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

The Day the Earth Wouldn't Stand Still

Yesterday the United States of America suffered one of its darkest hours, in what is already being called "The Great Richmond Earthquake Of 2011." During the crisis, literally billions of unsuspecting East Coast citizens were mercilessly and violently wiggled for an agonizing duration of nearly 25 seconds.

Already, hospitals have admitted hundreds of thousands of injured office workers complaining of whiplash. Said one local executive assistant, "That's covered under worker's comp, right? OW! My KNEE! I mean... MY NECK!!"

Damage reports are still coming in, but since this is America, preliminary estimates are topping 7 trillion dollars.

Hardest hit, however, were our nation's bakeries.


Yes, tragically, the quake caused baked goods to slide off boards... cakes to collapse in on themselves:


...and cupcakes to receive a really thorough "jostling:"

In addition, many areas had entire bottles of sprinkles tip over, crushing everything below in a rainbow hued shower of stale crunchiness.

There were also similar disasters with the food coloring:


But amidst all this tragedy, a few shining rays of light emerge.

Heroically, some wreckerators refused to seek shelter, choosing instead to continue their work:

This kind of sacrifice might be called selfless. Valiant, even.


We caught up with one anonymous hero in the Richmond, Virginia Shop-A-Lot to ask how she did it.

"Well, I just kept squeezing on that icing tube, and squeezing, and squeezing, and tried to stay on my feet, you know?"


When asked if the earthquake frightened her, the baker responded,
"Earthquake? What earthquake?"

An attitude worthy of a local hero.

Thanks to field wreckporters Seanna B., Rachel O., Kelsey, Yello, Carissa B., Lara A., and Kristi M. for their in-depth coverage today.

[Editor's note: Upon further investigation it appears all of today's "earthquake cakes" were in fact made last week, and the baker quoted was asleep on her lunch break during the quake. CW regrets the error.]

« Something's Afoot | Main | Breaking News: EAST COAST CAKETASTROPHE »

Reader Comments (137)

This is so funny. My husband is from CA. He mentioned that an earthquake of this magnitude would barely get a mention on on local news, and none at all on national news, so why is the media making such a deal of this one?

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRikki

After living through several West Coast earthquakes, this post really showed me how devastating they can really be!

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie in Seattle

Jen and John, I've been reading CakeWrecks for a long time and have never felt offended by one of your posts. And, um, yeah, still not offended, and I'm a fairly straight-laced person...I'm reloading the page so I can LOL all over again...

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSnoo

Hysterical post, as usual....Loved it!
and BTW- you both have eaten enough crow... get in the bunker...

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermocking

Hey-O - just weighing in...

We love you guys and hope the unhappy responses today didn't take the fun out of today's post for you. We're here in Southern CA (I was even in Santa Cruz for the Loma Prieta quake in 1989!), have been rocked hard by the Northridge quake and many others... There's this adrenaline rush that happens somewhere between "Uh, oh" and "Oh, my gosh - are we going to die?" Kinda hard to explain. Just take my word for it - emotions run high.

And I thought the post was freaking hilarious. :) Thanks!

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichelej


August 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertiny p elephant

Having previously lived in earthquake country for 15 years, I appreciate the hilarity of this post. I'm grateful there were no deaths or major injuries, and I feel bad for those with lots of damage and no insurance. I heard on the radio this morning that the reason the east coast quake got so much coverage was because DC has more media, per capita, than any other city in this country. Go figure.

Great post, Jen and John!

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa P.

Of all the posts, this was one of my favorites:

"Uh, thanks Smartypants. I live near the epicenter and my freaking house has huge cracks that the insurance company will not pay for because it's an earthquake. Broken family photos, broken antique lamps, etc.. it's not a laughing matter..I guess when your house gets eaten by a huge monsterous mutant alligator I'm going to point and laugh and throw cake."

Because it's signed: Shaken Not Stirred

That is some brilliant irony right there!

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

I really like the "earthquake" design on the food coloring cake. It really turned out kind of cool.

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

I figure the only reason this was such a big deal was it was felt from so far away. My mom is in Richmond, and when she sent a text saying she was okay I realized I had felt it in the mountains of East Tennessee. The fact that most people didn't know what it was (is the cat running behind the sofa? who's mowing my lawn?) until later (OMG THAT'S what it was?) Much of the East Coast was in solidarity. (Except, ya know, the people who are totally flipping out, vs. "woah-- kinda cool!") We should be thankful, peoples... coulda been awful but it wasn't!
I LOLed and read it to my husband, who also LOLed. Yay sprinkles!

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMopher

So if you look at the label on the cupcake mess, you can see that this was INTENTIONAL??!! Someone actually decided it was a good idea to deliberately throw a bunch of cupcakes into a container (liners and all), and then print out a label "7 Ct Pull-apart Chocolate Cupcakes/Christmas". What kind of Christmas traditions have cupcakes masquerading as Monkey Bread (pull-apart rolls in gooey cinnamon, if you've not heard of this)? What a mess!

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTwinMom

I live in the Mid-Atlantic. I was in a meeting when the quake hit; we were mildly perplexed when the room started shaking but quickly decided we weren't in any immediate danger and just continued on as if nothing had happened. And a half an hour after the meeting was over, a decision was made to shut down the building and send everyone home. Because one out of hundreds, if not thousands, of windows broke. The streets were full of evacuated office workers and 911 was so overburdened that they started begging people not to call unless someone was seriously hurt or in jeopardy.

All of that was a severe overreaction. Yes there have been quakes around the world that have taken a heavy toll in human lives and suffering, but this post is not about any of them. It's about a quake that, for most people, was the equivalent of having a freight train roll down your street (although if that happens, you might have bigger problems than a tremor).

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindy

Ok, so first:
When was the bunker installed?!?!?!
And second:
WHY was I not notified?!?!?!!?

*Grabbing a bag of chips and a cheesecake and heading for the EB*

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFluffy Cow

I work in insurance. I was on the phones for 9/11 with one co-worker was on her honeymoon in Manhattan and some friends in NYC, too. My company lost employees in the towers. I worked lots of overtime on the phones for Katrina and cried with people who returned home to search for missing relatives and found them, deceased.

I was on the phone with a customer who was in VA and reporting an auto accident and then the quake hit. She was anxious and wondered if it was an earthquake so I told her to go outside- I've lived in CA and know it's disorienting when it hits. I also feel awful for people with damages as earthquake insurance isn't even offered in parts of the East because it's so unlikely (and unbelievably expensive, anyway).

I don't laugh at people who were horrified and stressed out by this. I don't laugh at the media for being unrelenting a**hats and trying to make a big deal out of it- the economy stinks and everyone wants to keep their jobs so they need ratings.

I do laugh at whatever Jen and John choose to poke fun at as that's why I'm here. This is my only guaranteed good moment 6 days a week. It's okay to not laugh, it's okay to say it didn't make you laugh and it's okay to say it makes you sad. We're all just human.

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

Pretty sure Jersey is either a troll or has issues that involve getting as much attention on the 'net as she can find. Plenty of people were shaken up (pun intended) by the quake for many reasons, but they're not using it as an excuse for poor, ranting behavior on humor sites.

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterB

Are you sure some of these weren't from The Great Illinois Earthquake of 2010? You know...the one that I slept through and never felt even though I was less than 50 miles from the epicenter. LOL

NO SPRINKLES! NOOOOO Did a whole shelf of sprinkles fall on that cake?

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDNAMom

@ Michelle-
Looking forward to splitting your Ale8 soda (yum). I’ll bring some Sally Annes. I hope we get WiFi in the bunker because I’m addicted to “Sliding Panda” now.

Fortunately, living on solid bedrock, I don’t have much fear of earthquakes, but we do get some wicked hurricanes/tornados in the area. I still found this post funny.
The earthquake was felt all the way inland in Toronto. I think that it got maybe 10 minutes of news coverage. (which is odd when it comes to something occurring at the centre of the universe) But even ‘Toronto Life’ poked fun at the media reaction.
But all things considering.... I can say that here in Canada, anything that can cheer us up this week is a good thing. Thanks Jen.

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPuppygirl

My mom and I laughed so hard at this post. I was laying on my couch and my whole building started shaking and I was very confused. I thought someone was doing construction on my roof!

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDana

I am glad to see someone else notice the irony of Shaken not Stirred making that post.

Also, can I just say that I understand some people were offended by this, but I also would like to say I was not, and neither was my cousin from Va. I won't say anymore, however, in order to do my part and help prevent another Epcot. Now, I will be heading to the Epcot bunker right after I rub some cupcakes together to get that nice "tousled" look. Please be prepared to let me in.

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHope

Wendy-- Your bobbleheads cracked me up! I hope to remember that should NC experience any other tremors.

Jen--Do Carolina (or Miami) Hurricanes cakes even exist? It dawns on me that I don't think I've ever seen any, though I could have been oblivious when the Stanley Cup was here.

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKiwi

DNAMom - you slept through the Great Illinois Earthquake of 2010 too? I thought my mom was kidding when she told me I slept through an earthquake...until I saw the news.

Is the fifth cake a seismograph of the earthquake? That would actually be kind of awesome.

All right, off to the bunker. I've got tortilla chips and salsa!

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhjaxon1701

Hilarious! Yes, I felt the quake. Had no idea what it was until afterwards. But once we realized what it was, and determined nobody was injured, we just enjoyed the fact that it was a minor thing that everyone made a really big deal about. Face it, when the last quake worth talking about was more than 100 years ago, this is big news for Virginia. I loved seeing all my friends' reactions on Facebook. It was just a little bit of excitement, something to talk about. We were very grateful that it wasn't worse, and that the damage was all minor (yes, even tens of thousands of dollars of damage is minor, when you compare it to other earthquakes). And humor is a GOOD way to deal with stressful events, for those of you who were stressed by it.

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVA Mama

Lol I have seen that food colored cake at a Wal-Mart which I suspect that is from. I ordered my birthday cake there last year and the lady took great pains to tell me they don't wreck their cakes. Well luckily she didn't wreck mine but I was suspicious. My hubby had to tell me what that last cake said since I couldn't figure out why someone wished a happy bon day to buce. Ahh wreckerators how I love thee.

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

The media blows everything out of proportion, yes. Especially when it comes to natural disasters. It has snowed exactly twice here that I can remember, in 1998 and 2008, both for about 10 minutes or so. I live in the SF Bay Area. Cue the next morning it's front page news. Big color picture and everything. Feel free to laugh, they got all up in arms 'cause a handful of snowflakes appeared in the sky one day. ^^ Every news channel had to comment on the "freak snowstorm" and what happened during it. All of that basically just being people staring up at the sky going "huh, that's weird."

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarkmoon

@VA Mama, I'm with you. It was a 5.5 where I work. Maybe we just have thicker skins Inside The Beltway, but, even though we were scared at first, once we were let back into the building, and knew that things were ok, (at least for the moment), we immediately tuned into local news and to FB for a little comic relief.

(btw, we've still got a hurricane, aftershocks - there was another one just now - and "oh, maybe this is just a foreshock" to worry about: please keep the giggles coming!)

Want to know how bad it actually was in your area? Other areas? There's a neat little thingy on the Scientific American website that will tell you, if you plug in a zip code:

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter123Roo

I have read every single entry on your website, and I have to say that THIS one is my all time favorite! Well done, guys. Well done!

Sadly, even though I was born in North Carolina and lived the first 30 years of my life there, I moved to New Zealand earlier this year (where we have quite a few earthquakes, actually) and so I missed what will probably be the ONLY earthquake I possibly could have felt in my little corner of NC. *sigh* Ah well!

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKiwi_Import

Anyone taking this post seriously and actually getting offended needs to turn off their computer and go play outside. No, really. If you're honestly upset by this -- and if, ten years later, you're honestly terrified to PTSD levels by a tiny earthquake -- then visiting blogs you clearly don't understand should probably not be on your list of things to do today.

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commentershadow dancer

Yep! My husband had to wake me up to tell me about it (he was awake for work and though the cats were fighting under his chair again until he turned on the news). And I'm a very light sleeper. I probably just assumed it was a train going by that is less than 1/2 a mile from my house. But you know what happens when you assume...LOL!

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDNAMom

It'll be interesting to see what you come up with on Monday.

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoan in Boston

The title is worth the price of admission..oh.yeah it's free. Hilarious!

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterConnie from Richmond

If you think I'm kidding about being addicted to "sliding panda", check out:

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPuppygirl

As natural disasters go, that earthquake turned out to be a total flop. And we're all relieved, and a little embarrassed about how hard we panicked, so humor ensues as a normal, healthy coping mechanism. If you've been through too much to think it's funny, okay, I get that, and I'm sorry to hear it. But the rest of us are going to enjoy a good giggle to blow off the tension, and thank Jen and John for providing it. See you on tomorrow's post!

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnon y. Mouse

nice post .. great cakes .. all are stunning ,, thanks for sharing ..

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstampedsoncrete

wow. maybe consider consueling (sp) if you are that affected. seriously.

my thought while looking through the pics :'Dont ice and drive.'

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterali

Reading through this, it seems like there's a lot of overreaction going on here. We're in what is affectionately known as the "Greater DC Metropolitan Area" here, and boy, did we get a good jolt. We thought an airplane had crashed at first, but then we realized that the feeling was kind of similar to the 4-something-magnitude quake that was centered near Gaithersburg, MD, last year. I'm fairly certain that this one re-opened the crack in my bedroom wall that last year's quake caused. XD

My point is, though, that some people take themselves (and money) FAR too seriously - nobody was killed, and I haven't heard that anyone was even seriously injured. I do feel genuinely bad for those people who have gotten screwed over by their insurance companies, but that's nothing that a little good-old-fashioned charity couldn't fix (and if I knew of one I could donate to, I would do so immediately).

What can't be fixed, however, is when people die - which, as far as I know, didn't happen in this quake. We should be celebrating the fact that everyone affected has lived through it. Jen has done a great job of doing that here - the simple joie de vivre that comes from surviving what could have been a lot worse than it was. If you're offended by that, why are you even here? This is Cakewrecks, where everything gets made fun of equally. :P

August 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentervicroc4

A New York Times headline about the hurricane (a week or so after the earthquake) basically confirmed that it is unusual and newsworthy when the media covers a natural phenomenon in proportion to its actual impact.

Headline and web blurb, Monday, August 29, 2011, 2:08 PM ET:

"How Irene Lived Up to the Hype

The news media coverage of the hurricane was proportionate to the death and destruction it caused."

August 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLMR

I actually thought my dog was scratching himself under the couch. He has a tendency to shake the room when he does it, but then the house actually starting moving so I knew it was an earthquake.

FYI I live right outside of Richmond :) Great post.

September 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin

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