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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

Here Fishy Fishy...

How to tell if the sushi served at the wedding is fresh:

Yes, those are live fish in wineglasses.

Naturally, I have a few questions.

1) Live animals in a wedding cake? Really? What next: hamster rolly-balls?

2) On a scale of 1-10, how bad is it that now I want to see a hamster in a rolly-ball jammed between two cake tiers? I mean, are we talking "not our first choice for babysitter" bad, or "your name should be on a national watch-list" bad?

3) Is "rolly-ball" even what you call those things?

4) What was I talking about?

Oh, right.

5) Getting back to the fish thing: if you MUST have fish in your wedding cake, why wouldn't you at least use pretty ones? Was the bait shop having a 2-for-1 sale?

6) You know how the wedding cake usually gets set up a few hours before the reception? Well, just how long do you suppose the fish were in there? I mean, not to be indelicate or anything, but what happens if one croaks before cake-cutting time? ("It's ok, kids, he's sleeping! And his friends are just...kissing him! Yeah! Really!)

And if you're not completely grossed out yet, just imagine the smell of old fish water mixed with the smell of icing when they took that top tier off. Mmmm.

Perhaps you think I'm coming down too hard on this cake, though. After all, the cake itself isn't so bad, so maybe the whole live-fish thing was an isolated incident. Right?




If this groom's cake teaches us anything, it's this: when there are live minnows embedded in your cake, RC cars mashed down into the icing can seem downright classy.

Stacey W. & Karen W., believe it or not, these aren't the first wedding cakes with live fish in them here on CW. There was also this one. So, are we looking at a terrifying new wedding trend? (And who among us secretly hopes so?)

- Related Wreckage: The Groom's Revenge

« A Little Rough Around The Edges | Main | Guess That Cake »

Reader Comments (185)

the first thing i thought of when you mentioned hamsters in roly-balls is YES! i immediately wanted to see that and got a bit giddy at the thought of seeing that wrong?

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessie

Here's a thought... what if the fish were actually pets of the bride and groom?
Perhaps they were just trying to involve them in the wedding like people do when they make their dogs ring bearers.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKell-Dawg

Those poor, poor fish - several in each wine-glass, top covered, oxygen running out....and how long does a wedding reception last,not counting how much in advance the cake was prepared? I'm all for fish in unusual settings (my favourite was in a lavatory cistern in a separate glass compartment) but it has to be humane and this is just cruel. Guess the bride & groom aren't Buddhists!
The other cake is a cute idea but must contravene about 20 Health & Safety rules!! Mmmmm, fishalicious...

wv - empoly...I would not empoly these wreckorators...

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline B

Are the electric blue things on the fish cake seaweed or coral? I dunno. and to solve a lot of your complains with the fish, a beta in each glass would have been ideal. They're pretty -and- they are awesome at oxygen conservation.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLil

Okay, I have to say that I am completely fascinated by the wedding cake. The top tier floating on top is actully very interesting. Yes, they should have had something pretty like betta. But they would have knocked the glasses over trying to kill each other so then you would have to explain dead fish AND how a fish could knock over a wine glass between two cakes. (The Groom cake is just ... well nasty looking with or without the fish)

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarma

that's pretty evil and disgusting...nice way to treat living beings -- as disposable party decorations, yay!

I don't think you need to be an animal activist to find that extremely distasteful, not to mention repulsive, those are tiny containers for fish, the water must have been filthy.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSheyna

um, 'Cake Boss' did an Italian wedding cake with a plexiglass box with 2 live doves in it (the box did have air holes): before the cake was cut the doves (shackled with white satin ribbons) were ceremoniously 'released' (the bride dragged them out of the box by the ribbons).

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

the fish idea, not so bad as I've seen fish in bowls as centerpieces at weddings, but c'mon, can we find a better way to display them than in wine glasses? Makes you wonder if there were any fish in your champagne glass... and yes, I agree, some nice male Beta fish would have been better than those "backyard lake" looking things...

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZodiac

make it stop!

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

But why are the fish in GLASSES? Is someone going to .... drink them?


March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonique E.

andrea said...

Am I the only one disturbed by this trend because nobody considers what happens to the fish? Sure, they aren't fluffy little kittens, but neither are they party favors or objects to be discarded after the party.

March 25, 2010 10:26 AM

I'm with Andrea. Poor fish.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

I am going to assume they used a lovely anchovy paste frosting between layers of the cake.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

As a fish lover, I'm completely mortified. Goldfish (the top picture) need a LOT of water, and they're squished in there like little live sardines. Properly cared for, those fish could live 40 years -- these guys probably suffocated before the reception was over.


March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNimras

I'm a carnivore, I loathe PETA, but this offends me. Nothing says "let's start our lives together in love and happiness" like torturing small, defenseless animals RIGHT THERE at your wedding.

I stopped going to a particular bank because they had little cups with betta fish at each teller station, and they were almost always dead, but the did occasionally replace them. So 90% of the time it was sad, and the other 10% it was soon-to-be-sad.

And you know, even if it is all the rage, at some point it behooves the decorator to say, "NO."

Now, if someone wanted a fake fish suspended in some kind of edible clear medium to simulate this effect, that would be interesting. Still kinda gross, but at least not cruel and interesting from a cake lab perspective.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly Chapman

I think they should have at LEAST sprung for fish that cost more than 16 cents!

When we got married 20 years ago, we had fish centerpieces! (I know, animal activists all over the blog just lost consciousness.)

We put one betta in a brandy snifter with flowers around the stem. It was pretty and unusual and a nice pet-shop owner let us rent them for the night and then give them back.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPooh's Pics

*shark leaps into boat*
You calllled?

I'm with the crowd of the intrigued-yet-still-grossed-out. I've seen the fish centerpiece thing, but never in the cake. Far too many ways it could go wrong...

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

Even if they were Bettas, you wouldn't want to use them as centerpieces. Although Bettas *can* live in those half gallon or gallon bowls, it isn't good for them at all. They tend to get stressed and bail.

Don't believe it when retailers tell you all they need are the little bowls. To be properly and humanely kepts, a Betta should have at least a 2.5 gallon tank with a filter and heater. A five gallon would be better.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

How bad is it that I'm thinking you could use one of these:
in a ring between layers (you could even get a multi-level decoration going on). And is it worse that I really want to order such a cake now?..

P.S. this site also sells hamster leashes...

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCait

We have 2 fish tanks and they don't smell. Then again they are tanks with a filtration system, not fish crammed into glasses.

To better capture our life, our wedding cake would need the fish, AND the hamster in the rolly ball, AND a smattering of cat hair for good measure. Good thing we don't have a horse, eh?

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeeJay

That's really a shame, because the top cake would actually be pretty if it weren't for the extremely ill-advised goldfish. I'll just put my hand over the middle part of the screen and admire the pretty, pearly shells....

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris

Aw! Poor fish. They don't have much room to swim.

I'd be deathly afraid to have anyone walk by the cake, lest it fall over. I wouldn't think that champagne flutes would be the wisest tier separator out there.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa (& Billy)

Count me with Sue, Andrea, Jo, and the others whose first thought was: Poor fish! They ARE living creatures. Did anyone think about what was going to happen to them after being cooped up in a wine glass for a few hours? Did someone save them and put them in a real aquarium? Don't tell me . . . I'm afraid to know the answer. Argh.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Even as an aquarium enthusiast that enjoys the smell of a clean aquarium, I wouldn't want tank water that close to something I intended to eat. Also, seeing those sad-looking fish in those sad little containers is... well, just plain sad.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I've kept fish for years, and this is one of the worst things I've seen! If any of that water got onto that cake, you risk salmonella and other infections from the fish waste. Don't even get me started on the fact that they probably used new tap water for clarity (which is unhealthy for the fish) and there is no room for them to even move. What are the odds the poor things were tossed after the wedding. Shame. :-(

Wouldn't anchoring plastic fish have been easier (and safer) all around?

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristina M.

The fish smell mixed with icing was not a good moment for me... so yuck.

I know I shouldn't be surprised anymore by anything you post on here, but that grooms cake with the little pond made my jaw drop! What if the water sloshed over onto the cake?!?! EEEWWWWWWW!!!!!!

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

I'm not sure if you call them "rolly-balls" But I don't care it just seems cute! Little Fuzzy guy there, Hehe. I have a Betta so I can tell you, THEY STINK! They are very good pets but beware the smells, the water, the food, the poo that sticks to EVERYTHING, and the darn things have to be very far apart or not seeing eachother, But they are very pretty. And really, HOW IS THAT SAFE FOR THE POOR FISH?!?!?!
WV:lorkyi I will go lorkyi for the poor fishes safety!

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjennakat

Please tell me you've seen the Cake Boss with the doves in the cake. GROSS!

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRory

Unbelievable! The smell, the use of ugly fish, the numerous things that could go wrong with this display. WOW!

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeathbycupcake

Actually some fish, like bettas like to live in tiny amounts of water...they naturally live in small tidal put too many of the males together (like more than 1)they fight to the death...(aka Siamese Fighting Fish, which I am sure most of you knew.) Goldfish don't mind small bowls either, but they sure are not pretty. The second one was kind of cool...thinking about doing that for my kid's birthday party...

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdaffodil

This is awful on every level. Even if the fish were to survive the reception (not likely, since the top tier of the cake is cutting off their oxygen supply), what were they planning to do with them at the end? Either way, these fish are gonna die for someone's idea of a cake decoration, and that's sick.

And even if you don't care about the lives of feeder goldfish (I'm a goldfish lover, I admit it), what about the poop? What about the smell? Whoever thought this up is nuts.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpauraque
March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRory

The first cake looks like this one really chintzy "sculpture" from Bradford Exchange that we got in once at the knick-knack store where I used to work. Dolphins and fish leaping out of blue plastic waves. Breathtakingly beautiful if you're a dolphin-obsessed eight-year-old girl with no taste at all.

As for the fish-smell comment - I think I'll be skipping that tuna sandwich I brought for lunch today.


March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Not that using live fish is PC, but the wedding cake wouldn't look half bad except for the striped wallpaper behind it.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

OMG where is Tom Arnold when you need him. These cakes belong on that redneck wedding show!

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

"Actually some fish, like bettas like to live in tiny amounts of water...they naturally live in small tidal pools"

That is NOT true. Wild bettas live in rice paddies which hold hundreds of gallons of warm water. A betta may be able to survive for a little while in a small cup, but it is cruel to them and they certainly don't "like" it. I could cram you into a small studio apartment with no heat and you'd be "just fine" but wouldn't you rather have a nice one bedroom place you can actually move around in and be warm?



and :

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMandy H.

Ok, EW! My first question was actually what happens if they cut the cake with more force than expected and the glasses tip over?

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdeemack

I'm going to try this. It looks awesome. Awesome in that terrible, I want to try it, kind of way.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAli P.

While I often read the blog & think, "That is the most outrageous cake ever & consequently, the funniest comments ever posted" I think this one really takes the cake! (And yes, of course I meant that!)

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl Black


No, bettas do not like to live in small containers, but they can survive in small containers if the water is warm and frequently changed. They don't live in tidal pools in nature (who told you that???)-- Bettas are strictly freshwater fish, and tidal pools are full of salt water. They live mostly in quiet swampy backwaters in Thailand and nearby countries.

Goldfish certainly DO "mind" being kept in small bowls. A goldfish in a pond can live for over 40 years. In a small bowl, it will be lucky to survive for one year.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary

Hmm, a lot of people seem to think that torturing Bettas is a more acceptable wedding entertainment than torturing goldfish. I don't think I buy that, notwithstanding the fact that Bettas take a little longer to strangle on their own waste than goldfish do. By the way, fish urine is much smellier and more toxic than fish poo, so even if you don't see waste in the glass, it's in there.

If a pet shop agrees to take the fish back after the reception, that would seem to solve the problem of what to do with the fish after you've had your way with them, but it doesn't really. What happens to the next customer, who buys a Betta without knowing that it has recently been stressed, jostled, chilled (probably), and scared senseless for a whole evening, and therefore is highly likely to sicken and die within the next few days or weeks (and believe me, most of them will)?

I don't care if it's cute-- find something else cute that doesn't involve cruelty to live animals.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary

Why stop at hamsters? Why not embed dogs, or miniature donkeys, or zebras, in cakes?
Why not hang kittens by their tails around the reception room? They would provide both decoration and musical entertainment.
Why not attach fake cherub wings to real babies and put them in a cage between cake layers?

Personally, I'm holding out for my dream cake-- a cake made of ants, with a live anteater leashed to it.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary

All I can think about is one or two of those little fishies committing suicide. My first fish leaped out of a comparatively large tank with filter; and my boyfriend's boss once came back from a long weekend to find her beta flopped on the keyboard because she left the window open and it couldn't take the heat. I can only imagine how long they would survive in those glasses before they kamekaze the bottom tier.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTamara Marnell

But, of course, there's this:

Sing a song of sixpence, pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing.
Wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?

Some folklorists say that this old rhyme probably describes an actual practice. Instructions for making pies with live birds in them can be found in some old recipe books, apparently.

What the folklorists can't explain, though, is, who would want to eat a pie that has had live birds in it for any length of time?
Feather, guano, dander, and bird lice tart, anyone?

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary

Fish centerpieces never look good. The animal is almost always in there too long, and is lethargically floating around in dingy water. I have never, ever seen a fish on a dinner table where it's actually added to the ambiance. I know people want to try to save money and also be unique, but it isn't unique at all. No one wants a fish foisted off on them at the end of the night, so that it's inevitable demise is now their responsibility.

Anyway. The aquarium cake in the link looks okay, but these newer ones are pretty gross. Especially that minnow one. yeck.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin

i was at the fish store once and someone was buying gold fish for her wedding, she said "i don't want to spend a lot I'll just let them die after the wedding." to the credit of the fish store they told her to bring them back for a refund but using fish like this is cruel. if you keep fish you know how quickly water can get toxic and how painful it is for fish.
don't use fish like this please.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Aw, c'mon... Nothing says "class" like 18-cent-a-pop feeder goldfish!

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma!

Yes, fish in the cake! :) To cook as hor de vours, of course; and people thought it was strange... :) Tarter sauce, anyone?

I echo the others; how cute is it to shove poor fish into your cake? Some sick idea of "Art" (Piccasso? Is that you?!), perhapsy, but not at the sake of life (even if it is a goldfish/baitshop fish, fated to be shaken to death by a 5-year-old or chomped at the edge of a fishing line! lol). :)

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStoich91

What about the wedding cake made by Buddy Valastro (the Cake Boss) that had the doves in a cage halfway up it? Apparently an "old-school" type of cake? That one was pretty wild...

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Ok, fish is one thing, but I was watching Cake Boss on TLC one night and Carlo made a wedding cake with LIVE Doves in the middle! Above is the video link...apparently, this is an old Italian tradition.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNICOLE

Okay, so fish aren't furry and don't meow or whatever. I just think it's wrong to use living animals as a decoration. (Or dead animals for decoration, for that matter.)

(And @Gina - those "Chinese fighting fish" are probably bettas, which are very sweet little guys. And they probably all died prematurely after that.)

And bettas - also not suitable for decoration. I put mine in glasses just while I'm cleaning their tanks, and they get stressed out by it. Bettas won't just keel over right away in a small container the way most fish would, but it drastically shortens their lifespan, even down to 25% of a cared-for fish.

And bettas don't smell! If they smell, you're doing it wrong, change the freaking water.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

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