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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)

Life would be sweeter if only a facepalm could always be a facecake, no?

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKiwi

How is this an EPCOT? With the Spaceship Earth thing, people were "correcting" you when you weren't wrong... this time you WERE wrong. I don't see how it's the same thing at all.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteryoujik33

Please, anyone - post a link to a *pretty* King cake, will you? Can it be made with elegance?

I've done some googling, and frankly, for me the format of a King cake with the non-matching bright colors is just wreckiness in itself.

And this is not to say they are not the most delicious things ever, deep fried or baked, plain or filled. But then again, that goes with all the wrecks on the blog.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterViiriäinen

1. J&J? *high-five*

2. No one cares about the following:
a. your childhood experience with "real" king cakes.
b. where to purchase "real" king cakes.
c. your personal philosophy on wikipedia.
d. where you are from when stated so as to validate you as some sort of "real" king cake expert.
e. king cakes.

that is all.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love cakewrecks!!!
And, I love King Cake. I'm going to buy one right now since today is Mardi Gras day! No more King Cake after today!!
Joyeux Mardi Gras!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterProf de français

Scooch over, guys - I'm squeezing in the bunker with you! I think I'll bring a king cake CCC, since that seems to be the only wreck left off of the list... . . I was in a hurry this morning but seeing the EPCOT Code RED alert sent me straight to the comments. Do people not realize that they are reading Cake WRECKS????? and that John, Jen, and Number One have a sense of HUMOR???? Lighten up people, it's a JOKE! BTW: John, I think we need an alert that would bypass red. . . this one went nuclear.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

Hey Cake Wrecks:
I take GREAT offense at this post regarding the coveted King Cake (it's not a sin to covet something that you plan on giving up for Lent). Anyone with a brain knows it's actually a King Crab covered with cajun buttercream icing and multi-colored gold flake sprinkles.
Keep your witty comments to yourself, CakeWrecks, or your standing as a serious, uptight food critique hub will be in serious jeopardy. It's almost as if you're trying to be a humorous blog or something.

***Take THAT all of you uptight King Cake Commentors!***


Cake Wrecks Rocks!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBhakti

Ummm, I'm kinda glad that USUALLY people don't say things like "well, my wedding cake was beautiful and tasted great - just so you know that not all cakes are like this" because I like to believe your readers understand the purpose of cakeWRECKS.

Yes, I ventured here even after the warning. never learn. sigh*

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLorna

I grew up just outside of NOLA. I never thought about the fact that King Cakes were not "pretty" just that they were yummy. Reading the blog today and the ones posted today ARE wrecks, I realized that most KC are not pretty because the facts are 1) they are not really a cake but a pastry and 2) they are just round with frosting and colored sugar. How pretty can that be?

But a KC from a good bakery or a good baker because my aunt makes a great one is YUMMY. I miss having KC during Mardi Gras season the most about not being in LA. Our Publix no longer carries them. :-(
Which is sad because theirs was pretty good.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTraci

We don't have "king cakes" in Australia, but, given that we've just had the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras here in Sydney over the weekend, I like to think of these cakes as "drunken drag queen cakes".

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Its funny how all the haters are Anonymous.

And seriously. It's just cake people. Don't have a cow.

Anyways, I have never heard of King Cakes before, but they pretty much give me a stomach ache when I look at them. I think I'll pass.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJumble Mash

HILARIOUS!!!(as usual)

PS: If yall come down here to New Orleans for Mardi Gras only eat Randazzo's

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdestinie

Newsflash uptight commenters: ALL cakes made "right" taste good. And, ALL cakes made "right" look good. (Not just your holy King Cake.) That is not what this blog is about.
I will never buy a King Cake or make one and stir the batter with my "w-w-w-wooden spoon." --*yelling over my shoulder as I run for the bunker*

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaren

Did someone seriously state that king cakes are a "healthy southern dessert?" REALLY? Define healthy- because just because something is not deep-fried does not make it healthy. It just makes it not greasy.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Saveur magazine has an entry on KCs this month - and all of the pictures are completely unappetizing. Maybe some things just ain't meant to be pretty.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

has a nice looking king cake that's braided. Now, let's all compare and contrast King Cake and Kringle.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave

The idea of a plastic baby baked into a cake is wrecky in and of itself, tradition or not. It's like those Zwarte Piet cakes from Holland, yes they are traditional, but it's a wrecky tradition, and it's OK to acknowledge that and laugh about it.

Also Googling pictures of king cakes, and they really aren't pretty. Sorry.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

My guess is they're mixing up king cakes with Paczki, which are deliciously deep-fried calorie-laden jelly- or custard-filled donut-like creations which are a Fat Tuesday tradition in Polish communities... like here in Detroit... YUM!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex I Am

So after reading the 167 comments I have learned that a King's Cake is the "fruit cake" of New Orleans: no one really likes it and its ugly, but you give it anyway cause its tradition. That's why this New Yorker made a chocolate kahlua Bundt cake with a baby inside for her Mardi Gras party. Cause nothing says party more than alcohol and a plastic baby in your cake! Bon Mardi Gras!


March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

Hey guys, I have a couple of gallons of milk and some cups.... can I join you in the Epcot shelter.

youjik33: This is TOTALLY an EPCOT. Quit being so snarky and eat some cake.

WV: ducil Maybe after some milk and cookies (and a nap) these King Cake history elitists will be more ducil.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth C.

Whoa, wait...
So, is it fried or not? I thought they fried everything in the South.

And what do you mean I cannot trust wiki to be 100% true and accurate?

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLady Quindecim

OK, after reading some of the people who claim these wrecks are not representative of a proper King Cake, I googled images and I'm sorry but I could not find a good looking KC in the bunch. Butt ugly cakes! Maybe they taste good and remove the 3 lbs of colored sprinkles and you might have something there.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMama Wild Bear

Oh. My. Goodness. I've witnessed perhaps the best EPCOT since, (well...really I get annoyed with people faster than Jx3 so....) last week. My favorite is that there are people who read this blog and don't understand sarcasm. They must be confused by 97 out of 100 posts. This is great.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGenny

I read this post yesterday as I check the blog daily. BUT I checked it early in the day, shortly after it was posted. You know, prior to Epcot Threat Level Red. I checked the comments today, and have laughed so much harder than I did yesterday.

And I can say as a Texan who has a gazillion friends (okay, more like 20) from Louisiana, um, they do get a little crazy serious about their traditions and stuff, but the food is absolutely tasty (I should know, I'm a fat kid).

And btw, we had homemade KCs at work today - also tasty, apparently not deep fried, but they'd probably taste better that way.


March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

It isn't Mardi Gra, It's Mardi Gras so the cake maker was correct however, the cake was still bloody hideous and funn

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercutchswife

It's amazing how many people seem to have committed their own personal "cake fails" when it comes to commenting on the King Cake post. This IS a satorical blog site people, designed to take liberties at anything and everything cake related that is sub-par (but I do also like the 'no par' version listed much earlier). Time to take off the 'holier than thou' hats off and take a good look around for your senses of humour. Who really cares if King Cakes are good or bad? There are just as many lovers of CCC's as King Cakes, but you don't see too many of them getting their panties bunched whenever their favourite cakeage is dissed so wonderfully by the Wreckerators here. Put your big girl pants on, and deal. This site is SARCASM based, the title alone should clue you in, just a little.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuli

The colors and the sloppy frosting make these look SO unappetizing!

Since comments were disabled on earlier posts, I wasn't able to rave over the "Hallie" peace-cake (I actually thought it said "Flabbie"), or (on the Charlie Sheen post) the plane crashing into the mountain (WIN!) or why the colors on the horrifying "Super Bowel" cake made sense once I stopped normalizing out the typo. :0

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Kimball

I had to read the comments after reading the warning at the bottom of this post and then the "Thanks/submitter" area on today's post. I only read about 6 down and realized that people are far too high strung about a CAKE WRECK!! Who care's how it was made or why or where the baby is located, the point was it was a mess or rather a Wreck.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter~*Jess*~

Jen/John, We,my hubby and I) love/love/love your posts. And that people are silly and overly touchy make them that much more amusing!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

Huh. Could this hideous monstrosity of a king cake thing have any vague relation to UK Crimbo puds? Traditionally, in addition to making he thing so powerfully alcoholic you can set it on fire, there would also be a number of small trinkets hidden in the cake - a silver coin, a silver wishbone, a pig etc.

Crimbo pud isn't the prettiest thing to look at either, but served with brandy cream is is rather yummy.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Man, everyone is saying king cakes are way nicer than this post portrays but...

My googlefu only turned up ugly stuff. Where are all the good ones hiding?

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think you all seem to be missing the point. I'm sure King Cake is a delightful baked brioche loving covered with coloured sugars and so on... but this is King Cake Wrecks and they look exactly like a deep fried donut covered in unicorn vomit

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

In all these Epbot Level Red comments no one even MENTIONS that Mardi Gras has its roots in Mobile, AL--NOT in NOLA as it is commonly believed. Come on, people!


Jen and John: You are amazing for constantly dealing with so many people who cannot tell a joke on a site full of jokes. I guess it just makes it all the more laughable!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentervmdesign

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


Mjx, everything you just said proves that you know nothing about plastic circus clowns. The very notion that their large intestines are anything but delightfully decorated factories of colorful fun is abhorrent to me and right-thinking people everywhere. Also, Jen (AND John) are to blame somehow for perpetuating such false ideas.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKnell

When I saw the warning that we were at Epcot Threat Level Red, I thought I had to read the comments.

People, this is beyond Red. We need a new, INFRARED LEVEL to describe 180 comments, 95% of which do not understand that they are reading a HUMOR BLOG.

WV: lityp You guys just need to lityp a little!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

So KC are a lovely baked cinnamon type ring and aparently delish... but I work at a Grocery Store and if they were to have me make a KC guess what it would be??? a giant DONUT which is fried, point of the joke peoples... lol

I'm lovin the one with the baby face down in the icing, comatose from sugary fried hot mess. lol

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterorangechick1

I'm betting a lot of those King Cake babies are wishing they could be Carrot Jockeys for Cake Wrecks!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJust Plain Kaemus

Some Girl..."I think king cakes are like the overalls of baked-goods: you just can't dress them up."
Bahaha!! I love it!! I've only learned about king cakes after reading almost all the comments. I want to go to New Orleans and just bathe in the guilty pleasure of a king cake. Whether it's cinnamon or a cheese and berry one I saw when I googled it, I would be happy!!
As for what they look like, isn't that a bit superficial? Should it be what's on the inside that counts?? Nom, nom,nom!!

Thanks for another great blog, but isn't that second one Epcot??


March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNess

For the five bazillion people that have been repeating the corrections that one of the first few commentors made, just...why? Seriously, people. THEY KNOW. Pull yourselves together! We're gonna get through this. :P

(Go on, correct my rather modest estimate of five bazillion, you Epcotters. I dare ya.)

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin

As a Cajun and someone who has lived in South Louisiana (and eaten king cakes) all her life, I am here to tell you that this post is not at all offensive. I don't know every other culture's history and I don't expect everyone to know mine. And to the person that said this: "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"-no one I know would get offended by this. There are worse things to be called. Get over it.

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly R.

*checks the date* nope, not I take that to mean that these are the cake WRECKS and not the SUNDAY SWEETS. So, praytell, when did it become offensive to poke fun at poorly decorated cakes? I do believe I recall this very same comment form used by Jen and John (the hubby of Jen) on several older posts, yet these same people were laughing and reiterating the jokes all day...hmmm just goes to show you how weird people can be.

Jen and hubby of Jen, you guys rock. Pay no attention to those with rotten dispositions behind the curtain.

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

heh. Deep-fried donut covered in unicorn vomit.

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth C.

After looking up what real king cakes look like, I gotta say they aren't that much better then the ones above. FUGLY. Period.

October 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Plunge the nude baby
in heaps of colored sugar.
Now that's tradition!

February 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

I somehow missed this post last March. I'm so glad I read it now. The comments had me laugh/crying! Plus I would have missed Haiku Joy's latest haiku. LOL

February 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

I just HAD to come back and re-read the comments section. It made me laugh every bit as hard this year as it did last year. Sigh. *Wipes tears of laughter from eyes* And Haiku Joy's latest is a true gem. LOL

February 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLis

It should be clear the "Babies" are not always babies and your history is a bit off as well. Perhaps not in Louisiana but certainly in French history King Cakes actually end on Mardi Gras and start in early January as apart of Carnival, essentially the festival of indulgence before lent. Otherwise amusing but I love King Cake.

February 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKara

@ everyone in the bunker - you can come out now, it's finally over!!! (Group hug)

@ Haiku Joy - love it!!

@ Kara - Honey, we been there, done that. 5 bazillion times, too. Didn't you see the Epcot level red warning? Or are you just trying to start another Epcot all over again?! Quick, everybody, back to the bunker, pronto!!! (Geez, some people just can't take a joke...)

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKarateLady

They're so much fun to write. Thank you for telling me you like them.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

King cakes are NOT deep fried... just because something originates from New Orleans doesn't mean it's deep fried or spicy. The king cake is like a very large cinnamon roll. It's either braided or twisted then baked and covered with sugar (nowadays it's a glaze, but sometimes it's covered in colored sugars of the requisite purple green and gold of Mardi Gras). In more recent years, they've kept the plastic baby out because apparently you can never be too dumb. Historically a bean was baked inside and later there were porcelain figures until more recently the plastic babies. I've managed to live my whole life and never once have I bitten into one. Also, the way it works is, if you get the baby you're the next to bring the cake. They also make them with fillings such as strawberry, cream cheese, apple, etc. and Antoine's bakery originated the "Queen Cake" which is a similar cake but covered in drizzled chocolate, caramel and icings and has pecans.

April 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay

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