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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
Thursday
Apr092009

Lamb-entations

Like the Mardi Gras King Cake, I suspect that the Easter Lamb Cake is just inherently Wrecky. I mean, this one Jamie B. sent in is a good one:

So really, it's like shooting apples* in a barrel to go after these things: just too darn easy.

However, I will go after the smoking lamb cakes:

I've seen several of these cigarette-puffing lamb cakes now, and I'm totally baffled. I get the lamb/Easter connection, but where's the cigarette feature? This one Monique R. found actually has a "Happy Birthday" sign around its neck, but most say "Happy Easter". Here's a better example:

What I find even more hilarious is the fact that it looks like both lambs are wearing chocolate yarmulkes.** Oy vay! An Easter lamb schmokin? What kind of mishegas is going on here?

Here's a variation, lest you think only one bakery out there is making these crazy things:


I'm guessing this is some kind of regional tradition, but I look forward to you lovely readers filling me with your wisdom. Explain this madness to me in the comments, so we can all learn something today, eh?

And before I leave you, here's one more photo sent in by Kat:

It's not really a Wreck; I just love that little girl's expression as she's preparing to lop off the lamb's head. You can almost hear the Responsible Adult going "Now, dear, let me help you..." as she's gleefully hacking away. Heehee! Oh, and that spot of jam is well-placed, too.

*Yes, I know it's supposed to be "fish in a barrel", but I would never shoot a fish. Too messy.

**For the record, this is the hardest word to learn to spell by looking up in the dictionary, ever.

UPDATE: And the answer is....[drum roll]

I don't know. Yep, despite having lots of theories floated my way - each one seemingly more bizarre than the last - I still haven't heard a silver-bullet explanation for the smoking lamb cake. However, reader Rosemary was kind enough to compile the most prevalent/reasonable-sounding theories in her blog here, so check those out and see which you think it is.

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Reader Comments (326)

If the lamb is for passover it would make sense that it's actually a scroll. Of course, why would a lamb be holding a scroll in its "mouth" like a cigarette? But I'm going with it being a scroll...

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPW

I have no direct confirmation of this butter/sugar/cake lamb business, but I think the symbolism is fairly obvious.

The lamb is a sacrificial symbol. Thus the raspberry filling symbolizes blood and the cutting of the cake symbolizes the subsequent sacrifice.

The cigarette is no doubt a reinforcement of this symbolism. Just like the offering of a final cigarette to the condemned prisoner standing before the firing squad.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm wondering if it's not more of a Paschal lamb. The "cigarette" might be the brush used to paint the blood on the doorframes during the first Passover. The last one definitely looks more like a bloody paintbrush than a cigarette! Not that that makes it any less of a wreck! Maybe MORE of one.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

Cigarettes are ban on Passover (Pesach) by some Orthodox Jewish traditions. So it's possible the cakes are representing the sacrificial lamb and the sacrifice of giving up smoking cigarettes for Pesach. But I'm just guessing.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAbby Normal

It is supposed to be a scroll...from Revelations, "Then I saw, between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. The Lamb went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne."

I just didn't know that scrolls were supposed to resemble Salem Lights.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Okay, so my theory would be that you eat the lamb for Easter dinner, so it's having its last cigarette. Kind of a death-row thing, maybe?

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I agree that the lambs are supposed to be holding paschal candles in their mouths.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElyse

My grandma used to make a lamb cake for Easter every year and it was NOT a wreck. It was very well done and I really wish I had a picture of one that she made to show you. She's still alive, but gave away her lamb cake pan, so there's no chance I'll talk her into buying a new one to make one again.

Also, I can't answer your questions about why we eat cakes shaped like lambs.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha Weisel

Maybe they're giving it a cigarette because they're about to execute it? You know, to calm its poor fuzzy little nerves.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeahBear

You know, the cigarette-smoking lamb is probably some colossal mistake. Someone probably made one once as part of an in-joke, and it got seen by earnest-but-misguided junior cake decorators, who then thought that was how it was done.

It has since spread, with no-one willing to look ignorant and admit they have no idea what it all means.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRedgryphon

The lamb cakes remind me of that episode of M*A*S*H (had to get the asterisks in) where Radar saved the lamb from being eaten at the Greek Easter celebration. They had a spam lamb instead. It looked just like that second cake -- minus the cigarette.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren and Lew

Okay, so Tara's comment got me Googling, and I found http://cafeconlesley.blogspot.com/2008/11/day-music-died.html" REL="nofollow">this blog post about Hot Bagels and Pizza that references the smoking lamb cake. Apparently it closed last fall. WILL WE EVER KNOW THE ANSWER?!?!

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMovie Maven

We always make a lamb cake for Easter, because it's a family tradition, but I have NEVER seen a smoking lamb! Grandma may have been smoking when she made the cake, but I don't think it would have occurred to her to let the lamb have a puff! lol I really must know what the back story is!!!

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Maybe it is a sacrificial lamb and either 1) it is being given a last smoke (though shouldn't it be blindfolded to go with that image?) or 2) they don't have the heart to kill it quickly so they are letting it smoke itself to death?

I too would love to see an update when the mystery is solved...surely some reader out there works in a bakery that makes these!

WV: supshing. I shink shumbody snuck supshing into my lass drink.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMinyassa

Nothing says "Spring" like a lamb smoking a cigarette.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm fairly certain (because I have a nearly identical photo of myself) that the little girl in the last picture is cutting the head off an ice cream lamb for her (Catholic) First Communion. When I had mine in Belgium in the 80s they were very common for both First Communions and Confirmations; I don't know if they still are.

They're made the same way as the Easter butter molds, and some have a small reservoir made out of sugar embedded in the head, with a sugar tube running down the neck of the lamb. The reservoir is filled with grenadine, so you gets to "sacrifice the lamb" and watch fake blood run out. And then we all eat ice cream!

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAreia

The scroll seems likely, but there's "blood" or something on the scroll, which makes the Passover doorway-blood-paintbrush theory make some sense, but I'm wondering if this is a bastardization of the imagery of the triumphant lamb (Christ) holding a staff with a red banner flying from it.

I've never understood the lamb-cake thing, anyway. Why would you hack in to sugary-symbol Jesus for Easter? He just went to all the trouble of resurrection... some gratitude.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermhb

"Why would a lamb be holding a scroll in its mouth?" you ask? Why, because it lacks opposable thumbs, of course!

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarah

@HorribleLicensePlates that was very funny to my weird little head. =)


I need to know why this cake exists. PLEASE update us when you find out!!!

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermel

I love the dress of the little girl (but she has way to much fun decapitating the poor cake)
I hate the smoking lambs, cigarettes and food should not be mixed (radical non smoker here)

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMella

I'm going with 'scroll' as well.
I just don't see why a lamb has to hold said scroll in its mouth, from one end, with a blob of chocolate and orange sprinkles on one end that make it look like it's on fire. Why not, say, a ribbon... or a well-placed blob of icing 'sealing wax'? Why not have the lamb holding it from the middle instead of the end? Why not just have it next to the lamb and not in its mouth at all???

I am thankful that cake decorators don't seem to think of simple things like this... if they did, we'd have a lot fewer wrecks to, um, enjoy.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergreyfuzzy

Tried to find something to connect the cigarette smoking lamb. No luck.

I can just imagine the google people trying to figure out the sudden spike in searches for "smoking lamb cake".

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterknitorpurl

"Lamb cake" is pretty normal here for Easter (Czech republic). Every family with children get one. The most traditional is fruit cake covered with chocolate.
For a mostly atheist country the religion reference to "Agnus Dei" is holding very well. But I suppose not many people here know where the lamb reference comes from.
As for the "smoking lamb" - no idea. Never seen it - thank God!

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMajka

I was thinking the lamb is blowing a birthday party horn?

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerri

haha no way! i have never seen such a cake but it looks adorable.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterveggievixen

I've been trying to come up with some reason why an easter lamb would be smoking. I think maybe I've got something. They're not cigarettes, but paintbrushes with blood. (several are red on the end) Maybe they're supposed to be passover lambs. They're still hideous though.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I guess maybe there aren't many M*A*S*H fans here. I am pretty sure the smoking lambs are tributes to the Spam lamb, sculpted by Trapper and Hawkeye to replace the live lamb Radar managed to spirit away. I believe he is shown with a cigarette in his mouth, and possibly wearing a hat, near the end of the episode when everyone is quite drunk on Greek wine.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBunny

I also googled the whole smoking lamb deal. I found a fellow in Germany that went to the in-laws for Easter. They had all the Easter trappings; chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, chocolate, and more chocolate (which is ALWAYS a good thing!!!). BUT they also had a picture of a lamb cake. Looks like a normal white cake with a glaze on it (just like the honey dipped donuts at Tim Horton's actually...yes, I'm Canadian!!) not the nasty icing atrocities in the wrecks and had a nice coconut mohawk along the top of its' head and back. There was no evidence, however, of a cigarette stuck in the lamb's mouth. From the lousy angle of the picture, there doesn't appear to be anything in its' mouth at all.

Also noted in my readings, that some bakery in NY sells lamb cakes with smokes stuck in their mouth every Easter. Perhaps it's a NY thing?

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertrish

My god. Who would bring one of those to a celebration with children? They are sure to induce nightmares.

My vote is for Joe Camel. That's what it looks like and not a lamb and there's some decorator out there patting himself on the back for salvaging that unwanted cake by putting Happy Easter on it.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFroggylady

Ok, I considered what was in the first lamb's mouth a scroll...it's believable, but when I checked the link for the next pic, it actually is a Parliament cig in it's mouth. Someone should find out what store these came from and call them....

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRory

Okay, I've decided it's a tutorial for delinquent kids.

Okay bois ann goils we've finished all our lessons on cherry bombin the toilets and messin wit da teachas and stuff now here's da icing on the cake.... ( *wink and point to exhibit A) This, my little friends, is how EWES smoke!

(pause)

b,
b,
b....BWHAAAA! HA! Ha!

Oooooo...hoooo...hoooo (wipe away tears)

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

I'm pretty sure the lambs are having cigarettes and not scrolls. I found a lot of these cakes on the web, and some of them had real cigarettes.

I have no explanation.

WV: ulingly adv. with stubbornness and pouting. "*I* wanna be the one to cut the lamb's head off," said Billy ulignly.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonique in TX

I would believe it was Joe Camel except that still does not explain why they are use for Easter cakes.

I found a site that mentioned that Polish Easter cakes are shaped like lambs and always carry an Easter banner . . . maybe these are rolled up banners?

I am also a fan of the "Lent's over! We may resume smoking!" theories.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia Leigh

Maybe it is a reference to Franklin's Dolores? http://the-panopticon.blogspot.com/

Although Dolores is not quite a lamb. =)

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterknittinandnoodlin

hhhmmm ciggy looks like it might be a brush...representing the painting of the doorpost at passover with lambs blood...still strange to represent in cake form.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthetoddlerwhisperer

I just read through 70 comments. I am sad to be more confused than when I started. I too, NEED an explanation!

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

Perhaps the smoking lamb cakes are reworked Joe Camel cakes?

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavid B

Maybe it's the lamb's cigarette before he goes before the firing line aka little girl's who cut into him with GLEE.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEnna

Tbat next-to-last one looks more like an Easter Ferret to me.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Luxuries

smoking lambs, whats next?! (hehe! Psst...cant wait to see!)

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTwisted Serenity

OK, the only thing I came up with for the igarette is related to executions. Wasn’t it customary to offer the condemned a last cigarette before going before the firing squad? As the lamb could be construed to represent “the condemned” perhaps the cigarette is the ceremonial last cigarette before the slaughter. That’s all I could come up with.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCharles

I bet those lamb cakes are addicting.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

The lambs are holding a paint brush in their mouths with their blood on it to symbolize the Passover.

It is celebrated because those houses with the lambs blood over their doors were passed over by the Angel of Death, which was meant to kill the first born of the Egyptians.

If you didn't have the blood on your door, your first born child was killed.


There's the reason for your "cigarettes". ;)

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

Knitorpurl, Google
techs' confused brains smoke; they start
frogging our search threads . . .

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

Maybe it's like passing out cigars when a baby is born. You know, Christ has risen, so let's pass out cigars again? I have no clue, really.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteremporess-zia

Uhm, maybe this is a dumb question, but why not just ask whoever took the photos? And if they can't provide an answer, then ask them to ask the bakery where they bought/saw the cake?

I mean *someone* posted the photos, so they either took it, or got it from someone else right? It shouldn't be too hard to go back down the associations and find out, six degrees of separation etc...

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoeDuncan

Cake #: lipstick on sheep. Uh-huh. And a ciggy afterwards. ok.

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermsyendor

El Comodoro - you are my hero!

Also, I love the way the little girl looks like once she's cut through the lamb's neck, she'll just keep swinging that sharp blade right into her dad's crotch!

'I don't want any more brothers or sisters!'

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Applebee

My first thought was the M*A*S*H episode "Private Charles Lamb," too. But I don't recall the infamous Spam Lamb ever having a cigarette...

April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLynette

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