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

Recycled Wrecks

Ever wonder what happens to the personalized cakes customers refuse to buy?

Why, they get "fixed" and set out for another unsuspecting schmo valued customer to purchase, of course!

Sometimes you can even spot these Wrecky rejects, if you look verrry closely and have a keen eye for detail:

Just think of the lucky eight-year-old who got this for his/her birthday:

"You got my name wrong?!?"

"No, of course not, Sweetie!
We just bought you a cake someone else didn't want."

There are a few accepted methods for recycling a Wreck. In addition to the "Scrape 'N Sell" we saw above, there's also "The Schmear":

"The Glob":

And, my personal favorite, "The Ice-Out":

Like Wite-Out - only way, way more obvious.

Jonathan Y., Leslie E., Erica H., & Jake S., how wrong is it that I'm thinking buttercream Wite-Out is a pretty good idea? 'Course, you think the office supplies go missing a lot NOW. Heh.

- Related Wreckage: Recipes for Wreckage

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Reader Comments (82)

Why wouldn't they just use a different cake sheet on the first one? How long would it take just to move the cupcakes to a new piece of cardboard?!

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTaylor@MyOlderBrothers

This happened to me for my daughter's 3rd birthday! They wrote "8" instead of "3" (what 8 year old wants Dora?). Then when I pointed it out, they scraped it off - and said the decorator wasn't there so they couldnt' fix it any more!!!! It was AWFUL. 1/2 hour before party. Cake was stale too!

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

How sad is it that on the first "cake", they wouldn't even have wasted any cake by starting over, if you look, the "cake" consists of two rings of cupcakes on a piece of cardboard. The inscription is on the cardboard, not even the cake, so they wouldn't have lost anything but a $0.02 cardboard sheet by redoing the inscription. Not wanting to waste a whole cake is a little tacky, but makes sense from the bakers viewpoint, but cake number 1 simply blows the mind.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike Owens

Wait, wait... back it up there. You let Wreck #1 off WAAAY too easy. Look at that thing. Those are CUPCAKES. And I think they are on a board, NOT on a cake itself. So why in the name of all things sugary good could they not just USE A NEW BOARD?! Seriously, Whisky Tango Foxtrot. That's real laziness there, which I think also needs it's own wreck category.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor

Stores actually sell these? People really buy these??? Really? Seriously???


February 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermn_me

ya need the scrape & sell/ ice out combo! then you can resell that cake! ;o)

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

In "The Schmear" cake i love how the balloons seem to be leaning away from the actual schmear, as if they were embarrassed to be associated with it.

...Although, i have a burning question about this cake too. Why did the decorators feel the need to go out of their way to FRAME the disaster site? I know everyone loves sprinkles and all that, but isn't the idea to obscure your errors and not draw attention to them?

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEvalis

It seems to me that between a careful 'scrape off' and an even more careful 'wite out' the 'new' customer could come away with a fairly decent cake... but there is NO incentive to spend the time or effort when the bakery knows that people will buy the poorly "redone" cakes!
How sad
Or am I giving the wreckerators too much credit???

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Valinda

Apparently when I was young (4-6 years, I'm 16 now) my parents tried to get me a cake for my birthday. When they picked it up it said "Happy Birthday Allson!" They forgot the i in my name. My parents mentioned this and they took it back and "fixed" it. When they handed it to my parents again, it said "Happy Birthday Alison!" They had changed the second l to an i, but they still misspelled my name. Finally they had to cut the entire top of the cake off and redo it. :)

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

so. wrong.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandi

Wow. What better way to say "I hate you" then to give somebody one of these cakes.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJelliDonut

I like that last one, as it's exactly the kind of thing my cheap-a** relatives would come home with. "Happy Birthday" (Gauze, Gauze).

"Mmmm, this cake is so chewy. Kind of like cotton."

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

On Number Two, The Schmear, it strikes me that putting sperm balloons next to something that looks like a used condom made an unfortunate combination.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary

the balloons look like lil sperm guys on the "schmear" cake.

uh huh. not unheard of to see them on a "schmear" slide, either.


February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Lee

All these are wrecks - and you're all correct noting that the cake board could have been replaced.

My theory on the "Schmear" is that there is an edible image beneath the schmearage, hence the original need for the framing. As Evalis noted, there is no other reasonable explanation for the framing.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

These are just SAD! lol

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren Borquez

I'm usually that schmo but by then the cake is in the bargin bin...YAH! CAKE!

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Interesting that the ice-out cake appears to be a "yellow cake" that is also chocolate. :P YAY for someone being sticker happy!

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate

As much as I would like to, I cannot fault anyone for fixing any mistake with more frosting. So creative! So tasty! Besides, I think this is evidence that cakes can heal themselves - tell me that isn't a cake scar on the last one!

WV: deacot "Deacot heck for these cake mistakes, but I'd eat 'em!"

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

I'm still laughing at the "moistest cake" sticker. LOL.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristie, Jeff and Kennedy

Love the sticky plasters on the last one. Or is it loo paper, and did the poor thing cut itself shaving?

WV: 'randy'....

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermorriganscrow

I actually have a small confession to make. When my fiancee and I are really craving cake we go to the grocery store and but the 'reject' cakes because they're almost always on sale, and we just want cake.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFinnBear

I don't get the ring of cupcakes. I think someone isn't even trying AT ALL.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Connealy

Ok, so I'm a cake decorator and when someone doesn't pick up their cake, we do have to try and sell it. If we don't sell it...that's a good chunk of change we're missing out on.

But really...I just don't get it. Its really, really simple and easy to remove the writing from a cake, plop down some buttercream, smooth it out, and write it over again. It looks like nothing ever happened...

So why...WHY...would any decorator use any of these techniques to "fix" a cake?? WHY????

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara Doane

Okay, the moistest cake ever is moist because somebody spilled water all over it.


February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGloria J. Ruesch

In regards to the cupcakes I would just like to point out that they wouldn't have even had to move the cupcakes to another piece of cardboard, but cupcake containers would have also been an option. Somebody was just being lazy that day.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley H.

surely the brown pine-cone "roses" on "The Ice-out" deserve a shout-out of their own?

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Too bad about that last wreck. The lettering was beautiful!

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMrsCyg

How hard is it to get a new board for those cupcakes? I must say though, those cupcakes are the loveliest shade of Cookie Monster blue.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi D

you know, these bakers had better be putting some serious discounts on those pieces of crap. if they're trying to get full price for secondhand cakes, these folks should get smacked in the face. with cake.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarianne

the white out makes me wonder what was said in front of birthday? while it, of course, could be the sterotypical "age", i like to think it was "Happy freakin birthday" or maybe "happy...birthday" which would go well with "It a Boy" and your other "we really mean it" cakes. either way, the birthday boy or girl will love it!

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThat's a Hot Mess!!!

Is it worse the bakery actually thinks someone will buy these cakes or that someone actually does buy them? Hmmm...

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

The bakeries should learn some self respect and put those things on the discounted baked goods aisle for those of us who want cake for cake's sake.

In other thoughts...

My hubby worked in a Dillon's bakery for about a year. I remember one story of a woman who came in, ordered an ice cream cake with "Happy Birthday(whoever)" and any color was ok, then after he did it, she decided red wasn't ok even though it matched. He was going to try and go over it with another color and a thicker tip, but she got all you-know-whatzy, so he made his friend buy it later that night.

Poor hubby - what's the term for "wreckerator by happenstance"?

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBethanyB

No. No. NO. Those are not smudges and smears. They're prep work for affixing edible paper photos. And white out is just to give the cake that special 3-d look, like those sections are leaping off the cake.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJosin L. McQuein

What a shame about the last one, with the slabs of frosting (like cheap "My Name Is" labels). Otherwise the colors are beautiful, the detailing lovely, and someone who can write legibly and attractively with an icing bag. Shame. (But Buttercream Wite-Out? Oh, yes, I'm there!)

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

For some reason, I take that "moistest cake" label as a challenge... not as a cake maker, but as a cake taster!

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLenny

FinnBear said...
I actually have a small confession to make. When my fiancee and I are really craving cake we go to the grocery store and but the 'reject' cakes because they're almost always on sale, and we just want cake.

Or if the cake will NOT be displayed and you are just serving, by all means go ahead and buy these.

Ive been to supermarkets, where the reject is cut into squares by the piece....

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbluemoon

I just watched "The Bonnie Hunt" on my DVR from Tuesday... did you know Busy Phillips said this is one of her favorite sites??? How cool is that!

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAce

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Can you believe this stuff!? I mean, the I-dea! Apathy reigns.

Great commentary.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCookieMonster

Ya know, "The Glob" kind of works, until that one needs to be personalized

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Black Dog

It's like covering a tattoo. Only tattoos are actually cool and sometimes funny when they have been fixed/altered.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNorkio

Wow. So wrong.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFluffy Cow

My favorite by far is the last cake. Perhaps because it looks like someone used Wite-Out on an heirloom writing of generations ago. It's just in such stark contrast to the beauty of the cake in general.


"Ya see, if you make a mistake when y'all are decorating a cake, ya can just repar it with a glob of icing made to look like a hunk of masking tape. See? Problem solved!"

The glob is by far my favorite. "I know you asked for My Little Ponies, Sally, but this Glob is much cuter and WAY less expensive."

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterandygirl

Ginger Ale nearly flew out of my nose with the "moistest cake" sticker. LOL

I'm heading to the store...wonder if I might spy any wrecks?

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen

So, they'd lose HOW much money by re-writing Happy Birthday on a new board?! Is that bakery so econmically unstable that it would break them to pay a little extra label and materials? Cuz you know they already had to move all the cupcakes so they could scrape off the name...

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterQatie

I love how the cake with the giant glob on it is labeled as "the moistest cake ever"

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Denny Family

That glob of blue icing definitely makes it the moistest cake I've ever seen! Look, it has a beautiful blue lake in the middle!

Though I have to say I kind of like the flying carpet white out on the last one...

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdeemack

What a shame. That last cake is so pretty otherwise! and nice penmanship!

I wonder if anyone ever ordered a cake for someone they hated or just fought with and then had to "change" it by covering it up? it still has a little "you're not that important to me" sting to it, but at least it doesn't say "happy birthday A** Wipe" anymore.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hey - now there's an idea. Why waste a perfectly good cake wreck?

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Shitty Astrologer

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