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: Harry Potter

Years ago, Jen and I were in an airport with nothing to read. So, like so many other hapless victims, we decided to peruse the local den of thieves (aka airport gift shop). On a whim, Jen picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Little did I know that that would be the beginning of what has become a minor obsession in my life. We've been to midnight book releases, I listen to the audio books at work over and over, and naturally I'm far more excited about the movies than any grown man probably should be. So, with the sixth film coming out this Wednesday, I asked Jen to let me do this week's Sunday Sweets.

Now, put down those Fizzing Wizzbies, and let's admire the works of some of the finest Muggle bakers around!

You guys asked for more 2D cakes, so check out this awesome fondant-free example:

We're pretty sure that's either a chocolate or butter cream transfer on the top - cool, huh? I found it on Decolicious!'s Flickr stream.

Next is Margie's amazing Sorting Hat:

For those of you who are not (yet) die-hard Potter fans, the sorting hat is a magical talking hat. Who sometimes sings. Or produces swords. Or bursts into flames. (Just read the books, Ok?)

This next one is reeeeally exciting [pushing up glasses]:

It's a book cake, yes. But not just ANY book cake; a book cake with the very last line from the series on it:

"All was well." [tearing up] This is so beautiful. It's from the aptly named Mike's Amazing Cakes.

And finally, here's the Hogwarts cake Duff and his team from Charm City Cakes made:

I think this was for the last movie's premier.

Here's a closeup:

I know what you're thinking, and yes, there actually are more great Harry Potter cakes out there. You'll just have to tune in next Sunday to see the rest of them. (And if you have one to nominate, you can send it to us at Sunday Sweets [at] Cake Wrecks [dot] com.)

And finally, I know there are still some folks out there who don't like Harry Potter, for any of a number of reasons. I doubt I'll be able to change your mind if that's the case, but I do want to share what I think is the best end result of JK Rowling's work:

Little kids reading 800 page books - now THAT is Sunday Sweets worthy.

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Reader Comments (255)

I'm reading The Sorcerers Stone with my 7 year old son right now. Of course, I own the entire series :) and have read it at the very least 6 times (re-read the previous books every time a new book comes out, yeah?). Book 7 I've only read once, though. I ought to re-read it to see if my initial reaction is validated, but I was so disappointed and horrified by it that I can't bear to touch it. Ah well. Books 1-6 were awesomeness personified.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterannelia26

I'm reading The Sorcerers Stone with my 7 year old son right now. Of course, I own the entire series :) and have read it at the very least 6 times (re-read the previous books every time a new book comes out, yeah?). Book 7 I've only read once, though. I ought to re-read it to see if my initial reaction is validated, but I was so disappointed and horrified by it that I can't bear to touch it. Ah well. Books 1-6 were awesomeness personified.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Duff's cake is amazing, of course, but that sorting hat is spot on! If you didn't know it was cake, it could easily be passed off as the "real" thing! Keep the HP cakes coming!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerraD

The book cake was made by Mike's Amazing Cakes.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMike's Amazing Cakes

Duff's cake is amazing, of course, but that sorting hat is spot on! If you didn't know it was cake, it could easily be passed off as the "real" thing! Keep the HP cakes coming!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerraD

Oh I love HP! Thanks so much for doing the Sunday Sweets for HP. I loved the book cake. I'd actually like to have that one for my upcoming birthday...which, I might add, is the exact same as Harry's. Even to the year!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRebeccagrace

Anonymous @11:10am, if my parents had been as smugly sure that only their tastes were valid as you are and had tried to limit me to Tolkien, I'd most likely loathe reading to this day (and I'm nearly 40). I've tried to wade through Tolkien, and he makes a great printed sleeping pill.

As for Cleary and Blume, I outgrew both quite young.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFelixAndAva

I refused to read Harry Potter at first, because of the overhype. I generally find things that are commonly popular to often be mediocre at best. My dad happened to read part of the first chapter of the first book online (at, and ordered the first three books (that's all that were out at the time. He read them, loved it, and when I was visiting one weekend, told me to read them. I loved them. It kinda reminded me that sometimes, things are popular because they're good.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I hate Harry Potter with the fire of a thousand suns, but anything that gets kids excited about reading is worth its weight in gold.

Word Verification: sumbfit, as in "If I have to hear my coworkers cooing over Daniel Radcliffe one more time, I'm gonna throw sumbfit."

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterh3llc4t

I used to really love Harry Potter (hell, I used to be able to recite huge chunks of the first book from memory, because every time a new one came out I'd read them all again to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything), but I don't care anymore. The last book pretty much turned me off the entire series, and I never liked the movies.

The space that Harry Potter knowledge used to take up in my brain is being written over with things I'm more concerned about remembering - like the names of all of the characters in Wheel Of Time, and at least a vague recollection of the plot. Because there is a LOT of Wheel of Time. And the names of the characters in A Song Of Ice And Fire, which also has a lot of characters and plot.

But then, I'm a mutant child who's loved reading since ever. I read Little Women in first grade. I used to get in trouble with my elementary school teachers and my parents for reading too much. Harry Potter never really caught me more than any other series, and the hype is offputting.

Personally, I'll raise my kids if I have them on the books I grew up on. E Nesbit. Nancy Drew. The Boxcar Children. The Bobbsey Twins. Astrid Lindgren. Madeline L'Engle. The Chronicles of Narnia. The Neverending Story.

The cakes are well done, though, and sorry about the rant >_< I'm a massive book nerd.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeaper

John, of course I don't actually want my children to be illiterate. They are wonderful, voracious readers... even without ever having read Harry Potter. :)

In Narnia and Lord of the Rings, the forces of good are clearly good and evil is clearly evil. The characters who are striving for goodness do not dabble in ambiguity.

Yes, you've deduced where I'm coming from. The Bible is explicit about avoiding sorcery and divination. When I go to the bookstore and I'm near the display for HP, the managers have helpfully put other books for sale right next to them that they think are similar in tone... and they are books about how to conduct spells and seances and such. I've not seen similar displays next to the Chronicles of Narnia.

I've taken too much of your blog space on this already... but only because you asked! You are right about not being able to change minds about this.

One book that I am looking forward to buying is your Cake Wrecks book. My children love this blog and have asked for your book. I'm going to get it for my son's birthday in October. Best wishes to you and Jen!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVillageMom

One problem with the "All was well" cake: The book appears to be open around the halfway mark, not the last page.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdeckardcanine

Love this post! I, also, teared up at the picture of the kids reading at the end. I agree that that is the best thing to come out of the Harry Potter craze.

These cakes are great, whether you are an HP fan or not. (Which, for the record, I am.) :-)

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

What I loved about Harry Potter was that it made reading *attractive*. One could always go "Hey, if you liked that, try this book!" and you can just see whole worlds opening for these children. It may have not been my favorite series but I still am thrilled at what Rowling did.

VillageMom, I'm surprised at your sentiment. It shows a profound closed-mindedness and I'm pretty sure that your children are or will be reading Harry Potter in secret from you. And if they have to do *that* in secret, what else do they feel necessary to hide from you?

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKit

I wish I had a clue how to begin making cakes like that.

(Yes, I know a Potterphile I'd like to impress.)

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSili

I'm 28 and had absolutely no desire to know anything about HP until I was visiting my parents one weekend last September and had finished the book I had brought with me (The Other Boleyn Girl).

I grabbed the 1st HP book off of my parents' bookshelf and thought I'd see what all of the fuss was about. I'll admit - I had to really force my way through the 1st book, and was sort of "eh" about books 2 and 3. Books 4 and 5 sort of kept me engaged, and I devoured books 6 and 7!

I don't care much for debate, so I won't dive in too deep...and I'll use another book for an example.

The Time Traveler's Wife. I loved it, but upon reading reviews online, I found that a lot of people hated it. I just want to care about the characters - I'm not expecting everything I read to be perfect. Personally, I don't have the energy to put toward hating a book. I disliked Wicked, but I'd still be happy if it encouraged others to read. :-)

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina

Oh...and great cakes! :-) Love any cake that looks like a real book (like the Dr. Suess ones you posted awhile back), and the Sorting Hat one looks great (although it doesn't look like something to eat. :-)

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina

As a teacher of students from economically depressed homes and backgrounds, any book that gets them "hooked" is a great book. I personally do not like HP books, not MY cup of tea, but they hooked my now 16 yo on reading, and so many of my past students on it too, that I have to LOVE JKR, for the gift that she has given to the human race. You can hate on her and the books all you want, but if they hook a child into the love of reading they are classics.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPatty

The books turned out to be enough of a wreck for me, the cakes look ok. I like the book cake simply for the sheer beauty of it. It's hard to find something so simplistic and beautiful. very nice.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love Harry Potter (and all "meant for preteens" books as they are a guilty pleasure of mine.)

To compare Rowling to Tolkein is to compare a storybook to an instruction manual.... They are different styles entirely! I appreciate both for what they are, but the ease of reading of HP makes it much more child appropriate than the extremely laborious and slightly dull LOTR.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE that sorting hat.... the face is amazing!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLizard

Wicked post, old man!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLindy Leigh

To all,

Don't pick on Village Mom. It is her right, as it is yours, to choose the books her babies will read. For now.

To Village Mom,

I think it is a shame that bookstores felt the need to lump sorcery books in with Harry Potter as sorcery, in and of itself, plays a relatively minor role in what is a fascinating story. Magic is part of the world of Harry Potter much as it is part of Narnia and Middle Earth. And there are questions of morality and choices of good and evil.

If you have heard your fellow church goers telling you that the books are full of filth and devil worship, I might take it with a grain of salt. Chances are very good that they have never read page one.

Okay, I'm done. Jen and I are getting pedicures. Whee.


OMG looooove the Sorting Hat! It's just so perfect and Hogwarts is also a masterpiece. I can't imagine how long it took to make that one!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBookworm

Pretty sad that kids these days are reading books filled with witchcraft and sorcery and they can't even read the Bible. But the cakes were not that impressive, Harry Potter or not.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Wow those are amazing cakes!

Speaking about Harry Potter... Hogwarts is hidden in Ottawa, ON, Canada!! Check it out at my site. lol

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

John and Jen.

I love seeing all the cakes you show here on Cake Wrecks, especially the ones on Sweet Sunday. As the baker of the Sorting Hat cake I am thrilled beyond belief to be among the cakes you have posted here today. You have placed me in the company of some wonderful bakers/decorators. It is truly an honor. Thank you!

My children and I are huge HP fans and for me it all started with that cake when my son wanted to have an HP party. To get the feel for the world of HP I started reading his books and have been hooked on them ever since. I credit JKR and her books with my son’s as well as my own love for reading. Before I read them I was not a big reader. Now I love reading.

Thank you,

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercauldroncakebkr

I'm just gonna blithely ignore the debate and join John in some serious Harry Potter love.

Story time: I was 18 when Deathly Hallows came out. That summer, my parents took me on a 14-day cruise to Northern Europe. We left on--surprise, surprise--the day the book was released. I was in a plane over the Atlantic at midnight (yes, I did count down and bemoan the fact).

When we touched down in Stockholm, therefore (at about 8 a.m. local time), guess what the VERY FIRST THING we did after leaving the airport was? (I'm not exactly as cute as the kids in the post, but pic: )

No, Harry Potter may not be a shining example of children's literature, but you know what? It's fun. It's entertaining. It's certainly better than being absorbed by a television.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

Interestingly, I came to the blog minutes after finishing Daniel Pennac's Better Than Life which is a treatise on reading and encouraging a real love of reading.

At the end of the book is his ten-item "Reader's Bill of Rights" which includes things like "the right to read anything", "the right to escapism" and, applicable to both the Potter lovers and the haters, "the right not to defend your tastes".

Also interesting was as I was reading Pennac, I was thinking that I should get out my copy of Philosopher's Stone and re-read it. For me it's like Jane Eyre and To Kill A Mockingbird and A Little Princess: comforting and cozy in its familiarity.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkcountess

I love these books and they got my kids reading. Well, the older ones anyway, the youngest prefers nonfiction.
I was never Tolkien fan as the stories bored me to tears. Yes, I did try reading them again as an adult. Classic story of good and evil and a group of teens trying to find their place in it all.
I love the sorting hat cake and want one for my next birthday :D

I hope this movie is better than the last one, I was seriously disappointed in it.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRedheaded Mama

why is it suprising to you that bookstores lump Harry Potter in with Sorcery and witchcraft books? Is that not what Harry Potter is? A big lump of sorcery and witchcraft covered up to be some sort of "good" story. And CS Lewis and Tolkien were nothing short of night writers who were in a cult. The devil is going to give kids something that is sugar coated but is evil to the core. JK Rowling is a practicing witch and I would never let my kids read something by the likes of her, Tolkien or Lewis or any other similar to them. It all SEEMS ok, but in reality, it's not. Any who. Sorry. I LOVE your website and visit it everyday. And sorry about writing so much. I get kind of animated on subjects as these because I don't think people use common sense when dealing with subjects such as these.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Love this post. But I have two things to say.
1. I find it ironic that someone who claims Rowling is a bad writer uses the word "ain't". Pure irony.
2. To the people who claim HP is devil worship and refuse to let their kids read it because they claim the Bible forbids it....I'll tell you what I told people like you who shopped at the kid's store I used to work at. If your child is unable to separate real life from the HP novels (Ie; they actually would believe magic and HP are real, and therefore a danger), your child is far too young or far too immature to be reading HP. At it's very core, HP is a battle of good vs evil. You say blame the ambiguity of good vs. evil in characters. But that's real life. Your child WILL be faced with situations in which the right thing to do may also be the WRONG thing to do according to others. It's a great story of overcoming adversity, the battle between good and evil and the power of friendship. It is SO much more than "witches and wizards". Anyone who believes differently has not actually read the books.

And John (and Jen) I loved that last picture. My brother was one of those kids who did not like to read, until he realized he was capable of reading HP on his own. We'd tried Tolkien, Cleary, L'Engle and many others...but you had to force him to read. Once he started reading HP on his own, he started bringing it to his swim meets for in between events instead of his game boy. He has since discovered the same love of reading that I had as a child, and it is wonderful.

Great post. I love Harry Potter. My mother and I have been to soo many premieres and we are super hyped for the new movie. Great cakes, I especially like the 1st one.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh, squeeeeeee. Last spring I choreographed a Harry Potter Ballet for our regional ballet company, and it was the most fun and rewarding thing in the entire world. I can't wait to see the movie on Wednesday-- and yes, not only is it great that HP encourages kids to read, but the books are WEL WRITTEN. Which is much more than I can say for another popular fantasty series (coughcoughTWILIGHTcough)

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterM. Butterfly

As an insane Harry Potter fan--THANKS!

I love the book cake, that's my favorite line from the whole series!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn

Thanks loads for sharing the awesome Harry Potter sweets! Even though I'm a 38-year-old woman, those books (and movies) make me feel like I'm eight again.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterabsepa

To Village Mom: I won't bash your views, I just want to say that I don't think you'll find a better example of love, loyalty, self-sacrifice for the greater good, and good (love) winning out over evil (hatred) than you'll find in the HP books. Rowling is christian and a church-goer. The messages are very good and have provided excellent points of discussion for me and my children over the years. As my kids get older, they get more and more of the deeper meanings in the books.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSirius

Too lazy to read the comments so I'm sorry if it's been said, but yes the Hogwarts cake was from a premiere, and it was made by Charm City Cakes.

Also, the sorting hat reminded me: on Tom Felton's twitter the other day, he posted a photo of a chocolate sorting hat he received - I thought it was pretty cool :)

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkd

My 7 year old just finished reading the series and I've never been more proud.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Thanks Holly :)

Wow, ticking the box to say email follow-ups to me was a mistake ... my mailbox doesn't know what hit it :)

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersylvia

The Hogwarts castle by charm city is pretty cool, however its just Styrofoam covered in fondant, it has nothing on this:

Hogwarts made from GINGERBREAD! the whole thing! it lights up and everything!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersevenmarie

Whose hand is holding that book for the child on the right??? It's not attached to the girl.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLynnsie

Ahhh. LOVE harry potter. I can read those books in no time flat.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

The Sorting Hat cake is fabulous!

The "ambiguity" comment made me LOL. If your life comes nicely packaged in choreographed shades of black and white, I suppose that's lovely. But this is a blog about cakes, not about the oddity of fearing a children's fairy tale.

I have a friend who loves to bash the books up and down because they're not "great literature." I'll give him that, but I doubt many seven-year-olds are going to pick up Moby Dick on a whim. (Not to pick on MD, but I spent an entire summer trying to get through it and finally had to concede to it.)

If HP is their appetizer to the "meat" of literature, I'm perfectly okay with that. Heck, I'm into literature and still find it best to alternate with some nice brain candy to avoid burnout.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCyndi

That Duff is a giggling genius.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDorci

"Anonymous said...

You know what would be even better? For little kids to be reading a WELL WRITTEN 800 page book. Or a WELL WRITTEN 100 page book. 800 pages does not spell "quality". Sadly, Harry Potter is derivative of every other myth, legend and fantasy novel Rowling could copy, steal from, adapt, or rip off. And her prose is lousy, too. How about getting the little guys to read Tolkien, Blume, Cleary, L'Engle, Tannenbaum or others? There are good modern children's literature authors out there, but Rowling really ain't one of them."

Funny....Every one of these authors used tons of sources to build their books. Tolkien in particular ripped his story straight from Norse mythology. Shakespeare, touted as one of the greatest writers of all time (if not the greatest), mashed most of his works together from Greek and Roman myths. What's original about the HP series is the way Rowling mashes things up and the story she created from her own head and the influence of others. What's important about her work is that she has so greatly influenced the lives and reading tastes of children from the very first book, and it shows no signs of stopping. Also, Blume and Cleary are often challenged for their content, and they're not exactly the pinnacle of literature. Now, you don't have to like the series, but respect it and what it's' done for literature, and stop thinking that just because you like it, it's good, and just because you don't, it's bad.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

YAY! Thats all. Yay.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Wow, the Hogwarts cake is amazing. But it would be an act of sacrilege to cut into it!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMs Avery

VillageMom, I find it interesting that you like Tolkien (I presume we're mainly talking about Lord of the Rings, here, correct me if I'm wrong) and not Harry Potter on the basis of Christianity. For one thing, there are plenty of wizards in The Lord of the Rings. For another, and far more importantly, at least when it comes to this debate, Tolkien explicitly said, over and over again, that his stories were not meant to be allegorical of the Christ story (as The Chronicles of Narnia were). Rowling, however, has said that the story of Harry Potter is meant, in some way, to reflect the story of Jesus Christ. I'm not attacking you, you're perfectly entitled to your opinion, I just wondered if you knew this.

Anyway, that aside. Thank you so much for this post! I've loved the books since I was nine (Rowling actually came for a book signing in my school before she was famous, as it's in her home town, but sadly I didn't own any of the books then), and really have grown up with them - they remind me of my teenage years so much, with all the bittersweetness that entails. I was an avid reader before Harry Potter, and the plot may not be the most original, but I LOVE IT.

So yeah, thanks!

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCat

I've always always LOVED reading! I think the first ever chapter book i read was "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." I think I was 8 or 9.
I never did understand why my peers weren't into reading. I still can't understand why it's so difficult to get kids to read; I am stoked, however that Harry Potter changed that.
Alas, I am also an addict. I have to read the books *at least* once a year! I'm still holding on to the hope tha JK Rowling will release that fabled encyclopedia. I need just one more fix.
The Sorting Hat cake is wicked awesome. Total win.

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteraskaboutmycrabs

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