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

Signs of Trouble

Sometimes, bakery wreckage isn't just limited to the cakes.

But what is it good for?
(Hooh! Good gah, y'all!)

I'll leave it up to you guys to explain what a "cake derator" does.
(Best definitions gets posted below!)

Every time a surly employee "apologizes," I picture him/her doing finger quotes kinda like this.
(And yes, this was taken in a bakery - pinky swear!)

"Honey, my mom is coming to stay for a few months. Isn't that great? I told her you wouldn't mind. Anyway, be a dear and go get a cake for us all to celebrate with, mkay?"

"You got it, sweetums! I know just the place..."

(From the Engrish "brog.")

And speaking of things to celebrate:

Personally, I like to celebrate cake as often as possible - with more cake.

And finally, a few favs from the archives:


Also known as "Bubble and Squeak."

(That's for you English Wreckies. Please, no need to thank me.)

The lawyers insisted.

Update: I've since heard from the owner of that last bakery, who as I recall blamed the sign on an in-law. Heh. At any rate, I think the sign has now been removed. See? Another example of the power of Wreckage, used for good! :D

Many "thanks" to wreckporters Robb & Abby, Allison M., Matt K., Steph, Kristen F., & Bonbon.

- Related Wreckage: Label Makers

"Winning" derator definitions:

"an apparatus for aerating a derrière after consumption of cake. See also: enema"

"It's clearly a promotional tie-in to the new Indiana Jones movie: Derators of Delost Cake!"
- Christina

"combination of a confectioner's pastry and the Latin word deratoria, meaning "the unspeakable", a professional bakery employee who designs, quality checks, or creates cakes that render the recipients speechless.

But, I think the true essence of the term "Cake Derator" is in the anagram it creates: "Karate Decor."

(I like to imagine "Karate Decor" as being a baby's bedroom decorated with ninjas.)"

- Taylor@MyOlderBrothers

And how about a visual definition, courtesy of Reese B.?

Perfect for those "mouse-filled" party cakes!

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Reader Comments (173)

Yes, let's celebrate cake!

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Perfect Cakes comming soon just promises wrecks to come!

And mouse-filled cake? how often does THAT misprint happen. and yet, most people probably don't recognize it. What a hilarious image. And gross! Is that the cake they try to sell you after the mice from the rodent-infested kitchen have moved in? Can't waste cake, now. At least the advertising is honest.

"Bubble and squeak"--LOL!! Great reference! (isn't that some sort of Scottish porridge that gets its name from how it sounds when it cooks?)

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

that's what I thought maybe they misspelled "poisson"--which is French for fish. But why would you have a fish bakery anyway? still gross.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

to go with that first picture....Cake's cover of War Pigs!

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjackrabbit

but WHY is it called a war cake? it looks like it survived a war. it looks like a booby trap.

maybe the fish bakery was supposed to be a sushi shop catering to tourists and they mixed up their English and French terminology

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The Cake Derator is for filling cakes at the Poison Bakery of course!

I wonder if the mouse filled cake is filled with live mice or dead ones? Were they found at the poison bakery, too?

interesting insights, btw, Gary!

wv: rumbucl: a type of rum cake filled with clothing accessory pieces. like a mardi gras king cake with a "prize" in a bite.
(Didn't the Little Rascals make a cake like this in one episode? And come to think of it, instead of bubbling and squeaking, that one bubbled and groaned. Before it blew up)

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Actually, the Cake Derator is a really old-fashioned (pre-icing bag) dispenser of frosting. Mom and Ma-in-Law both had similar ones with which to decorate homemade cakes - in fact, I just tossed one out last week when I found it lurking in the back of a cabinet. Problem is, it takes both hands to squooge the icing out, leaving _no_ hands available to actually direct the flow in the desired direction. Very hard to use; I've used them to decorate sugar cookes (which is why my sugar cookies don't have icing on 'em any more). Icing/pastry bags are soooo much easier!

Merry from Annie's Book Stop/Sharon, MA

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Actually the Cake De-Rat-or lost something in translation. This is unfortunate because the baker making Mouse filled cakes could have used such a handy kitchen tool.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrixie61

Cake Derator (n): Tool used in baking to destroy or erase evidence of misspelling, off color frosting, inappropriate phrasing or other undesirable content found on cakes (see Cake Wrecks).

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I'm quite sure I cannot comment on the CakeDerator. Anything I'd have to say would be most inappropriate. For ANY site.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

FYI at the Poison Bakery the Korean text reads "Bbo-a-son" (and then another word I assume to mean bakery?)

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThumb Biter

Flapper, thanks for the info! Taylor--I like your anagrams. did you know Jen painted a Ninja bedroom??

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

As a wreck enthusiast and an English teacher, I think this rates high up on my "list" of "favorite" posts. "Thanks" for always making me laugh!

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

Anne-marie, like duh! of COURSE we want the recipe! This is a CAKE blog, after all! and there are plenty of chocoholics on here so don't be hoardin' the "best chocolate cake ever" recipe on us now that you've teased us with it! (why is it called "crazy cake"? do you go crazy for it? is it a cake for women having PMS, hence, crazy and war are related?)

wv: unreadi: "Give me a second! the cake is unreadi until I use this cake derator on it!"

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love that song! Cakes that make you go 'DER'... or was that things that make you go hmm?

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatty Cake

I actually read it first as "Cake Degrader" which I was thinking you should sue over since that's, ya know, you're job. :)

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermossum

Many thanks to Linda in NY for the lyrics to the song "War" made famous by Edwin Starr in 1969. Reading the lyrics made me curious about the song--I was just a kid when it came out and so it was the "HUH" that I remember and nothing else. But geez, those lyrics are really pretty powerful. You can see Mr. Starr sing it himself:

Thanks for the impetus to get a short history lesson today.
I would say that cake pictured looked like a war zone, though.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Your bilingual Canadian neighbours can help you with this one:
Like the Poison Bakery, something was lost in the translation. The derator comes from the French verb "rater" (rat-ay) which means "to fail" (ex: J'ai raté mon examen: I failed my exam) .

The Derater is highly appropriate to Cake Wrecks fans as to "de-rater" is to undo your failures. Just line that baby up, pull back on the plunger and it will suck up all your frosted spelling errors, miss-shapen flowers and poo-like blobs.

We have them in every grocery store up here. I'm just surprised you've never seen a derator before! Glad to be of help. Bon appétit!

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBamm-ela

Pretty sure that a cake derator is filled with a magic syrum that is then injected into the center of the cake to make an instant wreck. I think I saw it on cake boss. :D

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

Ok, here's the recipe for the Best Chocolate Cake Ever:

(note: for some reason, I think it's flavorless when it's warm. Please wait until it's completely cool, and it's best if it's kept covered, airtight.)

For a greased or sprayed 13x9 pan.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsps. baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tsps. vanilla extract
2 cups cold water

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa in a bowl. Add the wet ingredients, mix well (no need to beat it).

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.


January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Wrecksistant

"War Cake," as in "It's chocolate covered shrapnel, thus the awkward shape?" Or because they shot the strawberries right into the side, which would explain their odd placement? Was a derator used to make this? Without a doubt!

Maybe "Derator" is actually a misspelling of "Detonator?"


wv: "shife"-- similar to what I said when I realized I just posted this comment under the heading "Special Deliveries" from a couple days ago. :D

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy

We're not celebrating cake at the Poison Bakery, are we? I don't care if they meant "fish" or not.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Laugh! "O Cake Retard!"

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Was the sign for War Cake misspelled? Did they mean "Warped" and it's on the discount shelf?

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

That thing looks like a Swedish-made penis enlarger. And that's not my bag, baby!

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCory

It's the derator that's been causing all the problems here, right? Is that the name of your arch-nemesis in the upcoming CW comic? You guys got your Spidey suits ready?

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Dang it! I was here this the "War" song stuck in my head. Came back to check on comments's back!

wv: warconia...I can't make this stuff up!

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoseAnn

The "Crazy Cake" recipe is a favorite among my friends who keep kosher or who are vegan, but we call it the "Wowie Cake". I'm not sure why.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh, okay, it's supposed to be mousse. That one took me a few seconds. Not because I don't know how to spell mousse but because I was still trying to figure out the mouse idea.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

When hearing conversation over the latest blog, 18 year old son said "How can it be mouse if they misspelled moose?" The mind imagery boggles!
from Mandy in Australia

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The "Mouse Filled Cake" would be a good birthday present for a cat, don't you think? LOL!

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiane1611

I confess to being somewhat annoyed by the "engrish" jokes. Usually I enjoy Cake Wrecks humour, but in this case I think you should refrain. The "engrish" thing is not only over-used, but it also reinforces an unfortunate facet of American culture: xenophobia, and the "making fun" of immigrants. Hate to be the negative one, but I do find it offensive, and I'm not the only one.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I once worked in a store with a bakery, and the bakery manager insisted that using quotes for emphasis was perfectly fine and didn't understand why someone would think it ridiculous. So I erased all her signs.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDevin

The comments are so funny...almost beats the
I work as a cake decorator for Giant Eagle and I never saw THAT sign.. ~ CELEBRATE CAKE ~ ...MUST HAVE BEEN IN CLEVELAND....!

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Is the poison picture a joke about me? this is ray lau

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulianne M

gow di cake com yut ho sic say yun

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulianne M

The "cake derator" is the dollar store version of the cake decorator that you would pay much more for at a retail location.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Is karate what messed up the decor-ating of the war cake?

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I don't know if you can use it, but it's an entertaining use of cupcakage...


January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerri

I was picturing more of a mouse-shaped cake with filling. With gray icing, like the armadillo in Steel Magnolias. It's not a party until you start hacking up a dead animal...ew.

Thanks for providing a visual to set me straight! :P

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

lol@Molly (and the CA-ators) *snicker*

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

@Anony 7:29--

Just gearing up for the Olympics!

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

WV: bilingra-- Engrish doesn't offend me, it's just a sign that someone else is becoming bilingra!

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

OH Jen! You should take a day off every week...this has been hilarious!! Oh that's right you are. Good on ya! Love you, girl.

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBreath-e

When I saw the object in the Cake Derator syringe I'm afraid I laughed so abjectly that I ejected what I was ingesting!
Reverend Mother

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

We celebrate Cake as often as we can. Oh, what...they're not talking in code? Cake (uppercase C) in our house is code, LOL. DH "Can I have some Cake tonight?" Me "Play your cards right, yeah." Kids "We want some cake, too!!!!!" Poor kids....

January 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGina

"You see Dr. Jerkyl, SUCESS. This is a marketing genius, as soon, there shalt be no more Cake "decorators", but a new breed of bakers, my deranged cake creators, a.k.a DERATOR! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm a long-time reader, first time writer. I wish this comment was spurred under better circumstances.

What the heck is up with the "brog" remark? What sort of humor are you going for?

Is it the oh-so-not-cliched joke based on the fact that people who are raised surrounded primarily by one or more of the literal thousands of East Asian dialects sometimes switch the L and the R phonemes in speech, because the hard-wiring for certain sound pairs happens in infancy and is one of the first steps toward learning a language, so that the distinction between that particular sound pair then, becomes vestigial and is erased in the brain's speech center during language acquisition in a person's first few years of life, and thus can only rarely be fully retrained?

Whew! Oh man, isn't that "HIRARIOUS?"

Ah, the facts of neurobiology... you give us such delightful racist jokes.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertheotherbaldwin

no fighting over the war cake!

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTess Carter

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