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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
Monday
Mar072011

King Me

So there's this traditional Mardi Gras dessert called the King Cake, and it's, well...

Yeah. Like that.

Now, the fun part of the King Cake is that there's a baby in it.

Not a REAL baby, of course; that would be edible.



No, this is a tiny, plastic, inedible baby (a la carrot jockey) hidden inside the doughy goodness. The person who cracks a molar on said non-edible baby is King or Queen for the day, and traditionally is required to make next year's deep-fried baby fritter.

If that's you, then here's what you need to make a proper King Cake:

- (1) giant donut
- Melted white icing
- (1) ton each of gold, green, and purple sprinkles
- (1) baby, non-edible

As I'm sure you can imagine with an ingredient list like that, it's pretty much impossible to mess this up.

"Mardi Gras": French for "nutritional elegance."

Traditionally speaking, the King Cake is not the most pleasing thing to look at. In fact, if your King Cake is a hideous blob of slime and sprinkles, then, congratulations! You nailed it!

Of course, some bakers do try to hide the hideousness with beads, coins, and any other shiny objects they have lying around:

Cake? What cake? Ooooh, look! Shiiiiiiiny.

Others change the tradition all together:

"I dunno...if it isn't a giant, sugar-coated, deep-fried doughnut with a plastic trinket inside, it just starts to look a little ridiculous."

And, given our sue-happy world, bakers do have to make sure customers are aware of the non-edible baby choking hazard:

You have my attention.

Still, there's gotta be a better way to warn folks there's a non-edible baby baked into the cake, right? You know, something a little more self-explanatory? Something that just screams, hey, buddy, there's a non-edible baby in this cake!

That works.

Remember, the King Cake was originally created as a treat to enjoy before Lent, when many people give up their favorite foods or sweets for 40 days.


So this oughta hold you for the first week or two.

Thanks to Anony M., Brinn M., Brooke S., Marcia T., Chastity B., Kelley H., Brandon H., Lauren, & Kiki, who think Fat Tuesday just got a little skinnier.

UPDATE: Whatever you do, DO NOT venture into the comments today. Our EPCOT threat level is at RED, people. RED! Run away! Don't look back! And whatever you do, DO NOT SAY A KING CAKE IS DEEP-FRIED! OR CAJUN! OR TASTES BAD!

[Kermit flail] AAAAAUUUUGGGHHH!!!

« Deep Fried Thoughts | Main | Seussical Sunday Sweets »

Reader Comments (200)

I love the one with the baby face down on the top. That is amazing.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Boob Nazi

Naked baby cakes are all pretty ugly. But they are fun to have in the office where you can harass the person who gets the baby. Anything to make a day in the office more interesting is a good thing!

Just to be clear -- REAL King Cakes are AMAZING and something this Louisiana girl can't live without. These are, as this is Cake Wrecks, hideous poorly made replicas.

Also, not sure where you crazy Floridians are getting your information, but real king cake is not deep fried. It's more giant cinnamon roll-like.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Janna here. I live in one of the King Cake capitals of America, and I HATE these things! It's like, "YAY! Let's eat a nauseating frosted challah with a tooth-cracking choke hazard hidden inside!" You wanna know the kicker? If you're lucky enough to survive biting into the baby Jesus...you have to buy the cake the next year! Oh...and there's chocolate version too. Ready? It's called a...wait for it... "Zulu." Totally classy.
WV: Fetro. Think it speaks for itself.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Looks like a royal mess to me. And I've never had one that even tasted all that good, either...cake, that is, not a baby.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

I'm pretty sure I saw that first one on Sandra Lee.

WV: nopar: a tier below sub-par. "The cake didn't even have a sharp plastic figurine baked into it; it was really nopar."

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJayKuz

Sadly, most bakeries down here in New Orleans no longer put the baby in the cake. I guess they're afraid of people mistaking it for a giant sprinkle and insisting on chewing it up. Instead, they put the baby next to the cake. So, when I get my hub his piece of King cake, I stick the baby's head in and leave the little shiny butt staring my hub in the face. Because that is the real reason to get a King Cake!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermab

King Cake is neither deep fried nor a donut. It's a baked cinnamon brioche topped with icing and purple, green and gold sugar. Not sprinkles. It's delicious, too! :)

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternolagirl

King cakes are not giant deep-fried donuts covered in icing and sprinkles. Stop trying to scare people.
It's a baked brioche; before it's baked, the dough is rolled out and it's filled with something delicious. A "plain" king cake is cinnamon, but the really good ones from bakeries usually have some combination of chocolate, praline, and/or cream cheese. King cakes from grocery store usually do have that lame doughnut filling with flavors like lemon or strawberry.
oh, and whoever finds the baby does not bake next year's cake; they bring the next king cake to the next party or gathering that takes place before Fat Tuesday. If it's an office situation, the person who finds the baby brings the next cake when the cake they found the baby in is eaten. But they're not king for the day. They just have to buy the next cake.
Also, king cakes are beautiful when they're done right. They are a delicious, rare example of a southern dessert that isn't that bad for you.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpulledat4pins

Ohh, that explains it. I was at the store yesterday and saw a Mardi Gras cake with a little plastic baby. I understood the beads but not the baby. I kept asking my boyfriend "Why is there a little naked baby on that cake?" but he was too busy looking for cinnamon bread to care.

See, Cake Wrecks is educational!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEnnuiHerself

I don't know why, but the face-down baby strikes me as one of the funniest things I've seen lately.

I kind of want to make King Cake themed cupcakes, with a little plastic baby smushed face-down in each one.

--kate

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I learned about King Cake because of this blog in a round-about way. I saw a fellow Austin cake club member purchasing little plastic babies and joked, "Are you making a Carrot Jockey cake?" She didn't know what I meant and I got a lot of funny looks. I awkwardly explained your blog. She explained King Cakes. I remained confused about the baby part.

However, that decorator is actually very talented and I'm sure her King Cakes are both lovely and delicious, if inexplicable to a Canuck like me.

WV: pitrersh: the sound you make when trying to spit out the hidden plastic baby you just bit into while otherwise trying to enjoy a piece of cake.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly Chapman

King Cakes are absolutely delicious!! They aren't fried. They are baked (as mentioned by previous posters). It's best to get one from a good bakery, but some grocery store bakery make good ones as well. King Cake season starts on January 6, the Epiphany. January 6 is when the three kings arrived to see Baby Jesus. (12 days after December 25... thus the 12 days of Christmas). Anyway.... I digress. King Cakes are truly beautiful and delicious!!
http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/kingcakes.html

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterProf de fran├žais

I think you peered into my brain and stole my thoughts about king cakes. I love it.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramanda

As others have mentioned the "face down in cake" Baby is hilarious. I just keep hearing muffled "NOM NOM NOM" noises each time I look at it.

That, or it's the La Brea tar pits for naked non-edible cake babies.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Why do all the these remind me of toilet seats??

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandye

Laissez les bon temps roulez! EPCOT? Mais oui! Wheeeeeee!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Mindy

As a Londoner, I am now convinced there are no such things as attractive King Cakes. I hereby request a Sunday Sweets edition to prove me wrong.

WV: wingu- Clearly, these bakers were wingu'n it...

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I only eat King Cakes from NOLA. I hate the rest of them. Yes, there is a huge difference.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnn Onimous

They look like toilet seats to me. o.O

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

You know what?

You guys are right. The cakes we published today are delicious and beautiful.

john

I guess the beads and coins are edible then?

wv: nolis. You nolis when I talk to you.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen B.

OMG. It may taste great, but those look awful

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Umm. That last cake looks like an intestine that's been frosted. Doesn't it?

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDangGina

With all due respect, John (hubby of Jen), (and I do TRULY respect you and your incredible wife), please allow me to point out that "Cajun" and "New Orleans" are not the same thing.

The majority of New Orleans customs, cuisines, and culture are Creole, which is a blend of (mostly) European and African traditions.

Cajuns are descendants of French-Canadians that were forced to leave Canada and who settled in the bayous of south Louisiana.

Although Cajuns and Creoles share some history, they are distinctly different. In my mind, New Orleans is to the rest of Louisiana what Miami is to the rest of Florida.

Sorry, the pedant in me won this morning and got hold of the keyboard.

Love your site!!

Normie

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Real, authentic king cakes are amazing. My four year old wanted king cake for her birthday, not birthday cake. It is an fantastic cinnamon roll type cake, and if your lucky, filled with some delicious fruit/cream cheese combo. If you have the oppportunity to try a king cake and pass it up, it will be your loss!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley from Louisiana

We received a King Cake from one of our customers in New Orleans - it was gorgeous! I ended up with the baby, so I made one for work. It didn't look nearly as pretty, but it was fun to make and hide the baby in.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

LOL John (the hubby of Jen)...

I looked at Wikipedia's picture/example of a king cake. It shows a baby face-down in the middle of it! I'm guessing the wreckerators were copying that cake? A little "inspiration" vs "perspiration"? LOL!

wv: cripsy: Eating too many Krispy Creme donuts will give you a sugar high, causing you to be a little cripsy.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLoo-E Loo-I

Perhaps I simply have a revolting imagination, but that last image suggests the large intestine of a plastic circus clown. Brrr.

Mjx

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The second "cake" clearly spent a few hours in the trunk of a hot car in Central Florida because all the glaze has slid off into the bottom of the box. Perhaps a caution label should be attached to NOT suck the glaze off the non-edible possibly-toxic Mardi Gras beads.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTricia L

Tsk, tsk. Such a royal fuss. Giant Cinnabon roll or a pile of donuts from Krispy Kreme (mmm. donuts), whatever. As long as it tastes good and the cheap beads and creepy dolly are thoroughly sanitized.

But to these present examples, I get this weird itch to sub giant gummy bears for the dolly.

wv: ypcop == warning, warning, ypcop alert.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermsyendor

I have good King Cake it was more like a danish than a donut.

On the other hand every king cake I've ever had had the baby hanging out. I think they just don't want to be sued.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDani

I guess the point to Mardi Gras is to Eat, Drink and be Merry, for tomorrow we give it up for 40 days and 40 nights. And I imagine after several days of drinking this cake probably looks a lot more eidable, and the thought of the possiblity of finding a naked baby in your food makes more sense.

We didn't say they were beautiful or well made. We said they weren't fried. Wikipedia? Really, John? It's 9:41 there are only 15 comments and 4 of them are telling you king cake isn't fried and one of them is you explaining you got your info from Wikipedia....Another Louisiana gal here, one who used to work at a bakery that baked them, because that's how they're made, one who is baking four of them with my sister this afternoon because we live in Texas now and frosted Target king cakes are just wrong. Love you guys, but research from wikipedia is like recipes from Sandra Lee.
Laissez les bon temps rouller!!!!!!
And the babies I use are Mohawk babies. Lol

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLissanee

Since King Cakes are a foreign concept here in Southern California, can you please post some beautiful examples of this apparently delectible pastry? We all like the decadence we can get!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I've got my first batch of king cakes in the oven right now, but boy, do I wish we had McKenzie's here in South Florida!! Or a Gambino's king cake, almost as good!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDaisy

I've had King Cakes in N'awlins, and they can be pretty good.

But google an image for "galette des rois" and feast your eyes. That's what's eaten in France in January.

Those are two rounds of BUTTER puff pastry, sandwiched around a thick layer of almond pastry cream.

Holy moley -- they are GOOD.

(and they're pretty...which unfortunately even some of the tastiest King Cakes manage to miss by a country mile)

WV: dercedin: y'all need ta be dercedin whether y'all want a King cake or one a them there galettes dez roys.

(WV2: taing. Taingyooberrymuch)

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The 6th picture, the one that has it written in black marker (there's a baby inside) is a Randazzo's king cake. It is the BEST King Cake around. They use the best frosting and none of those cheap ass sprinkle shit Wal-Mart and other grocery stores use.

Haydel's bakery and Randazzo's are the ONLY places to get king cakes from in New Orleans/Metairie.

**born and raised in a small town outside New Orleans, about 30 minutes or so**

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZachary's Mom

I'm so hiding plastic babies in all my cakes from now on. Most definitely not hazardous in anyway...

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeaven is a Cupcake

In French parts of Europe they have a Galette du Rois, which celebrates the arrival of the 3 Kings to visit Baby Jesus. While tasty, it is no where near as colorful. It does have a hidden bean in the centre, and the person who finds it makes is King/Queen for the day and makes the one the following year.

Andrea Cook - Canadian

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Just salivating over the thought of the cinnamony gooey goodness that is a true King Cake! (Oh, and I got the baby this year!)

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

"Cajuns are descendants of French-Canadians that were forced to leave Canada and who settled in the bayous of south Louisiana."

This is mostly right, except for the part of "French Canadians". When you say "French Canadians" in the maritimes, you get people spitting and cursing the Quebecqois. The people who the Cajuns are decended from are the Acadians, who are their own diverse group of people, and the only people who have a flag without having their own land.
And don't you dare make the mistake of calling an Acadian a French Canadian, 'cause you'll get your arse handed to you, lol

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Amie T
King cakes are awesome! I concur with those who explained that it is a baked brioche :) However, here in Houma, Louisiana, Mr. Ronnie's donuts DOES a fried donut type king cake. It looks nothing like the crap that was on today's post; they are delicious as well. Don't knock it til you try it!!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmie M. Trahan

Booo. King cakes should be delicious cinnamon rolls...not a "deep fried do-nut". Admittedly a little wreckish, but I think we can blame it on the drinking.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

King cakes are awesome! We have a donut shop in Houma, LA that DOES a fried donut cake, but it's lovely compared to the crap piles of today's posts. Don't knock it til you try it. Rouses.com can get you one delivered with the traditional beads and dubloons that are thrown from the floats in local parades. Everyone should experience Mardi Gras, in dome form or another, at least once in his/her life!!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmie M. Trahan

Traditional GOOD King Cakes do NOT look as bad as those do. And for the record, King Cakes aren't deep fried donuts, they are baked and then the icing is put on. The icing is kind of runny. I LOVE our king cakes from the bakeries around here (South Louisiana). They are more like cinnamon rolls than donuts. Love y'alls site!!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Have to agree, a well made King cake is delicious. It is NOT a fried donut (not that there is anything wrong with donuts!!) but its more of a cinnamon roll/coffee cake. Very tasty when made right. Not when made at Walmart or such.

I think most bakeries stopped putting the baby "in" the cake about 20 years ago. Most stick it on the side for you to put it "under" the cake when you are ready to serve it. That whole liability thing because some idiot will try to swallow a big piece of plastic and then sue the bakery.

The plastic ones also aren't baked into the cake because they would melt. There was once a time when they used small ceramic babies. I've still have the one from the first King cake I every had in NOLA.

Much like anything posted on Cake Wrecks, someone can ALWAYS totally destroy a baked good. ;-)

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha

As far as I can tell, our dear John (the hubby of Jen) never mentioned Wikipedia.

Aside from that, hilarious post as always. I enjoyed your take on the king cake, which, let's face it, DOES look like a giant deep fried donuts. At least in these pics it does, so good call.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarla

Never had a King Cake, and I'm not likely to get to NO during the right season, so I looked them up.

I liked the looks of this one found via Google:

http://www.sweetsadiesbaking.com/2009/02/king-cake-for-mardi-gras.html

None of the others rang my chimes, though. However, I like anything baked with cream cheese and fruit filling, so yum.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOldish Lady

Goodness! I was surprised reading through these comments. Who knew Louisianans were so touchy? They're almost as bad as those humorless Canadians.

(I should probably make it explicit for the sake of the named parties that this comment is meant in a thoroughly lighthearted and joking manner... ;) )

It's cake. It's a humor website. Not a dissertation on the cultural meanings, social uses and varieties of King Cakes. Just enjoy the wreckiness and relax!

--kate

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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