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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
Thursday
Apr012010

Pastry Pranks

Far be it from me to try and fool you guys on April Fool's Day. Hey, when Mensa names you one of their top 50 sites of 2010 [Note: Woohoo!] you know your readers are far too clever for those kinds of shenanigans.

Besides, today is also my brother Ben's birthday, and I've just realized that in all these years my family has never pulled a cake prank on him. This must be remedied. So, let's look at some trick "cake" contenders.

First is something I featured a long time ago: the "sandwich loaf."

(Go here for more "fun" "food" - and the recipe!)

First this cruel creation tricks you into thinking luscious buttercream and layer cake is on the menu. Then - WHAMMO! - you've got a pimento-flecked mixture of salmon, mayonnaise, cream cheese, and sour cream tickling your taste buds gag reflex.

[Mercifully the sandwich loaf passed out of favor over thirty years ago, but there are still places making them today if you're looking for a way to make your friends and family hate you.]

Moving on to something slightly more edible, how about a frosted roll of toilet paper?

(What? I did say "slightly.")

Locusflower made this classic cake prank for a manager who was leaving. Here's the end result of the toilet paper cake:

Tadaa!
So perfect, and yet so cruel. Heheh.

On the less cruel and more cool side, check out what WhisperAWish made for her kid's lunch today:

Those "cupcakes" are made of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and the "grilled cheese sandwiches" are pound cake with icing. Love it!

Plus, look how realistic the sandwich can be when you toast the pound cake:

Source (with instructions)

With this kind of food doppelgangery, I have to say I'd rather expect something else and be surprised by cake than the other way around. But then, when it comes to food, I pretty much prefer cake over everything. [personal motto: "Cake: Not Just For Breakfast Anymore."]

For those of you who don't mind the occasional meat cake, though, here's a clever one by CW reader Maayan Z:


Ever since the Black Widow Bakery first kicked off the craze, I've seen a lot of meat cakes. This one, however, raises the bar with those cheese decorations. Of course, I have to condemn the very existence of this cake on principle alone, but other than that - nice job, Maayan!

Getting back to the tricks, though, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the classic balloon cake prank. The concept is simple: carve out a cavity in your cake, place an inflated balloon in it, and ice over the whole thing. When the victim goes to cut the cake, POP!

Variation include filling the balloon with whipped cream (big mess) or water like in the video above (even bigger mess). I've also seen "cakes" made of everything from upholstery foam to kitchen sponges, which results in some small hilarity when the victim tries to cut through it.

So, what do you think, Wreckies? Which one should my brother be looking out for? [wicked grin] Or, tell me the best cake prank you've seen in the comments - I like options. (Just no overly cruel ones, please; I've seen the wedding vids with the bride near tears - not cool.)


Oh, and Ben? Happy birthday, big brother! Let's get together real soon. ;)

- Related Wreckage: "Cake" Cruelty

« Lamb Fleeces | Main | Rabbit Food »

Reader Comments (175)

My grandma's birthday is April 1st too! I never thought of that...now I want to make her a joke cake. (Luckily my grandma has a pretty good sense of humor)

I love that lunch! So cute!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurenH

The only cake prank I've ever pulled is placing 40 re-lighting candles on my husband's birthday cake. Filled the kitchen with smoke and set off the smoke detector - oops!

Jen's posting includes fun, and mostly harmless, pranks.

Ooh, garlic salt on the chocolate cookie - that's mean, and dare I say, a bit of heresy ruining chocolate like that?

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

When I was in grade school, my BFF's mom took a small rubber soccer ball, painted it, and spread a thin layer of a cheesy pate on it, so when you tried to use a knife and cut a chunk out, it would go flying off the plate. That was pretty awesome.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Rainbow Jen

No pranks here, but I remember with fondness and a smile how http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/kids/gamesandcontests/features/amelia/" rel="nofollow">Amelia Bedelia misunderstood "make sponge cake" by finding a sponge, cutting it into pieces and baking it into a cake. :)

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSBG

A friend made me a sponge cake made with a real sponge. The frosting was made out of whipped Crisco. It looked beautiful. The best part was that my husband was not in on the joke (nor was I). He thought he'd be cute so he swiped his finger into the frosting and ate the fingerful of Crisco thinking it was frosting. The look on his face was priceless!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The Sandwich loaf cake is the most horrendous offensive creation, that is too cruel for any prank. I was a bridesmaid for a college girlfriend about 10 years ago. One shower for her was several hours away (ie middle of nowhere small town Wisconsin) and my husband and I happened to be spending the weekend in Madison, the closest major city about an hour away. Well, luthern church basement bridal shower throws quite a bash and there were several 'cakes' to serve the masses. As my husband 'attended' (we were just stopping through as quickly as possible), the sweet older church ladies saw a male to feed not just one dainty portion, but to help rid of the offensive concoction. To this day, he's still traumatized and the thought of the flavor combination in the 'cake' starts us both gagging. We should have known, the wedding, too, was quite an experience.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjamilee

My mother was famous for her cream cheese sandwich cakes! They actually were tasty, but she never put daisies on them. Parsley was her decoration of choice, with tomatoes carved into roses.

For years, they were a staple at church luncheons, and people would beg her to make them for bridal and baby showers.

I'm now vegetarian, but I'd give big money to taste her cooking again (even the sandwich cake!) Sniff! Sniff!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hmm...a meatloaf layer cake with mashed potato frosting could actually be pretty tasty. And I want those "grilled cheese" cakewiches so bad.

And it's very reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who thinks cake for breakfast is totally acceptable.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEdana

Ugh, I didn't even have to read the description of the sandwich loaf to make me gag. Bleh!

However I like the cake with the meatloaf inside. Yum! You can have cake as the main course AND dessert! What more could you want?

The cupcakes and grilled cheese are an awesome idea. Though it reminds me of the time my mother dyed mashed potatoes green for St. Paddy's Day and my dad and I said "No thanks." (she was a little disappointed, LOL )

The TP cake is just cruel, man...but I'm sure it's hilarious when they try to cut it and the knife just goes "thud"...reminds me of "The Office" for some reason.

I don't like the water balloon one because it ruins the cake! How cruel! So that's the one you should use for your brother's cake. XD

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa (& Billy)

My friend asked for an icecream cake for her birthday (party was on April 2nd) one year. Her friends went out and bought some little coffee creamer cups, froze them, stacked them up and covered them in frosting.

They also bought a real ice cream cake so she wouldn't kill them.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

How about a kitty litter cake? If you don't already know about them just google kitty litter cake pictures.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

the food network has a few--right now--a lasagna--made from cake and banana pudding..

early a strawberry chocolate pie--with 'chocolate meet' and beet juice dyed mashed potatoes..

for desert? chicken pot pie--with apples for chicken, banana's for potatos, pudding for gravy, and pea and carrots make from tootsie rolls (or starburst)

i guess i always thought of april fools for children.. and not adults.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOfTroy

Have you ever seen sushi cakes? Rice compacted into cake rounds then overlaid with fish. Bleh...

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Kraft

Sandwich loaves are yummy, the slices are like perfectly moist sandwiches infused with the flavour of the fillings. However, they're sort of rare nowadays and considered a nostalgic remnant of the 1980s even here in Scandinavia.

Nom nom nom :I~ ->
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sm%C3%B6rg%C3%A5st%C3%A5rta.jpg

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Eeee, you guys made it! I'm in Mensa and I voted for you!!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

My father in law once stacked up old pancakes and decorated them into a beautiful cake. Then he took it to a church cake contest with someone else's name on it...
He said the judges' expressions were priceless :)

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

My Great-Aunt and Uncle had a history of playing pranks like this ... cotton balls were their favorite, either placed in the middle of cupcakes, or diped in chocolate to mimic chocolate covered cherries. I think I'm glad that they 'grew out of it' before I came along LOL

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Karen

The funniest thing I ever saw was when I was working at Walmart and a customer stole one of the display cakes. They didn't realize that the cake was only a frosted piece of Styrofoam.Even funnier was when they had the chutzpah to bring it back to the store and claim it had been sold to them. Needless to say, they didn't receive a refund, but when we looked at the knife marks in the "cake" and pictured them chuckling to themselves at the money they had saved, we were reduced to helpless giggles.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My daughter turns 2 today. I'm thinking in 2017, when April 1st in on a Saturday and she is old enough to appriciate a good prank, we might need to have a special "April Fools" party. These are some great ideas, and kids love things that are not what they seem!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

My mom and aunt had a thing back and forth for a while with this little ceramic owl. It went back and forth between the two houses; they would sneak it into the other one's car or purse or house. One year, my mom made a bunt cake and put the owl in the center and then frosted over it. Oh boy the look on my aunt's face when she cut into that cake :)

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Chevious

Sponge cake. Made with actual sponges on the inside and frosted like a regular cake. Awesome presentation.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephany

"tickling your gag reflex" - hee hee!!!!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I made the "grilled cheese" last year. Turned out great!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKarri

I like the "grilled cheese" the best. The sandwich cake looks horrible, and the others waste frosting.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFanboy Wife

One of the best new snack food items which you somehow didn't mention is one I found last summer at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville. Offered by vendors on the Midway and near standard fair staples was the newest treat, fried toilet paper sheets on a stick or on a plate with sauce. The fried paper was surprisingly tasty and although fried, was low in calories and had the added benefit of extra fiber. Afterward, clean up is not only a breeze but somewhat redundant. The sauces ranged from conventional chocolate and cherry to rocky road and tobacco-molasses. I found them to be really unnecessary as the fried paper was filling, the batter almost seemed fluffy, yet quilted onto the sheets. At only $2.50 per serving (about ten sheets) it was a Midway food bargain for me and a profitable venture for the vendors. The only drawback was that the janitors kept complaining about having to restock the restrooms more frequently after news spread about the snack. People always want free samples, you know.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDJWildBill

"Sandwich loaves are yummy, the slices are like perfectly moist sandwiches infused with the flavour of the fillings. However, they're sort of rare nowadays and considered a nostalgic remnant of the 1980s even here in Scandinavia."

Nonsense. The smörgåstårta is still quite, quite common. :)

The difference between those and a prank cake is they're not usually trying to masquerade as sweet cakes, but are decorated with prawns, tomato slices, cucumber slices, rolled up ham and cheese slices, or whatever fits the cake's theme.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdanbala

I made my boss a "spaghetti & meatballs" cupcake cake (I know, I know) for April Fools Day because she hates, nay, despises pasta. She took one look at it and said, "That's vile. I'm not eating that."

BTW - she ate it.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

not a prank, but it would have been a good one, if I'd thought of it first! My brother was about 5 and wanted some ice cream as a bed time snack. He found some in the back of the freezer, scooped out a huge bowlful, and took a huge bite...and proclaimed it was nasty. Mom told him to put it in the sink, and she'd take care of it, it was probably freezerburnt. Ten minutes later we hear her laughing hysterically in the kitchen, he had mistaken the lard for vanilla ice cream!!
we still laugh about this 17 years later!
wv:bletersi - what my brother said when he tried his "ice cream"

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkristina

I din't think the first cake is that weird. But that might be because I'm swedish. See, here we have something called smörgåstårta. It's kind of a lot of sandwiches stacked on top of eatchuder. And it is delicious. Google it and try yourself.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Heston Blumenthal did a show in the UK, where they literally cleared the table: everything on the table was desert and edible, the cutlery, the dishes and even the candles (which were lit!)

Here's a pic of one of his amazing candles. They were white chocolate and filled with caramel! http://www.channel4.com/food/on-tv/heston-blumenthal/feast/heston-s-medieval-feast_p_7.html

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Nice. I've never been able to witness the glory of a cake prank first hand. But I do know that once my mom had a cake for my step brother. It was a square, but she wanted some too badly to wait for him. SO what did she do? She took a knife, cut one long slice out of the whole cake, then pushed the two ends together and spread the frosting over the incriminating line.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShayna

I did the fried egg made of a slice of ice cream topped with marshmallow cream (the yolk is a blob of lemon pudding) with angel food cake "toast".

(I make homemade bread a lot and sometimes I totally mess it up when I cut it, so the funky toast in the picture is actually pretty accurate.)

http://beehiveandbirdsnest.blogspot.com/2009/04/those-little-fools.html

I also did the saran wrap across the bedroom doors this morning and out of my six kids (three boys, three girls), only the boys fell for it. What does that say about male observation of details?

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjennie w.

You just made me really happy that I no longer work at my old job, where my evil, evil boss pranked someone with a water balloon cake (she put whipped cream all over the water balloon and said it was a "jello cake"). Hooray for my nice boss, who gives everyone a real cake on their birthday.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRosemary

Today is Rachel Maddow's birthday! And she's a fan of you and your site!
http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/04/01/4101184-when-your-birthdays-on-april-1

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervicki

Danbala: yeah, maybe I shouldn't have referred to the whole of Scandinavia as I can only speak for Finland :) They're not exactly extinct here either, but here the smörgåstårta - or voileipäkakku - is a pariah (albeit a nostalgy-inducing pariah) among savoury coffee-table treats. At least according to fashionable food magazines whose editors love to bully poor voileipäkakkus.

(Beats me why, as stated before I think they're yummy. Some have been predicting the comeback of the sandwich loaf. NOM.)

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Sandwich loaf is a big thing in Northern Minnesota, let me tell you. Lots of places still sell it up here, and the first time I encountered it after I moved here...well, I was speechless. I have a coworker whose favorite things is sandwich loaf, and she brings it to every potluck (made by our local grocery store).

Yuck (and unhealthy)!

Jess

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Not exactly a cake April Fools, but one of the best food related pranks EVER was pulled off by the BBC in 1957.
They ran it as a segment of a news program. They claimed that spaghetti was grown on trees, in Switzerland...
BBC's archive, with video-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/1/newsid_2819000/2819261.stm

The Museum of Hoaxes' web page-

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/archive/permalink/the_swiss_spaghetti_harvest/

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne H

My best cake prank was when I turned around a prank made on me. A goofy male friend was telling everyone that I was bringing a cake to a group gathering to watch Buffy. More specifically he was telling people to ask me about the cake I was bringing. It was a strange prank, but he's a strange guy.

After being inundated with calls and comments all day I decided to bring a cake. I ran by a craft store and got two styrofoam rounds and ice them with some store bought chocolate icing. It made a lovely cake.

By this point everyone was in on it but the instigator. At the gathering I sugested that he serve it for us, since he'd had the "inspired" idea for a cake in the first place.

I'm a good cook and the look on his face as he tried to cut and serve that was priceless. He didn't want to say anything to hurt my feelings, but it was clearly not a moist cake...

It's been over ten years and we all still laugh about it.
So, I brought a cake.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTalia

I made a meatloaf cake once for a get-together. I walked in with my cake carrier, people's mouths started watering... mwah-hahahaha! To be fair, tho, it was mighty tasty meatloaf and mashed potatoes, just not the sweet treat they were expecting. I've also made the Cheeseburger Cake, which turns that trick around in a *ahem* nicer direction.
The grilled cheese sandwiches are perfect, tho; might have to steal that one.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJasry

My crazy grandmother boasts about icing a giant sponge (have fun trying to cut that!) and making little truffles, some of which were actual truffles, and some of which were chocolate coated soap balls :) Blech.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAva

My MIL makes that first sandwich "cake" for special occasions: baby shower's etc. It's actually pretty good, my Husband loves it.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGirl in a glass house

My boss' birthday is April 1 (poor guy) so we're always looking for clever ideas to trick him. Last year I decorated an upside-down cake pan as his birthday cake. At first he was puzzled as to why he could not cut into the beautiful cake, then ding-ding! he figured out what was wrong! Loved it!
I will try some of the great ideas posted on this page for his next birthday.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

there are a couple i can think of. iron maiden (back in the day) played a prank on their bass player Steve Harris and made a cake that exploded when he cut into it.

and penn and teller, in their book Play with Your Food, had a heart shaped cake that bled when you cut it. both really good food pranks.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChrista

My fave prank cake was the kitty litter box cake I made for my brother. I took white and chocolate cake and crumbled it into an unused clean litter box. Mixed it with crumbled white oreos and some vanilla pudding, and used melted tootsie rolls rolled in crumbs as the uh..."kitty roca".

We served it with a kitty litter scoop (new and unused of course.)

If you'd like to see pictures I can send some over!

Andrea B.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Back in my Hotel kitchen days we used to dip almost anything in chocolate to make it look like a truffle. Garlic cloves, balls of wasabi, pieces of "fat cap" from cooled beef stock. This stopped other departments from pilfering our real chocolate creations as they could not tell the difference.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I made a sheet cake out of 4 yellow sponges and put plenty of chocolate icing all over it. She thought the male boss had made it. She was trying so hard to slice it without showing how overcooked she thought it was. I wish I had taken a pic, it was priceless.

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

There's a book called "Hello, Cupcake!" That has a section in this. Here are a few of my favorites: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2195/2418976997_00c10c092e.jpg corn cupcakes
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3169/2417273202_5bf7407864.jpg spaghetti and meatball
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_k4x5a3c1b_M/SO0G11kZSEI/AAAAAAAAIRM/gr57--goRrU/s800/cupcakes1.jpg and tv dinner

they're amazing!

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatelyn

That sandwich cake at the top looks COMPLETELY DELICIOUS. I want one!

And man... the toilet paper is frosted so nicely, it's a bit of a shame...

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterYouji

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow had her birthday today, and her staff got her a wreck! http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/04/01/4101184-when-your-birthdays-on-april-1

April 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

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