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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
Friday
Oct122012

Marital Miss

 What They Wanted:

 

What They Got:

 

What They Wanted:

What They Got:

 

 Wanted:

 

 Got:

(I hear this one also came with cookies.)

 

 Wanted:

 

Got:

 

And last, but certainly least:

Wanted:

 

Got:

 

 

Thanks to Amanda B., Tara J., Dani N., Sue H., & Tiffany B. for sharing their Bridal Sweets turned Bridal Tiers.

« Sunday Sweets Does the Monster Mash | Main | And After This We'll Play Volleyball! »

Reader Comments (75)

The only redeeming feature to the "Sebaceous cysts, plastic pearls and aquarium gravel" cake is the Lladro cake topper. The other cakes? Nothing, really.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBadKarma

My own wedding cake was a cheap knock off on a mix of two super pricey ones I saw in wedding magazines. The lady writing it up at my local bakery was all excited because the decorator had "just taken a class for fondant". Where were my alarm bells!? She then lost my order. I called to check in three days before the event (thank goodness) and they had to scramble to rewrite the order. When the custom topper came in the mail it was twice the size I had expected (did I read the description? duh.) and turned out to be larger than the top layer of the cake. Also it had exposed, unfinished wood on the base. Somehow the cake still turned out on time, structurally sound and decorated as described. It was simpler, to be within the decorator's abilities, but had a sort of whimsical charm. They hid the wood base of the topper with pre-made sugar flowers, and we all ignored the fact that the bride and groom (painted to look like my husband and me) towered over the rest of the cake. I see now that I was the dumb luckiest and most naive customer in history. I totally should have ended up on this site!

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLC

PS: "R &..." Who?! The suspense is killing me. Or not. I am curious, though, where the other initial went. Is it being held hostage until the cake fee is paid?

Baker: "I've got U. Pay me the cake fee and nobody gets hurt!"

Customer: "What? You've got me? Uh, no you don't. I'm right here. What are you talking about?"

Baker: "Not 'you'! U! I've got the U! Argh! I knew I should have taken the R!"

*overheard in the background* "Who's on the phone?"

Customer: "I think it's a PIRATE!"

Baker: "GAH!"

Note to Mod: Sorry if this is a repeat, my computer went wonky when I tried to post. Maybe it was trying to tell me something? : p

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Why do these wrecks always seem to be a few cake mixes short? Photos of lovely tall, full layers end up as squat, flat, puny ones. Someone is being stingy with the cake batter.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

Butterflies...snowflakes....same diff... ;)

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I haven't been caking long, in fact I have only made 6 decorated cakes. What I have learned is that using cake supports is a must (that last cake, really?) obviously amongst other things, and I am a self taught amateur, not a qualified baker. I would expect even a 16 yr old doing an apprentice to understand the basics. It is unfortunate that money has ruled here, and it's very disappointing that a person doing this as their trade feels that it is ok to not want to perform at their best and is not mortified at themselves to be delivering such terrible work.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCass

While none were really on the mark, only the last one was truly dreadful. Without the WTAF pictures on the others, the WTG would not have looked so bad.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEsty

the first one wasn't that bad, I mean it wasn't great but it could have been a whole lot worse.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

How did the baker on cake four see the sample of snowflakes and think they were butterflies?

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelonie

It never ceases to amaze me how these wreckerators can look at a photo and they can't even get the color right -- let alone the decorations. Sigh. No matter what you pay for a cake, a decorator should at least be able to MATCH something!

I go through the "you get what you pay for" process all the time as a web/graphic designer. I once had a toy train hobbyist ask if I could set up a secure shopping cart site for him to sell more than 1,000 items. His budget: "about 200 bucks." Which wouldn't even have covered the hosting costs for a site that big.

That said, there are still are incompetent frauds out there charging big bucks for jobs for which they are completely unqualified. I'm rescuing a client from one such fraud right now.

With internet access and a little time, there's no excuse for not doing the research needed to get what you want. Brides should be looking at decorators' portfolios, and they also should be doing research on the pricing for the top-notch cakes they want. And decorators who can't do the work should be redirecting these brides to the kinds of cakes they can handle. If there are any. By the looks of this post, some of these wreckerators should just quietly slink away in shame.

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

Holy moly... those poor brides. If I were the bakers for any of those I would run and hide and hope to never be found. Just tell them if you cannot do it for pete's sakes!! I got my cake from the grocery store and it came out beautifully. I just hope the brides got a refund at least?

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

Y'know, I think that topsy-turvy cake actually goes well with that bride and groom set. Not saying it's good, mind you, but if you didn't know what to expect, it's a similar style of cute.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMokie

I'm with AquaFina32, there's no amount of lack of budget that can explain away getting the colour wrong, particularly when the only specification was "not white". Sure if I'm buying something premade I can only get the colours that are there, but if you can't tint icing or use the ribbon the customer asks for you deserve to be on cake wrecks at the very least.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermystic_eye

What gets me is not the bad decorating (piping is genuinely hard), it's the lack of fundamentals. It's not hard to centre a cake on the one below, support a tier so it doesn't collapse, smooth out buttercream, drape plastic pearls evenly, layer the cakes so that each tier is tall enough to be proportionate.

I completely agree that you get what you pay for, but every professionally baked cake should have all these things done correctly.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

You know, I don't think these cakes can be blamed entirely on the bakers. WHO would order a cake without looking at previous cakes the bakery made?! I got my wedding cake at a small bakery with a book of cake photos, they were not insanely intricate fondant but they had some beautiful chocolate-wrapped cakes and we ordered something we knew they could do- a version of one in the book but with white chocolate and a solid piece of chocolate on top to support the figurines we picked. Yeah, a bakery should know their limitations, but you also have to be skeptical of the abilities of a baker and ask for references or photos!

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMonique

I'm not totally buying the "get what you pay for" argument. I've seen department store cakes just sitting on the shelf that were better decorated than these things.

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette

What baker thought snowflakes = butterflies?! Or thought that last cake was even remotely like what was ordered? Some of these aren't too terrible, but those last two...oy.

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShanti

Hilariously, a cricket started chirping right when I scrolled to the "what they got" topsy turvy cake! Perfect soundtrack for my thoughts at that moment.

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJill M

It might not be a case of can't afford it, it might be a case of "can you do this? SURE! Easy peasy" don't blame the bride (that is the easy out), blame the person who says they can do it and fails so spectacularly. if you can't do something requested, JUST SAY NO. you'll save yourself time, money and tears and bad press.

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamie JO

What gets me is not that the bakers couldn't get intricate or difficult designs right. What gets me is that they can't do basics like stacking layers without them crushing each other or sliding (dowels and cake boards are sold at every cake decorating supply shop!), smooth down icing (buy a big damn spatula), trim layers so that they're even all over (it's called "a sharp knife"), and if they can't do fondant, DON'T DO FONDANT!!

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCheesymice

Oh my gosh! That first cake was the inspiration for my wedding cake!! My was much closer than this wreck, though!

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJMo

Please tell me they didn't send fetus cookies... The cake isn't bad, but fetus cookies?

October 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkay

Just posting to agree with Pam B- my grocery store wedding cake was beautiful. Offset square tiers with actual angles, nothing collapsing, intricate piping symmetrically placed. No, the decorators are not expected to create brilliant works of art, but there really is no excuse for some of what these folks let go out the door. A bunch of 6 year olds could produce something more professional in a couple of hours.

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanduh

I am a cake decorator, and a pretty good one if I do say so myself. The first thought in my head when I saw these, was that "you get what you pay for," although, I do have to agree with the other comments here that say that theses decorators should have NEVER said yes to these cakes. I'm an ambitious person, and rarely say no to any challange, but after I say yes I research and practice whatever technique I'm unfamiliar with until I'm comfortable.

Now, in my experience, I have realized that the approach I take is a very rare to find in a cake decorator. What a lot of people don't understand is these sort of jobs don't pay much, they come with long hours, stressful situations, and for some reason a lot off unpleasant co-workers (especially if your good, jealously and sabotage). The individuals who made the inspiration cakes most likely fall into the very small percentage of decorators who have worked unbelievably hard to achieve these designs.

The other cakes, however, were most likely decorated by individuals with enormous egos and little talent or little experience or a dangerous combo of both. Almost ALL cake decorators/bakers I have worked with fit this description. They will look you in the eye and say, " I can do that" and they actually believe it. Although they probably have NEVER successfully completed a project that compares to the cake you want. Never, not even close, but they say yes without batting an eyelash or pause to think about it. Why? I don't have the slightest idea. These "professionals" often won't take advice or heed warnings from more experienced co-workers (I'm waiting to see a pending wreck to be picked up this Saturday, I told my boss, who has little to no talent/experience with cakes, let alone this particular design, that I couldn't do it, so HE is going to do it despite my strong urging against it). They will create a wreck and see it as a masterpiece no matter how bad it is, and to add insult to injury, when the wreck can't be denied, they blame the customer, or the weather, or the cake baker, icing maker, your mom, their mom, ANYONE or ANYTHING but themselves. The worst part? These factors and unwillingness to EVER admit that they "can't" do something, or that they are in over their heads, or that they made a mistake actually prevents them from learning and getting better!

To be fair, not all decorators are like this (I'm sure this personality description sounds familiar to a lot of you no matter what line of work you are in), but the ones featured on this site I would bet money are exactly as I described. How to avoid them? Beware of a deal, make sure you know who will decorate YOUR wedding cake and see pictures of THEIR work (not the bakeries work, those cakes could have been made by an ex-employee or someone who has the day off on your wedding day), and keep your expectations in check (that amazing fondant cake you found in a magazine is NEVER going to look the same in buttercream no matter how much you wish it, it's not gonna happen!).

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCortney

That second to last cake wasn't so bad, but it was still a far cry from the original.

September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarhath

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