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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

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.

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Reader Comments (105)

Sometimes I would love to know who and with what experience makes these cakes. It is not that hard to make buttercream smooth and even nor is it difficult to be honest with your clients that you can't replicate that design. So sad for these brides!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercraft a holic

Except for #2, the goofs in these cakes would NOT have been helped by using fondant. Wreck #1 looks like it collapsed, wreck #3 had bad piping and I'm not crazy about those frosting colors, wrecker #4 needed to mark where the curlicues were supposed to go instead of freehanding them, and wreck #5 needed a vertical rod to keep the top half from sliding off the bottom.

Wreck #2 needed lots of fondant polka dots instead of cow patties; the buttercream looks fine, very smooth. The wrecker could have at least patted down the cow patties to flatten them; just dip your finger in powdered sugar before you pat down the patties, and the powdered sugar will keep your finger from sticking to the frosting.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjune7

I believe some of these cakes are because the person wanted a fondant covered cake made out of buttercream. To save cost. I've had this happen several times. And I remind them every time that it's not going to look exact because it's made of buttercream. If you want fondant look pay for it or you don't have the right to complain later. The one cake that you said was cow patties is actually really good buttercream work. Look how smooth it is. I've seen bakers on the TV do worst buttercream work then that.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTesia

It was I was reading this, for the first cake I would say, "Oooooo" and then for the second cake I would say "Oooooo", but somehow it sounded totally different. But I have to agree, I did gasp at the blue rose cascade of death. That was hideous. Great post, as always. I heart Cakewrecks.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLizzie

I really think that the ultimate "This is what I wanted, and this is what I got" was that poor lady in South Africa - Mrs. Ruby Slippers, I think she called herself. It was a long time ago. Maybe you should re-run it, or give us the date. It was far, far, far and away THE WORST wreck ever. The look on the bride's face was priceless.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLady Anne

Tim sez:
"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."

Not a bad idea, but it doesn't always work. You have no guarantee that the same person who made the sample cake will make yours (or even still works at that bakery), or will spend a comparable amount of time on yours.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary

Oh no. I have a friend who is an up and coming baker. She actually sells a lot of cakes too. Sad thing is, most of them look like the wreckage you have here. I have been tempted to submit her work, but it would just break her sweet little heart if she ever found out b/c she just tries so hard :(

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranon

the "whoops" cakes look like cakes I might possibly pull off with a little practice. Hey, maybe I'm wasting my money in school right now! I can be a baker!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLetitia

No, there are much worse issues than can't-replicate-fondant-with-buttercream going on here. Especially with that blue ribbon cake-- every last detail of that thing proudly proclaims, "I made this at 4 o'clock on the day before a four-day weekend. Also, my arthritis was flaring up. And I am a chimpanzee."

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

I had an, "I hate fondant, so can we do it without?" cake, and it was gorgeous. No excuse for these monstrosities.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercmsp

1st: some of these replicas are horrible- hence they are now immortalized on Cake Wrecks.

2nd: the people who order butter cream replicas of fondant originals are getting what they deserve...

Come on people! Down with the butter cream! Otherwise this is what happens.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKara A.

I absolutely Love when you post these "what the Bride Wanted and What the Bride Got" I cringe just thinking of how those photos of the cake will live forever in Infamy! I disagree that these cakes were done by a "baker" in buttercream trying to replicate a Fondant cake. My guess is most of these were done by somebody's "Aunt" or Friend who "does Cakes" much cheaper than a bakery! Look at what most of the cakes are sitting on! A ceramic plate! A professional bake shop would not have put out a cake looking like most of these! I decorate cakes and don't do fondant but I could have done better than this!

Hey Jen I think your next book needs to be ALL Wedding cakes!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBelle T

Whether either of the first pair are wrecks depends on whether the bride is pulling or pushing. Come to think of it, neither bodes well...

#2b "Yeah, I'm pretty sure we can do that. Hey, Earl, when you finish that oil change, can ya give me a hand?"

#3b looks like a pile of laundry. I'll bet the bride was simply speechless.

#4b Long-time friend who says, "it would be my honor to make your wedding cake" -- acceptable. If money changes hands, not so much.

#5b What happens when you commission a multi-tier cake from the Dogbert Bakery. But in true engineer fashion, the wreckerator counted it a success because they were able to salvage the top and the base.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

@Gary - You are sooooo right. We have a cake shop in our area that obviously has two distinct decorators. One produces beautiful, polished works of cake art. The other is responsible for cakes on the verge of wreckiness. We looked through their album of Sweet Sixteen cakes alternating between "oooooh" and "oooooh" (thank you, Lizzie.) We're not using this shop because we're terrified of what the cake might look like (although I think my daughter secretly wants a wreck)

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy'sMom

classic cakewrecks!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertiny p. elephant

I had NO IDEA what a risk I was taking when I accepted my aunt's offer to decorate our cake. Fortunately, she did a fine job, but looking at these, I do thank my lucky stars.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWynn Anne Sibbald

I'm a cake decorator for a big-box retail chain, and this...looks pretty familiar. This sort of result (the pink and brown especially) is what happens when a bride is absolutely insistent on using a certain inspiration picture of a cake -- usually incorporating fondant -- but ordering the cake in a store chain that does not use fondant. In my store, we really do a good job of recreating the designs in our company's wedding cake example book, since the example cakes are all made in buttercream and therefore expectations are consistent across the board. But some brides, well, some brides, Lord help us all, insist on using whipped icing, or expect us to do Ace of Cakes work while paying discount-chain prices, and even if we indicate that a particular design might be beyond our capabilities, get really pushy about getting their own way (why, yes, I have had a customers get all bridezilla about it). And since "the customer is always right" (*snort*), we have to do what they want. Then the result ends up on Cake Wrecks. :-/

(The pink and brown, BTW, looks like it was made with whipped icing, which I can understand from a flavor and texture standpoint, but is evil incarnate on a wedding cake. Too...squishy, I guess.)

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMargot

I am entranced by these posts in a watching-a-car-wreck kind of way as I plan my own wedding. At least if I get an absolutely awful one I will know what to do with it; send it your way!

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Wow.. that last cake what on earth happened to it? I hope the bride got a refund because if I saw that at my reception I probably would have bawled my eyes out lol. Then again it would depend on how hormonal I happened to be at the time. That blue monogrammed one wasn't so bad it was pretty close to the original if you over look the fact it was done in frosting and not fondant..eek.

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

Today is my 49rd Bithday!

And what did I get as a present? My very own Cake Wreck! This blog is now so popular the decorator at Safeway was happy to oblige.

Here's a picture of it:

My Bithday Cake Wreck!

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

They're funny as hell... But you do feel a bit guilty laughing because these are some poor brides actual wedding cakes! You gotta feel bad for them? Yeah.... Just as soon as you finished splitting your sides laughing that is! :o)

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterklumzey

Very funny, "Lobert"

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

Definitely loved these!! I get a laugh and a good lesson every time I come here!

"Decorate or decorate not, there is no try."

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

@ Lizzie:

" rose cascade of death."

Perfect. Just perfect.

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter~anamorous~

@ Lizzie:

" rose cascade of death."

Perfect. Just perfect.

@ Robert:

Hey, look at the "bright side."
No, not the side that has those bright, mustardy-looking roses (although they DO kinda/sorta more or less seem to look comfortable next to that banana).
What I mean is the "philosophical bright side."

There's GOT to be one.
Any ideas?
Uh...LoBert? Yo--BiThday Boy!
Okay, I'll go first: It would have been worse if they'd used actual mustard for the flowers.
There. Your turn.

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter~anamorous~

Sunnyvale Safeway? Hi neighbor! Which Safeway? I've noticed the El Camino & Wolfe one has some unintentional turkey wrecks :)

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamoche

But LoBert (sounds like a new 'Dilbert' character) got what he wanted. Is it therefore still a wreck?

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

I agree, the first one is a Wreck even in the "what they asked for" version. Maybe you could do a spinoff site, "Tacky Toppers."

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

At least they got the cake topper right on the first one. Hee hee ;-)

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusiemc

I must say, the bottom one, looks tragically delicious..

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

I liked the first one, but the others are awful! What happened there!

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMe

It is a huge mistake to try and recreate a fondant cake with icing! Brides ordering wedding cakes should absolutely make sure that the cake decorator they hire can do fondant if that is the look they are going for. Otherwise, its anyone's guess what the cake will actually look like. That being said, all of these bakers should have been able to execute better frosting equivalents of the requested fondant cakes than they did. I would be ashamed to deliver any of those cakes and let people actually see them (let alone make them eat it) and those wreckerators should be ashamed!

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersan

Those toppers are becoming common. My backstory for them is that the bride wants him to meet the in-laws and he is drunk and wants to stay at the bar, but she is dragging him away. Oh look, Haiku Joy again! Yay!

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterG

Ali G,

Thank you!! That's everything I wanted to say! I also decorate cakes, though I am not nearly as skilled as I'd like to be. When I am presented with pictures of a fondant cake but asked for buttercream, and it's a design that I KNOW that I don't have the skill to do in buttercream, I will tell the couple straight-up. I can't BELIEVE that some people are trying to make it the couples' faults that these bakers were not realistic about their abilities. I, too, can only imagine that they are defensive decorators who send out crap like these wrecks.

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJT

I'm a semi-decent amateur cake decorator; my grandmother made wedding cakes professionally. I have to agree with Jen @ Cup-a-Dee, Tara, Clankie, and Sarah. Most of these cakes look like they were made by someone out of their depth. I think #1 comes closest to being what the customer wanted, while still missing the mark. (And yet I hate its cake topper - just disrespectful to the bride, the groom, and the whole notion of getting married in the first place.)

Oh, if you've never encountered it, there's a delicious but little-known alternative to fondant - "candy plastic." I discovered it a couple years ago while getting ready to make my daughter's birthday cake. Here's the link: I discovered you can also use Wilton Candy Melts in place of real chocolate, at least for the colored kind; I don't care for the taste of the chocolate candy melts on their own, which kind of defeats the purpose!

Anyhow, my daughter's cake turned out really cute, but wish me luck - I'm getting ready to make this year's . . . .

December 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertoneygirl

This site brings me to tears. I can't even decide if they're from laughter or PAIN. And this category of entries - the 'asked for' and the 'delivered' versions is by far my favorite!

Is there any tag or category link that I'm missing that might enable me to view all of these types of entries? Or is it just a grab bag that I'd need to just go from page to page to page and cross my fingers? (I might just be missing a super-obvious link as well. I'm not bright. And running 2 cups short of the coffee I might need to bring my IQ above 80 today.)

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChelsee

The third cake (cascading flowers) has me laughing so hard I have TEARS streaming down my face and I could not breathe for quite some time. I doubt the bride got so much joy, but I hope she will later see the horror... I mean, humor!

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKay

Well in my view, you get what you pay for. A lot of brides might not want to admit this but nickle and diming and going to a cake maker with no skills will result in disaster!

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIndia Bright

These cakes are definitely the result of a cheapskate bride trying to order a thousand dollar specialty cake from a grocery store bakery... I really can't fathom how people are dumb enough to believe that they can request a cake they've seen in a magazine from a regular bakery.

December 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterflinch

Super examples of cakes with mistakes. I have a feeling these brides were not entirely happy with them. I can only say that anyone not like fondant - should consider how many people your reception will have eating cake.

Just a word to those wanting to save money on the cake - Consider giving cupcakes made with the cake batter to the kids present.

Say 100 adults - 15 kids - you only need about 100 pieces of cake and 20 cupcakes to fill in.

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKilandra

The cake with the fruit filling did not have the proper inner structuring to be stacked.There are sets of supports made by Wilton and other companies, to be used when putting a cake like that together.Also, when making a cake like that, it is well to let it set for a while and to be careful when moving it. I am not a professional baker, but I have made lots of cakes for about 40 years, and following directions to the letter when putting a cake like that together avoids the catastrophe you see there.Paying attention to humidity also makes a difference.The person who mentions people wanting a design made for fondant style cakes is correct- it is inadvisable to try them with buttercream, as the consistency is so different with each type of decoration.Fondant and other extremely linear type decorations really do not taste as good as real buttercream, either. It is wise to ask for pictures of past work when getting a wedding cake or anniversary etc.You can avoid heartbreak.But, it is just hilarious to see some of the things on this blog- the turkey fertility symbols, the animated avian fecal material, the prone and suffering Saint Nicholas, the sagging and the monstrous and the scabrous and the weird, and all intended to line arteries with copious amounts of cholesterol. I love this.Never ever give it up!

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Manns

wow...that last one is the result of a baker that just doesn't care. You can tell that the cake above the admittedly delicious jam-like filling shrank so it didn't cover half the area of the cake. And they still just slapped that decorated top layer on and randomly threw icing in the direction of the bottom layer and shipped it off.

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergreenknight

and these pictures are what happens when you do not hire a professional, you pay for a wreck and we get to make fun of it online!!

January 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPinkLemonadeCatering

I'm cake decorator that works in a grocery store. First off, if someone bring me a picture from a magazine that probably cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars to make, I'm HONEST and will tell them that we don't have fondant and we can't make that cake look like that for a hundred bucks! I believe all decorator should be honest so not to disappoint anyone especially on their wedding day! But I'm posting this also as a warning to people, sometimes you get what you pay for! And if you pull a picture out of a magazine of a really elaborate cake then perhaps you should do your homework and find a speciality bakery that does that, not a grocery store! All though that last cake is just wrong i don't care who made it!

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCandace

While these are hilarious, I cannot imagine any bride taking these pictures from magazines of cakes that costing hundreds and thousands of dollars and expecting the local baker to replicate. The pics are obviously the works of highly skilled and expensive professionals.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTira

I'm sorry but all this bashing me, buttercream works beautifully IF it's done by someone who knows what they are doing! These are examples most likely of brides who went with the cheapest baker they could find thinking that ALL bakers are magically trained to be able to create the same masterpieces they see on TV or in catalogs. They're the same ones who are shocked when you quote something above $75 for a 4-tiered filigreed cake with cascading gum paste flowers. I mean it's just cake, right? How hard can it be?

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Oh, I don't even care how it looks, that last one looks yummy as hell. I can haz spoon?

April 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

The "ugly flowers" cake looks like it was decorated with whipped icing. I also work in a supermarket bakery (not a decorator - but can do some nice cupcakes). When I take cake orders, if a customer is concerned about a cake's decorations holding up, I'll recommend buttercream over whipped icing.

April 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErlinda

I'm starting to get really confused about this fondant debate - It's not necessary. No, your cake will not melt without it (butter softens at 80 degrees and melts around 89- not to mention that a buttercream cake is going to be chilled so it will take hours for it to hit that temp. in the first place...). You don't need it to make your cake look good - If you know what you're doing it'll shine in fondant or buttercream. Sometimes maybe - but you don't need it in place of flat icing or polka dots or anything like that. This isn't an issue of translating from fondant to icing - this is an issue of inexperience or just not having the right skills or know-how for the job.

I wasn't sure either about how to make a cake look perfect with buttercream, but in school I had this guy for my cakes class and I hope that I can do work like this with more practice - and anyone who wants to put in time to dedicate to this craft can, too.

His website:

April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan M

"I have been decorating cakes for over a decade and it is possible to replicate a fondant look, without fondant."

I hope the solution is to use marzipan instead. That would be a cake I'd like to eat.

June 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBryn

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