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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

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 (201)

I have to LOL at all the people getting upset over the "offensive" commentary. I'm pretty sure this blog mocks everyone equally.

Not to mention, I just had to google image search "mardi gras king cakes" and I didn't see a single one that was worth looking at. They all look horrible. Disgusting. Ew.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

I would love to say I have seen a good king cake. Unfortunately, the examples in the post are far more likely to be spotted in my local grocery stores. And when did nasty plastic beads become food safe? If my four year old can' t put it in his mouth... it shouldn't be on a cake/cinnamon roll/pastry either!

Or maybe this is one way bakeries train newbies. "It is just gonna be weird looking you don't have to put much effort into making it look nice!"
Wv: wardist. We see the wardist ideas on this site.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercq75

Yes, to reiterate what Anonymous said, King cakes are not fried...and they are DELICIOUS. If you're a "Louisianian" and you don't like King Cake...then you aren't a Louisianian...hahaha

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoss

To clarify, King Cake is fried. It's naked. And yeah, some are pretty ugly depending on where you get it from, but some are really pretty and taste delicious. The King Cake from Sucre's is one that is particularly pretty. As for taste, Wal-Mart King Cakes are absolutely dry and nasty, but if you get them from a place like Randazzo's, they're delicious!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Mmmm. Thise beads and coins are so shiny-looking. CADMIUM shiny! But if cadmium is safe in children's toys, I'm sure it's safe in baked goods, right?

The problem of the plastic baby figure is distressing. Maybe anyone making one of these cakes could instead pick up a baby-sized Day of the Dead sugar skull and bake it inside? Heh...I think I'm going to start doing that with everything I bake...

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterD.B. Echo

Loved the post! I know what King Cakes really are but I also get the point of your blog aka to show how terribly wrong a cake can go.

These cakes look like giant fried doughnuts folks. There's no other way to slice it. If someone wanted to learn about King Cakes and how beautiful and delicious they are, they shouldn't be on a site called Cake Wrecks.

These are King Cake wrecks. They look disgusting-they ARE covered in icing and a ton of sprinkles. These cakes are quite hilariously not done right, at all.

Lisanee-John didn't research it on Wikipedia, another poster (@11:15) looked at wikipedia and saw a picture of a King Cake.

Stop being spoilsports and have fun. It's a silly blog about badly done cakes.

This is just like The Great Daisy debacle when everyone insisted upon telling everyone what the flowers really were. These are JOKES people.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Pixie

A King Cake... made the CORRECT and traditional way is very delicious and looks great too.... and it's not a fried doughnut. Sadly too many bakeries try to pass off a very bad replicas of the King Cake. To get a really good one, you have to get it from a good bakery in Mobile or New Orleans... you know the Mardi Gras capitals, where they know how to make one. Oh, and there are NO sprinkles, it's icing and colored sugar. I'm not a professional baker, but I plan on making one for my family tomorrow to celebrate, without the baby of course!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The best king cakes in the world (the real thing) is made in Picayune, MS. Paul's Pastry. Pauls is the only king cake I will eat.

For a nice fee, they will over night them to you.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKay

As for the chocolate king cakes called "Zulu" (which this New Orleans resident has never seen)--wouldn't merit a blink here. Zulu is one of the best parading krewes--one of everyone's favorites, purveyors of much-prized gilded coconut. It was started over 100 years ago as a satirical all African-American krewe that mocked both racist stereotypes and traditions of the upper classes who defined Mardi Gras parading. They still dress in blackface (although there are now quite a few non-black people who now parade with them) and dress up in exaggerated "African tribal" themed costumes. I think naming a chocolate king cake "Zulu" is pretty appropriate.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Wow, so much controversy over cake! Cajun king cakes are, indeed, deep fried, while traditional king cakes are more like a cinnamon roll.

Can we at least all agree these king cakes are wrecks? Isn't that why we all come here? Think of the wrecks people!!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJabby

Actually, in Baton Rouge Thee Heavenly Donut does a good deep-fat fried king cake as well. I do want to point out that these are a NEW invention, not the tried-and-true method.

Also, if you're in the area, The Coffee Bean on Coursey makes a decent low-calorie version that is available (sans Mardi Gras colors) all year round by special request!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The baby on top of the King Cake is due to the fact that the sellers have to either put a printed disclaimer or have the inedible object in plain sight. Many choose not to pay for labels or specially printed boxes, so they just put the baby on top.
Like any other baked good, you can get an excellent King Cake or a horrible one.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Gambino's makes some of the best King Cakes ^_^ And they ship them all over the USA, overnight I believe. Order one and see that they can be delicious!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaspirita

Let them eat cake....and a small baby....yum....

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermel


A friend of mine celebrated her birthday at a local restaurant with a bunch of friends, including yours truly. She purchased a King Cake for the occasion because of a happy (or possibly tragic) confluence of dates... and we chowed down. Carefully. Because, you know, of the inedible baby and all.

We sliced up half the cake, and none of us had the baby. Well, then. That wouldn't stand! We had no King or Queen! We had to find the baby.

So we sliced the rest of the cake, but our knife hit no babies, edible or otherwise.

Cut to:

Myself and one other highly obsessively like-minded individual stabbing the cake frantically with the knife-tip and shrieking, "WHERE'S THE FREAKING BABY?? THIS CAKE HAS NO BABY! IT'S BABY-LESS!"

Anyway, King Cake! Fun!

(It was actually an okay cake, but the encrusted sugar on top STILL makes my teeth ache.)

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterewinbee

Threat level red is my favorite part of this post :) Love, love, love it. Thanks for a guaranteed laugh every day!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

John deleted his comment where he quoted wilkipedia.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLissanee

what do you mean a king cake isnt deep fried, cajun and tastes bad. i was looking forward to it ;)

so in the comments people are saying they look like toilet seats which just strengthens my thoughts that you made a poop joke on the last cake. and it made my day.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen Marie

I saw the first one in the box of the second picture in the day old section of our grocery store just 20 minutes ago ... scout's honor! I would have been horrified, but because I had started my day this way :) I was only amused. FYI ... I passed and wasn't lured in with the Manager's Special tag. That's a lot of sugar for $1.75, though.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan

The company I work for is originally from Louisiana (but now in Texas) and they shove everything LA down our throats. This time of year, we get KC's daily around here, shipped from various bakeries in NOLA, and I have yet to taste one that made me want to give up my diet plan or smear it all over my body in pleasure. I'll take a Cinnabon roll over a KC any day of the week. Maybe it's an LA thing, but this Texan baker thinks its crap.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The first time I saw a rack of different flavored king cakes, it was 7AM in a very-christian donut shop, and I hadn't slept for three days. I was reading the list in my head... 'Cinnamon, strawberry, Zulu, cream cheese... Wait, Zulu? Cannibal king cake??'

It was only when I saw the shocked look on the poor old churchladies' faces that I realized I'd said it out loud.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKiraela

Guys. Guys. Get over it, king cakes (even "REAL" ones) are ugly.

Case in point: The executive director of our organization visited New Orleans, and during his visit, purchased a king cake for our party from a very legit bakery that supposedly specialized in these ugly things. It was hideous. And actually, not that good. Who wants a room-temp frosted & sprinkled cinnamon roll when they can have a piece of chocolate cake, or a cookie?

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara

The King Cake obviously takes a lot after the French Galette des Rois (the name could be translated as King's cake). They used to put some ceramic or metallic figurines in it - a baby, a silver coin, etc... Sometimes the figurines were used for fortune-telling.

From a Canadian and Québécoise ;-)

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarylène

I'm already in the bunker (aka Epcot fallout shelter) and I've brought a couple of bottles!

Who's with me? Who's bringing the...King Cake? heh.

This is as close as we get to Mardi Gras in North Idaho. ;)

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKrusho

These were hilarious - especially the face-down baby one -- ROTFL!!! And I have had AUTHENTIC King Cake and I still think it is just..... ok. Only because of the frosting.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

well they taste good! i should know, i live in louisiana. but if you eat tons upon tons of the sprinkly ones, youre sure to become sick. aka we had a king cake at school and it was NOT PRETTY. lol

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBroken

I love that some of the responders to this post have seemingly forgotten that this blog is called "Cake WRECKS" as in they're poking fun at the horrible cakes. I highly doubt that anyone associated with the blog set out to offend anyone.

Some people need to get over themselves and get a sense of humor.


March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSunKrux

Fun fun post! More fun to read the comments! I am a military girl whose first assignment happened to be Louisiana! I LOVED getting to taste all the local bakeries' King Cakes, and finding the baby baked inside! Expect to have some King Cake every day for 2 weeks, with each baby-biter having to bring in the next one the following day.

When the Air Force sent me to Korea, I even mail-ordered a King Cake/Mardi Gras party in a box from a Lafayette, LA bakery. Most awesome!

A couple weeks ago I traveled from my new current home near Pensacola, FL up to Omaha for some AF work and decided to hand-carry some King Cakes with me to share with my friends. It was fun to share in a great Southern US tradition for the first time in over 10 years.

I was saddened to learn that (a) the local Publix grocery stores weren't even allowed to put the baby inside the cake anymore, instead taping it to the box in a small zip-top bag and (b) with the introduction of food-coloring-spray, the traditionally-decorated king cakes are harder and harder to come by. The 3 cakes I carried up to Nebraska looked like the ones pictured here.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMajor Mom

THERE IS A BABY IN THE CAKE.... now give me all the money in the safe or the baby gets it!

When tailgating, we try to stay in theme. So when we played LSU, I made a King Cake. But I couldn't find a small plastic baby in Virginia in September, so I was forced to put a small (naked) pig in the cake.

I wonder if that would have make Cake Wrecks.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEG

OMG those were the most unappetizing King Cakes I have ever seen... don't worry, I will not be eating any of those... HIDEOUS! *gagging a bit*

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNo Cake Fo' You!

OMGosh people. This is cake WRECKS.

Jen & co. make jokes about every kind of cake there perhaps she was:


Gimme a break. Whether the REAL king cakes are delicious is not the point. These examples are gross.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Don't insult Wikipedia. If you know there's inaccurate information on a page there, it is YOUR fault. Fix it.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoland

I miss the king cake in the office days from when I lived in New Orleans, when whoever got the baby would proceed to hide it back into the cake so the last poor sucker to take a piece got it. And those were GOOD king cakes, too, with truly heavenly fillings and baked to perfection.

However, even in NOLA, you could buy Cake Wrecks-worthy king cakes at places like Wal-Mart (ptui!). They're as easy to do badly as well, alas.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura47

Okay, I admit I stopped by just because of the level red warning. There's nothing like a good King Cake fight, is my philosophy.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned the pecan. Above the Ohio River line, we lawyer-saturated Northerners replace the plastic baby with a pecan (inside the cake), on the theory, I suppose, that death by unexpected nut anaphylaxis is more organic (read, natural) than death by plastic asphyxiation, and is easier to defend against. ("Hey, he didn't ask if there were nuts in it, did he?")

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSoupAddict Karen

Did a whole bunch of people miss the point about what this blog is about? Geez, and you think us Canadians are touchy! Although I have to agree about the French-Canadian versus Acadian thing, but I missed that as I was laughing too hard at the melted icing with naked babies draped with mardi gras beads! lol

Andrea - A Canadian, from the Maritimes (which doesn't include Newfoundland, but does include Acadians, of which I am not one, but living in Ontario : )

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I ate a slice of king cake last Mardi Gras...but let me tell you it looked a lot better than those :O :) word verification: EXPANDY <- what the heck?

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Poor Jen & John,
Just trying to make the world a happier place. LOL!! I enjoyed your post today (and every day). Thanks for making me laugh!!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

As a cajun, every word of that is 100% and that's half the fun of the king cake tradition. :D

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I was snickering until I got to the very end of the post and saw the Kermit flail. Then I cracked up. :D

As for the cakes, I'm getting a stomachache just LOOKING at all that sugar! o_O

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

That last one looks like a Unicorn's colon. Festive!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMooseNuggette

Could be worse -- could be a King CCC:

And yes, they call it just that, and include the baby warning:

>>Mardi Gras Cupcakes Cake: One dozen of our Mardi Gras cupcakes frosted together to form our version of the King Cake. CAUTION:One cupcake will contain a big plastic baby.<<

Not just a plastic baby, but a BIG plastic baby!

wv: stings

Ow -- the Epcot over King Cakes really stings!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

Forgot to ask, in my previous post -- if a boob cake goes by, does the king cake throw those beads?

Glad I decided to post again, just because the wv is . . . (may I have a drum roll please?) . . . icing!

How often does that happen?

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

Mmmmmmmmm.....king cake.

I had some home-made cream cheese king cake Friday night at a friend's house and now I want more.

It was way prettier than the ones people get from grocery stores.


March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngela K

Okay, so i HAD to go read the comments after reading the truly epic "Epcot threat level at RED" comment. The "Kermit flail" almost made me choke on my chewing gum.

Well, i am impressed at how many people DID NOT GET the deep-fried donut joke. Wow, guys. Like John and Jen, who have a CAKE BLOG, don't know what a King Cake is. Holy Toledo. I am equally impressed by how many people proceed to comment on the Epcoters... so I had to add my own.

...Naked babies in cakes?!?! I'd just adjusted to the carrot jockeys ON TOP OF the cakes...

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLibby


March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSpickens

"there is a baby in the cake" reminded me of The Walking Dead's first episode:


March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

(blinkblink)... Eek.

That is all.

WV - ophang: I just chipped ophang on the inedible plastic baby. Call the dentist, would you?

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma!

Had to come read the comments due to the threat level red, rofl!!

I make my king cakes myself, and honestly the home made ones are the best I've ever had! Just made one this weekend, and it was devoured QUICKLY!

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica White

#7: I'll take the King's cake with a Reuben sandwich on the side.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

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