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

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?


Candice F. wanted this mushroom cake:


And her baker's interpretation?



Aw, those 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 (164)

The beach "resort" cake is just the worst! They didn't even remember the green ribbon for the top tier. Not that it really matters since no one wants to actually eat that thing anyway. How do these bakers look at these and say, "Meh. Looks good to me, serve it!"?? They're either blind or crazy...they have to be.

You gotta be able to ferret out a great pun! You just gotta! Jen?? John?? Number 1?! Come on guys, you can do it.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarla

Ferret pun? I would, but you backed me into a corner... yikes... lol... and those cakes? Let's just say that I may have to re bleach my eyes after the mushroom cake.... *headdesk*

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLoriwas

When my brother and sister-in-law got married in 1976, they were asked by the planner at the Inn in Massachusetts whether they wanted to have the traditional topper on their cake. They said yes. Imagine their surprise when they showed up at the reception to have a black cauldron like vessel with flowers on the cake. I guess the Inn thought that was "traditional". Hmm, maybe traditional in 1776.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLori B

How To Paint with Ferrets:
The secret is dipping the tails into the paint and trying not to squeeze them too hard.

At least Francois is civilized......this one is downright violent.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Not quite a pun, but how about "Now, there's a weasel at an easel," "who doesn't love a weasel at an easel," or something like that?

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

You couldn't weasel your way out of that one?

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Sorry to say, but if you're asking for a mushroom wedding cake, then you are asking for it. Eww!

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm not a ferret painter, I'm a ferret painter's friend - and I'm only painting ferrets as a means unto an end.

March 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharon B

the custom cake store I used to work for had contracts with several local hotels. when you booked your wedding they would offer a certain sized cake for $500 and we would make it. the brides were only allowed to choose their colors and basic design at that price as most of our wedding cakes started at $1200 (in the early '90s).

@Anon having their mother make a polka dot cake- it takes a lot of practice to make them all the same size, space them properly and keep them in a straight line. I HATED polka dot cakes. they are So Very Pretty, however. :D

-Barbara Anne

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Your ferret pun:

The ferret in the beret can paint better than a weasel with an easel!

...I never said it was a good pun...

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The "duct tape" cake was actually my sister's wedding cake. The baker, who was supposed to meet us to put the flowers on the cake, ended up showing up early and leaving before we got there & was unavailable when we called. When we finally did get a hold of her I told her under no circumstances would she be paid the balance owed on the cake & that it was nothing less than awful. She said that the tiers were made to accommodate the number of guests at the wedding (I guess she didn't think it was important to mention that this would throw off the look of the cake??) and that the "closest icing color to silver was gray & that was all that could be done"---also something that was never mentioned before.

I then made a mad dash to the craft store and came back with a tub of buttercream icing and silver ribbon. I used a spreader dipped in warm water & the extra butter cream to smooth the icing and the silver ribbon to cover the awful thick Halloween gray icing (or "duct tape" LOL!) & then put roses everywhere to try to hide the unevenly stacked, same size "tiers". It actually turned out quite nice & we got a lot of compliments on it. Now it is something we all laugh about a year and a half later.

And for what it's worth, the baker was checked out, we still have no idea what happened! My sister actually remained very calm when we called to tell her, not a single tear shed. But she never got to see the cake in person before it was fixed.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristi

I find today's entry both inappropriate and disturbing. It's Shatner's birthday and you post THIS nonsense??? This would have been a good post for any other day but no, you forsake the greatest...actOR... of our ... time!! for this.

Bow your heads in shame.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterI am not Spock

Too stunned for words. I would not have paid for any of those cakes especially that oozing one and that last one. Not even a rose to cover the horror.. I cannot imagine what the brides thought when they saw those scary catastrophes.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

I don't think it's ferret you post these pictures and don't tell us how to get a perty wreck for our weddin'!

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The mushroom cake is covered in Chocorooms! They're little cookies topped with a chocolate mushroom top.

Those are awesome.

However, it just goes to show how half assed that cake really was.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAi

oh man ... these make me so sad for the brides!!!!!! and i am a cake designer myself!!!!!!

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCari

I never thought I'd ever see a cake having a stroke!

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNay

I can't understand why a baker/decorator would try to do an iced can when, clearly, the picture has a cake done in fondant.....
good head scratcher, that's for sure!

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermargriet

I can't understand how a baker/decorator cannot tell the difference between a fondant covered cake and duplicate it in frosting.....

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermargriet

If I can't duplicate a picture for a client, I let them know right off the bat or send them to someone who does. I am not territorial like some decorators around here....

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermargriet

Duct Tape! Yummy.

WV- Notpa- I hope these brides did notpa for these cakes.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAvengersWasp

I really need to know where that mushroom cake came from. The original one, of course. Gorgeous!

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

WOW... it's really hard to ferret out a winner amongst these options!


March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMags

I...I just don't know why anyone would accept a cake order for something they HAVE to know they can't provide...especially for the top one, though, if you can't do three tiers of circles with just dots, you probably do not need to be in the cake decorating industry. I'm just sayin'.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachael M.

The really sad thing about the cake made by the resort is that the bride likely had no say in who would make it. Resorts rarely allow cakes to be brought in from elsewhere. They usually have very limited selections for flavors. Then they say "we're a resort, not a bakery." As to the question of how hot does it need to be to melt the cake/icing, not very, just a little humidity added to heat plus a cake that was likely in some sort of refrigeration before it was moved to the reception. That tends to make cakes sweat a bit.

WV:kookatin- the kookatin enormous number of cakes before choosing the duct taped one!

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Oh those are horrible but that Duct Tape cake- you've got to be kidding me right? I can't imagine the tears, the heartache, the screaming....

WV Bandism- When you prefer ouchless bands to the rubber ones.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPandora

I am beginning to believe that beautiful wedding cakes only really happen in Fairy Tales. And maybe on certain cake TV shows.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCostumeholic

You know, every time I see these horrible wedding cakes, I always have to wonder why these people didn't investigate the bakery for ordering, or if they did and decided to cheap out and discovered what that gets you.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim

My 7 year old daughter says the "resort" cake looks slimey!

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterannaggrillot

I spent around $600 on my wedding cake, and it turned out gorgeous, a perfect spin on the photo I provided, all the intricate detail there. So I don't think price is the issue here. It's easy and apparently VITAL to investigate and find reviews today. That said, my heart aches looking at these awful cakes. -Jenn C.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I suppose I could've used duct tape to piece together the cake I made once that fell apart in the Bundt pan, but that wouldn't be a very edible solution. Icing worked much better as cake glue for me. (because I LOVE icing)

Even if that's silver ribbon, I wouldn't want to eat it either way. How would you cut it? Would the pieces on the edge have silver ribbons stuck to them, and you'd have to pick it off first to eat the cake. I don't really like the idea of using non-edible decorations like that unless they can be easily taken off.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRainbow

So I'M a pro baker in Alaska and I'm just DYING to know which one of my competitors made that awful mushroom cake.... anyone? anyone?

oustu - I tell my employees - if you make a wreck like these, I'll oustu!

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKory

Saying the second cake is a fairly faithful adaptation shows you have about as much design sensibility as the "chef" who made it.

Yes. That was an insult.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAi

"Zee bristles in zee brush are from my tail. That is how I get zee lovely brush work," stated fabulous and famous Feonaldo FaVinci artiste' de ferret extraordinaire.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSK Foste

I don't read many comments so maybe this has been said before, but to play devil's advocate: The original cakes probably cost a lot of money, and if you're on a budget, you're most likely not going to get something that looks as beautiful as you want! So, why are people expecting masterpieces when they only have a Crayola budget?? And then complaining about what they get if they paid a Crayola price and didn't get the masterpiece they wanted?

/end rant. Love this site usually but I feel that weddings need perspective because there's too much media out there making everyone think that absolutely flawless, beautiful Martha Stewart cakes are the only thing that are acceptable.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiane

Man, those are sad! The one with the squiggles-instead-of-swirls? Yeeps. And the one with the horribly-piped dots? And... oh, never mind - *I* could do better than any of these - and have, as a matter of fact, out of my home kitchen. I will admit that colors can be tricky - paste colors will deepen some as they dry, but you never know exactly how much.

Merry from Annie's Book Stop/Sharon, MA

wv: eckstr: Did they charge eckstr for leaving off the orchids and roses and for the bumply icing?

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

These bakers give me hope that my business might actually work. If they get work then, I'll be rich.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Not To judje but sometimes people end up wanting a little more bang for their "BUCK". As a professional baker ive seen it happen many times , people dont want to pay up for the "wow" factor , they go to amatuer artists who tell them they can "definately" do exactly what they want and this is the exact situation they find themselves in .
After all what did u expect? a cake that originally cost maybe $700 to a $1000 plus and ure budget only required you to spend $200 .

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZainab Saleem

THIS is a classic case of YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR .

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I admit, those cakes look NOTHING like the picture presented. However, as an amatuer cake decorator, I have been sent pictures of cakes that would run $500 and have been asked if I could do the EXACT same thing for under $100!!! BTW, I LOVE you guys! You keep me on my amatuer cake decorator toes!


March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

the first one with a scepter and tiara reminds me of a pink caterpillar wearing a silver mouth-guard. they'll tear through rose bushes otherwise! :)

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

On the duct tape cake, I think they tried to make up for the disaster by trying to put a tiny rose in that front corner - but even that, they tried and alas they failed.

This is also the first wreck where I was lmao before the scroll. I needed that laugh

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThatDeborahGirl

I feel SO SORRY for those poor couples. :(

That last cake is a NIGHTMARE. I'd sue.

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I have been ferreting around for the right words and failed.

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBettina

i totally agree with the heading as a new bride i faced diff weired thoughts by finally its all fine..i love the cake

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwedding cake

To be fair, the luxury resort one is probably only oozing due to humidity. Not entirely their fault

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Black Dog

One of my cake decorating instructors said if someone shows you a picture of a cake and asks for one just like it, say no. You will never be able to duplicate it to their satisfaction. Or in these cases anyone's satisfaction.

March 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterConverseleigh

if you look at it closely its not duct tape, just a very similar representation of it. classy nonetheless

March 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

May I say something in defense of actual professional pastry chefs? You would not believe the things I have been asked to recreate and "for 300 people, and my budget is $150." THIS is why people end up with such horrible wedding cakes. They want the cakes they see in Martha Stewart or Brides' magazines, but they don't want to pay for them. A really gorgeous, beautifully decorated cake will cost a minimum of $1000 for 300 people (and of course for that monehy you should always ask to see photographs, actual examples and tastings).

If your budget won't allow for this, suck it up and find a viable alternative. What used to piss me off were the people who were outraged that I wouldn't produce a spectacular cake for 50 cents a head (even though at least 3/4 of them could afford much much more). I would always then calmly direct them to the Ralphs (SoCal supermarket) or Costco bakeries for their wedding cakes. If you can only spend $150 for a wedding cake, expect a $150 cake.

March 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfritanga

So glad to have found this blog! These are awesomely horrible and I love it!

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDuchess

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