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

Sunday Sweets: Gingerbread!

I usually try to stick to actual cakes on Sunday Sweets, but I've had so many requests for gingerbread houses that I decided to make an exception this week. Besides, they are covered with icing, right? So we'll call that close enough.

Still, to kick things off let's start with a cake that only looks like gingerbread:

And now, on to the houses!

The Nittany Lion Inn in Penn State. Watch Heather Luse of the PSU bakery making the house here.
(Photo by Jerilyn Brom & found here.)

(Made by Chaz & found here)

(A Better Homes and Gardens photo found here)

How about a gingerbread trolley car streetcar?

(Sent in by Courtney and found in the lobby of Harrah's Hotel in New Orleans)

And now time for some geeky goodness. (You knew I couldn't resist, right?)

(Made by AnnaMaria & found here)

There are a few gingerbread Tardises out there (Q: what IS the proper plural of Tardis?), but this one gets extra points for having K-9 peeking out the door. Speaking of which, anyone remember the gingerbread K-9 I featured a while back?

Next a little Mario love:

(Made by Bade_MD & found here)

And lastly, here are my favorites from the '09 Cincinnati Houses of Hope Gingerbread House Contest. (Check out all the winners here.)


Today's charity, Heifer International, works to end hunger and poverty by providing livestock, training, and related services to communities worldwide.

And, good news: we found a way to make your dollar donations easier! We've created a page at Firstgiving, a secure payment-processing site specifically for charity fund raising. Here you'll only have to enter your information once for the rest of the two weeks, there are no minimums, and you can monitor how much we've raised each day. The fee is lower than most credit card processing charges, too, so more of your dollars will go to each charity.

Click here to donate your dollar, and to see how much we've raised so far!

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Reader Comments (116)

The Fisrtgiving website is so much easier! Jen, I didn't make my annual Angel Tree donation this year, so I am making up that amount by giving to your charities. This is, by far, the best idea I have seen on the net this season. Thank you for all the laughs, giggles, chortles, and guffaws. Your website is often like those late Spring days when you slip out of work early to meet friends for a glass or two of wine at 3 in the afternoon--just pure pleasure!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Great gingerbread houses! A reminder of what a woefully inept decorator I really am-- I guess you can say every other day of the week, when I laugh at cakes here, I'm really just laughing at myself!

I'm glad you guys found a central donating spot! I just looked at the Charity:Water donations-- yay! Another well to dig! Congrats, everyone! Let's keep going!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKCC

Oh WOW! A gingerbread TARDIS!!!!!!
I wish I'd thought of that!
This post is SO perfect right now! I'm just getting ready to make a gingerbread house myself!
These are beautiful!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne Dargie

I'm pretty sure its 'Tardi'.
Like multiple Lexus vehicles are Lexi.
Im basing all of this on an old Alan Partridge sketch btw!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAA

Are we going to be able to use this First Giving for all of the remaining charities? And is it set up for the first two?

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMel

I hate to say this, but...
there are no "trolley cars" in New Orleans only streetcars, trolley cars are in San Fran and are pulled underneath, streetcars are powered from above (also streetcars are older)

great post otherwise

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterschleifnet

CIDNY--Center for the Independence of the Disabled in New York.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Since TARDIS is an acronym, I would say that the plural should be TARDISes. Otherwise, I'd be inclined to handle it like similarly constructed words of Greek origin - one tardis --> multiple tardes.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMel

Heifer is a great charity! I just got their catalog the other day and goat-shopped for a bit.

Anyway, the FirstGiving setup reminds me: I set up my FirstGiving account last year to raise money for a charity called ClimateCycle. It's a bike ride in Chicago that raises money to put solar panels on local schools. The amount of energy they generate is rather minimal, but it comes with lessons and a way for city kids to get a current and RELEVANT science education! They've been building slowly but surely, and I'd be absolutely thrilled to see CakeWrecksters donate more money to them.

I'd raise money for them again, but I'll be in China for a year and unable to do the bike ride.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisa

Wooo hooo on the donations simplification! I am on my way there now!

The first cake is mine! I made it for a bridal show a couple of years ago.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWild Cakes

i think it should be tardi, you know, like how fungus becomes fungi but i found this on "the net " as it were

TARDISes is correct. It would not be "TARDI" as TARDIS is not Latin.

Arg those gram-maticians got me again

also, check the scale on the trolly car at Harrahs. that sucker has got to be like 6 feet long. aww yeaaa!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Those are darling!

That Tardis one is so cute! I love K9! (You got the plural Tardis right, BTW)

I also love the Sugar Plum Inn one.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterParker

You haven't seen real gingerbread houses until you've been to the National Gingerbread House contest held in good ol' Asheville NC!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

A gingerbread Tardis, fantastic! Thanks for making my Sunday!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Beautiful! And I'm loving the first cake:) It amazes me how much talent people have out there. I made a single attempt two years ago at a gingerbread house from a kit and it was such a PITA and complete disaster that I refused to ever try again (my nephew had a ball dismantling the thing though so it's all good;) So major kudos to those who not only are successful but pull off such terrific creations:)

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMiranda

Ok, so I did $5 today because HI is an AWESOME choice. Teach a man to fish and all that. It's a sensible fix, you don't feel like you're just throwing money at an organization that is forever mired in bureaucracy.

You guys are so totally wonderful.

wv: sawla. I sawla heifer just the other day.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterholly

Can I just add a comment re your choices of recipients? I'd love to see a donation to an organization that provides kids toys, or coats, or food for Christmas. I don't think any child should be skipped over by Santa. If you do choose something like this, I would suggest doing it soon, as there isn't much time left for volunteers to shop, wrap and distribute. Many of the other organizations aren't holiday-related and would still be thrilled to get the donations the day before Christmas. But if you're going to do something Christmas related, it should probably be soon. Just a suggestion though. You are terrific.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterholly

I also like the Firstgiving website...I like that we can put our aliases up, too.

This charity campaign is giving me another good reason to check your site EVERY single day! Oh, and the cakes are funny, too... :)

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFlartus

Not that you aren't already doing enough here, but would it be possible to somewhere on your homepage link to the individual pages so we can go back and see how much money has been raised thus far without having to scroll through your posts? It also might give people an easier opportunity to go back and give if they missed these earlier ones. :)

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia

I have to second what schleifnet said up there. If you say "Trolley" in New Orleans people will look at you like you just spoke a foreign language. It's why Tennessee Williams' play is called "A Streetcar named Desire" and not "A Trolley named Desire".

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

Great idea, Patricia! I second that suggestion.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMel

I am a volunteer at the Jacksonville Humane Society 363636363636363636363636363636 (comment inserted by my cat Colby - walking on the keyboard! He wishes to say, "Consider the animals!")

Two years ago we lost our building and a number of animals to a devastating fire. We have been operating in two temporary buildings since then, trying to raise enough money to rebuild - but with the econmy hit, it has been slow. If we could rebuild now, we could save millions on the cost of the buildings. We are a no-kill shelter and take animals from the city shelter as we can, which has saved many animals' lives.

Please consider donating to the JHS!
Wreck On!!!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan in Jax

I gave Heifer International gifts to some of my friends and family this year! I <3 them!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHolly Noelle @ Domestic Dork

Oh man-if I knew that you were doing Gingerbread houses...

Have you seen this???

I found it while doing research on my King Kong Christmas tree...

Great job with the charity works, too- good on both of you!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSongRoarsPease

Wow! I recognized the Nittany Lion Inn (first "house") immediately!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The plural of TARDIS is tardises, as used by the tenth Doctor in "The Impossible Planet" (S2). Do I win?

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Cookies and gingerbread are technically types of cakes, so I say they are appropriate on Cake Wrecks.

Good houses. I like the one with all the onion domes.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGary

Sort of on topic-- I noticed yesterday that St. Jude's has some cute things on sale in their gift shop (ornaments, etc., and at very reasonable prices). If you still would like to donate at their website-- you have the option to tack your donation on when you pay for your purchase. Just an FYI!

wv-- durdi: Thank goodness for Sunday Sweets, so that the snow on the cakes doesn't look durdi today.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Jen, I don't have a link but the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle hosts an incredible gingerbread competition between businesses every Christmas and puts the winners on display in the lobby. It's quite something to behold, if you can find a link!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDianne

May I say, that's yet another great-looking Carrot Jockey logo on the firstgiving page?! Thanks for choosing this charity! Can't wait to see who's up next!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Thanks SO much for the one site for donating! I'm a total Luddite as far as computer stuff is concerned, and I didn't want to miss out on this wonderful fund-raising idea. You have helped me be able to participate.
Love the gingerbread houses, all of which look far too good to actually eat!
And, as Lisa said in the opening comment - "Thank you for all the laughs, giggles, chortles, and guffaws. Your website is often like those late Spring days when you slip out of work early to meet friends for a glass or two of wine at 3 in the afternoon--just pure pleasure!" She put into words what I think all of us who visit your site feel.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermorriganscrow

I live in New Orleans and I saw the gingerbread streetcar when i went to Miracle on Fulton Street (those of you inN.O. should know what im talking about). Anyway it is HUGE. about 6.5 ft long and 4 ft high!!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDestinie

I'm making gingerbread men now! The gingerbread Tardis and the Doctor Who cake post just made my day! I've got to step up my gingerbread baking next year.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdarlingbeatrice

Here's another charity suggestion: The Smile Train ( I have always loved this charity, which works with doctors to provide surgery for kids with cleft palette that would otherwise go through life as outcasts, sometimes even abandoned by their parents. Some cultures consider the kids bad luck. The deformity itself causes eating, breathing, and speaking problems, not to mention self-esteem. The astonishing thing is, the surgery is fairly simple, and since the doctors donate their time, it's fairly inexpensive. Just $250 will change a child's face and life forever. The New York Time called Smile Train " of the most productive charities—
dollar for deed—in the world." They gladly accept donations in any amount. Please pick this charity!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSandi

Hah!! I think that's a Dalek just peeking into bottom corner of the shot of the Gingerbread TARDIS!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Ditto Lisa and morriganscrow-- thanks for another great year of wrecks, Jen and John! :D

Hey, is john's last name "(the hubby of Jen)"? I keep thinking about that guy who changed his name to "Trout Fishing in America" a while back. Ha!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

This method of donating is a WONDERFUL idea. I've decided to give $5 to each charity.

Here is another link - I don't know if they take $1 donations or not...

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLonnie

I'm studying architecture and found this on a blog the other day:

A contemporary gingerbread house, complete with plans and cutsheets!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Rosenblatt

If TARDIS was a Latin noun, it would be Tardes (actually, tardis is an adjective, meaning slow) but since it's an English acronym, I'd have to go with TARDISes. (Then again, I never understood why the name of an alien ship is an acronym of English words.)

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphantomcranefly

I second the motion for links to each donation site on the homepage..and also the nomination for Smile Train!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Rainey

I think the plural is Tardii?

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDusti

Gratuitous Doctor Who references always brighten up my day - I had one yesterday on "There, I Fixed It", and now today on Sunday Sweets. Thank you all.

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCatt of the Garage

Some very cool Gingerbread. Much love for the TARDIS with K-9.

Heifer is one of my favorite charities so I'm very glad to see it getting some publicity here. :)

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterA

Can someone please tell me what the heck a "wv" is? I can't find an explanation on the net and it is driving me crazy!!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShasta

Heifer Project FTW! They are fantastic. My cousins and I typically buy an animal for our grandparents (my grandfather was a seagoing cowboy and helped start Heifer). Such a great way to celebrate!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Went to HI's site to specifically donate to their Women in Livestock Development program. Thanks for all these great charities to consider.

Quick question about Firstgiving - if you donate a larger amount, are you eligible for a tax receipt? I didn't see anything about it in their site....

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessicasays

I'm not particularly fond of gingerbread, but these are beautiful! And the gingerbread TARDIS is just awesome. :)

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Oh my gosh, that Mario one is fantastic! All the details is just amazing. My kids and I just spent about 15 mins looking at the bigger picture and laughing at all the fun stuff - the squished goomba, the Mario flag on the castle, the snowballed Koopa, etc, etc.


December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSpiffy Mom


WV is the word verification you have to type in before your comment can be posted (sometimes it's "ReCaptcha" or something like that). They aren't always real words, but if one sounds kind of useful, feel free to make up your own definition for it!

Or, it's the US Post Office abbreviation for the state of West Virginia. :)

WV: awighti-- It's just silly bonus fun here, awighti? lol

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Yes!! I'm so glad you put Heifer International up today, they're my favorite charity!

Also, they were profiled in the excellent eye-opening book by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn called "Half the Sky".

Also, great gingerbread houses/structures!

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

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