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

Stairway to Heaven

I have to be honest: I've never really understood the whole wedding-cake-plastic-staircase thing. I mean, who first decided the wedding figurines might need to take a stroll down to one of the side cakes?


Not to mention this looks more like a video game level than a wedding cake.


"Ok, what you have to do is, hop over the leaf-shrooms, collect the heart rings, and then duke it out with the Moopa-Moosers down at the bottom. Oh, and watch out for the barrels."



Then, after providing this thoughtful pathway, the decorators go and make it completely inaccessible!



How are they supposed to get down there?

Or battle their way through all that foliage?


Granted, I can't think of a better place to put your plastic deer collection.


Of course, it goes without saying that all this extra height means you have to put a clear plastic light-up fountain under the cake. (Don't bother questioning it. You just have to.)



Mmm. Drippy.


You know what, though? These cakes still don't have enough going on. What do you say in addition to the stairs, tiers, figurines, and light-up fountain, we cover everything in Louis Vuitton?

Ah, rampant materialism climbs to new heights. I like it.

But it's STILL not enough. Can we get a few dozen miniature bridal party dolls, a Barbie cake, a few bolts of tulle, and the Amazon rain forest in here now, guys?


No, no, don't take away the stairs, fountain, or multiple topper figurines; we need those.


All set? Alrighty, let's take a look.





Hey, Rafael S., Genevieve F., April L., Anony M., Marla B., & Elle J., you must admit: this thing is so gosh-darn tacky it's almost kind of awesome.




« Sunday Sweets: Fun Wedding Cakes | Main | A Day In The Life »

Reader Comments (163)

#1 Not that bad, actually (keeping in mind I'm a guy and the first thought that occurred to me was, 'Donkey Kong'). Check the groom's hat. Yee hah. Where are the rolling barrels?

#2 a.) Where's the groom? b.) Why is the bride wearing red? c.) Who are the guys in the background? d.) Is that a Jell-o fountain? I would have said Orange Crush, but this isn't glow-in-the-dark orange and it isn't fizzy.

#3 Appears to be a display. Perhaps the sign says, "Our Taste Therapist can help you avoid this."

#4 I'm thinking that Wild Turkey figured prominently in the design phase. Apart from that, 'Deer Riding an Escalator' makes perfect sense. It would have been cool if the escalator was functional.

#5 So 'Carrie' finally got married. Of all places to have a reception... I think we (those of us who have seen the movie or read the book) can probably guess what happened soon afterward. [smiley face]

#6 Maybe the couple *really* likes to travel. I wonder how many people walked in, saw the cake and said, "I knew we should have gotten them luggage!"

#7 A wedding is supposed to be the bride's day, but really. Any sign of the groom on this metropolis?

I see what appear to be guys in black on the satellite cakes; since we're talking plural here, perhaps they are the finalists. Yeah, that's it. Sort of an 'honorable mention' at the wedding -- who wouldn't be cool with that?

Maybe the first runner-up assumes the groom's duties in case of disqualification.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

If theres a bustle in your hedgerow...
its probably the plastic deer

I can't believe how hideous these are

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

Any one who would buy a cake from walmart is just asking for tacky trouble...

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter~flying gurl~

My mom had a delivery service and on Saturday we delivered a lot of wedding cakes and those with stairs were the hardest to deliver. You have to line up the cake just right, push the stairs into the lower cake, the slide them into the upper cake. If they aren't symmetrical there is no going back. This post brought back those painful days.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

I laugh-snorted-squealed so loudly the frantic cat hide under the bed. The deer, the tulle, the tastelessness. Such an excellent building of suspense and total hideosity. I salute you, Jen!! You have outdone yourself.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNiteNurse

That last one...the groom is being consumed to by the rainforest!

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLidi Di

I personally like the ruins at the top of the last cake. I mean why not throw some greek or roman touch on there... what do you bet the bride and groom look like they just walked out of the Jersey Shore. I mean isn't that what all the guidos and guidettes are having at their totally "awesome" receptions!!!???

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkimberj

Don't hate me, but I actually like the Vuitton cake. Except for the Vuitton logo, of course. I've always thought it's very kitsch and poor taste to have some company's name visible on your clothes/furniture/cakes etc, unless they're paying you for the ad.

But the combination of colours, the white cake + the chocolate borders and golden lines, I think that's rather nice.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBluefairy

the peanut says

I want to see one of these where the toppers are "racing" up the stairs to get to some fabulous prize.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterthe peanut

My friend had her wedding cake with the stairways and the plastic, lit up fountain underneath. And that was in 2007. I as her bridesmaid, knowing nothing about weddings, just assumed that was the kind of cake set up you HAD to have at a wedding.

It would actually be REALLY cool if they did look like a video game stage, if the stairways looked more like Donkey Kong-esque scaffold. That would be awesome for my upcoming gaming theme wedding.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJBee

Does anyone have an idea why the second cake has Chinese Deities behind it?

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOldish Lady

You bring me such great pleasure - thanks for the frequent laughs when getting my blog fix.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

I really should know better than to ever think you're kidding. That last one nearly made me choke on my jello.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiisa

As a baker.... I HATE these cakes. They are so 80's and ugly. So how many do I have ordered already this year? THREE!
I hope this is not a fad that is coming back. I cringe every time I hear the word fountain.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

If you are going to have a fountain on your cake, is it too much to ask that the junk in the fountain match the color of the icing or the decorations? (#2 is especially bad, with pink flowers, red lettering and orange punch.)

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdrgns4vr

This is EXACTLY!!! what drove me to not even want a wedding cake! First, the hubby-to-be would not go to cake tastings with me (seriously, what man doesn't want to eat free cake!) Then he insisted that what ever cake we got he was just going to smash in my face (I told him if he did, I would skip the honeymoon and get an annulment!) Then my mom proposed one of these monstosities! So I said no cake! (My mom got a cake stairs or fountains, thank god, I told her if I saw them I would push over the cake table)....hmmm thinking back, I may have been a little bit stressed while planning my wedding :)

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNiki

My life evidently isn't complete. To my knowledge, I've never been to a wedding with a ladder cake. Good grief. On the other hand, maybe when my daughter gets married, I can convince her to have a ladder cake and display all our Red Rose tea figurines?

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlizziebeth10

You know, I bet if we crossed a cake decorator with a mad scientist, the results would be staggering.

Staggering and drooling.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermagnificentminimalist

I have to make one of these this summer. Really. It's going to be modern meets tacky. I want to cry.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

More is not more! More is just tacky! Haha!

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I got a set of the tongue-skeletons from friends... it's a "chain-letter" wedding gift.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

"ramp"ant materialism! That's good!

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMara

The red one at first glance, resembles some warrior after a battle, but still wearing his plumed hat!
Seriously, in all my years of wedding photography, I've seen a few in the past few years.....sad....really sad...LOL

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The 5th one looks pretty bloody. I think it would fit right in at a zombie themed wedding. Which I may or may not be planning..

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJabby

That one with the red fountain all dripping everywhere looks possessed. Maybe the Walmart its from had a nasty ghost problem?

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Dear CW,
Thank you for posting this very important public service announcement. My husband to be tragically suffers from a love for both staircases and, yes, lit fountains. Since our colors are red and gold I fear the dripping bloody mess that is picture number two may be in my future if this madness cannot be stopped. I intend to show him this massacre in the hopes that maybe one life can be spared. Even if it comes at the expense of so many others. Dear God if he puts little figures on it they should hold me back from the serving knife...

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterunomesowell

Yes, sadly, I still make cakes such as these. If that's what she wants, that's what she gets....and they pay for it!
It is atrocious to line these things up at the reception. They need to be banned....

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

Holy Moly! Did they use Pepto Bismol to decorate that last one???

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbi

Ha! Validation! The first cake with the "cowboy" theme is one I decorated! It was a lovely cake to start with and then the obnoxious bride made me add those awful stairwells and the cowboy toppers! I have it on my blog as "Most Hate Wedding Cake"

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGlenna

Okay, the 5th looks like a crime scene from CSI...

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica W

Growing up we always called them out-cakes (as in out-buildings). They were always on display in bakery windows in my French/Italian neighborhood.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

OMG! They used the same staircase for the first and second cakes!

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbi

No, no... the last cake has totally rolled over to awesome! For somebody else's wedding, at least ;)

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelch

And a cake is just not complete until it's in front of a cheesy wood paneling backdrop. *sigh*

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

That last one looks like it was supposed to be a sweet 15 cake...maybe the bride got a discount??

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

My Mom has done wedding cakes all her life and I have seen my fair share of brides wanting staircases and fountains; but the one that stands out the most in memory is the one from the mid 80's... multi tiered, stairs, glass pillars ( with plastic flowers inside ) fountain with yellow liquid ( YES PEE YELLOW ) then the whole thing had swans on it... glass and crystal swans with red bows. Oh did I mention the cake had gold frosting? My Mom went to set it up at 8am and told the kitchen staff that her name was Mrs. Smith if anyone asks who made it.. she was so embarrassed. I wish there was a picture but of course she never took one of it.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatty

"...Of course, it goes without saying that all this extra height means you..." might experience severe nose bleeds.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMooseNuggette

I think the first dance song for all of these weddings should have been "stairway to heaven"

there sure is a lot of terain for those plastic bride caketoppers to travel in their itty bitty Barbie shoes!

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarissa

When I was a little girl I went to a wedding that had one of these interconnected cakes, but instead of stairs, it was connected by a chute that carried red punch. I thought it was very fancy at the time and couldn't understand why my mother didn't think so. Luckily my taste has improved with age.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLori

While these cakes are definitely delightfully tacky, sometimes I enjoy looking at the backgrounds even more. There are several in this set that are (I guarantee) from a rural area church fellowship hall or a decrepit American Legion Hall/VFW Club. The wood paneling is always a dead giveaway.

The Louis Vuitton cake cracked me up so much. LV really should probably sue on that one-- a defamation suit.


January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

omg...I thought I was being original then re-read the post and saw the title.

the cakes do give the younger guests something to play with during the reception, though....

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarissa

Oh, I have an addition to my "backgrounds" comment. The Chinese figurines in the second cake are also pretty fantastic. Wonder what theme "Nathale" was going for there?


January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

#1 Really, mixing white and ivory?!? I'm SHOCKED.

Actually, a video game cake would totally rock. I think I've seen some posted on a blog somewhere.

#5 (WalMart). Who doesn't want "Unbeatable Prices" and "This End Up" as the theme of their special day? That didn't seem quite so like solicitation before I wrote it down. Oh, my.

I can just hear the apprentice baker: "They want it decorated with red swags. How do I make those?"

"You just put the tip at the edge of the cake, pipe out a few inches of icing, then reattach it back at the edge. ... Um, well, not back at the same point."

@Craig: Taste Therapist. If only.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

I've actually been to a wedding where they had the three raised cake layers [WITH fountain underneath cycling champagne through it, you know, to class it up] and bridges on either side to raised double layers. Yes, folks, seven cakes. And less than 150 people at the reception.

I was ready to play 'dive for a layer' when they started to cut the thing. Cuz I'm a team player like that.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristers

Is the red cake oozing blood??? seriously???

In defense of the "stairways to marriage" cakes, I attended a wedding in which the bride and groom met online. She was from Australia and he from the USA. The side cakes were in the shape and flag of the respective countries with a beautiful white cake in the middle. At least it had meaning...

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

That last one cannot be anything other than a QuinceaƱera cake.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSunny @ the Library

That last one looks like a barbie village made out of sugar! Just the kind of thing I would have loved when I was 7.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I think the red things hanging from #5 must be either red licorice
ropes or Twizzlers?? And I doubt this cake made it to the wedding since the stacked pillars already look off kilter!

The last one looks like a Polly Pocket playhouse. Is the bride looking away from the cake and has a pink napkin in her hair..or is she facing the cake and using a pink napkin to dry her tears of dismay?

Uugghhh...and what a horror show it will be when they go look at those toppers after being in the freezer for a year!


January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

The red, drippy one would be AWESOME for a zombie-themed wedding. I thought that was all fake blood when I first saw it and I got really excited about a zombie-themed wedding, but then I realized it was just awful. Yeah, i would be super cool with the zombies chasing the humans down those stairs.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAbbey

I warned you about stairs, bro!

I told you dog! I TOLD you about stairs!

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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