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)

I'm just waiting for a bunch of baby spiders to burst our of that thing. Anyone ever see the movie "Arachnophobia"?

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDan Lewis

Oh sweet jaysus, that's gotta be one of the best ones yet!!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrude

Neither look like something edible but I think I'd rather have the second one. It looks fresher.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiedra

Pass the crock-you-eam-butchy on the left. hand. siiiiide...

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

holy holy.... how is that sucker of a beast served, sliced, eaten...?

love her description, you mean it's not being attacked by lactating spider wasps?

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Lovables

When they're made properly, they're kinda pretty...not awe-inspiring, but pretty.

But holy cow...can you please tell me how freshly-made cream puffs (made with real butter and filled with whipped heavy cream OMG) drizzled with crunchy caramel could ever, ever be anything but mindblowing.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Going out on a limb here...I'm guessing they had quite a bit of cake left over.

@ Eric 10:51-- Haha. Probably quite true.

@ Donna 10:29-- Regrettably, this is not the first cake I've seen on this site that has immediately summoned poor Miss Havisham to mind. But yes, this one certainly is added to the list. :)


December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

It's actually croque-en-bouche (literally, crack in the mouth because the choux crunch when you bite them). Pronounced "CROAK-ehn-BOUSH"

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

Oh... wow...
Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before we had a French Cake Wreck... see, we can mess up our cakes/desserts too! :P
(btw, I'm half French/half American, so your featuring wrecks from both of my home countries makes this blog doubly fun for me) :)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

In my area (north-central Florida) there are these huge spiders called Golden Orb-Weavers; they are about 2 inches long, tend to hang suspended from trees exactly at face level whenever you go out in the summer, and they make huge webs of really thick, bright yellow silk. That thing looks like what I imagine a nest full of Golden Orb-Weaver eggs to look like. Only dusted with sugar.

And I'm pretty sure that the proper name for that thing is pronounced "CROAK-um-boosh"

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFelicia

I've made one of these before. The one we made in culinary school was skinnier and taller than you example, which does look like a cobweb covered monkey bread! But I've seen much prettier ones.

I rarely refer to it as a croquembouche though because very few people know what that is! I just simply call it a "Cream Puff Tower"!

Also, the second one scares me a little.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Honestly, even the original picture of how it's supposed to look is pretty creepy. It's like Crypt Keeper cake.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLori Leaumont

Croquembouche is French for "cupcake cake."

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

Leeks! They put the sugar-coated cream puffs on a bed of leeks? That's what it looks like to me. Cripes.

Chrissy (aka Chefgirl in certain circles)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

it might be the college student in me...but am i the only one who sees this cake as a giant cannabis bud?

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Well, I'm not French, but I am lactating, and I strenuously object to any reference to lactation in relation to this cake. At least not any kind of lactation I've ever seen. Not that I watch anyone else lactate. Oh, never mind. How about "pissing in the wind on a cold day" instead of lactation, 'kay?

Word verification: QUILIG. The soft leather envelope that I used to store my quills when I attended Hogwarts. I bought it at Flourish & Blotts on Diagon Alley.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

lol@ Donna-- I immediately thought of Miss Haversham, too. I wondered where the bugs were, and the old broad who won't take off her wedding dress, already. That's all this unfortunate display needs!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Jeremy said..."Pass the crock-you-eam-butchy on the left. hand. siiiiide..."

OMG!!! I just had to try to explain to my co-workers why coke just came out my nose...and totally couldn't...

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie

croakenbush, crackenbush... looks like hairy monkey balls to me!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I don't think anyone has done this justice. Croquembouche is apparently French for "CCC."

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

yeah.. what the heck IS that spiderwebby stuff? spun sugar? if so- that looks disguisting because it really looks as if it is a spider web- and I do not find that appetizing in any way. I have never heard of the croquewhatever it is..... UGLY!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I really hope that's sugar gone horribly wrong and not ectoplasm.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterksaldria

Oh, Melissa @ 1:18pm: that had me in stitches! Whew!

Le grand travail aujourd'hui, Jen!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlisadh


December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterE.M. Green

is it just me or is that first one on fire?.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjane

Normally I laugh and shake my head at these wrecks.

This is the first one that has actually given me goosebumps (and not in a good way). Yeeeeeikes!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa (& Billy)

The thing is, if they were going for freaky-creepy-alien-thing, it'd be awesome.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly Chapman

Not at all sure about the greenery! Spun sugar certainly must affect brain function.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaddy

Jeremy's comment, "Pass the crock-you-eam-butchy on the left. hand. siiiiide..." is. my. favoriiiite...Oh, and Eric's google comment - hilarious!

The first thing I thought of when I saw this, er...wreck, was the gypsy moths that cover branches of trees in spider webby material, which resembles the croquembouche with the palm fronds that seem to have had an unfortunate run-in with a weed-whacker.

Jen, your mangled CROCK-you-EAM-butchy reminds me A LOT of my MIL's "Trompee Loyal Fox paint". She was so proud of her work, I just didn't have the heart to correct her!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKylie F.

that's just freaky! and why the hell is it on a pile of palm fronds?

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterarchersangel

old, cobweb-wrapped monkey b...

"bread" is not where I thought that phrase was going.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVodalus

Hilarious post, even if it will surely give me nightmares.

I'm not sure if you're joking in the phonetic pronunciation part, but I'm French and I do feel compelled to remark that it is, in fact, pronounced completely differently (and differently from another pronunciaton suggestion I saw in the comments).

It's pronounced crock-en (the French nasal tone) - boosh

Great wrecky find!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Glad to see corrections of the pronunciation of croquembouche.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Here's a pretty one without spun sugar and with roses and marzipan gifts.

here's one with sugar, rose petals and sugared almonds (i think)

wv: cradj: a cringe with a shocked "ack" of surprise. "That second picture of spider wasp nest made me cradj"

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjoanne

LOL @ Kristen. "croquembouche = French cupcake cake"
And Felicia--I saw those spiders in South Carolina. Great analogy!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

For those of you that are thinking/feeling that even the "example" croquembouche leaves something to be desired, about a year ago Elizabeth Faulner did a pretty stunning one (about 3ft tall, I think) for a Food Network Challenge. Don't know if there's a piccy anywhere, but if there is, you should definately check it out to see how nice these can look.

And in (central) Iowa we say kroak-en-bushe (actual long u sound not a oo sound), so go figure. Everyone seems to say it thier own way.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKate from Iowa

Completely reminds me of gypsy moth nests. And while it may be tasty, I'm just not prepared to eat anything that reminds of that stuff.

love your "pronunciation guide" - reminds me how our family loves to butcher Merci Beaucoup into Murky Buttercups. :) (and am amazed that people really felt the need to correct you. snort)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBek

Are you absolutely CERTAIN that this isn't part of an Alien Conspiracy ... Aren't those really the pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

Do you REALLY know those "people" who returned from the wedding....


December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah in California

Traditionally, the croquembouche is served by hitting it hard with a sword, with the bridesmaids catching the pieces in a tablecloth.

Maybe the spiders are just protecting their food from encroaching swords and tablecloth laden bridesmaids.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

hey I just watched martha stewart make this with her guest rachel maddow today! the name means "crunch in the mouth"
but by the looks of that thing they should call it "punch in the eye"

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Er, for those correcting the pronunciation, it begins (as Karen said above) 'croc' not 'croak'. Best to correct correctly! ;-)

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarolineLD

That first croquembouche pictured isn't all that attractive either. It is much too fat at the bottom and should be relatively taller. The real thing is much more elegant.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

it's a french traditional wedding "cake". they're cream puffs, doused in honey. however, i've neer seen the tent-worm effect.


December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

cream puffs, not profiteroles. profiteroles are ice cream filled.

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Having made a few of these, the biggest flaw I see is that the caramel is too light; the strands should be more golden. They can be quite elegant.

Creampuffs make up the cake and are delicious; I sometimes use chocolate ganache to bind them instead of caramel.

But why you would put one on leaves--which would make the bottom layer soggy--escapes me.

And now I have a craving for monkey bread...


December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh my gosh! i am sick now!

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucia

what i want to know is, did anonymous EAT this, um, cake thing??!?!?

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucille Ball Jr.

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