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


Have you heard of the Croquembouche [CROCK-you-EAM-butchy]? It's a French thing. Well, if not, here's what it's supposed to look like:

So kinda like old, cobweb-wrapped monkey bread. But in a yummy way.

Well, a certain anonymous person - who shall remain unnamed to protect her anonymity - found this gem at a wedding which she may or may not have anonymously attended:

I believe her exact words were, "it looks like some kind of primitive jungle cake being attacked by a swarm of lactating spider-wasps."

Mmmm, lactating spider-wasps...

Well, uh, Jane D. [wink wink], thanks for putting a new spin on these things.

Update: I think it's important to ask yourself a couple of questions before commenting here on Cake Wrecks:
Question: Did John and Jen really intend to give us the pronunciation of a word?
Answer: No.
Question: Are John and Jen complete and total idiots?
Answer: No.
Question: Do they...
Answer: No.
Question: Would they...
Answer: No.
Question: What about...
Answer: No.
That is all.

- Related Wreckage: MORE Weird Wedding Cakes (with the famous "albino booby tower")

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Reader Comments (168)

And now we know what turns them into Bridezillas.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNitrocat

Admittedly, it's hard to make that look good. :v It doesn't look all that appealing anyway.

Granted, it doesn't mean there's an excuse for the cake that came out of it.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSyldoran

I don't think I'd be eating that cake. It doesn't look ... good.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfeathergirl



P.S. Or, perhaps, a pile of little Epcots.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTigerwolf

The French nerd in me feels compelled to say that croquembouche is actually pronounced CROAK-Ä-N-BOOSH.

Mmmkay. I'll quit now.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertonkelu

Well, for old, cobweb-wrapped monkey bread, it doesn't really look that bad. I'd eat it.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGary

Haven't you seen Julie and Julia?! OF COURSE! I've heard of a Croquembouche. I just didn't know how to spell it...

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRecoveringActor

*runs screaming from page*

*but not before discovering a latent phobia of spider webs*

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergreeblygreebly

My favorite thing about this is your pronunciation guide. Brilliant!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Jo

Sacrebleu but that is one fugly croquembouche!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSue

Yay, first comment!
Wow. Those are, um, interesting. And no, I have never heard of a Crocky-whatever, but I can assure you that the people making those cakes probably had no idea what it was either!
Anna Marie

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRusty and Bandit

Celery or broken palm fronds as the base? WTF? This is a French dessert. Is this the French Polynesian version of the mountain of pastry balls? That spun sugar, er, those spiderwebs, defy gravity!

btw, love your intentional butchering of "croquembouche." Kinda like an American literal interpretation.

For those who want to compare, "Croquembouche" should probably be pronounced croak-em-boosh.

wv: thons-Some people should not wear thons, also known as butt-floss.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

How? I

Yeah, that's pretty..umm...webby. I've always wanted to make a croquembouche. I guess this'll have to be the year.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDorci

Hey, guys - Croquembouche is actually made with" rel="nofollow" rel="nofollow">profiteroles, not monkey bread, stuck together with hot caramel (the kind that takes your skin right off if a single drop falls anywhere on your body), made to look like a sort of meshy wrap.

My Mom used to make this for very special occasions, that's how I know.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

I hope you guys took bets on how many people would correct your pronunciation "guide" :)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDelaney

I live in Montreal, Quebec, and it is definitely pronounced 'krok-en-boosh'. The 'm' is silent. And the 'r' must be rolled properly.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I didn't know weeping willows could cross pollinate with palm trees.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

I would totally have that thing for a cake, if it was Halloween and I was marrying Indiana Jones in a theme wedding.

Okay, maybe not.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCecile

Now the phrase "lactating spider-wasps" will be haunting my brain today. Thanks for the horror-filled laughs!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Actually Croquembouche looks much more appetizing when you know that those spider webs are made from caramel :-) good stuff...but very ugly indeed, even when it's done right.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterApril

My six year old just looked at the picture and said "what is that? Is that a web with eggs? It looks like spider eggs in a web!" Couldnt have said it better myself!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I can't post my first response to that... cake... thing. It wasn't exactly polite. The green things underneath scared it out of me. And now I have a strange urge to go dust in all the corners....

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJasry

My husband, wandering past and happening to see the screen: "What IS that? A pile of rocks with spiderwebs?"

I don't even think the real one looks appetising. The wrecky one I don't think I would touch with an eleven-foot pole. Yuck.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJael

Croquembouche is made of chouquettes (cream puffs) with crystallized spun sugar around it (hence the croque, crunches, en bouche, in the mouth). It may not look pretty but it's yummy! (In response to those who said it looked unappetizing even in the first shot). That second one is... scary though. wtf.


December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElodie

See a better-looking croquembouche here:

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhusky mom

Wow, that's a Mighty Boosh!

(crimpity, crimpity!)


December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenniffer

This kind of pastry may not look appealing, but it's actually very good. Having said that, I wouldn't touch the one from that wedding with a ten-foot stalk of celery, which is apparently what they used for the base.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRemerdre

My friends got married abroad last weekend and I am resisting the urge not to submit a picture of their 'unique' looking croquembouche, because I can't believe it was a professional job.

Let's just say it makes this baby look pretty close to the mark. At least this one doesn't appear to involve gravy browning. I may have to share it with Jen,

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGlory von Hathor

my spidey senses are tingling.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Lee

Oh my GAWD, what the HAYELL?!?

Aside from the ... obvious ... that would be a mess to eat. There'd be sugar strands everywhere. I pity the clean-up crew.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdiopsideanddiamonds

*snicker* whhaaat?? Croquembouche looks good but NOT on palm fronds with lactating spider-wasps!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I had to post just to use my word verification, which sounds like it should be a french verb - patesser.

See, you can use it sorta like this:
"J'ai patesser du croquembouche, s'il vous plait."

My translation:
I'll pass on the cobweb monkey bread, please.


December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

They look good when done "right," but that reminds me of Miss Haversham's cake in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens:

"I crossed the staircase landing, and entered the room she indicated. From that room, too, the daylight was completely excluded, and it had an airless smell that was oppressive. A fire had been lately kindled in the damp old-fashioned grate, and it was more disposed to go out than to burn up, and the reluctant smoke which hung in the room seemed colder than the clearer air — like our own marsh mist. Certain wintry branches of candles on the high chimneypiece faintly lighted the chamber: or, it would be more expressive to say, faintly troubled its darkness. It was spacious, and I dare say had once been handsome, but every discernible thing in it was covered with dust and mould, and dropping to pieces. The most prominent object was a long table with a table-cloth spread on it, as if a feast had been in preparation when the house and the clocks all stopped together. An epergne or centre-piece of some kind was in the middle of this cloth; it was so heavily overhung with cobwebs that its form was quite undistinguishable; and, as I looked along the yellow expanse out of which I remember its seeming to grow, like a black fungus, I saw speckled-legged spiders with blotchy bodies running home to it, and running out from it, as if some circumstance of the greatest public importance had just transpired in the spider community."

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

This cake is not allowed.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermatt

A quick note - a croquembouche is a tower of profiteroles (AKA cream puffs) held together with caramel and then decorated with spun sugar. I think both examples are TOO spun-sugar-y. A real croquembouche is very tasty and pretty when well-done. The traditional dessert at a French wedding.

WV: hinden - the tasty cream puffs are well hinden under the spiderwebby sugar

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlly

I admit that I have trouble telling a good croquembouche from a bad one. Call me culturally illiterate.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Okay, now I'm thinking of Bree on Desperate Housewives, and the episode where Katherine knew how to do "spun sugar," and Bree didn't.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTresjolie9

Meanwhile, at Google Headquarters, a dozen engineers are scratching their heads, trying to figure out the reason behind a sudden spike in searches for "croquembouche..."

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Martha Stewart is demonstrating how to make a Croquembouche on today's show with Rachel Maddow assisting. Quite a coincidence!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

I guess they gave to the guests a tiny machete to open their way into the profiteroles...By the way, the top croc-en-bouche (crunchy-in-the- mouth) is not the best I have seen, either!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAuntie M.

Pâte à choux! Those little balls under the web are cream puffs. I love me some cream puffs. I'd take on a whole army of mutant zombie lactating spider wasps to get at them.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMira8

That's a disaster all the way around.
Lactating spider-wasps--interesting.
Is this a wedding between Spiderman and Wonderwoman, maybe?

Amy B-H

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlazy7snickers


They look like a pile of scrota, no doubt the companion to King David's mountain of Philistne foreskins.

Do. Not. Want.

wv: denespai, what the cannibalistic Mr. Wilson ate for dessert.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous know that scene in Lord of the rings when Frodo gets wrapped up by the giant spider........or maybe the scene in The Mist where the chap gets wrapped up by a giant spider and then millions of baby spiders burst out of his chest? Well, I think I'll say 'non' to any of that croakybush ta very much......(I done a year of French at school...)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline B

I just wanted to say: I am French, and honestly, I never saw something like this, and I have no idea what it is! Oo

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarie-Lucie

I remember Lisa Kudrow had one of these at her wedding, because her husband is French, and it was interesting and lovely and quite unusual. It was the first time I'd ever heard of it.

But it did not look like lactating spider webs. Mmmmm.....

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda in Austin

To be honest, I think even the "good" looking ones are pretty wrecky

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Tieman Family

I had a croquembouche for my wedding, and it was much prettier than that squat little thing in the first picture. It also tasted better than any dry cake I've ever had at a wedding!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm going to have to agree with Anonymous up there... No idea a "good" croquembouche with a "bad" one.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommentershopKCQ

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