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

Picture This

So Shawna A. asked her bakery to make a cake just like this one from Pink Cake Box:

To make it easier, she even brought in a print-out of this picture. And, since she wanted her cake to say "Welcome Little Monkey" instead of "Happy Birthday," she was sure to cross that bit out. That way, there could be no confusion whatsoever, right?


All in favor of banning the edible photo printer for all eternity, say "Oy VEY."

I think the "veys" have it, Shawna.

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Reader Comments (97)

Are the buyers confronting these so called bakers and asking for explanations for these ridiculous cakes? I would love to know.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

at this point we might as well make our own cakes considering the bakeries don't have any brains.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterteri

people just have to stop ordering "custom" cakes from places where there is a chaffing dish of crusty mac-n-cheese on the other side of the register! Grocery stores and club stores are just not ever going to return a replica of a pricey cake to you for $17.99

WV:"ectation"--my ectation for this cake was out of proportion to your decorator's abilities. Now you should "ectate" that I will not be paying for this.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterclan of the cave hair

Hmmm, well... Maybe she should have written down that she wanted a "replica" of the original cake, so the wreckorator wouldn't have heard 'wreplica'?

WV = tolylle: These wreckorators prove that you can have tolylle of an education.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpamcakes

I think it is pretty evident from lots and lots of pictures here, that the previous comment about making sure you are taking it to the right kind of bakery is pretty accurate. Plus being wiser about your word choices. Such as asking the bakery first "Do you do fondant sculptures" instead of "Can you put this on there" as you hand a pic of what you want.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

When will people learn that taking a picture of a cake they see from a professional baker to a grocery store bakery that they will not get a cake that looks like the one they want. Grocery stores hire people with no experience or expertise to pull off a cake like Pink Cake Box and others of us that know what we are doing. You get what you pay for people!

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFondant Dreams by Robin

This truly is evidence of profound laziness.

However, I agree with Kimberly. People should assume they can take a photo of a cake from a high-end custom cake shop to any corner bakery and expect them to replicate it. Not only is the expectation unrealistic, but the customer probably didn't want to pay the $125 the Pink Cake Box likely charged for this sheet cake.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarion

I have to say this site makes me laugh really hard and at the same time feel deep, deep shame. I work in a grocery store bakery, faux "buttercream" frosting, airbrushing, and edible images... the works. We're lucky, though. The main decorator and myself know the limits of those things, and let the customers know. Oh, and also have a scrap of self respect and maybe some common sense. When I see laziness and just plain idiocy like this first I usually get a great laugh, and then I want to find the decorator and just shake them. I'm really grateful we have the decorator we have, wow. It's not rocket science, fellow bakery clerks, work with me here.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan

"I don't believe it!", I really don't.......

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline B

It's just like the time I took a picture of Cindy Crawford to the salon and said, "Do that." Instead, my hair looked nothing like "that" and I cried for 3 weeks. Hint: Leave the salon when you catch your stylist calling the toll free number on the back of the box.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


September 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterladyrazorsharp

Hmmm, what's the copyright law on cake design? 'Cause I'm thinking that it would be in violation of the original cake-a-rator's copyright to have someone else copy it. Not to mention crazy to think that a relatively unskilled decorator is going to be able to duplicate a high end design (at a very low cost).

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGabby

How do they charge for things like that?!?

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan

Son of a biscotti! Hello brain cell...

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

hehehe I saw that one coming xD

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTova least they wrote "Welcome Little Monkey" nicely...?

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertsdkl

I am also curious to know if she had to pay for it! I would have been pretty upset! But still hilarious from a person not involved perspective lol!!!

Wait! Calendar??? I am so getting one!!!

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteralysasawyer

I'd day you should write "Do not print on edible paper" on the photo, but I know it wouldn't help...

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGossamer

After discovering CakeWrecks 2 months ago and enjoying every tasty morsel of it since, I can safely say TWO UNWRITTEN COMMANDMENTS may have arisen out of examples such as this latest feat of wreckery:

1. Thou shalt not order thy cake, nor request decorations for said cake, over the phone. Because not even ordering your cake in person and carefully writing down what you want on it is ANY guarantee that you'll be happy with the result.

2. Thou shalt not take a picture of an exquisite fondant-enrobed specialty cake, adorned with take-your-breath-away-figures-artfully-sculpted-from-modeling-chocolate by an upscale bakery, to the clerk at your corner grocery store and hope that the local talent would even approach the skill level required to execute a "minimally reasonable" facsimile of said specialty cake. And I emphasize the air quotes on "minimally reasonable."

People, I have y'all have learned your lesson, because my neck is now sore from all that head-shaking...

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaisy

This is pretty sad, but I have to say that anyone that orders a cake from a grocery store bakery expecting it to look ANYthing like a cake from Pink Cake Box is probably mentally challenged. Or just really *really* cheap and expecting to get a cake worth $200 for $14.99.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDana Smith

Someone should open up a decorate your own cake bakery. It would save people a lot of grief.

Just a room, a cake, some frosting bags ready to pipe. It would look better than this.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Mathis

Just goes to show that technology in the wrong hands can be a very bad thing.
However, I have used a photo print in making a "Headline News" type cake that was very tastefull (and tasty) for a 90th birthday using the page layout and fonts of the man's hometown newspaper. It was a huge success and is still one of my favorite cakes I have made.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Something's by Dawnetta

I've laughed at the "printing a picture instead of decorating the cake" wrecks before, but this one is just sad.

I hear and accept the points made by those who say "don't ask a grocery store to do a high end baker's job," but, except in matters of spelling, grammar and common sense, cake customers know even less about cake decorating than grocery stores. To ignorant li'l me, that monkey cake looks easier to make than the race cars, Disney princesses and pretty roses that my grocery store displays already. While it may be unreasonable to expect a grocery store to produce a designer cake, is it unreasonable to expect them to decline demands they can't meet or to realize that an edible photo of another cake is not "a cake like this one"?

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAviatrix

I have to agree with Dan, and I'm glad that someone like him took my last Grocery Store Cake order (years ago). I much prefer honest customer service to a promise that can't be fulfilled.

WV: cologe- a photo cake for a proctologist's retirement party (with chocolate piping around the edges).

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

@ Anon 4:03pm

Oh, honey, we've all been there. I cannot get my husband to understand why I can't just go to Great Clips like he does, but they are NOT touching my dye job!

WV = metratic, as in, "The cake was soooo bad that the customer developed a metratic!"

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCyndi

You know, I think even an unexperienced grocery store cake decorator who decorates cheapie cakes should at least have the competence to say "We can't do something that elaborate here," or "We don't do fondant. However, we can..." or, at the very, very least, "So you want this picture you handed to me printed onto the cake, right?

Instead of, you know... guessing and letting the customer sort it out later.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Well, their heart was in the right place...(I think).

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJAN BRADEL

I REALLY need to get a job at one of these "local bakeries".

Really. What sort of education is required for this position? What level of talent do I need (my guess is "low"), no professionalism whatsoever...

Sounds like my kind of place! I think the only issue is I'm probably way over qualified.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAi

Ok, I just have to say to everyone that's spouting the "don't ask a grocery store chain bakery to do a designer cake for $14.99", that the bakeries need to be up-front and honest about the skills of their cake decorators, instead of saying, "Sure, we can do that" and then producing wrecks like this.

Yes, it's not that smart to take a picture of a high-priced, very skilled cake to the local 'food-mart', and expect the staff to be up to the challenge. That is NOT the issue here. The issue is that the customer asked the bakery to do a cake like the one in the picture, with an alteration, and they AGREED to do it. They didn't say that the design was too complex or fancy for the staff decorators to reproduce. If, in fact, the bakery staff had said that, and then the customer insisted, then it would be, at least, partially the customer's fault. But, apparently, that DIDN'T happen. Instead, the bakery agreed to the design, and then produced this monstrosity.

And I can't imagine why people would want to kick the customer when he/she is 'down', per se. Instead of lamenting the fact that the cake turned out as a wreck, people are saying that it's the customer's fault because he/she expected a $100+ result for $14.99. Way to be unsympathetic! I dearly hope that none of YOU experience that kind of disappointment, only to have people tell you it's YOUR fault for choosing a particular bakery!! You should expect higher quality from a professional bakery. Otherwise, why pay good money for a cake? Just bake your own cakes, if you can't expect a reasonable amount of quality from a bakery that is charging for their cakes!

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Egads! The only time I have ever seen an appropriate use of edible photo printing is when Bakerella made those adorable vintage Valentine cookie pops *squee*

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

The saddest part is that whoever wrote "Welcome Little Monkey" has really good cake-penmanship... are there really people THIS retarded??

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam

Gossamer said...
'I'd day you should write "Do not print on edible paper" on the photo, but I know it wouldn't help...'

Surely you know what you'd get then. The picture printed on edible paper on the cake, and "Do not print on edible paper" piped next to it in blue icing. And no sprinkles.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary

Guess they decided to be lazy.. sheesh. Can't even understand a photo what the heck is this world coming to? Lol I really wish they never invented edible paper. At least not for a cake at any rate.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

There is a nearby supermarket bakery that produces very tasty results -- with real buttercream, I might add -- but no reasonable person would expect 'fancy' cakes from them, just as I wouldn't expect to sit down to a candlelit steak dinner under the 'golden arches'.

If I were feeling optimistic about the creative resources of an establishment that sells both cake and cat litter, I would hand the decorator a sheet of paper and a box of crayons, saying, "Before you commit anything to frosting, draw your interpretation of my instructions."

A decorator who can't at least sketch what they intend to do is by definition not going to be able to execute it, while a decorator who simply refused would also be refusing my business.

A phone order would obviously require a different approach, but as a reasonably sane person who reads CW daily, I wouldn't be ordering a cake over the phone anyway -- that is known as a 'wreck request'.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCraig


September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLyndsay

I like the idea of having the baker sketch the drawing first. And the baker should have said we can't do this and maybe made a suggestion as to what they could do! I bet they could have come up with something acceptable. I would appreciate the honesty. But don't blame the customer; she waasn't expecting this.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKalendi

Seriously? That's just sad.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I went to the C.I.A, and we'd never do any of this crap. This is why you don't hire incompetent people.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenni

I fully agree with Jennifer--bakeries should be up front about their limitations. (For one thing, it keeps them from showing up on Cake Wrecks!) I'm currently working for myself, and I won't take on a project that I can't accomplish. It's just good business practice to make sure I can do what I say I can do. Bakeries not up to requested cakes can just say "This is a specialty cake, and we don't specialize in this particular kind of cake. How about this [cute and doable alternative] which could be ready in [fast amount of time]?"

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterC at Talk to the Clouds

Wow! I definitely envy the owner of the i love shoes cake! Its a fashion wannabee shoes..I would love to wear it..But mostly, I would love to eat it!!
I like this blog..Its giving me all the other ways of making artful cake..though not all of them were adorable..some of them just dont get into my taste..they are just way too lowly to be appreciated..hahaha but i like the fashion shoes cake though..

as always, this blog makes me hungry..definitly wanted to be eaten while playing my favorite mah jong games..

September 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpenny

This has nothing to do with timing. It's just plain weird to purchase a cake commemorating someone's career as a pop singer who just happens to have recently died

September 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdepannage informatique

I've only used edible photo printers for one type of cake, and those were historic book cakes like this one, using online facsimilies of the original books:

For that purpose, they were great. I'm not a big fan of photos on cakes in general though. And certainly not in this case!

September 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMagda

eh- that's what you get for stealing other people's photos from the internet! call it divine retribution.

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oy vey indeed.

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterG (yes, me again)

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