasn't that far off the mark; I guess "shiny poo souffle" must be on the spec sheet.

Then there's this one:

Which I don't think is professionally done, but I am assured is still a "good" CCC.

These baffling creations, however, are professionally made:

But I don't get it. I guess the mounds made into animals are the cupcakes? Considering how messy that would be to serve, though, why not go with a real cake? Plus, that only serves 9 I'll-just-have-a-tiny-piece people, or 3 kids - which is hardly worth the effort.

And here a decorator traded in the neon french fries for a bad airbrush job:

Now granted, these are not the worst cupcake cakes I've seen - not by a long shot - but keep in mind that all of the above were sent in as examples of "good" cupcake cakes, people. As in, seeing these should make me change my mind and start liking CCCs. This goes to show two things:

1) Readers L.G., Callie C., Michelle M., and Valerie M. are sweet people who undoubtedly see the best in everyone, and

2) anything e-mailed to Cake Wrecks is fair game. Just sayin'.

The CCC indecency is spreading, too: check out this article in a recent issue of Family Fun sent in by Jess T. & Kelli:

"An easier way to decorate cupcakes"?!? That thing looks more like a radioactive zombie cloud than a pumpkin!

Of course now I know I have to throw some "good" cupcakes cake examples in here, if for no other reason than to prevent another tidal wave of angry pro-CCC e-mails. Let's see here...

Well, due to the confusion over whether or not I was vilifying all cupcakes, about a billion of you sent in these iPhone cupcakes:

Which are cute, but don't count; they're separate cakes and therefore Jen-approved.

Ok, we still need a "good" cupcake cake. (Yes, the "good" will always be in quotation marks.)
Hm. Ah, here ya go:

There's the ticket: draw the design inside the edges, thereby avoiding the scalloped look. Bravo, Carrie S.; you found a "good" one!

And Katie S.'s is still scalloped, but nicely done:

So there are two exceptions that prove the rule. I still maintain, however, that anything a cupcake cake can do:

A real cake can do better:


The floor is now open. Discuss.

« Adding Insult to Injury | Main | Any Occasion Will Do »

Reader Comments (254)

How could anyone think that cup cake cakes are a good idea? I didn't even know they existed, but while dumb people are also putting hotdogs and chocolate together, I shouldn't be surprised that some idiot thought these were a good idea too.

September 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I think they can be cute, and creative, like this one. It could be done better, but what a cute concept!

September 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlanna

I agree with you..HOWEVER...I have bought a couple of cupcake cakes in a pinch...when there is nothing left that will do in the bakery...which really is sad and pathetic that I'm shopping SO late...that all I get is crappy cupcake cakes...and I have to agree with Emily...the brown part of the palm tree...lumpy penis.

Love the CCC version of the Starry night cake better too.

September 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

The Starry Night cake kinda gives me a headache, yet is the most awesomest cake I've ever seen. I want one for my birthday.

September 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterErica

The Starry Night Cupcake Cake is the most creative cake I've seen on your site.
Beautifully done and presented; wonderfull having it sitting in the frame.

September 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh come on! The Starry Night cupcake cake is way better than the three-decker cake version that looks like Vincent got ahold of the Cat in the Hat's chapeau and went to town.
In fact, it's the only cupcake cake I've seen that I like.
BTW you need to do something on marzipan. I adore marzipan but the good kind is hard to find. Mostly it's those insipid fruits.

September 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Heh, I quite like the 'zombie cloud' CCC - it reminds me of the baddies in Locoroco....

September 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWitchylana

I'm so glad someone said it. I mean how many of us are thinking it. Lot's of goo on cupcakes does not a creative idea make.

September 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertallmisto

So is the pink and green cupcake concoction supposed to be a watermelon or a thong or a ruffled bikini bottom???

I do have to say that the Starry Night - Van Gogh cupcake design was AWESOME!!! The cake was way cool too.

Me, I'm not so picky. If it has cake and icing I'll eat it no matter what form it comes in.

September 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLiene

Wow, I love the CCC version of Starry Night much better. But I'd rather stare at it than eat it.

September 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAimeeDarby

I adore both the Vincent van Gough cakes/cup cakes... But that cake is PHENOMENAL!

September 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIrish Brit

What an awesome cake! Very nice! Now that's an artist, too!

September 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterangelcakes

my mouth fell open when i saw the impressionist cake.
while most of the CCCs (on your blog0 are pretty bad.. the Van Gogh was one of the best. The cake was... in short..i agree with amanda..haha
I went to flickr to see the comments and got even more shocked. To me the cake looked like a multicolour mess but people actually liked it! different people different taste i suppose..

September 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterpearl

In my defense, I did say that the cake you posted was the messy one out of the 4 I sent you. I also said that the other 3 were the better of the 4 (but I didn't want to leave one of my kiddos out!) The other 3 were not messy, and I thought they looked cute! I love your blog, you keep us laughing every day!

September 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterValerie M.

um, I think the Starry Night cupcake cake looks better than the regular cake.

September 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLa Pixie

I agree with the evaluations of all the cccs in this post except the 'Starry Night.' That was pure genius; I wouldn't have even realized that the 'real' cake beneath it was _supposed_ to be 'Starry Night' if not for the comparison to the brilliant ccc. The real cake, in that instance, did not do it better.

(BTW, I'm glad that my friends directed me towards this blog, and I'll leave you with the warm, fuzzy image of my family gathered around the computer, mom, dad, and kids happily snarking away at poorly executed cakes along with y'all. Thanks!)

September 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdracontia

Must... stop... commenting

Ok. Those saying CCC's are more practical because they're faster, don't require banned knives at school, everyone gets the same size, can have different flavors, etc.:

I propose the following, which I think has all the advantages and none of the disadvantages and is probably even faster:
1. Make a chocolate and a not-chocolate sheet cake of desired amounts
2. Put sheet cakes next to each other on suitable board
3. Cut cakes into evenly sized squares
4. Frost top of cakes as a single unit, with desired design.

Now, everyone gets the same size, you won't need a knife, no funky edges, no gaps filled with gnarly frosting, pouring batter for two sheet cakes is faster and less mess than pouring a bunch of cupcakes, I think it'd be faster to frost, it's no messier to eat sheet cake with unfrosted sides than it is to peel paper off a cupcake, and did I mention no peeling the paper? That's my least favorite part of cupcakes. It's messy and half the time, lots of cake sticks to the paper--a sad waste of cake.

People have previously objected to pre-cut cakes where the cuts go through the frosting, but I can't see why you couldn't cut them before frosting. Maybe it would occasionally be noticeably less smooth than an uncut cake, but it can't be as bad as cupcakes frosted en masse!

September 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkansas girl

Was that some alien's bra?

September 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNeal

I like the Cupcake version of the Starry Night cake...It looks much classier...

The cake version looks like someone melted the painting onto a stack of hat boxes...


September 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Ann

These cupcake-cakes are just a fad. Once the novelty wears off people will see them for the hideous monstrosities that they are.

Just like polyester leisure suites, break-dancing, the Macarena, and hopefully those ugly crocs that some of you are still wearing.. we will look back in 20 years and say, "What were we thinking?"

September 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarcus

Oh no it's the radioactive pumpkin head, RUNN!!! (pretend I'm was speaking in Japanese and then I was dubbed over XD. Wait, I bet I really could say that in Japanese lmao)

I am also against cupcake cakes. I've never eaten one, but it looks messier rather than cleaner. I mean, they don't butt up perfectly so there are gaps where there is just icing hanging around with no support. Tell me how that works exactly O_o??

I think if you wanna make cupcakes, make cupcakes. I think it's much funner to pick up a nicely decorated cupcake for yourself.

But as far as a good cupcake cake, here is a good one >
Still tons of icing, but at least the edging looks cute!

September 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstringy-cow


I cannot believe you didn't mention that the palm tree looked like a lumpy penis with disturbingly green pubic hair. It's not like you to miss these things.

I am with you, CCC are no good!

September 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Kean Beans

Emily, I agree! When I saw the brown lumpy palm tree I also saw a penis. Maybe I just have a dirty mind

Hateful Old Hag

September 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh my, palm tree CCC sent in by Katie S. -- the bottom of the trunk looks like two brown, unevenly dangling testes. 0_0

October 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkacie

I agree: CCCs are bad. They look cheap, rushed and have WAY too much frosting for that little bit of cake. Oh, and, yeah, the palm tree trunk does look like a penis.

That said, of the Starry Night cakes, I actually liked the CCC look better. Maybe it was just the angle of the photo ... Or maybe I'm swayed by gold frames. :)

October 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTanya

although I am very much against the CCC- The Starry Night CCC is pretty awesome, and I think much better than the real cake version.

October 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I actually like the cc version of Starry Night, I give it a plus for using a frame around it. I am sure they could have done the same thing with a sheet cake, but thought it was creative non the less.

October 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPercy Sales Events

I, too, am not a fan, but I found this and it has GOT to be the best CCC I have ever seen.

October 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Just to add to your repertoire of NON-wreck cake designers, I thought I would share this blog with you...The reason I'm doing so here is because she makes these amazing cupcake tiers for weddings and the like.

So just in case you've never heard of her:

I so wish I could eat her cakes!

October 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGifted Designs

The Van Gogh cake is horrible! It's a swirling stringy mess! The cupcake version at least lends some semblance to the original. The cake looks like Van Gogh & Monet took on a spaghetti factory!

October 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJuliette

Oh!! I forgot to add that this is WONDERFUL fun for my whole family! Love your blog....while we were amazed at the Batman inspired 300lb cake, we had some great laughs at others. My son won grand champion at his 4-H fair for his 'fish cake', so he is really learning from your blog! Sort of a 'what not to cake!"
The best is the cake he made tonight for my birthday...I love raspberries, so he was totally thoughtful of the recipient of the cake!!! I wish I knew how to send you a picture!


October 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJuliette

I was with you until the Starry Night Cake. That's one where I think the cupcake cake actually does look better.

October 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The palm tree cupcake cake is really nice in my opinion. It may be one of the first cupcake cakes that I've ever liked.

October 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternc

There is only one acceptable comment for a cake with both Van Gogh and Monet's works on it: "WANT!!"

Seriously. I have fallen in love with a cake.

October 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterK.

um, never really liked cup cake cakes, but i'd so take the cup cake Starry Night over the other....the real cake one looks a bit too much like a face with an evil finger to it's lips.

But perhaps I've been too wrapped up in making Halloween stuff. lol.

October 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEkio Locatiare

Ummm, I actually think the "Starry Nights" cupcake cake looks way better than the actual cake which I think looks like a starry night in the middle of a hurricane.

October 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJulia R.

putting cupcakes together and frosting them as a cake is a disgusting crime against nature that i just learned about this very moment and WISH I HADN'T.

November 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVerhext

I am with you up to the Starry Night samples. I MUCH prefer the CCC over the real cake. Now, if I had seen a sheet cake done in the same way as the CCC, maybe, but the tiered cake actually looks retarded.

January 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohanna

The cupcake Starry Night is better than the cake, sorry. First of all, the colours of the cupcake one is closer to those in the painting. And secondly, Starry Night was FLAT!

February 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

i did not go through all of the comments...but the cake everyone keeps referring to as the starry night cake is actually a combo of monet and van gogh and it looks stringy because van gogh was known for a style in which you could see all of his brush strokes. i dk if anyone mentioned this before it was just bothering me.

May 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Er. "Good" CCC's? I admit that a few have hit the mark, but those that some people sent in... No. Just no.

But I do prefer the CCC Van Gogh over the real cake.

May 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEffcapuleeta

The best part about the "pumpkin" CCC is that in the book, near the bottom, it says "kids will enjoy pulling it apart one cupcake at a time"....

I know I would.

June 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I made the starry night cupcake cake and my daughter was so excited - she was turning 7 and it was her dream cake. Her school doesn't permit cakes to be served so cupcake cakes are a great option.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Some are genuine works of art.

December 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdebatejulio

I honestly thought that the second one was a horribly done valentine's day heart at first. Judging by the number of people who thought it was depicting some part of a person's anatomy, and how it is apparently supposed to be a slice of watermelon, this wreckorator clearly lacks the skill that even the" rel="nofollow">Longhorns "masterminds" possessed. I really do hope that that was supposed to be sarcastic.

December 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

the starry night ccc is wwwaaayyyyy beter than the starry night cake!! its allmost a wrek!!

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRatty

Looks like maybe the first CCC is trying to be" rel="nofollow">this one?

I'm don't want a CCC, but at least the misspelled one looks a bit better than this one.

August 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhyphen8

Starry Night....again...marvellous. From that down...its perfect. A real talent. xx

October 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCupcakes Lady

I'm sure i've seen the Starry night cake somewhere else. Its picture perfect in every way. Great work. xx

October 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCupcakes Lady

I think that the quality of CCC varies for each cake. The key to making a good one is the same for making a good regular cake: understand the medium, appreciate it, and do it well. There are plenty of lousy normal cakes out there, but nobody puts the cake to blame. The same should be said for CCC. If a person can do it right it shouldn't need a ton of icing on it, and it becomes what it was intended to be: a fun and slice-free alternative to sheet cake.

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

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