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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
Mar222011

Bridal Terrors

A lot of brides like to give their bakers a photo of their dream wedding cake, in the hopes that they might, in fact, get a cake that looks at least vaguely similar.

However, as you long-time readers know, this can be a lot like asking Francois the painting ferret* to whip you up a quick Mona Lisa. Some of the colors might be right, but in the end it's probably gonna be covered in fur and little poo nuggets. (The painting, that is, not the cake.) (We hope.)

For example:

Amanda C. asked for this, only in white and with a C:


And, in the baker's defense...

...that is most definitely a C.

Jei gave this picture to the head "chef" at a "luxury" beach "resort":



And she got...this:

I can't decide which is classier: the oozing cake or those water bottles.

Do you think the bride had to spring for those?
[chortle]

Candice F. wanted this mushroom cake:


And her baker's interpretation?

Aw, those Alaska bakers: such fun guys.

Joanne and Elena wanted this stunner for their wedding:


And, to be fair, what they got did leave them stunned:

I would ask what happened to the flowers, but those squiggles have left me speechless.

And finally, Christie D. wanted her cake to look just like this, only with silver ribbon:

Pretty simple, right?

Well, here's an interesting factoid: did you know that "silver ribbon" can be translated as "duct tape"* in some bakeries? It's true. Here's proof:

That's "35 years of experience" right there.

So I'd hate to see what only two decades' worth would look like.

Thanks to brides Amanda C., Jei, Candice F., Joanne & Elena C., and Christie D. for making me feel better about my $80 Publix wedding cake.

*Note: Not actual duct tape. Duct tape is prettier.

*Update from john: Loyal Wrecky Henchperson Shannon S. sent in this helpful illustration:

Quick! Somebody give me a clever ferret pun!
(I love my job)

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Reader Comments (160)

If you hadn't seen the example photo, the mushroom cake would have seemed fairly nice. I'm sad about the others, though.
Janet J.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

Wow...just wow...duct tape. *stunned silence* I wasn't aware that alongside being a fantastic holder-togetherer...duct tape is also a delicious delicacy suitable for weddings. Wow.

~Jaclyn

Wv: giness: I think these bakers were partaking in too much giness when they made these cakes.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjebus llama

These are my favorite kinds of Wrecks. Oh, how sad the brides must have been. *evil grin*

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

DUCT TAPE??????

I think I'd be stopping payment on the checks for these cakes.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I do believe the mushrooms on the wrecked cake are just Chocorooms...which are delish, but not decorations for a wedding cake.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUsagi

And these wrecks are the perfect examples of why everytime someone whines to me "It's only cake! How hard can it be?!" that makes me want to smack them upside the head with a baking sheet.

Structural support, important.
Smooth icing, important.
USING FOOD SAFE MATERIALS, important. BTW- Has anyone notified Duct tape to let them know of the "latest and greatest use of duct tape"?

vw I'm "mazonst" about how badly professionals can and do screw up cakes.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercq75

I'm really really trying to understand why the 2nd wreck (orchid cake) looks wet & shiny and well "oozing" as it was termed. WTH?!?! What could that possibly be? It looks like they covered it in Fondant at some point, or is that melting buttercream? Either way...If I were the bride of any of these cakes we'd be on our way to court!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I am so glad that it worked out for me when I did this! My cake looked almost exactly like the picture. On the one hand, I think it's because it was a simple design, but that first one is a simple design, too!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKati M

A chef I once worked for said "maybe it really is rocket science". You wouldn't believe the things customers ask for on cakes...or maybe you would. This blog shows that there are way too many who overstate their abilities in cake decorating. Be careful what you ask for....

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercharlotte

If bakeries did not require payment in advance for custom cakes, I believe there would be fewer people claiming to be experts at decorating wedding cakes. No one would pay for these if they saw them before handing over the check.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTricia L

Jei cake isn't so far from reality, considering it's at a resort, the flowers are pretty good, it's just a little bit more shiny (the weather?) and not exactly the same square molds...

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I have tried to bake a few cakes myself, so I understand that it can be difficult to get things exactly the way you want them the first time. However, after "35 years of experience" (probably in coal mining) I should *hope* the baker would know better than to use an inedible material such as duct tape. Also, if someone shows you a picture of something that is clearly above your level, SAY NO and make them happier. Or at least have some decency and submit it to Cakewrecks yourself.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHannah B

Seeing these makes me feel really good about our wedding tiramisu.

I actually like some of the originals which is a surprise (I generally don't go for typical wedding cake - I think it looks too foofy)...and sad because seeing cakes I actually like get destroyed is sadder than seeing cakes I didn't care for in the first place get destroyed.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Kudos on the fungi/"fun guy" pun! It helped snap me out of my open-mouthed stare.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

Well, when all else fails...duct it!

Wow. Makes me soooooo glad my aunt made my cake. She did a good job for a non-professional.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLoo-E Loo-I

These are worse than JUST bad decorating. Most of these cakes aren't EVEN -- that should be cake baking 101 for a PROFESSIONAL baker -- how to make the cakes' level!!!

Our's was done by a friend of a friend who just does baking as a hobby and it was GORGEOUS, and level, so come on! If a amateur can make cakes level what the heck is up with these guys?

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHarley Quinn

When you look at the larger version of the picture, it's pretty obvious that it's not duct tape, but just ugly grey icing.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

That first one looks like a Dalek. That cake needs to be exterminated.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

That squiggly line cake is just horrendous. And duct tape?? Seriously, I hope the bride didn't break down in tears b/c I would have. That's just awful!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuzy

Jei's cake isn't really so far from the model, except that it's ... melting?

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary

It *looks* like duct tape, but if you look closely, it's just a poorly-done icing ribbon.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPete

I was not bridezillish at all, but if I had shown up to my reception to find DUCT TAPE on my wedding cake, I would have lost it. It would have been the big ugly cry, or hysterical laughter or both. That poor girl!! It's good she can laugh about it now. But WOW!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Joanne and Elena?

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

It's NOT duct tape! Zoom in and you'll see. It's still ugly, but it's not actually inedible material.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

As much as I enjoy these kinds of wrecks, I can't help thinking how disappointed/enraged the people who ended up with them must have felt.

What kind of piece of crap baker feels okay handing over monstrosities like these after taking (what I'm sure was) huge amounts of money from the customer?

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrilliantpants

O_o my face looking at these cakes

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm curious - what do people DO when faced with these awful cakes?! Put up and shut up? Throw a tantrum? Boy, when I look back on it I was SO lucky. My cake was done by a first time baker, and it was gorgeous. AND delicious - spice cake!
Oh, and Anonymous - why NOT Joanna and Elena? Love is love.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Our wedding cake was a $35 sheet cake from a discount grocery store called Sack and Save. Not only was it beautiful, but it was the best tasting cake I have ever had. These bakers should be completely ashamed of themselves.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnn Onimous

How friggin hot was it to melt that poor #2 cake???

On a side note, I absolutely love the inspiration mushroom cake. How cute! The "intrepretation cake" not so much.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

My word. The amount you can spend on wedding cakes... and then get these? I would be annoyed, to say the least.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnninyn

Duct tape on a wedding cake? That would actually make sense for a redneck wedding, but somehow I have a feeling that's not the theme they were going for...

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Oh my goodness, I feel very sorry for the couples who had to have these cakes at their wedding! I would have been so dissapointed, especially with the duct tape one, the icing is a mess!!!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOriginalCookware

I feel so sorry for the brides, but...do these people not ask to see examples of the baker's previous work before ordering? There is no way I would have trusted my wedding cake to someone who couldn't prove ahead of time that they had the ability to do what I was asking!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstacie

Did these women not look at any of the cakes that the bakers had made before hiring them? I mean who just hires a bakery right out of the phonebook and then sends them a picture of a cake that they want their wedding cake to look like? The best part of getting married for me was when I got to pick out the cake I wanted. I ate like 9 pieces of cake!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Eh. Mushrooms, fungus, edible rock lichen. Sure.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermsyendor

"fun guys"
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!

*ahem*

better now.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFluffy Cow

I am thinking the #2 cake was in Mexico (hence the bottled water) so it was probably just too hot and the cake started to melt. other than that it does look like the original pic....

the first one...had the bride not seen photos of other cakes the baker had made? because seriously, that is a VERY simple design and should not be difficult at all if one has any experience!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersevenmarie

Whether it is or isn't actual duct tape it's still an epic fail on that wreckorators wall o'shame.

Oh, and to the anonymous person who questioned with "Joanne and Elena?"... think about it. Then realize there are places that allow everyone in love to make a lifelong commitment to each other, which they can then commemorate with a wreckalicious cake. Nothing says undying love like a squiggled-on wedding cake!

WV: unninge - "Comments like that can make me become unninged a bit."

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGalinda

I imagine that getting those clean, smooth surfaces and sharp lines must take a lot of skill.

And probably the brides said, "No fontant! Only buttercream!" Which makes it so much harder. Not that I've ever decorated a cake with anything other than canned icing.

But still. One hopes that a decorator would have the honesty to say, "That's a beautiful cake. I'm not that skilled." I think that's the worse crime.

WV: wucrose. The type of sugar in the icing used on wrecky cakes and CCCs.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterelissa

@ anony 11:16--

Sometimes research makes no difference in the cake you're buying. Believe me, I speak the unfortunate truth. Just because a bakery apparently CAN do that level of work, it doesn't mean it WILL on your behalf, even when the customer is parting with hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in hard-earned money.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Aside from skills issues, one thing is that the relative tier sizes affect the overall impression of the cake more than I would expect.

The sawn log cakeboard for the shroom cake is a WIN. The wedding guests must not get to the outdoors much, hence the "Cake" sign to prevent them from confusing it with those "tree" things.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

Duct tape? Not even a nice shiny aluminum foil tape?? Oh, wait... never mind. It just would've turned out to be covered by sticky icing fingerprints, I'm sure.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

That's... just... I... uh... um... wow. Duct tape. That's just.... yeah.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Though I've been reading Cakewrecks for a while, and have enjoyed the chuckles, I've never been inspired to comment. But I have to ask: when making icing, is it really difficult to mix up certain colors? The Joanne and Elena cake made my jaw drop with those creepy snake/ killer plant swirlies, but also why didn't the wreckerator use black instead of icky tan? Also the sick looking "lichen" on the mushroom cake?? Couldn't add a *little* more dark green to the mix?? Unless of course they are limited to the "tub 'o icing" colors on the shelf at Save n Rave Grocery... -Lindsey

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

stacie said...
"I feel so sorry for the brides, but...do these people not ask to see examples of the baker's previous work before ordering?"

Most people only get married once. That means most brides have no previous experience in ordering a large, custom-made cake. Someone planning a wedding has a lot of other details to worry about, so naiively assuming that a baker can make a cake that the baker says he/she can make is pretty understandable.
Unless, of course, you're a regular "Cake Wrecks" reader.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary

I just, just... omg the duct tape look. How horrifying IS that thing!? THANK YOU for telling me it wasn't real duct tape, because honestly I couldn't tell. It's hard to believe that these are cakes from professional bakers.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTheLandlubberWife

The Orchid one looks pretty close to me. Sometime I think the customer has a slight obligation to be realistic when they are not coming up with the timeframe or money that a custom cake really requires.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily Veinglory:

Joanne and Elena's cake looks like it's covered in veins and arteries...blech!

Word verification: retern

These brides need to "retern" these wrecks to the bakery and ask for a refund.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Ferret pun...ready...

Thanks for "ferreting out" this photo.

*crickets*
Well, that's all I got, I didn't say it was a good ferret pun.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie W.

Oh geez. That last one not only looks awful, but it looks really hard too. Yay for stale cake blocks!

Fer-ret the cake, let's just have pie for our wedding!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJabby

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