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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
Tuesday
Mar152011

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

I'm always fascinated by the breakdown in communication that can occur when you order a cake. I love figuring out what went wrong just by looking at the cake; it beats any crossword puzzle or word jumble.

Sometimes the explanation is pretty straight forward:

As you can see, there is in fact a "Coca Cola can/bottle" on this cake.

Other times there's a severe misunderstanding from the get-go:

I like to think that if they'd spelled "capital" correctly they might have figured it out.

Sometimes you specifically ask for little plastic "Happy Birthday sticks" stuck in your order of cupcakes:

Other times you're just not specific enough:

And sometimes, on wonderful, rare occasions, you get an amazingly talented baker. A baker with mad piping skills, a steady hand, and perfect spelling. A baker who, incidentally, is also a little hard of hearing. So, when you get this baker, and you want to order a giant Gerber daisy on your cake, just be sure you enunciate really, really well.

Because otherwise...


You might get the Gerber Baby.

(Yes, really. Scout's honor.)

A big "thanks" in all caps to Heather F., Brianne H., Jessie B., Kristina R., & Kelly Y., who had some 'splaining to do on her last birthday.

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Reader Comments (93)

Perhaps the way to avoid situations like these is to have customers submit their orders to CW comments for spellcheck and factual verification before forwarding to the bakery... (JK)

#1 We know what would have happened if the customer had brought a Coke bottle or can and said, "put this on the cake," right?

#2 Someone's 55th birthday? Some child whose name starts with 'L' just turned 5? Viva Las Vegas? Oh, by the way... why is it shiny?

#3 Obviously, the problem here is that instead of saying, "I'd like 'happy birthday' sticks on these cupcakes," the customer should have asked for 'happy birthday' sticks on *all of* these cupcakes. Which would either have meant fewer cupcakes or a lot more writing...

#4 Simple. Elegant. In the best tradition of 'Under Neat That'.

#5 Theory I: Kelly's baby picture bears a striking resemblance to the Gerber baby. Theory II: Maybe the wreckerator just wanted to avoid controversy: "Is that a daisy, or a dogwood blossom, or a lotus flower, or..."

@Kimberly Chapman: Sound theory, but impractical; if wreckerators verified orders, at the end of the month there would be an $18 Zillion phone bill and no cakes made.

What these bakeries ought to do is contract order-taking out to a call center somewhere. Then bakery employees could follow a simple sequence: read the order, make the cake, process the refund, send a picture to Cake Wrecks, eat the evidence. Much more efficient that way.

@Pandora (2): My sentiments exactly. Florists get paid to know about flowers, bakers know about wrecks. If I needed a specific flower on a cake, I would go to the florist, say "I'd like that one, please," then go to the baker and say, "I would like a cake that has this on it, please." After that, I would just have to hope the flower was food-safe. Or not worry about it, depending on whether I like the intended recipient of the cake. (JK)

wv: adnes. A mountain range in Preu.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Hmm. It could just be that "daisy" came across as "desi" (i.e. subcontinental), the baby also looks like that with its big black eyes and curly black hair. I am not sure what the baker was thinking, though, since the two words are IMHO pronounced quite differently, and why would Kelly want a giant desi baby on her cake? Apart from that, "Gerber" seems not to have been understood at all, but if English is not your mother tongue it is pretty likely that you don't know all the flower names, I would probably not have understood it either. Just my two cents.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

sometimes (as a former cake decorator myself) its the consumer who ruins it.
last year a man came in and requested a Buzz Lightyear cake for his 21 year old son. i was a little confused, and asked if he was sure his son would appreciate this, he replied "of course, hes not under age or anything".

hmmmm, ok its YOUR cake man, i thought, and made a fun blue cake with space ships and buzz firing his wrist gun. it turned out pretty good, and i was happy.
the next day, i was written up for giving my owners grandson (oh yes, turns out that was their kid) the wrong cake. it was supposed to be a BUD LIGHT cake. ouch. my first fail. i found out later that the man who ordered the cake is legally deaf, and didnt hear me when i repeated the order. after that he got to fill out his own cake orders :)

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

I wonder if the LV cake was supposed to be a Louis Vuitton logo cake...

wv: iritrypo: an especially irritating attempt at typing something correctly and failing.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love when cakes are misspelled. Last year for my friend's 35th birthday our other friend got him a cake. All it said was "Big Guy, 35, Farve," because our friend was a Green Bay fan. There was no Happy Birthday. And "Farve" is actually spelled "Favre." You would think people would write this out and spell check before they make these mistakes?

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTherapist San Francisco

should be "is a failure to communi-cake"....

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hah! One of the most misquoted movie lines of all. It is "What we've got here is (pause) failure to communicate" (not a failure to communicate).

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The "something nice" cake literally made me laugh out loud.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLefty van Gogh

The people that ordered the Gerber baby cake totally deserved to get that cake! One of my biggest pet peeves is people who say "gerber" daisies!

I would have loved to see a "gerbera" daisy cake, cause that baby was awesome!

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmielyn

Perhaps it's because I'm from the UK but I have no idea what a Gerber baby is! Wikipedia helped me out ;)

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersouthlundon

Do the bakers get chain-gang labor, repeated beatings, and time in the Box? 'Cause that seems a little severe for getting a cake order wrong.

--Dr. Vic

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

These are my favorite kinds of wrecks! Although I enjoy Cake Wrecks every day, I rarely actually laugh out loud...and I did so today, more than once!

And held my breath hoping there would not be a huge Epcot thing blow up about Gerber/Gerbera...looks like it came close a couple of times.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Loved this! A laugh AND a lesson. I'm taking notes! Great post! - Tammy at:
http://singlepast50.com/blog/

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

I don't understand why so many people are doing the Epcot over Gerber Daisies.

Every garden center around here calls them "Gerber Daisies."

The Florist shops sell "Gerber Daisies" too.

I've NEVER been told by anyone, horticulturist, florist, or other that "Gerber Daisy" is somehow a completely invalid method of referring to the particular plant, and only the "GerberA" form is legitimate.

Besides, if the fabulously talented decorator who created the baby cake hadn't misheard the order, we wouldn't have anything over which to hide out in the Epcot bunker and eat cake, now would we?

wv: unbubbl
I have no idea what it means but it made me giggle. Maybe it's a name for what you play with at an UN-birthday party. It's your Un-birthday. Here blow an unbubbl.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKittyKat

SO sad about the gerber baby/daisy mix up because that is one talented cake decorator. It's just a shame that he/she gets on cakewrecks after actually doing a superb piping job.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Thanks for the much-needed chuckles today.

I usually drop in, read, laugh (wee a little), and leave assuming there are already 200 "lol, you guys are awesome" comments and one more would just get lost in the fray. In light of Marti-gate, I thought I would stop and try to express to Team Cakewrecks how wonderful you guys are and how much I appreciate you posting throughout the insanity, and how the laughs you provide help get many of us through our own dark days.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCakeyGoodness

These are too much! I think I would be slightly happier to recieve one of these than an actual "Happy Birthday"...I know I'd get a good laugh out of it!

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterag.

The cheap phone system in our bakery actually saved me from making a wreck. We can barely hear customers sometimes and end up repeating the spelling and sometimes shouting to be heard. The company refuses to do anything about the phones. Usually when customers call and we are not sure about the message we write what we think they said and annotate "wait to write message until the customer arrives." Usually this saves from scraping the cake. Anyway a customer called and asked if we could do a "Gerber Baby." We talked about the cake and I repeated it back to her many times. I didn't have a picture on hand to work with so I asked her to bring one in. Of course she brought in a picture of a Gerber daisy. If I had gone out of my way to find a picture for the customer as I usually do, I would have made that wreck.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

@Dr. Vic asked: "Do the bakers get chain-gang labor, repeated beatings, and time in the Box?"

Of course not. Those things are reserved for people who dare to assert that anything has ever been deep-fried and try to cite Wikipedia as proof.

Bakers just receive their 15 minutes of 'fame' here, then they are free to leave -- if we're in a good mood. Which we usually are. Except, that is, when we go to EPCON 1* and things start getting...interesting. Mwahahaha.

*EPCON 1 = Maximum Alert: 'Launch on the slightest provocation, real or otherwise'

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Reading this blog @ midnight during our vacation in the UK, I showed my husband the Gerber/Gerbera Daisy/Baby cake and I had to keep shh-ing him as to not wake up the other occupants of the B&B with his laughing! Keep it coming guys, I love your blogs and read them daily :o)

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Amanda, Love your site and your Blog! Especially fond of Cake Wrecks. Laughs and lessons all in one! Very nicely done. -Tammy
http://singlepast50.com/blog/

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

I would have to say that I would have a hard time not buying the last cake even though it was wrong.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYulanda

Cool Hand Luke reference- classic! A line that all wreckators should be familiar with!

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

If that Gerber cake wasn't a mistake that would have made a great baby shower cake. I'd rather see that than edible baby butts and fondant hoo-hahs anyday.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBree

The "Gerber Baby" reminds me of the Mexican lady who asked for a figure of a boy in a football uniform, holding a football under his arm .. with a brown face (because he was Mexican).

When she came to pick up the cake... there it was, a football player with uniform, helmet and football.... and a CLOWN face. Mother was not happy.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKWillow

the Gerber baby- bwahahahahahahahaha

"What these bakeries ought to do is contract order-taking out to a call center somewhere."
I work in the Quality dept of a large call center. Some of the more harmless spelling errors I've seen include spelling out "underscore" & "at symbol" in emails. Yes, even though every one of them has to be proficient with email! (i.e. cakeunderscorewrecksatsymbolefacepalmdotcom). Did I forget to mention the "dot?"

Then there's the ones that get rude. Did you know furnaces "sh_t" down? Nope, not the letter above the "j" but the one to the right of it. :D Spell Check was eventually installed- now, maybe they'll use it one day.

There've been a few lewd ones, too, but I can't mention those here (compact DISCS can be mispelled very, very hysterically but men don't find it as funny as women do).

-Barbara Anne

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think that Gerber baby is kinda cute lol. As for the capitalize it cake ewwwwwwwwww. It looks all sweaty and rather gross. Scary how they misunderstand an order..

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

The Gerber cake is now my favoritest CW evar. I laugh aloud every time I look at it.

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternolly

I'm glad I read the comments today because someone asked what the WV is all about. I always thought it was funny, but never understood where the words came from! I would never have asked myself.

@Brooke I only read the comments today is see if the *Gerbera Daisy - Epcot helmets* were needed! LOL!

WV- censable: Mink is not the most censable coat at a protest rally. ;)

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkarina

Maybe it's Stick's birthday???

And that is a stinkin' awesome baby!

WV: Deless, adj; "This cake is deless, too bad it's a wreck!"

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara

I love Gerbera Daisies, but I would be happy with that cake, just for the effort put into it--the likeness of the Gerber Baby is spot on!

"Happy Birthday Sticks" is classic! LOL I'm imagining your next book cover right now...

Thanks a million for the much needed laughs!

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBhakti

About the cake with the Gerber baby...the daisy is a "gerbera" daisy I believe.

Just sayin'...

Grandma Nancy

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Nancy

Anonymous said:

>>Cool Hand Luke reference- classic! A line that all wreckators should be familiar with!<<

Makes you wonder how many eggs are in the cake recipe, doesn't it?

:-)

wv -- stery

It's a my-stery how some of these Wrecks happen!

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

I am in LOVE with the something nice cake! I can't stop laughing about it!

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBigMomma

@KittyKat- while I laughed out loud at 'something nice' and facepalmed at the gerber baby, I laughed the hardest at your 'do the epcot'. It should be a dance craze!

wv gyribl- a terrible gerbil.

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramanda

@ southlundon Gerber is the name of a major baby food company in the U.S. The Gerber Baby is the company's iconic logo, reproduced not only on jars and boxes of baby food, but as dolls.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerber_Baby

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm sure many have pointed this out, but that's a pretty good baby on the Gerber cake.

March 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

if you were to write down that you needed a Gerbera Daisy cake, then you shouldn't need visual aids.

I admit I laughed, but as an extremely hard of hearing individual, i found the after effects of being made fun of, ringing a little to long. A touchier subject than you might think.

March 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRamona

I'm pretty sure I've seen an old Coke sign with exactly that layout of "bottle" and "can"

March 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjamoche

What is "Gerber baby" supposed to mean? English is not my mother tongue and I didn't manage to google anything relevant.

March 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJitka

@Jitka: It's this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerber_Baby" rel="nofollow">Gerber baby

March 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjamoche

Maybe the first cake was for someone who is a fan Coke AND Star Wars. Picture Yoda saying, "Bottle Coca-Cola can."

-Michelle

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I have to defend the Sticks one. "Sticks" could quite easily be someone's nickname (a drummer, a cricketer, someone with long legs or who lives out in the sticks), and given you would generally ask for "birthday candles" not "birthday sticks", I think that was a perfectly understandable mistake.

Love the Gerber baby.

January 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSallyJ

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