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

She Turned In Her Own MOTHER

Sometimes the best part about your Wreck submissions isn't the photo, but the e-mail that came with it. Today's Wreck is aces on both counts. So allow me to allow Sarah L. to give you the intro.

"This wedding cake was made by my mom (who you can see having a nervous breakdown in one of the pictures) for her brother's wedding. Yes, she's my mom, but she IS a professional pastry chef. She went to culinary school, works at the Ritz Carlton, and her brother paid her for her services. (She's made several wedding cakes for $$ since then that turned out much better...I SWEAR.)"

You'll understand why Sarah was so adamant about her mom doing better work in just a moment.

In fact, I'd say all will be made clear right...about....

Hi, Sarah's mom!
Say, you DO kind of look like you're having a nervous breakdown. Perhaps if you sprinkled a little more powdered sugar?

To be fair, Sarah offers the following explanation:

"The wedding took place during August in Dallas, and I think the biggest lesson here is humidity and fondant DO NOT mix. The cake was essentially "sweating," and as it melted, it began to lean."

And yet, bravely, (some might say suicidally so) Sarah's mom battled onward:

Ah, that's better. The writing really helps camouflage all bits. Don't you agree, Sarah?

" ended up looking like it was constructed by an over-caffeinated toddler with poor spatial awareness."

Whoah, whoah, whoah! An over-caffeinated toddler with poor spatial awareness? Really? C'mon, maybe if she just added a few flowers...


So I know the readers are dying to know, Sarah: what was the final verdict?

"It was made with love, and it tasted great, but...I thought the bride was gonna have an anxiety attack."

You mean she didn't have an anxiety attack? Aw, now that's a couple that's gonna go the distance, right there.

Well, I think we've all learned some valuable lessons today. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to dig up some embarrassing pictures of my mom during Band Camp; this mom stuff is comedy GOLD.

Oh, and Sarah? Better go with the premium bouquet this Mother's Day. With chocolates. And a few diamond necklaces. Delivered ahead of time. By someone else.

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Reader Comments (131)

Haven't laughed this hard in a long time. Think I dislocated my jaw. I'll add fondant to the list of divinity and meringues to not make when it's humid.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTricia L

if it was made with love it doesn't matter how it looks

Sarah is very, very lucky to have a mother who loves her - mine hated me and abused me for years

cakes get eaten and forgotten, love endures

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

actually...I think it is adorable and cuddly. Maybe not what the bride was going for but things go wrong on wedding days and if this was the only thing, she was lucky. I think from now on Sarah should make all the family cakes like this on purpose. Uh oh....I think I feel a whole lot of Wreckorator tribute cakes being mixed up right now!

WV miume

Miume will always love me 'cause she's my muim.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCorina

I wonder if the bride and groom kept the top tier for their anniversary. Or, you know, blackmail...

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterheather

Hey all,

Allow me to say that the caliber of our readers is really coming through today. Jen and I are the luckiest bloggers ever to have commenters like you.



This was great! I mean just the pictures of mom and the overdoing of the cake. I wonder what i was originally supposed to look like.

Because minus the sad downfall, it does seem a bit over the top with all the words and such.

I am really glad I wasn't the bride! And it let's me know NOT to have a fondant cake, getting married in the caribbean.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

I do have to WAS a cool concept. I would like to see what it was supposed to look like.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Dandurand

that was a lot of work for a disaster-in-the making. funny choice for a post, Jen, right before Mother's Day weekend! LOL good advice you gave...:)

wv: mallye. What you scream when you see a wreck (mallye! mallye!) Either that or the act of browsing at the mall.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Aliza @ 11:23
>>However, her mother deserved it. Doesn't she have A/C so as to prevent these disasters while baking & decorating?<<

Aliza, it's Dallas. EVERYONE here has A/C. Seriously. It's often over 100 for 30 days in a row, and sometimes the A/C can't keep up.

I hope when you're a mom someone lets your kids know that if you try hard but still mess up, you deserve public shame.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMartha

I so love this post and the cake. Made me smile so BIG!

Thanks for keeping the wrecking in the family for Mom's Day.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterYogaGal in the NW

Ha! Funny as always, thanx!!!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScarlett Robyn

Oh....oh my o.o

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterksaldria

Why in the world would two people choose to get married in Dallas in August, anyway?! If you live in Texas, you should get married in March or October!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSaralyn

You know, given the outright disasters of execution, taste, and inattention that we see here everyday, I'd say this is a fairly pretty cake, and I'd be tickled with it if I was the bride.

@Aliza--I'm sure she has A/C, but you just can't keep a car cool enough in August in Texas to transport it without it getting hot. I know everytime I go out to my car in August in Louisiana or Arkansas it literally is about 120 degrees inside, and even if you have the A/C cranked it's hot wherever the sun comes in-which can be EVERYWHERE!

That said, yet another reason _not_ to use fondant.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

That is too funny. I live in Florida so I can sympathize about the humidity. Poor Mom.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim

@ Saralyn
"Why in the world would two people choose to get married in Dallas in August, anyway?! If you live in Texas, you should get married in March or October!"

May I add that this applies to the entire South, not just Texas. You don't get much hotter than August in Tennessee.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTricia L

I don't has a certain charm...

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

This has got to be the funniest post.... I'm at work, on a much needed break... and I see this. I laughed so hard I had tears... Thank you so much for sharing this. You did it again!!


May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

I nearly had a fit when I first saw all the words. I thought one of them was "molest".

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKore

Was looking at this (thinking- Oh, dear God!)and had a co-worker look over my shoulder and say, What a cute cake...This is why the wreckage persists!! Now I'm doing my best not to laugh out loud!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCorri Anne

Perhaps the real mother's day gift would be to submit one of her better cakes for Sunday Sweets.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA in NL

I LOVE hearing the stories behind the cakes! Thanks to Sarah!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisaMama

@ Catherine-- thanks for explaining that! Yikes at 120F *I'd* melt! I remember such temperatures when I lived in Australia, but at least that was dry heat. I can certainly see why the cake would struggle in transit-- but I thought the photos were taken at Sarah's mum's home.

I remember once trying to make a wedding cake sample in high heat/humidity: the butter was literally melting on the counter, and hten my fridge conked out. I informed the bride -- a close friend-- that she had to send her fiance over to help install window A/C units or else there'd be no cake! In the end, the cake turned out fine... but the wedding party got heatstroke from the outdoor photo session. So this wedding was much luckier that only the cake suffered!

I still wonder, though, aren't there tricks to help cakes weather such weather? Does anybody know? If not, I'm with that person who suggested popsicles!

WV: Uttili-- that was an uttili cool design and colour scheme at least

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAliza

The best thing I can say is that at least it's the sweetest wreck I've seen!

Let's just hope everybody involved has had a good laugh about it! I know I have! :)

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

Jen, please have mercy on this poor mum and feature one of her, um, better cakes in Sunday Sweets? Pretty, pretty please with sugar on top? It is, after all, Mother's Day???

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

I live in Dallas, and anything you do in August feels like this cake looks... :)

I'm melting, I'm melting, what-a-world what-a-world....

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

oh, dear. i feel such sympathy for mom. i always (now) have a Plan B for my brides who want a fondant cake, just so we avoid this kind of thing. i once had this happen to a fondant cake that was due on what turned out to be the most humid day of the year, and the fondant was hopeless, melting and bulging just like that because it would no longer stick to the buttercream,and was simply too sticky and wet to smooth on it again. it wasn't leaning, thank goodness, but let us just say i was thankful that i had tons of extra flowers to cover that cake. of course...when i got a picture of the cake from the bride, the hydrangeas were FLAT on the cake and it looked like a dali painting! the bride and groom had cut the cake HOURS after it was set up and sitting in a non air-conditioned room...luckily, they had seen the cake and taken pics of it when it was still gorgeous to look at. the bride was so happy with the cake and thanked me profusely...sometimes, there are just things that are out of our the weather and broken AC. if the bride and groom were not in the one pic i have of it, i would submit it to you!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I know her! She is awesome, talented and has the most fun-loving personality. I used to work with her and she told me of this awful experience and how it made her vow never to make a wedding cake again. I have no doubt that they all laughed about it, if not then, now :)

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjessica

Oh my! Really, the result isn't as bad as most I've seen here, but still! That should be a baker to us cake decorators--if you can't save the fondant, unstack the tiers, rip that crud off, and whip up some meringue buttercream in the same color. Maybe you won't get that exact porcelain finish, but it does seem better than the alternative, as shown here. Poor mom; I wanna give her a hug. The cake design itself, independent of how it turned out, is so rad.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I can't believe she kept going! Don't they have Costco in Dallas? My mom and I made cupcakes for my wedding and holy hell was that a stressful near-disaster on the hottest, most humid day of the year. We battled through too...and didn't serve them until our guests were good and drunk.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeeHive

I was feeling "blue" until I saw this, starting laughing hysterically while at the same time crying for the poor mom, and the combination completely lifted me out of my doldrums. Thank you, Cake Wrecks!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

When I got married outside in Texas in the summer, I just had blackberry cobbler. For this very reason.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterB

Thanks for the laugh! If that's the worst thing that happened at the wedding, the bride was LUCKY! :)

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I've seen worse wrecks. At least she tried her best to save it.

But still, this should be a wake-up call that sometimes, just sometimes, buttercream wedding cakes are the way to go. My aunt made a fondant wedding cake and luckily the day was cool so it didn't melt and it looked gorgeous, but the taste was little to be desired.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBree

Oh my freakin' gosh!!!!! I am practially peeing my pants! That is too funny. As the daughter of a mother that makes wedding cakes (her worst story is the time she knocked one over) this CRACKS ME UP!!!!! Great story.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterecuakim

Awesome. And for Sarah's sake (and for her eventual hope of remaining in the will), I hope this baker gets a Sunday Sweet. And a diamond necklace. :-) It may be a wreck, but it's such a funny story!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Vagabond Priest

I am just shocked it's still standing!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlena

That Mom looks great - like a ton of fun! Makes me miss my fun Mom even more. She would tell a funny story on herself: There was a Cake Walk at my oldest brother's elementary school. (A silent auction fundraiser with home-baked cakes - something done in the "olden days" when homemade goods were still permissible and safe at school.) After finishing making and frosting the cake, she went to get cleaned up. When she came back to the kitchen, the toddler in the house had taken a huge paw-swipe out of the cake. With no time to make another one, Mom filled the entire hole with frosting and delivered the cake, quickly depositing it on a table and sneaking out.
Happy Mother's Day to all Moms and to all of you who have/had a Mom. ;-D

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjillb-ilslp

Closing in on our 30th anniversary (when the hell did THAT happen??), I have to say that what we and our family and friends remember is the hilarious bits where things did not go according to plan. We barely remember, much less treasure, the few things that turned out perfectly, but still relish discussing the sleeves on the groom's shirt that came out too short, the moment when the bride, with her hair done and in her underwear, was surprised by a dozen lost wedding guests marching through the bathroom, forgetting our house key and breaking into my in-laws' house together as our first misdemeanor as man and wife. . .

Trust me, in later years you will not think back on the place cards that perfectly matched the invitations but on this wonderful wreckstrosity made with love and heart.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh my.

First off, with all the fondant rolls (look at the rolls between layers there) it couldn't have been that delicious: fondant tastes like crud. Maybe the underneath-the-fondant cake was good though.

Secondly, bulges and tilts aside...that writing totally looks like the scrawlings of a serial killer writing to the cops that "I'm the one who lurks in shadows, the tarot card of death. I shall never be caught"....all creepy and oddly sized and scribbled.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I just had a redo on a cake that looked like this one. It "melted" in the heat and ended up in a heap, so this totally made my day. I've got tears from laughing with Sarah's mom- her expression was my own at 11pm last night. o_O The moral of the story... Bad cakes happen to good people. :) thanks for the much needed laugh

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I LOVE the look on Sarah's mom's face. I've soooo been there.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMisha

Aw her poor mom must have had a fit once she saw what the cake ended up looking like.. hey at least they still ended up with a cake after all..

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

When I was little, several of my mom's nieces got married and had her make their cakes. She would drag my brother and I out of bed before sunrise to go assemble everything. Now it occurs to me why-- the heat would have been awful past dawn to transport them! I don't know why it didn't occur to me at the time, but at that hour, what kid is thinking clearly? :)

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Thanks Jen! I, too, LOVE the stories behind the cakes!
I agree with the posters that are hoping things are fine & happy between mom & daughter-in-law ... seems like the bride would have to have a sense of humor, as mom and Sarah both do!

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTía Hillary

Wow, the decorator deserves a pat on the back for persistence. I know a lot of people who would have completely given up.

Even in Arizona's dry heat we use "tropical" grade fondant in the summer time for just this reason.
I transport cakes frozen and pack ice packs around them, even then the thought of this keeps me from sleeping well the night before.

I would love to see some of the decorators successful cakes.

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

This cake is made from a mother with very hard for my daughter's it's very good

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterecreativeweb

I feel it's safe to say it was a custom, one of a kind, (hopefully) never to be produced again....even with (?) efforts!

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

I LOVE how the window in the background goes from day to night to day again...and she's still going! That's CLASSIC! I bet she was totally strung out by the end of that experience.

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLyndsay

This cake is beautiful in its own way! However... maybe it doesn't mean the same in the States, but in England 'WC' stands for water closet, i.e. toilet/restroom. The finishing touch, I feel, and one Jen will surely appreciate, given all the poo cakes she presents to us.
WV: entoll
The road was entolled, and it cost us $5.

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLimey Cakelover

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