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 Name Game

I don't usually post name misspellings, because - let's face it - names are kind of a crap shoot. Even really common names have those few screwball versions that mess it up for the rest of us. (I'm looking at you, Jenifer with one "n" and Jerimee with no "y"!) So really, bakers can't be expected to get them all right.

However, there is a point at which names get so thoroughly butchered that your only option is to laugh. These...[dramatic pause]... are those butcherings.

"Let's see, is it Steven or Stephen?"

"Eh, I guess I'll go with both."

This approach also works with the "ie" vs "y" issue:

(Try saying this aloud, and see if you don't sound like you're stuck in a stutter loop. "Criss-ee-ee-ee. No wait, I mean, Criss-ee-ee-ee-eah-crap.")

Those at least have a method to their mistakes, but now we're going to veer into some unexplained territory. See if you can guess the names on these next three:

Did you get them all? Here are the answers: Sarah, Susanna, and Seth. Yes, really. Seth.

Fortunately, sometimes a Wreckerator will recognize that something looks a little "off" with his or her spelling. When this happens, s/he will do the only sensible thing: draw a question mark after the name - on the cake.

Then, when the customer points out that the name in question should be "Jenny" and not "Fenny", the Wreckerator will spare no effort in making a few virtually undetectable corrections:


(You've also gotta love that lone "C" hanging out under "Happy".)

Stephen P., Crissie, Linda M., Lindsey L., Amy V., & Emily H., I now dub thee Steevan, Krissy, Lynduh, Lynnzee, Aimee, & Hath. You're welcome.

- Related Wreckage: Keith and What's-Her-Name

Note: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN!!! Those of you coming to see us tonight in Kansas City, be sure to offer him plenty of birthday greetings, songs, spankings, etc.

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Reader Comments (141)

If the "H" is silent, does it really matter where you put it?

(Happy Birthday, John!)

WV: Blessn If your name on your cake has the correct letters in any order, consider it a blessn.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Those were priceless!

My kids all have traditional spellings of their names- but when I had my third child (Army hospital, Fort Stewart, Georgia), they asked me her name and I said, "Christine, just like its supposed to be spelled."

The receptionist in the clinic just looked at me and said, "Last week we had one- C-R-Y-S-S-T-Y-N-E... there is no "just like" anymore."

That was 16 years ago.

Now I wish I had named my son "Hath" instead of Jason.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPatty O'Chair

Happy Birthday, John! (Jon? Jonh? Juan? LOL)

Misspelled names. Love them!
~Amy B-H

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlazy7snickers

Ouch! I failed the name quiz.

I got Sarah for #1, but I was sure #2 was going to be Savanna (or some variation).

#3 made me tilt my head, squint, and give up to scroll down for the answer. I would not have ever gotten Seth out of that!

As someone who has always had to spell my name (common name, MANY spelling variations, uncommon but classic spelling) it blows my mind that people still get simple basic names like Sara/h or Jenny wrong. It certainly explains some of the more frustrating customer "service" experiences I have had though.

Verification: Multiono
These birthday cakes caused not merely one "Oh no!" but multionos.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm a Sarah... that's Sarah with an H. I have gotten all kinds of mispellings, including the one seen here. I never knew it was that uncommon of a name!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah


November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJHill

Happy Birthday John!

Love the post as I am planning my own birthday cake for next week - maybe I will design my own personal wreck! as a CCC no doubt!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenMcG

I didn't even get to Seth because I was still trying to figure out who got Sauron a purple butterfly birthday cake. You'd expect something in red, with a big eye on it maybe.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

Spelling names is always a challenge. When I used to enroll children for our library story time we were lucky when parents spelled the names for us. But then we would get hit with the slightly unusual--Jonh (sic), Bbob (sic), Stasci (sic). Come on, people, give your kids a break. There are enough weird legimately spelled names out there.
(stepping gently off the soap box and going to look for cake to eat)

Happy Birthday, John. I'd sing, but it would be a wreck of different kind.

WV dangre You could be in dangre if you misspell my name.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdrgns4vr

I feel like Susanna's "name" (Sauanna?) would be pronounced something like "Sauna." What parent would name their child "Sauna"?

WV: "Pabansul." How the wreckerators spell "Hannah."

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Happy Birthday Math! Or is it Hath...?

Oh well, congratulations on your own birthday, John!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSimsKatie

It's too bad the Hello Kitty cake was misspelled. It's adorable!

The rest? Oops.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa (& Billy)

"Que Shrah, Shrah, whatever will be, will be...."

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

it never ceases to amaze me (though it shouldn't) how these mistakes keep happening.

most of us are prudent consumers who spell things out (literally) to bakery employees (or any other place where spelling matters).

with a name like mine, i get all manner of spelling variations if i don't spell it out completely.

worse, i get called mr. terry lee ... until they see me. heh heh

happy birthday to john!!!!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Lee

Oh. I thought it was supposed to be Savanna. Then I read the comments and everyone kept talking about Susanne and I couldn't figure out what they were talking about! Even though I read the blog, it didn't stick, I guess. And yes... Seth? Really? I also thought it was a Star Wars reference.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHyacinth

Is that a flash drive on Sauanna's cake?!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJ

As a now-Jenny who was called Jennifer as a kid, I recall a year where my cake read, "Happy Birthday Juniper!"

My mom brought it home because it needed to be shared. Hence was born a new nickname.

Thanks for the laugh.

Jenny/Juniper (common spelling)

I had to go back and do a double take when you said that was supposed to be Seth. Really? Wow. Just wow.

Major blessings and happiness for your birthday, John!! Wish the signing tonight was a little closer to Sioux Falls, SD!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaura P.

Happy birthday to John AND to ME! 1984 baby!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJP

Perhaps she was soused as she decorated?

Having seen myriad misspellings of my own names, I wanted classic spellings for my children's. I still have to spell them out. Laura, Caleb, Bethany; people seem to not be sure of what classic spellings are anymore, and are afraid to offend.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristina

Icing + person in the wrong line of work = "Hey, birthday cake! Who's Fenny?"

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


I'm going with son of a Star Wars fan for "Hoth".



November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlisadh

I love that you're asking people to bring spankings for John tonight. Happy Birthday, John! May it be spanking free. :)

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I Hath no idea what it Seth?

Trying saying that while holding your tongue!

Happy Birthday to the Hubby of Jen!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer

Happy Birthday Jonh with an H!

And now I know why my mom never had my name on my birthday cake unless she put it there! (Non-traditional spelling of something close to "Laura"). I mean, until she realized I like pie and it's just goofy to put frosting on pie. Especially since I don't like frosting.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLJ

I was having such an awful day until I realized why: I hadn't gotten my daily dose of this site! Much better....

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

As someone named Sarah I have seen that misspelling and other similar ones many times. Some people don't know where to put the 'H' but I have received several cards that are addressed to Shara, Sharh, or Shra.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah J

Well, I got Sarah and Susanna. Totally couldn't get Seth out of that mess. Ah well. I am 2/3 competent in Wreckorator-ese.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Happy Birthday John!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Happy Birthday John and me (1954). My first name is spelled differently and my last ends with two er.


November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCrazed

It's not my fault! My mother didn't know how to spell "Jennifer" when I was born and spelled it the way it sounded to her.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenifer

Happy Birthday John!!

To Lauren @ 12:24: When I was a kid I lived down the street from a girl whose name was Sauna, so I guess there's at least one parent who would do that!

When going thru my mom's papers I found a receipt for one of my birthday cakes that said "Caroline with a Y" on it...I guess that made sense to the decorator since every cake I remember said "Carolyn" on it.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeftWingLock

I never would have guessed the last one was Seth. I would very much like to know how Seth turned into Hath...

Happy birthday, John! :)

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Okay that last Happy Birthday one I would not have guessed Seth. I actually saw "Happy Birthday Math" I did get the other two though.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

It's kind of depressing to realize that there are lots of fairly common names that people can't spell! I've been spelling my name for people my whole life--not because of the "Elizabeth" vs "Elisabeth" thing, but because apparently the vowels are just too tricky. There's no "u" in "Elizabeth", thanks.

Jen, I got your book this weekend and now my ribs hurt from laughing so much! It's HYSTERICAL! I loaned it to my mom & sisters, with the caveat that they can't have anything in their mouths while they read it (I don't want diet coke spittle all over the pages).

Happy birthday, John! Hope it's great!

WV: rexon--what wreckerators do with regularity

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

wow i was the 2nd comment! that never happens to me!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucia

happy b-day john!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucille Ball Jr.

Perhaps a simple "Happy Birthday!" with NO name if you are not sure would be called for.......

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Happy Brithday Jhon! It's my brithday today too! See ya'll in Boston! :)

Thanks for a great site!
-Tina or is that Teena....hmmmm.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChris + Tina

Happy Birthday John! Hope you have a wonderful year!!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJolley Blogger

Happy Birfthdy Ghoauhn!!!

Once again, I am flabbergasted that these wreckerators are professionals. They get PAID for this! The may even have gotten TRAINED to do this!

In wonder,

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlizzzie

on the last cake i saw happy crappy birthday. lol.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

As a Sarah I know exactly what happened. It turns out you can't just say "Sarah with an H" and expect people to know where to put it. (You SHOULD be able to but that doesn't mean that you CAN.) I've had my H all over the place. Sheesh.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Bradley's

Yay, happy birthday, John!

I got all the names besides Hath... Seth... whatever.

WV: patcheis (Sounds like a painful disease... did John catch that one, too?)

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTwirly McSwirl

Happy Birthday, John!

I received my Cake Wrecks book today and love it! My favorite part is the Oscar reference! I thought my family and I were the only ones who knew about that movie - we quote it all the time and got my husbaned hooked, too :)

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm thinking "Crissyie" might actually be legit. In the 1920s it was popular to put an E at the end of any girl's name ending in Y: Marye, Bessye, etc., and I've seen a few modern examples from parents who are either trying to be retro or just plain can't spell.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteranaceofkidneys

Happy Birthday Honj!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSexy Sadie

The best *worst* name misspelling I've had to encounter in real life was on an anniversary cake I ordered for my parents......

Happy 30th Anniversary
Bob and Dad

Too bad I didn't get a pic of THAT disaster!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercyn

Happy Birthday J'hawn! (No doubt there is a man out there with that name). My mom's birthday is the 14th, so you're in good company. :-)

I got Sarah from Shrah, and I thought Saunana might be Susanna. But I would have never guessed that Hath was supposed to be Seth. Maybe that cake was ordered in the South again.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBree

I'm with Kimberly - other people are always trying to correct how I spell my name. People, I've lived with it all my life; I should know how it's spelled.

And, worse, it doesn't matter if it's my given name or my nickname - someone's always out to straighten me out.

Oh, well. Enough. Happy birthday, John. Jon. Jean. Jonh?

There was a Halloween CCC at the hairdressers' Saturday. I found it incomprehensible, but the ladies who work there seemed to enjoy it.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkadyb

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