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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

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Reader Comments (175)

My Grandpa had an April Fool's Bday as well... My aunt would make prank cakes. My favorite was a "sheet" cake, which was a frosted bedsheet :)

April 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie Jeffreys

not so much a cake prank, but my bday is april fool's. I was "the girl" in an office of men and my boss was very proud of himself that he remembered my birthday. He ordered a cake, picked it up and took it to the office early so he would be waiting for me to walk in.....but he forgot I was on vacation. He couldn't remember how long I was on vacation (and couldn't find any of the paperwork since it was locked in my desk) and this was a Friday, so his plan was to have a cake waiting every morning until I came back to work. Lucky for him- I was back on Tuesday, but the rest of the guys were kind of disappointed, they wanted cake all week.

April 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

We used to get together weekly and play games at a friend's house. I would usually play video games on the computer, while the guys took turns on the PS3. Anyway, after finishing Portal, I had to make a "lie cake" for them. I bought a tin of cookies (you know, the round tins of shortbread cookies) and iced it to look *exactly* like the cake from the game. We left it out for our friend to cut, and when he finally did, it was really funny to see his reaction. He thought at first that it was frozen, and started to act like he changed his mind, so as not to hurt my feelings. We started cracking up, and it dawned on him that this was a prank. So dedicated to enjoying sweets were we that we opened the tin and scraped the icing off with the cookies and ate them anyway! I really, REALLY wish we had video, or at least pictures, but we never thought to take any. :(

April 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJellyJo

But the worst prank, in my opinion, was on me, and not on purpose. My lovely mother-in-law made me a 13- x 9-inch red velvet cake for my birthday, and I started to cut it and began to have trouble toward the bottom. That was because the old, filthy, grease-soaked pot holder had wound up under the cake when she turned it out to frost it.

April 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

After seeing this post I HAD to do the toilet paper cake for my Dad who was born on April Fool's day. I covered it in chocolate frosting, did a little decorating and wham! Never knew what hit him. He was trying desperately to cut into it for a minute before I broke down and told him to scrape the top off. He said it was the best birthday cake he's had in a while! Thanks for the great idea :)

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love these! I don't know if this idea's been posted or not, but what about a cake frosted only in Royal Icing? ;)

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Happy Belated Birthday to your brother! That's my birthday too and nobody in my family has ever playted a trick on me either. I have to say, if they ever did, I would hope it would be that "grilled cheese" sandwich. YUM!

April 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Not quite cake, or even april fools, but when I was in high school, my mother used to make hand dipped chocolates at christmas. My brother and I decided to dip some jalapeno peppers, and then mix them up with the cherries. We enjoyed it quite a bit, and laughed even louder when my mother admitted to doing the same thing at work before she was married. Who says some things aren't genetic?

April 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbeardyface

In Norway they eat something called fish pudding. Imagine something that looks like vanilla pudding, with that Jello-ish texture - and then add the taste of FISH. Okay?! Yuk.
My sister took one of those, and decorated it as a VERY yummy-looking cake for her husband to bring to work...as a funny prank. :)

For my younger sisters' wedding we decorated a plastic box with chocolate icing... Was a lot of fun to watch the guests beeing fooled by the "VERY hard cake..."
At another wedding my friends decorated a TELEPHONE BOOK! They covered it with cream and marzipane.... You could count the holes in the marzipane to see how many people got tricked by the cake. :D

April 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSofia L

Actually, the sandwich loaf is very common in Brazil [and I believe that in others places too] and is really delicious, you must try ;D
Has a curiosity: here we called it "cold pie" ^^

April 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Heyyyyy! I'm all for "non-sweet" cakes. They do the mayo-salmon cakes all the time here (=Finland). They're super yummy!

No, really.

Really really.

April 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLilli

LMAO These are just great! Did you ever see the episode of Dinner: Impossible where he had to cater the dinner for the magicians? They worked up a whole menu of stuff that looked like one thing, and was some other food entirely!! It was AMAAAAAZING! =)

Pt. 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWVBGda_4js

Pt. 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp_wci7ozDM

April 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpassionofthemom

I say swap wheat flour for brown rice flour. If you have ever had to eat a brown rice flour cake you would understand exactly what I mean when I say nasty. Nahaaaasty

Orrrrr you could always spike it with Mirulax. I do that to my own meals. You know. For fun.....

I bet you hope Im kidding, don't you?

April 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGeneBrinson

This remembers me of a portal/rickroll cake I saw once on Instructables, I think. It was a huge fake cake like the one on Portal (you know, the cake is a lie and stuff) made out of cardboard, and underneath that there was a real cake with Rick Astley drawn on it.

April 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjulia

That reminded me of my parents' famous wedding cakes. My grandma offered, or rather insisted, that she do the baking. Here, there's the cake that gets eaten during the reception and usually a few more to give to the guests to take home, thus the plural.
Well, my grandma made the dough bits two weeks ahead and stored them in her pantry so that they had time to mature to stone hard. In due time, frosting, icing, fondant, marzipan and what else were added to make wonderful pieces of art. They only needed to be cut by axe. At every family reunion, there's someone to bring it up adding that if the cake was sawed or hacked or otherwise divided to pieces and dipped into coffee or rum, it was excellent, and also all the marzipan et al.

April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiisa Wennervirta

I hate to tell you this, but the frosted sandwich cake thing is still alive and kicking (so to speak). Southern Living's website (that's like the food bible for us southern women) has one posted recently as part of a spring menu.

April 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

That sandwich loaf or meat pie-- I suspect that if decorated appropriately (ie NOT to look like a sweet cake!) and with fillngs that are actually tasty (ie by a competent cook), they could be rather good. Looking at it, I've found myself pondering making a sandwich loaf for my next party.... *IF* I can come up with suitably yummy filling options ;O

Cake mishaps: a good friend of mine and I were hosting a cheesecake party. We made three plain batches, divided each batch into three, and flavoured them differently. Baked muffin tins (mini servings). The mishaps occurred when we tryed to dye the cassis cake an appropriate purple (came out very disconcerting shade of grey), and the grasshopper cakes impaled themselves on the cooling racks when flipped. They were soooo bad, we nearly fell over we were laughing so hard! Luckily, whipped cream covers all sins ;) (Happily, they tasted incredible and our friends gorged themselves silly).

Later on, we did haunted houses at Hallowe'en. It was a seriously complicated production (we made it onto TV), but the same co-conspirator/friend did these lady finger cookies-- shortbreads, with wrinkley joins, blanched almonds tinted lightly as finger nails-- they were disconcertinly realistic looking. Oh, we had fun freaking the kiddies out by chomping down those!!

April 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAliza

My sister-in-law was very angry with me when I broke the (very cheap and flimsy) keepsake wedding cake knife at her wedding. Two of the tiers of he cake were Styrofoam so she could have a fancier cake than she could actually afford. I mean.... if you're going to be cheap, at least warn someone that half your cake is fake and that your knife is crap before asking you to cut up the cake for you.

April 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMudhooks

Just to let you know, when I googled Dinner Impossible, the Magicians Meal came up as the top suggestion in autocomplete before I even finished typing dinner. Thanks cake wrecks, for saving my lazy fingers!

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

bahahaha! love all of those! My mom and i frosted Styrofoam and gave it to my sister as a prank once! [she kept trying to cut into it asking why it was so hard to cut.. not the brightest bulb, that one;) ]

July 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Next year you can do this trick. It's not a cake but still a fake yummy dessert. Make caramel apples using onions instead of apples. mmmm tasty! lol!

July 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPara Women Shannon

I remember when I wuz a kid in the 60s, my mom would have the ladies over for a "luncheon." She went through hoops making that damn sandwich loaf, and I must say, between the pastel cream cheese "icing" and the lovely layers of chicken, ham and tuna salads, it really looked incredible...and it tasted pretty good, too. I wish she could have pulled the same kind of magic with her salmon pucks, er, patties, but that's a whole 'nother story.

July 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCutelilsnot

My uncle, the baby (no quotes, he was a baby)of 6 was whining one night that he wanted ice cream for dessert and that his siblings always got bigger scoops and more chocolate sauce than he did. Well, the next night he got a huge scoop with lots of chocolate sauce, with the first huge bite, he learned Grandma had given him a scoop of mashed potatoes instead - that shut him up! lol
Btw- I am SO making that meatloaf cake for my son's b-day this Halloween can't wait :)
~Brandy

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

For my 16th birthday I asked for a companion cube cake (from the video game Portal). My uncle made me a gorgeous "cake" covered in fondant that looked exactly like a companion cube. As I cut into it it crackled and I was mildly confused.. then I got a chunk off, and it was made of styrofoam. My mother brought out the real cake, with "The cake is a lie!" (another game reference) "Happy birthday!" written on it. I thought it was pretty funny.

March 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkaivokz

I watched a girl have a amazingly yummy looking chocolate cake delivered to our high school classroom. On top of the cake was "Amy, I have a question" but nothing else. She was all puzzled until the cake started to sing Bruce Springsteen's Jesse's Girl. She searched through the cake to find her boyfrind Jesse's phone in a plastic bag ringing. With messy hands she answered and he asked her to Senior Prom. She of course said yes.

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley B

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