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

Old Time Wreck 'n Roll

For decades now mankind has been left to wonder: Just where did the first Cake Wreck come from? We may never have the definitive answer (outside of "42", of course) but an historic find has recently been unearthed in the area of Gilbert, Arizona, that may shed some light on this weighty issue.

I give you, Magic in Frosting!

Breathtaking, isn't it? This artifact, discovered by Luz G. of Beautiful Impermanence, is believed to date back to the "free love" era of the 1960s, when the word "magic" was interchangeable with the names of many and varied forms of hallucinogenic drugs. Coincidence?

I think not.

Especially when you consider that the author claims to be the original creator of the Smashed Pink Elephant cake here. [arching eyebrow] Highly suspicious.

Regardless, this priceless find demonstrates some truly remarkable feats that our ancestors were able to achieve using nothing more than buttercream, a few simple tools, and the belief that any woman who plays tennis is a low-browed neanderthal with a thyroid problem.

Further evidence of the decade's inebriation includes this lovely (not to mention leggy) specimen:

The "Merry-Go-Round of Bisected Ballerinas" was a popular party motif during the summer of '67.

And lastly, here's a delightful reminder of simpler times - when the hair was long, the skirts were short, and first-degree murder was a "groovy" party theme:

(Note the smoking gun and perfectly-piped pool of blood. Such accuracy! Such talent!)

So, where do modern-day Wrecks come from? Well, in light of these examples I believe there can be only one conclusion: they're made by the people who got these cakes as children.

- Related Wreckage: LIFE Wrecks

« Here comes the bri...AAAAUUGGHHH!!! | Main | Rooby Dooby DOOO!!! »

Reader Comments (204)

The water and the mast ship of the last cake looks soo good, but everything else is crap. I love the half-ballerinas! Haha.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNichole Loves Cakes

I would never have known those were elephants had you not told me!
Very scary!!!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh my - my mother had this book during my childhood. The ballerina is still frightening after all these years...

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbetsy

The last is actually pretty well rendered considiering it is buttercream, (I was really impressed by the palm trees) but the subject matter is definitely what makes it a wreck.

On the merry-go-round ballerina cake, is it just me or is her foot upside down and backwards? I think the only reason she's sitting down with that odd expression is because she just dislocated her hip.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterYota Armai

OMFG. What?


August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMs Avery

LOL. Nothing like some ole time wrecks! Thanks for starting my day with a laugh!

You rock - love the Hitchhiker's Guide reference! :D

These are the grooviest wrecks ever. And I totally agree that this is where modern day wrecks come from.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDea

I like the phone-cord piping on the pirate one...makes me reminiscent for old dial-phones!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKath

*dies laughing*

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Seriously, did you check out the waist line on the pirate? I don't think he has any internal organs below his rib cage.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor took me 5 minutes of staring at the 2nd one to even start to have a clue what it was....and I'm still not sure.

Even carrot jockeys couldn't help these ones :)

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStylishHeather

Those pink elephants look like the "Pink Elephants on Parade" from the Dumbo movie. Those things always freaked me out!! lol

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

Yaaaaaaaa, that pirate cake! With the olde tyme beige coiled telephone cord border and the R-rated scenario featuring Quentin Tarantino and Dennis Hopper’s love child as the pirate! And…wait, what? THERE’S NO PARROT!!! Shiver me timbers, but this be some kinda wreck, I says! Walk the plank, ye scurvy swab! Arrr!


August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTigerwolf

Coincidence? I think not. brought the LOLs.

And is it just me, or is the evolution of the top tennis player suggestive of our adored phallic symbols?

Those hippies were a horny bunch, weren't they?

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlix

Ah yes, the 1960s, where even a simple cake can become a mind-boggling acid-trip like experience.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoMama

This is easily one of the best posts yet. What an insightful glimpse into the history of Wreckology. I love it.

WV: colonixi - a colonectomy performed by stripper named Tiffani

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Snark Pants

For the ballerina cake-I'm pretty sure if it was displayed on a turn table, from the side, it would appear that she's dancing. It's actually a rather ingenious idea, that only looks like a wreck from the top. From the side the legs will match up with her torso.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPerchik

Huh. I had no idea pink elephants had tusks. The things you can learn from cake.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTamaran

I thought the elephant cake was a bunch of pink cats climbing a pole. Or something?

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHalf Assed Kitchen

I just took a class where the instructor (v. old school) HAD this book and showed it to the entire class as a great resource on figure piping! When I saw the book, I decided I wanted nothing to do with figure piping. Ever.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I have a modern day version of the elephants on the champagne.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHalley

I think the one with the legs disturbs me because those legs don't have an upper body! And the poodle, that one is just wrong. It scares me.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFoodieCrystal

I'm about to gag thinking of all that icing on the elephant cake.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Ha! I found this book at the massi Powell's Bookstore in Portland! and it was 50 bucks...way too much for me :/ Thanks so much for a great reminder!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

I know it's a wreck, but I LOVE that Pirate cake. I need someone to make that for my next birthday.... Or better yet, September 19th!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterspyderqueen

Are the pink blobs that are melting all over the wine bottle elephants? I've stared at it for 10 minutes or so and that's all I can come up with.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter:::b r a n d i:::

Poodle cake- awesome

Disembodied Ballerina legs- horrifying

Tennins player- puzzling? Scopes Trial?

Pink Elephants- psudo- sophisticated. All that buttercream with champagne is guaranteed to give you a hangover :)

I gotta agree that this is more of a 50's book. The pink elephant reference was from the 1940's- Fantasia (1940) and I think it was the movie Lost Weekend(1945)that associated it with drinking.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeah McNally

So an (older) co-worker just walked up to my desk, saw the frosted poodle and said, "OOH, that's pretty!" Classic.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEdith Weezie

i want the pirate cake, i think for my birthday this year i'll have my friends make me that! ha!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterutaduta

one of my favorite posts yet!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBlondeShot Creative

Hey! I ACTUALLY HAVE THAT BOOK!! LOL And yes, John McNamara and Roland Winbeckler were my figure-piping 'heros' back when I first started decorating 30 years ago!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercakedout


There are no words that accurately capture how awesome...
I can recall plenty of friends and cousins having Barbie cakes as a child... scary clowns... but my mother had some serious cake skills for an amateur and I am grateful that my birthday cakes were never this scary!

aufdeutsch - I have a Crock-Pot cookbook with a recipe for some sort of cream and rabbit (or substitute two squirrels) recipe.

My word verification might just be the logical explanation for these cakes: shagrum.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJena the yarn harpy

Here's another ode to wrecks past-

I love your site, it gives me a laugh every day!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

I'm sorry, the pirate cake isn't wreck-y at all, it's AWESOME. Very detailed.

I can see where it'd be squicky for a kid's birthday or something... but dude. FULL OF WIN!


August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOdie

I want that book!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucia

these are pretty wreck-tacky-ular...however, I am stumped as to what "42" means?????

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterterri s

Oh WOW! My mother-in-law gave me some old cake decorating books. I should look through them again and see if there's anything to send your way. The vintage wrecks are awesome!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

Oh my God, I have this book! Er, my mom does anyway.

Yeah, the torso-less ballerinas have always and will always be creepy.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMs.Cewsh

Oh my! I remember both of the first two from my mother's old Wilton Cake Decorating Books! What a back in time experience!!!!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCheysuli and gemini

OMG! My mom taught cake decorating lessons to make ends meet while we were growing up. We used to think it was so cool looking through these books, but now that I'm older I realize how weird they were.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My grandmother had that book, and now I am it's proud owner! She actually did the pink elephant cake for New Years many, many times at the bakery we had when I was a little girl. Now that I'm the chief cake decorator at my bakery, I'm thinking of bringin' sexy back. Thanks for the memories!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKay

As deranged as these all are, I am very impressed with the buttercream skill. Let's see Duff make blobs of pink icing stay on a champagne bottle!

For those who want more, the book is available in 49 US libraries.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCakey Goodness

@terri s...

The "42" reference belongs to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything" is apparently "42". We're not allowed to know the question, so we just know 42. So people use that as an answer to unanswerable questions. Does that make sense?

best integration of a hitchhiker's guide reference ever.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChasing The Dog

It's now a combination of my two favorite sites- Cakewrecks and Awful Library Books!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersophanne

I LOVE this book!!!! If I had any talent I would recreate each of therse beauties as an homage to the birth of the cakewreck!

wv: solightl These cakes look solightl try to make one and see if it floats.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Must. Find. This. Book.

Have my towel, will travel to find it.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjedijson

That pirate cake was spectacular! The detail on the water and the boat! I haven't seen an ocean depicted so well, not to mention the look of murderous glee!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHalesbales

Man. Those are decidedly wrecky! I think the best one is the poodle, to tell you the truth...although the pink elephants are kind of clever.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa (& Billy)

42. HA!!! :) (Your variety of geek-speak continues to amaze me.)

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSariah

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