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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
Friday
Jul092010

Who You Callin' 'Pro'?

You all know I only feature professionally made Wrecks here on CW. The irony, of course, is that I mistake pro for amateur way more often than the other way around! Heh. So anyway, while I've been told that today's Wrecks are indeed made by real, honest-to-goodness, got-paid-for-their-efforts cake decorators, part of me still refuses to believe it.

I'm still posting them, though, because they're all wedding cakes. Served at people's actual weddings. And even if one was actually made by Aunt Mildred who calls herself a pro but really isn't, I think the world deserves to see this cautionary tale.

Plus, it's kinda funny.

Whew, thank goodness for fresh flowers! Too bad they didn't have enough to hide the fact that the cake is being served on a giant dry-erase board, though.

I also like the gentle placement of the topper. That took "finesse."

Apparently this was taken during The Great Icing Shortage of '73 - back when grooms were stayin' alive with their groovy butterfly collars and the bridesmaids wore Frigidaire green. Looks like they ran out of flowers here too, though, and raided the fruit bowl instead.


Hey, "Love to Highway", right? And getting married doesn't mean the groom has to give up his matchbox cars, right?

And now, a haiku for you, wedding cake:

red bleeding ribbon
did the cake get in a fight?
lumpy icing tiers

And finally, before I show you this last Wreck, I feel I should reiterate that the bride herself *assured* me she paid actual money to an actual professional to make it. Honest. Really.

Now, in the baker's defense, I'm told the insides of all the cake tiers were raw.

How is that a defense, you ask?

Well, um...

Oh! Imagine how hard it must've been to stack all those raw cake tiers! Eh? Yeah, I like to look on the sunny side of things. Which is good, because this cake is so sunny I think I can hear my retinas sizzling.


Hey, Grace C., Tony M., Anony M., Anony #2., & Anita R., "sizzling retinas" would be a terrible band name. Really. Just awful.

« Sunday Sweets: Threadcakes 2010 | Main | Frosting 101 »

Reader Comments (126)

That last cake was clearly made by a fairy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxLrRwEmDeM&feature=related

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda D Allen

WTF people paid for those? My sister could have done a better job

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I always search through the comments to see how many people feel the need to point out the obvious. Yes, we know it was supposed to say "Highway to Love"...
Not trying to be a hater, just sayin'.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think the word in the last line of your haiku should have been "tears" not tiers

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Can't stop giggling at the Haiku.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicki

Am I the only one who thinks the acrylic W on the first (wrinkled pillow) cake looks like a grave marker?

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarb Black

I should send you a picture of mine sometime, if I didn't burn them all. It was so horrible, but I decided not to let it ruin my day. It arrived with BIG sparkly white bells on it and these delightful gold plastic leaves intermixed with the mountain wildflowers I asked that my cake to be covered in. Oh, and my "bright wild flowers" were all pastels that were just a shade above white. It tasted like 5-day old cake to top it off.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

"Congradulations." Cake Wrecks never fails at invoking the deep fear I have that my wedding cake next year will be an utter disaster.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRecoveringActor

Oh, oh, that first one is so sad! The icing is even cracked! But it's trying so hard to be pretty!

On the yellow ... thing--I assume you mean "actual money to an allegedly professional baker." Because, yikes. I hope the bride got her money back!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMissT

WOW, that is all I can say... WOW. I am by no means a "professional" but I have sold some cakes and I get nervous because I don't call myself a professional... but I have NEVER made anything this bad!!
Oh and the "love to higway cake" I am pretty sure should be read, "highway to love".

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermyshelss

When my Aunt got re-married 7 years ago, she stood at her wedding cake, which was supposed to be a simple cream-colored two-tiered tower, hand over her mouth... But, she took the high road. "I'm not sure WHY its that odd shade of pink, but it IS pretty. Especially all those ... FLOWERS!" And it *was* a pretty cake... if the bride was 20 and not 50! LOL

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Have never posted before but had to as my 6 year old daughter looked at the yellow cake and fell off my lap laughing. She then asked "Is that really a cake?"

WV: No it's not a cake its an "igsqu"

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKemiMamaLopes

My daughter asked, "why does that cake have a tongue?" in regards to the ribbon cake!! LOL...

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Hinton Family

Wow.

Here's an idea a saw at a wedding, if your cake looks like that and you don't have enough time to bake a new one--throw the cake away and go buy a chocolate fountain. They look like cakes when they're turned on. Buy a lot of fruit and cookies and rice crispy treats and marshmallows and the guests can dip them.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

as an amateur decorator I have done many cakes... but always refused to do a wedding cake because I was SO fearful that I would mess up too much.

today - I feel like no matter what I do, it can't be THIS bad.

now to go bleach my eyeballs.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterT

Sweet haiku. Every great once in a while, I will make a cake for a friend of a friend as a gift. I had a woman ask me for a silver sheet cake (should have backed out then) that said "Congratulations" with their names under it. Then, no lie, the woman hands me matchbox cars, lace, doves and cheap metal fake wedding rings to adorn it with. I looked at her and said, "I'm not making a cake with this s*it on it. Ever." Apparently, she found someone to do it because I saw the pictures and it was totally wrectktastic!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOne Crazy Mother

makes me feel grateful that my cake was a homemade carrot cake made by Aunt Janet. Simple cream cheese frosting, no words, just very very tasty cake!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh, and I thought the cake at the wedding we went to last weekend was bad....

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Green and gold... those were my junior high school colors. And that cake looks like it was made in my junior high school home ec class.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermichcohen1

Thank you, Veganwitch, for defining "raw" because it was hurting my brain to try and figure out what the decorator meant. I was still picturing the batter in a bowl.

I'm so glad my family has several "amateur" friends, because if I actually PAID someone for that crap, I'd be really upset. Oh, and our "amateurs'" cakes always come out gorgeous and they usually make the cake their wedding present to the bride.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenifer

Posts like this make me more and more convinced that, if/when I get married, I'm going to arrange to pick up the cake the day BEFORE the wedding. That way, in the tragic event that it's a heap of ugly, I'll at least have the chance to run out and get a more presentable - if not custom - wedding cake to display on the big day. Because, I'm sorry, but I would NOT pay the baker for any of these wrecks, much less DISPLAY them at my wedding!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia K

I think that the fishbowl full of gravel and a stumpy votive candle was a nice finishing touch to the Hot Wheels 'Love to Highway' cake.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMomCat

Long ago, in the days of paste-up or BC (before computers!), I worked in a print shop. A customer came in with the worst layout I had ever seen, practically a demonstration of every possible mistake. I told her we would have trouble with it and she said "It was put together by a professional!" My question was it a professional ditch digger? It certainly wasn't a professional graphic designer!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam

Wow these make me feel pretty dang accomplished for a beginner cake decorater! If these are so called pro's then without being arrogant I must be ahead of the class. lol

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWyllow

I suspect many of these wrecks are the result of having weddings in July and August. Neither buttercream nor fondant travels well in 90-plus degrees. (The temeperature at noon today at my reception venue was 98 at the front door.) Also, how long did they sit out at the receptions site.

When cake shopping, it might be a good idea to see if the photos in the portfolio were taken at the bakery or at the reception site. I'll bet that first cake was beautiful when made, then turned into three fluffy pillows on delivery. Beautiful flowers, though, so bravo to the florist for attempting to salvage the baker's disaster.

wv: shingle
Hey, Bob, we're out of cake boards. Grab me a shingle out of the wood pile.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTricia L

A Haiku For You...

Brides in tears each day
not tears of joy, but sorrow
droopy icing mess

WV:Luciess, You're the luciess woman alive!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

these are all very good reasons to make sure you see your cake at least 2 days before the wedding!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I am guessing that Love TO Highway was an appalling abbreviation of Love The Open Highway. But that is one crowded Open Highway.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElissa

We weren't "Stayin' Alive" until 1977 when "Saturday Night Fever" hit the big screen. The colars were pretty big through the whole decade, though.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPurplewalls

I does not say "Love to Highway" - it says "Love TO Highway". I hope that makes it all clear now.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthe_exile

The "great frosting shortage of '73" had me laughing- Do we know what year that cake was? Because there *was* a sugar shortage at some point in the 70s... I want to say around 1975 or so...

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think the no icing cake was meant to be sort of like this...
http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/photogallery/very-berry-cakes?lpgStart=1&currentslide=2&currentChapter=1#ms-global-breadcrumbs

I think it's supposed to be like one that's in the Martha Stewart Wedding Cakes book (that's just goooorgeous!)
The baker here *juuuust* missed the mark...

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Those are hilarious. I feel bad for feel funny about all the cakes since they are actually served in people's wedding...but they are look hilarious

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdown bedding

As hideous as it is, I can actually see potential in the radioactive yellow cake! The icing matches the yellow flowers, so I think someone with skill, experience and a steady hand (ok, and maybe sunglasses) could have made this work. I love bright colors and do make cakes, professionally and semi-pro, so I would have loved to do this cake with beautiful bright flowers!

Now that first cake...do you see the handprints and fingerprints on it where the fondant got mushed into the buttercream underneath? Maybe this was someone's first time with fondant.

All of those cakes...wrecktastic as always. Jen, your commentary is always the best! I pray I never end up on here! People ask me to do some wierd stuff on their cakes...

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

I continue to be amazed. You have the best job, Jen! :)

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiffiny Felix

I hope these people had a "Venetian hour" so at least there was some edible desserts for their guests...

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBryna

I...

I...

*skrreeeeeCRASH* *tinkle tinkle* X_X

I'm sorry, my brain is broken. Please try your call again later.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterladyrazorsharp

I think my reaction to ANY of these cakes would have been:

"No seriously...where's the cake?"
...
"Honestly guys..that's a really funny joke, but where's the actual cake?"

"Ok. I get that every bride needs a little light-hearted humor injected into her wedding day..but SOMEBODY BRING OUT THE M*-F'ing REAL CAKE NOW!!!"

wv: strab as in: "If someone doesn't produce the real f'in' cake RIGHT NOW, I will strab someone in the face. Seriously. I will cut you."

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDznyjenn

I just know I'm going to end up with one like these in September. (Woohoo!) And when it happens I will laugh like a banshee and send you a pic. :)

Was the shocking yellow cake *really* not cooked through?! How do they expect to get away with that?!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabethB

There are people who prefer cake with little or even no icing. My husband and I both hate the texture of buttercream and fondant, and he doesn't like cream-cheese frosting, either. So for our wedding, we picked whipped-cream icing; it wouldn't have been practical for a June outdoor wedding in Texas, but it was fine on New Year's Day in Indiana.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenni B.

"Sunny day, everything's a-ok . . ." I think that last cake was purchased at Hooper's Store during the episode in which Elmo and Big Bird start a cake decorating business with a little help from special guest Duff.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I would've taken it back to the decorator and asked for my money back. It's unbelievable that anyone would ever deliver those things to a wedding reception.

Annette M

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think all these people should have just gone with the grocery store bakery. It may not have been the most original cake, but they usually have the trendy styles that everyone usually asks for anyway. Besides, how original is it to ask the bakery to copy a cake from a magazine that millions of brides see?

I ordered my wedding cake from Albertson's and it was beautiful . . . although I requested no flowers and they still put some on. We chose to use fresh flowers that matched the bouquets as a cake topper. The cake was delivered to the reception and I didn't see it until after we walked in. They put pastel flowers on the lower tier that were a soft pink color. The bouquet of flowers we had put on top were blue. It sort of clashed a little. I was irritated at first that the bakery didn't follow my directions (how hard is it to leave off a decoration?). Then I looked at my new husband and glanced around the room of happy friends and family enjoying an otherwise flawless reception. I looked at the cake again and realized it was still rather pretty and well-made. Not a wreck at all. The pictures actually came out really nice too. It also tasted incredibly good.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think it must be supposed to be Highway to Love! Isn't it? But Love to Highway is way better. Thanks for the best blog EVER!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoanna

Just because you take money for something doesn't mean you're a "professional" and, frankly. I cannot believe people actually turned over hard earned cash for this "stuff". I don't care if Aunt Mabel calls herself a cake decorator or not. I can't call myself a surgeon and get away with it!!!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTabitha Corsica

Now I know I've had yellow buttercream get darker than I wanted when it set, but the result was still not THAT scary. And after it happened once, I knew to take that into account when making it.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMagda

The red ribbon cake reminds me of a production of "Titus Andronicus" that I once saw at the Ashland Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In that production, red ribbon was used for some very violent scenes - when a character had hands chopped off (for example), red ribbon would flow to represent blood. So this cake makes me think of blood and gore. YUCK!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Heads would roll if any of those cakes showed up at my wedding. I feel so bad for those brides!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Wreckerator #1: "Let's see... the forecast for today is 95 degrees and 10% humidity. I have to drive an hour to deliver this thing, and the a/c in my car is out. Furthermore, I'm out of cardboard. This isn't going to turn out well anyway, so top THIS, Mr. & Mrs. W!"

I'm getting a strong 'Adam & Eve' vibe on the second wreck, what with the apple on top and the naked cakes. Apparently, the injunction against frosting didn't extend to the interior of the cake -- at least I hope that's frosting and not something 'healthy' like tofu...

Ok, I get the highway cake. Kind of a 'perspective' thing, with the 'love' tier being smaller and set back. Tricky. Of course the groom solemnly warned everyone that anyone who touched his cars would be a total doo-doo head and wouldn't get no cake if they asked 10 million times.

#5 Perhaps the wreckerator was paid, but likely did not *remain* paid. Raw inside? When it comes to something that may be consumed, I would greatly prefer 'late' to 'unfinished', in order that those partaking would not be 'late' in the absolute sense. Hopefully the frosting color was sufficient warning...

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

We did what an earlier replier suggested: Bought our cake at Walmart. They had a lot of trouble with the direction that there was to be no decoration. No columns. No ruffles. Absolutely nothing but three round layers iced in white buttercream placed on top of eachother. We had to sign off on three waivers and have phone discussions with at least one decorator to convince them we wouldn't return it because it was too plain.

It was perfect though. We put red rose petals down one side and put it on a nice cake tray with red candles and it looked very classy.

I was terrified of getting a cake wreck given how simple we wanted it wherever we went- so we went cheap.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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