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

Wedding Whoopsies

Brides, have you ever had a lofty cake dream...

...fall flat?


Or have you ever wished for pretty-as-a-picture polka dots...

...only to get gravity-defying cow patties?


How about something that should have been simply sublime...

...that turned terrifying?


Perhaps your "something blue"...

...has you seeing red?


Have you ever wanted creamy lace and bows...

...only to get "AAAAUUUGGHH!!"

Well, have you?


Oh, good!

Then send me a picture, won't you?

This stuff cracks. me. up.


Thanks to brides Ashley B., Emily K., Lara A., Christie S., & Kathleen M. for sharing their private pain with us. So that we may laugh. And then feel kinda bad about it. But not enough to stop laughing.

« Sunday Sweets: Painted Cakes | Main | Now This One Really Slays Me »

Reader Comments (105)

I feel like a lot of these kinds of situations result from someone asking a baker to replicate in buttercream what was obviously originally done in fondant. Shouldn't it be someone's job to point out this discrepancy at some point of the process?

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLarissa

Not even duct tape can help that last one! (Was it from the day the Earth trembled this summer?)

And, good heavens, piles of symmetrical poo on a wedding cake? They, too, look deflated. Or is that defeated? I get those two mixed up.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

I found these good luck superstitions on a wedding site:

"It is considered good luck for a bride to meet a lamb, a dove, a spider, a policeman, a clergyman, a doctor, a blind man or a black cat on her way to her wedding ceremony." (If you meet all of them, however, it is considered a really bad omen.)

"Seeing a chimney sweep on the way from the church will bring prosperity." (Well, good luck with that.)

"During the Middle Ages, some Jewish weddings were even held in cemeteries, since it was believed the life-affirming act of marriage could halt plagues." (It worked for me, no plagues so far.)

So I think we should make up a new one, just to comfort these poor brides:
A bride who's cake is a Sunday Sweet,
Only sadness and grief will meet.
But the bride who's cake is a total mess,
Happiness will smile upon and fortune bless.
(She'll also have the ability to halt plagues.)

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

My favorite is the cow pattie cake. lol

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

I love the wedding "what she wanted/what she got" cakewrecks! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMuria

AAAUUUUGGGHHH pretty much sums it up D:

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

Subee sez:
"It is considered good luck for a bride to meet a lamb, a dove, a spider, a policeman, a clergyman, a doctor, a blind man or a black cat on her way to her wedding ceremony."

The lamb might be tough if you live in the city (unless lamb chops count), but it seems like it would be hard to avoid meeting at least one of the others on a typical crosstown trip. Ah, well, who couldn't use a little more good luck?

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary

I love the wedding cake posts.

It makes me so glad I just went with a white Costco sheet cake. I don' think you can mess those up ... they don't have ANYTHING on them!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKamis

Haiku time:

Before and after
A huge Ugly Stick smacked them,
Behold wedding cakes.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary

If they can't use fondant and gumpaste, couldn't they just admit it?! "No, I can only make frosting, that's the only recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook."

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramanda

AAuuugghh! (Except the first one. It's bad and DEFINITELY NOT what the bride had in mind. But overall it wasn't as bad as the other ones on there.)

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie B

How do these situations work - does the bakery show the bride a picture of a cake they claim they can make, or does the bride show the bakery a picture of a cake someone else made and ask if their baker can do that?

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjbrecken

Okay, my biggest question...Did the brides ask for no fondant? Are there really that many bakeries out there that don't use it, even though the brides picture cake has it? Not that asking for no fondant should doom you to a cow pattie cake, but it does seem to be harder to get that nice crisp look.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

It was posts like these that made me cower in fear when planning my wedding. But then my "what we wanted/what we got" story turned out to be a happy one...and I was sad I didn't have an awesomely horrible pic to send you! C'est la vie, maybe for an anniversary.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLizzz

I love it SuBee! Do you think we can get it to catch on? I think there may be truth in it too. My wedding cake, although lovely to look at, was wreck-level impossible to cut due to the very, very hard royal icing, and we've been blissfully wed for almost 20 years. (Really, the photos of us "cutting" the cake are too funny.)

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterzoomom

Ugh. The "cascading roses" and the "lace and bows", exactly, does a professional miss the mark THAT badly?

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterScyllarus

"If they can't use fondant and gumpaste, couldn't they just admit it?! "No, I can only make frosting, that's the only recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook."

Maybe the couple ASKED for no foundant and gumpaste and that's what they got. I HATE, HATE, HATE fondant and I understand that any cake I order sans that product is NOT going to be as perfect as a photo I bring to the decorator. It is the price I am willing to pay to have a cake free of it.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTraci

The "Simply Sublime" wreck surely has to be one of the all-time worst wrecks, ever. I've been reading the blog now for about three years (and have gone back in time to read previous entries) and that is truly the first "cake" that has made me gasp out loud. I've had some moans before, some "oh no's," some head shakes, but that "cake" produced a full-fledged gasp. I can only imagine the reaction of the stressed-out bride when presented with that as her special-day cake.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSallie

I wish the wreckerators had the honesty to just say, "we can't do that." Some of those model cakes look supremely difficult to me, and finding someone who could make them should have been a very long, careful search.

A completely unrelated cake thought: I'm reading the book The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which is faaaabulous (Jen, you would love it. Trust me on this.). And I read the following description this morning. The setting is a celebratory dinner for the Circus. The Circus itself is all black and white, but the dinner is all about color.

"At dinner, which begins promptly at midnight, each course is styled in black or white but bursts with color once pierced with forks or spoons, revealing layer upon layer of flavor. ... Dessert consists mainly of a gargantuan tiered cake shaped to resemble circus tents and frosted in stripes, the filling within a bright shock of raspberry cream. There are also miniature chocolate leopards, and strawberries coated in looping patterns of dark and white chocolate."

I want someone to make me this cake!!!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterelissa

So very curious about that last one. It looks like a middle layer fell off and they just smacked the topper back on. Horrible.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHomesteadJen

That one with the blue flowers is soooo bad. The others might (MIGHT) not look horrible unless you had the original to compare them too. (except for the last one- it's BROKEN for goodness' sake)

I am a little confused, however- did wreckerator #4 run out of cream piping or did s/he start with white and change her/his mind after the first layer?

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDazie

Well the last cake suffered in transport, not in creation. It may well still not have looked like what the bride thought she was getting, but it was a car-wreck, not a cake-wreck.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeckyH

Wowza. New question when interviewing your potential baker: "Do you understand the difference between a solid and a colloid? Do you understand how each performs differently when layered over cake?"

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTreeling

I didn't think the first one was a Wreck but all the others...poor stressed-out brides!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristen S.

SuBee - HA!

And as for some of the cakes, I guess this is what happens when you tell your baker, "This is what I want, but I really don't like fondant." For the rest, just omg.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdebs

Maybe the bakers just need glasses. My eyes are awful, and if I take my lenses out, the bakers pretty much nailed all these cakes. Get these people the right prescription lenses and their cakes might improve. Well, except for the last one. The last baker may need a seeing eye dog. I'm sure the dog would have better piping skills...

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

"...the wedding cake is melting in the dark...
All the sweet, sweet icing flowing DOOOWWN...
Someone left the CAKE out in the rain
I don't think that I can TAKE it
'cause it took so long to BAKE it
And I'll never have that recipe AGAIN...
~paraphrased from "MacArthur Park"---an all-purpose "go-with" for a variety of holy messes ( Richard Harris croons his song with the raw emotional tone of one who is experiencing severe gastrointestinal and/or visual distress).

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter~anamorous~

The third one is my favourite XD

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCocal

I'm really excited to get married in two weeks becaue we're tring to do the cake ourselves (cake pops) so I'm itll turn out awesome enough for a terrible post!! can't wait!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosey

So, was I the only one who thought the first pic of the "What was wanted" was the wreck? I was looking for the wreckiness thinking, "wow, Jen is getting pretty tough if THAT is a wreck" and then I scrolled down! Just me then? Alrighty. Moving on.

This is when cakes are precut in the kitchen and the Cake Cutting Ceremony is "accidentally" forgotten. *shudder*

Teehee! We are laughing WITH you, though. What? Oh, those AREN'T tears of laughter. OK then. *snort*

SueBee! How thoughtful of you. I'll have to remember that if I ever meet a wrecked wedding cake in person. I'm sure it will make the bride and groom feel much better!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

May I also just say that I hate the first wedding topper? No? OK, then. Nevermind.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

These cakes make me SO VERY GLAD I am single. good grief charlie brown...

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie Jo

I mean CAKE topper. Ugh.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Does bride rescue him
Or push him off Cake Green-Doom?
Cliffhanger! Suspense!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

In my opinion BOTH of those first ones are "wrecks" simply because of the toppers. Because the cakes are topsy-turvy (or at least attempting to be) the slopes make it look too funny. The first looks like he's stepping off a cliff, the second like they are both sliding backward and she's grabbing him for support. They made me chuckle.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

While the bridal wrecks always have me howling with laughter (and my coworkers wondering whether to have me committed), I do truly feel for the poor brides....If this had happened on my wedding day, I would not be eligible for parole for about 20 more years...

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermiss_paper

Can't say I care for the topper on the first one. It's kind of like, you know...? Angry.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRuthie

The solution to this is: only shop at bakeries that have large window displays of what they're able to do. Order something similar or move on to the next bakery.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim

I think the second one wasn't that bad.

My mom used to manage a grocery store bakery, and brides would come in wanting these elaborate designs for almost nothing. Even when my mom would tell them they couldn't do it, the brides would still order the cake because they didn't want to spend the extra money.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRane

I'm going with the first commenter in that most of these are probably a result of swapping fondant for buttercream or a non-fondant decoration. Buttercream has its limits. So does tasty fluffy cake. Tasty fluffy cake does not hold a lot of weight well.

When i got married I knew that there would be no way to recreate a fondant-decorated cake I saw in a magazine with buttercream (Hubby and I dislike the taste of fondant and LOOOVE frosting), so I didn't ask my baker to do that. Hubby and I just wanted delicious cake, and didn't want to worry about it falling apart in the summer. We got cupcakes (not a CCC! just cupcakes). Like em or hate em, they were delicious and the frosting was pretty. And we got three flavours.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterF Saunders

Personally, I'd rather have a "Wreck" made with frosting than a "Sweet" with that horrid gumpaste or fondant stuff. If you want sculpture, use clay. If you want cake, for goodness sake make it out of something that tastes good!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeneric

I make wedding cakes for a living and while every baker should know their limitations, I would not hesitate making cakes similar to all those (with the exception of the first) out of butter cream. Fondant makes some designs easier and covers a lot of boo-boos, but there's still so much you can do with buttercream.

I love these "inspiration vs perspiration" posts - I just think these bakers were out of their league on this bunch!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Cup a Dee Cakes

To everyone saying "it's because of the fondant/buttercream switch," I think we need to remember some of the Sweets we've seen. I bake and decorate cakes for fun, and any good decorator knows the tricks to make buttercream smooth and neat. These cakes are just sloppy.

Except the first one- it's not great, but not terrible either.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara

I'm of the opinion the bride is pushing on the cake topper, but that could be because I am divorced... ;-)

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCoach

It has been my experience that some brides have a definite "fondant prejudice". They won't hear of ANY fondant on their cakes. I, on the other hand, try to steer them to a design that will work with buttercream. These cakes are unfortunate...

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

You know, I worked as a grocery store decorator for several years, and there's a few things I would like to add here. First, I do not want to defend any of the wrecks pictured here, I would not give them to anyone as a wedding cake. I have spent many days of my life redoing cakes that looked like that. However, both the pink and brown cake and the blue and white cake give me the vibe of a very inexperienced decorator being forced to do the work of a more trained professional. In my time with a kroger corporation, I had to frequently fix cakes that were done at other stores by underqualified decorators, who often times are being forced to decorate said wedding cake in the absence of any more qualified decorators. The other thing to consider is that the decorators in grocery stores are very often have to deal with A) inferior ingredients, B) often inferior tools, C) serious time constraints D) usually working on the cake by themselves. The biggest, fanciest, most multi-layered wedding cake at my store was less than $500, and people custom ordering their own cake will often pay much less. Nowadays, everyone wands a 'food network' cake but nobody understands that those are both ridiculously expensive and B) not made in blasted grocery stores.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClankie

I'm a photographer and this happens in our profession as well. You get what you pay for. You want a quality product, then you really need to hire a professional. Not a fly by nighter. Insist on seeing some of THEIR work. It's quite sad actually because you know there is a bride out there in tears when they walk into their reception and see some of these "masterpieces". It pays to do some research,

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Ok, I haven't posted much, but I have to speak up here. For those of you who keep saying "this is what happens when you don't want fondant". You are either A. Not a cake decorator or B. You are a decorator, but the kind that makes this blog possible. This would be like going to a restaurant, ordering a burger without onions, but they bring you a salad, would that be your fault because you didn't order it exactly like the menu stated?I have been decorating cakes for over a decade and it is possible to replicate a fondant look, without fondant. There is no way you could blame this on the customer because they didn't want it exactly like the picture, the outcome would have been far worse if these decorators had actually attempted fondant or gumpaste, because these are mediums that require actual skill and talent to use properly.
*Steps down from soapbox* lol

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAliG

Why is the last one bleeding?? WHY?????

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

Love it or hate it, fondant makes your cakes look pretty. If you don't like the taste, you can always peel it off. (I make homemade fondant and it is sooooo much better than anything you get in a tub or box.) Still - there's no excuse for any of these cakes aside from maybe "I ordered these from the bakery where they let their 10 year olds do all the decorating". That last cake was the result of poor structural integrity - even if it's only a 2 tier cake, some sort of internal support is a good idea.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFerralyn

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>