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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)

« Guess What! | Main | Way To Use Your Head! »

Reader Comments (159)

It's not ferret all to expect a rodent to paint the Mona Lisa

-Beth

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

The Meiji Kinoko No Yama chocolate/cookie mushrooms are seriously addictive. My wife and I would only have complained about how FEW there are! They no doubt taste better than but are not as attractive as the original photo's fungi. Oh, that and the ferns seem to have been replaced by piping that looks more like severely battered kale.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Sorry, no ferret puns, but I know how to tell the difference between a stoat and a weasel.
A weasel is 'weasily' recognised, and a stoat is 'stoatily' different!

Sorry!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

#1b I can't imagine how it doesn't become obvious much earlier in the cycle that a cake like this is not going well. Or how the wreckerator, when confronted with the end result, doesn't simply say, "I wouldn't eat this myself, much less inflict it on a customer."

#2b At least this one put some effort into it. Er, why is it shiny?

#3b Those mushrooms look real. Disturbingly real. The wreckerator is the bride's rival, you say? I'm sure that's just a coincidence. BTW, how does this thing rate a fancy sign?

#4b Now let's be fair -- Miss Smith's jr. high home ec class didn't do that poorly on their first assignment...

#5b This one is a perfect duplicate. Except for looking like it was made by an industrial plasterer and not having any roses, I can't tell them apart. The shininess* of 2b is now explained; this one has the duct tape, and that one has the WD-40.

*I was going to say 'sheen', but why re-ignite that EPCOT.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Never-been-married speaking here. From what I gather (having been to SEVERAL weddings), the bride ought to expect a handful of somethings to go wrong on her wedding day. You just kind of assume that the cake ain't gonna be one of them. Especially when you give the baker visual evidence of what you're kind of expecting? Sheesh!

It gets funny with time, I'm sure...

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDangGina

Darn -- I forgot. The 'ferret' looks more like a weasel. Heading over to encyclopediaoftrivia dot com now to verify the genus...

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

I can't begin to tell you how scared I am to order my wedding cake after reading this blog for so long. I'm convinced that no matter what something horrible will happen with my cake.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea M

When looking for someone to make your wedding cake, you need to ferret out people who don't know what they're doing.

Somebody on "Big Fat Redneck Wedding" will want the duct tape cake! If the ferret isn't available, squirrel fur and poo will be okay. The 'shroom cake would be totally legal in Amsterdam.

WV: procac
It's like Prozac, but it's especially for brides to calm them down when they see how bad their cake looks.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpikkewyntjie

Oh my. Those are some interesting interpretations.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBelles Books

So, wait. These cakes WERE decorated by a ferret, right? I'm confused.

Seriously though, I sometimes search Craigslist for cake decorators, to see my "competition." I can't believe the pictures people post to "promote" themselves as a decorator. I REALLY can't believe that there are people who will trust them to make their cake! Some people really just don't have it. Why can't they see it? Is it like a tone-deaf singer? Are these people seeing their cakes as beautiful masterpieces?

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngel

I'm getting scared now. I decided to decorate my own wedding cake. I've done a couple before but both were white fondant and I had loads of time and nothing else to do. This time it's butter cream and I'm getting quite nervous. I may not be a professional but my aim is to make something closer to a 'sunday sweet' than a weekday wreck. Never mind. If it turns out wrecky, at least I can submit it and hope for my 15 milliseconds of fame :-)

Jo

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

From the look of it, I think I'd be happy if the mushroom cake wasn't mushroom flavored.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKender

we ,(daughter,fiance and me) all just enjoyed these and are hoping that no such occurances spoil the big day Loved the artistic ferret.
why no daisy's?

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdiddleymaz

I cannot believe the mushroom cake had Chocorooms on it. I used those once when I made a yule log cake for Christmas, because I was too lazy to make the meringue mushrooms the recipe called for (and it actually turned out pretty cute!), but I did not charge real, actual money for that cake. It boggles my mind that anyone else that used those would. :P

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin

Omigod! A wedding fail post! These are my ABSOLUTE favorite!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkcunning

makes me glad I don't have to get married again - to expect such beauty and to be rewarded with such... ummm... crap? well that's just not ferret all!

(sorry, you did ask for a ferret pun)

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterT

What's so funny is that, just yesterday, I came across personalized water bottle labels for your wedding.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterD'nah

Who knew how horribly wrong wedding cakes could go? I am so happy that my daughter's wedding cake looked pretty much as she hoped.
I was married in the days when wedding cakes looked just like birthday cakes, only all white with stilts! Life was simpler then...

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindy

"Quick! Somebody give me a clever ferret pun!"

What? Are you trying to weasel out of thinking of a gag to go with this picture?

(Best I can do on the spur of the moment.)

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary

I literally gasped when I saw the last one. All kinds of NO.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLefty van Gogh

As for the melting cake... wasn't that a tropical resort? The water bottles look particularly tropical, and by tropical, I mean "lower-middle-income country that depends heavily on tourism for three months of the year when it isn't too hot or flooded".

I think overall, that was probably a decent cake, but then they had it sitting out too long.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Ohh those poor brides! When you see the cake for the first time the reaction should NOT be:
"???? - BWWAAAAAA HAAAHAHA HAHAAAHAHA HA HAHA HAHAAAHA HAAHA HA HAHA HAAAHA HAHAHA HAAAHAHA HAH!" I just know it.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStacy Q

Are you SURE that's NOT duct tape?
Maybe that's what they were going for? "Screw the cake, anyone can make that cake--WE'RE going to replicate DUCT TAPE."
I thought the squiggles-sans-fleurs cake was bad, but that LAST one just takes the...nevermind.
PS Please tell me more about Francois the ferret (excuse the lack of circonflexe, or, "squiggle").
--Blondie's Mom

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

D'nah, my brother and his wife had those done, the custom water bottle labels. But they didn't put them on the tables! It was as part of these welcome bags (with candy and nuts, schedule/directions to wedding sites, and guides to local attractions) when you checked into the hotel.

As for the weird shiny/melty cake - it looks, more than anything else, like they poured the glaze you'd use on a bundt cake over it when they were done making it. Which is weird and a shame, because it's otherwise correct aside from width (and that might be intentional based on number of guests to serve, and/or because it's a resort instead of a bakery with every pan size). At least it would taste ok though!

Seriously, how are the rest of these places still in business, let alone for decades, when they can't even make a cake evenly shaped and level, and cover it smoothly with fondant? The first one and the mushrooms would be sweet if they were made by your amateur friend, but not from a pro shop! And John: the "cake" sign goes on to tell you what each layer's flavors are - that's actually a reasonable move, but the elegant script only shows up the inelegant decoration!

But that last one... it'd look better if it really WAS blocks of foam covered in fabric and duct tape! Freaking out about that is NOT a bridezilla reaction, Shannon - the crazy bride is the one who WOULDN'T freak!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Maybe the bakers of the final cake mixed it up with their order from the anniversary party for This Old House?

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterArjuna

Welllll.

Those certainly are, um.. Interesting.

That being said, there's NOTHING wrong with a Publix wedding cake, and I'm not just saying that because I now work there!

My best friend once threatened me that if she stayed in NH to get married, I'd be the one saddled with the responsibility of bring the Publix cake with me! They've got GOOD CAKE! It might not be the fanciest, but it's gosh darn tasty (most of the time)

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstaxia

Whoa, wreck #3's "ferns" look kale -- I *LOVE* kale! But if I ever get married, what are the chances that I show them that photo and actually get kale? I'm guessing, alas, fairly low...

I also love your site. thanks you :D

jillymae

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJillymae

Oh.. wow... Um. I hope my wedding cake doesn't turn out like that. Hopefully they didn't taste as bad as they looked!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkimberley

Personally I think it's kind of rude to take someone's design that they worked so hard for and ask someone else to recreate it for (probably) cheaper.

Seems like a fair outcome in a karmic sort of way.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermelle

Mona! Darling! I know it is hot in that outfit but it hides all those little flaws! No, No, NO! Don't smile! I cannot paint teeth! Oh, you have no teeth??? Such a pitty! by the artist Le Ferret! On the other hand...hot,sticky weather equals nasty, melted cake! Yuck!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLe Ferret!

Tricia L said...
"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."

Yes, it should be more like half before and half when the job is done... correctly.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I don't think you need a pun at the end, I simply read ferret as one would read beret!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Oh God, that "C" cake looks a lot like what I requested my mom to make for MY wedding, with the little scallop-y border and the white dots.

Thank you, Cake Wrecks. I'm going to show this to her and hope she can see what not to do (she's not a professional, so I hope it comes out looking all right... but in any case, it will be delicious).

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

that purple flower cake example was soooo pretty, and the wreck so tragic, I seriously would have cried if that had been mine!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Call it heartless, call it schadenfreude - all I know is that these wedding cake inspiration-photo-followed-by-the-disaster-photo posts are some of my very favorites.

Yep, guilty as charged... and laughing gleefully all the while :)

p.s. mushroom cake original = adorbs!

Rachel

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

These cakes remind me again why I am *so* glad my SIL did our cake. She's been professionally doing cakes for almost 10 years now and they're wonderful. I'm glad I had someone I could trust to do it.

On the other hand, when posts like this are run, I have to wonder how much of the "bad" cake is a result of the couple finding the cheapest baker they can. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Another posibility with the second cake wreck is that the fondant covered cake was put in a refrigerator before service. When it was brought out condensation started to form on the cake, thus giving it the shiny look. When I made wedding cakes at pastry school we covered our cakes while they were a bit frozen still and they started "sweating" like they ran a marathon. There's hardly any fondant out there that can survive being put in the fridge. Whenever I cover a cake with fondant, it stays out.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVikki

The inspiration mushroom cake is lovely! Any idea where it's from?

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMulberry

So, the "35 years of experience" was totally a shot to mythbusters right? Dont tell me im becoming way too addict to them... But Cake wrecks and mythbusters would be a thing of beauty. And if i ever get married, i think i'll go with ice cream and cookies. Nothing bad coul happen,right??

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVinie

I'll admit that while I do love me a good Cake Wreck, I also think that brides are often delusional. If you see a cake in a magazine spread, chances are that it would cost you a couple thousand dollars to recreate. You can't just ask some random bakery in your hometown to make it - and not for your amazing cake budget of $500. Most of the decorations on the original cakes (esp. the beautiful woodland one) would run in the hundreds. That being said, the baker should also fully disclose that they can recreate the cake for $X thousand and outsource, or that it's just not realistic from their bakery. Or they can make the base cake and then buy spectacular sugar things from one of the many gifted sugar artists on etsy. Since many do custom, as long as your brides fork over the moolah, there should be no reason for crunchy mushrooms and kale. (I do kind of like the duct tape looking fondant, but it really needs an LLBean boot cake topper!)

So to sum it up: yep, these are awful. But also - if you aren't spending thousands for your cake, it's not going to be magazine perfect. So just get something that tastes good.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMonique

Jen that's so cool that you got your cake at Publix! I've heard so much great things about them and their cakes and was going to get my wedding cake there before I moved away from Tampa :( Who knows, I may just have to come back down to FL for my wedding someday...maybe just for Publix alone...I do miss that grocery store *sigh*

Oh and for your ferret comment, I don't have a pun, but do have a Simpson's quote that could apply to the wreckerators: "Weaseling out of things is what separates us from the animals...except the weasels." ;)

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

The first cake wouldn't have been a wreck if you were marrying a Dalek.

But that last one has to be the most ugliest cake I've ever seen. I don't think even flowers could have disguised the blandness.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBree

Wow that mushroom cake is gorgeous!! The little acorn! The faux dirt! The ferns! *swoons*

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLupin

I would love to hear the follow up stories from the brides/grooms/bridal families of on how they actually reacted and what "excuses" they were given

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSaraV

I'm normally laughing my head off, but these were SO bad, and that they were for someone's wedding...woah. I was so stunned, not even the smallest giggle slipped out this time. WOW.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I'm speechless.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterslyon68

Thank you so much for posting these. FINALLY- 5 years after the fact, I can stop being so mad about my own wedding cake- which instead of the ladybugs I had requested (and even purchased and given them a chocolate mold to use) had turned out to be little red snakes with black spots. Don't get me wrong- the rest of the cake looked fine, and even tasted good, but when I walked into the reception hall, my cake was covered in little red snakes!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

As the tiny artist, Leonardo de Rodent finished the painting, the Mona Lisa made a run ferret.

Sorry.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindy Leigh

Haha not actual duct tape, duct tape is prettier very funny indeed.

Ok these just crack me up. No Weaseling out of it!

Sherri N. Ferret lover and owner.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSherri Nourse

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