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

Bride/Baker Communication 101

Most brides think that bringing in a photo of their dream wedding cake will help clarify for their bakers what it is that they want and expect on their big day.

[shaking head] Those sweet, silly girls.

In reality, these photos are more like "guidelines." A springboard, if you will, from which the baker may or may not spring - and then into heretofore unheard-of realms of artistic "expression."

Perhaps some examples will help.

Bride Laurie S. asked for this cake, only in ivory and with blue flowers instead of white:

(Photo & cake by Martha Stewart)
Instead, she got this:

"It's boxy, and it's blue and white. What more do you want?"

Kirstie also wanted a cascading floral design, like this:

Which her baker recreated pretty well, except for one key detail:

S/he used real flowers instead of sugar ones.

Once the petals shriveled, Kirstie's cake design became less "cascading flowers" and more "attacking butterflies." Which isn't horrible, I suppose, but it is kind of hard to resist the urge to flap your arms and shoo them off.

(Note: The silver thing is their topper, which the baker laid flat instead of standing up. Or maybe the butterflies just knocked it over. :D)

Sharon L. wanted this gorgeous topsy-turvy design:

(Made by Lisa's Creative Cakes - and I totally want one.)

...only in 3 tiers and using her colors of fuchsia, orange, and lime.

Her baker's interpretation?

Remember that springboard I mentioned? Well, some are a LOT springier than others.

And finally, this bride wanted her seashell-themed cake to rise to new heights:

Instead, she got one that was apparently dropped from great heights:

Think it was served with a pancake dinner?


- Related Wreckage: Love is in the Air...

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Reader Comments (165)

It's official - I'm spoiled rotten. My sister's hubby made my wedding cake (cheese cake with sugar glitter and cascading red rose petal) and he made SEVEN practice cakes to be sure it would turn out perfect. (And I got to eat all the practice cakes myself.) Sure the marriage didn't last but it was a damn good cake :)

October 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngie Jackson

cannot believe people call themselves professionals when this happens. those poor couples who expect it to be right. glad i had my mother bake my cake. i was constantly checking every move she made.

October 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Aw, I LIKE the white with blue flowers one. It has sort of a Frank Lloyd Wright look to it.

October 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteranaceofkidneys

Any bride who doesn't get what she wanted on her wedding day has only to blame but herself--if the baker you hire hasn't ALREADY done exactly what you want, you shouldn't be hiring them. Period.

October 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

As a cake decorator, I know personally that sometimes brides come in with pictures, and don't want to pay the money to get what they want, like with the cascading flowers, I can see a bride hearing the price for the sugar flowers and not wanting to pay. And it also could be that the decorators don't have the skill and are too afraid to turn away customers. Jenny

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjennycakesohio

I actually wonder if the last cake was simply ordered much too big? Like - how big is the first one (it looks tiny, which adds to its appeal) but the one they actualyl got is enormous to feed several hundred hungry wedding guests. Sheet cakes are cheaper to make and voila - pancake beach cake!

Not that it's any excuse. I'm sorry but that is NOT a wedding cake. I woudln't serve that at a backyard barbecue. I really hope that poor bride & groom didn't pay for that cake!!

October 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Hi all, the "topsy turvy" cake was my submission.

The short story is that the bakery came highly recommended by the wedding consultant, we DID look at their portfolio (gorgeous cakes), and we DID tell them we wanted a smaller, simpler version. Basically we wanted bright colors and crazy shapes, with a bit of a tilt to each layer.

The only reason we ordered that style was because it was the one wedding-oriented thing my now-husband had a real opinion on... he LOVED the crazy look of the original cake. As I said, we told the bakery make it much simpler, smaller (only 65 guests), and with only bright fuschia, orange, and lime to match the wedding colors. They SWORE they could do it. I didn't know to ask for a sketch.

Yes, it's true that they did not have any "topsy turvy" / "mad hatter" cakes in their portfolio, but that's not surprising, we live in Central Maine and they haven't caught on here yet... despite the fact that clearly they've been and gone in some of YOUR areas.

Having never ordered a wedding cake before, and not being even remotely close to pastry chefs, we didn't know that you're supposed to order "stock cakes". In fact, they didn't offer any, just showed us pictures of previous cakes. I was all over wedding planning sites and all THOSE brides were bringing photos to their bakers so that's what we did. We thought that based on the beautiful samples in their portfolio, and their assurances, we would get a decent looking cake. WE DID NOT KNOW THAT THIS CAKE IDEA WAS A PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT THING TO DO.

Yes, I was upset when I saw it, but mostly because it was PASTEL, not bright, and because the fondant (YES it was fondant, not buttercream) looked as if it had been cut and applied by a 3rd grader.

We paid for the cake. It was delicious, and once our guests realized it was the cake, most of them actually complimented us on it. They had never seen a topsy turvy / mad hatter cake before so they had no preconception of what it should look like.

I was MORE upset that the florist completely screwed up the flowers for the bouquets... how hard is it to use orange and fuschia for the bride (no white) and orange and white for the bridesmaids (no fuschia)??? We all got fuschia and white, and the fuschia clashed with the bridesmaids' dresses. I think I paid for those too but at least I got a discount. (What can I say, I try not to sweat the small stuff. We got married and all our family was there, that was the big thing.)

In the end, I still got buckets of compliments on everything, even from the reception site. They asked if they could keep some of the decorations for the rest of the summer brides... I was flattered so I said sure.

If you've read this far... the moral of the story is, learn from others' mistakes.

-Sharon L. in Maine

October 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZephyr's Mom

Sharon, (Bride o' the Topsy Cake)

Good for you. What a wonderful attitude to have, and how blessed your life must be when you can let the little things go and enjoy the moment. Very uplifting story, thanks for sharing!

October 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSoapy Hollow

These people were just done all kinds of wrong! I would have cried, dropped the cakes on the floor of the bakery, thrown the money in their faces and walked out. How awful for these poor people!

October 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdopefaerie

What bothers me is peoples/brides expectations. You take a picture of a beautiful, professionally done cake to your friends mother (who used to do cakes) and you want the same cake for 100.00. You truly get what you pay for girls!!

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

There is no way I would pay for some of those wedding cakes. I can't believe someone would even deliver those. I would rather go without a cake than have our pictures taken with those. LOL.

Tara MacLean

August 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertara

That last one is so very sad.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

What wrong with Real flowers on a cake? Seen it done loads of times. xx

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCupcakes Lady

I simply can't believe the baker's could even DELIVER these "cakes" and I can't believe they were accepted and paid for. I'd rather have no cake than those cakes. What a disaster!

December 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Have these "bakers" no pride in their work? I'd rather tell the bride sorry, cake looks like crap, here's your money back then put my name on something that wasn't up to par. Those poor brides.

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

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