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

Bridal Tears

It's time again to see why the brides are crying - or, as I like to call it, "Reminders that your day could always be worse."

Yep, it's everyone's favorite, "What They Ordered vs What They Got!"


Kimberly P. asked her baker for this scrolly beauty, only in red and with icing flowers instead of real ones:


Instead, she got...this:

Or, as I like to call it, "The Dance of the Earth Worms. With Fresh Beets."


Katie Leigh asked for this classic black and white number:


But ended up with all sixes and sevens*:

 (*That's a little British slang for you English folk. You're welcome, guv'na!)


Olivia G. wanted her cake to be black and white all over, too, in this pretty damask pattern:

And in case you were wondering if it's possible to pipe a damask pattern by hand...


It's not.

 (I literally stared at these two photos for five minutes, trying to figure out where those shapes came from. I'm still at a loss. Do you think they flashed the pink picture at the baker for thirty seconds, and then told her to go recreate it from memory?)


Let's take a break from all that black and white and take a walk on the wild side:

Awesome, right? Mary M. ordered this fun mad hatter style for her wedding. 


 Unfortunately, I suspect what she GOT just made her mad-as-a-hatter

Only not in the "Wheedle-a-doo! Lemme dip my watch in my tea!" kind of mad. More like the, "Lemme go, so I can whoop someone's ASCOT," kind of mad. I guess this might pass for a three-year-old's birthday, but c'mon: a wedding?

(Side tangent: Don't you wish people would yell ridiculous things like "Wheedle-a-doo!" when they're ticked off? That would be sooo cool. If anything would make me watch reality TV, it'd be Gordan Ramsey yelling, "Boopin' Flibberty Gibbets, you Stronkin' Honk-Nobbit!" Right? Right?? I can't be the only one.)


This next couple wanted something simple and understated for their wedding, so they ordered this:

What they got, however, reduced our poor blushing bride to tears - and I'm pretty sure the groom is preparing to vent some frustration, going by the way he's brandishing that serving knife:


Holy plastic meltdown, Batman! Swans and cherubs and pillars, oh my! Looks like the only thing this couple and their baker had in common was they both ended up seeing red. Yeesh.


And finally, it's time to get back in black (and white) with this sweet little creation Kelly L. ordered for her big day:

Now, as pretty as this is, there's nothing terribly complicated here, so I can see why Kelly thought her baker could manage it.


[shaking head]

Kelly, Kelly, Kelly....


Er....Is your cake erupting? 

 Oh! That's just the topper at an odd angle. Sorry. Anyway, that cake is just...sad. Really, I can't think of any other word for it. Like it's shuffling dejectedly down the sidewalk and sighing a lot, and you just want to give it a hug. Or throw a towel over it.


Thanks again to all of today's brides for letting us laugh along with them - assuming, of course, that you're laughing by now, ladies. If not, then thanks for letting us gasp in horror and yell things like  "Doofin' FINKEL Shmirtz!!" at the screen.

(Why, yes, I have started watching Phineas and Ferb recently. Why do you ask?)

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Reader Comments (133)

oh. my. goodness.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather o_O

((Your regularly-scheduled Amanda has had a wreck-related lapse in brain function. We assure you that this is temporary, and she should be operational shortly))

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

That first cake made me want to sing...
"Red Wigglers, the Cadillac of worms! Wee wee, the Cadillac of worms! Wee wee!"

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusanna K.

Time for the bimonthly fondant argument already? The days just fly by.

I think the black damask cake is based on playing cards from an alternate dimension. From bottom to top, we have the 4 of Horseshoes, the Ace of Radishes, and the Ace of Mustaches (not to be confused with the 2 of Snakes).

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

What IS that thing on top of Kelly's cake? Flames? That is the saddest cake I've ever seen. The poor cake looks embarassed and depressed.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

Ohh those poor brides XD... I feel so bad... XD

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

The top teir on the damask cake looks like it has a large fake mustache.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterspeth

I yelled, "Fudgsicles!" as the phlebotomist was doing her thing at the blood bank the other day. She got a laugh out of it. Feel free to use it. It's not only a ridiculous thing to yell when you are ticked off, which is fun, but it also makes you think of fudgsicles, which makes you happier.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterM. Dale

I frost up, I can't smooth down
I pipe the squiggles
All around
'Round and 'round and 'round it goes
Will it stop? nobody knows

Every time I cash a check
I snicker that they're stuck with a wreck
Burnin' flame full of wrath
Plastic pillars, let the ire get higher

Ugly cake'll reach out and stab ya

I see the magic in your dream cake
Become a curse - less wedding, more wake
Swans of plastic, a cherub's leer
Black blobbies on an uneven tier

Ugly cake'll reach out and stab ya

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDB

Sad wedding cakes make me ....sad.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLorie

Sounds like we need a wedding cake-ator-intator

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia

Holy crap, those are bad! The poor, poor brides!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSalannB

In most of these, the design seems pretty dependant on using fondant, yet all the wrecks are buttercream. Do the brides order a buttercream cake and expect it to look like fondant, or do the bakeries substitute it to be cheap?

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

Sung to “Ebony and Ivory”

Can’t you see the irony? Sowing discord on days of harmony?
Side by side let’s place the two cake boards, Oh Lord, can’t they see?
We all know that bakeries are the same wherever we go.
There are good and bad in every town.
We yearn to give, we burn to give
Instructions that they need to create the right wedding cakes…

Let me see, do worm swirlies, look anything like this scrolled beauty?
And this black and white cake ain’t right, “Oh no, don’t cry honey.”

We all know, damask is really hard for piping “just so”
If you can’t, well, just go abstract
Now turn, turn to the Mad Hatter
Well, at least it’s quite bright, I got that one thing right

Next one, see, the colors, gee, are a perfect match for what you showed me
If you put down the knife then I’ll give you the cake for free
Don’t you think you’re being just a bit picky on this last cake?
Got the colors right, and the flowers are close
It’s sad, but it needn’t ruin the wedding
Keep the bar open late – no one will notice the cake…

Can’t you see the irony? Sowing discord on days of harmony?
Side by side let’s place the two cake boards, Oh Lord, can’t they see?

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

I'd like to see Gordon Ramsey throw out a few british non-swears...there has gotta be a few he might know!! (he's hard to watch)

LOVE that last line...wishing i could "shuffle"!!!!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEla

I can't help but wonder every time I see this feature if there's some kind of standard miscommunication going on regarding fondant vs. non. The cakes requested are usually fondant-based; the cakes delivered are usually not. Do the brides make the mistake of requesting icing that one might actually want to eat, and the bakers fail to inform them that what they want can't really be achieved with yummy icing? Do these bakers simply not work in fondant but again, fail to communicate this fact to the brides?

Don't get me wrong. These cakes are travesties regardless, and it's not all the icing's fault (my mom is one of those very talented cake decorators who can do wonders without fondant), but you're kind of doomed from the start if you try to recreate most fondant-based cakes without fondant.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkingshearte

I go to so many weddings lately and can't help thinking when I see the wedding cake, "You paid how much for that?"

The only one that I didn't that with was made by the groom's Aunt instead of a professional bakery and using MY Red Velvet cake recipe the groom lifted while we were roommates(he did have permission.)

What is with bakeries lately? I should not be able to say when attending a friend's wedding, "I could do better than that." I know my cakes are very good but I only do it as a hobby! I'm free to admit that my rose making skills are a little on the rusty side so I'd need to make a dozen or so before I'd feel comfortable using them on a cake. I don't do this stuff every day, what is their excuse?

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIsolder74

That black and white number in photo 6, what's up with the mustaches on the top layer? Is the cake trying to hide its identity?

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterA.Germany

These cakes had me going "huh?". Most of them have no similarities between what was ordered and what they got. At this rate, my 8 yo daughter can also sell cakes. She would do a much better job!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermiriam

I might have actually thought that the bakery just delivered the wrong cake to the wrong site when it comes to the with the stabbity-looking groom. It's really hard to understand how they could have possibly gotten it SO WRONG otherwise.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

That last one wouldn't have been *too* bad had they been arsed to level the flingin' flangin' thing. Cutting the top off a cake before icing is HARD. Apparently.

The damask one is just... mind boggling. You do sometimes wonder if they bother to look at the reference photo. My wedding cake wasn't a "wreck" exactly, but the simple, evenly spaced dot pattern on my reference cake turned into what kind of looked like a chenille bedspread on my cake, there were so many dots. Eh.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

What amazes me even more is that the brides actually ACCEPT these cakes by paying for them and taking them to the reception! I'd be like, Oh No You Didn't...!!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGloria

I am so going to be using "Boopin' Flibberty Gibbets" and "Doofin' Finkel Shmirtz" a LOT today. Thank you for expanding my vocabulary (on a day when I seem to be encountering more than the usual number of Stronkin' Honk-Nobbits, for some reason).

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

ARG!!!! Really people, you "Bakers" give the rest of us a bad name. Just because you can bake and make a batch of butter cream does not a professional decorator make.

Note to Brides/Customers: ask to see pictures of your "bakers" previous work, and when doing so, have the fondant vs. butter cream discussion. If you don't like what you're seeing - run for the hills!!!!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCustom Caker

Sharyn hahahahahaha

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

I just want to know why the Mad-Hatter cake had arrows on it. Maybe our eyes are supposed to follow the arrows and be convinced that the cake has more interesting angles like the original.

That bridal couple is adorable. Some times it makes me sad that I'm almost six feet tall. What would it be like to stand and lean on my man's chest or shoulder without doing some weird spine-altering contortions? I'll never know.
Anyway, I wish them much happiness, just 'cause they're so dang cute!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpyvso

Whatcha doin'?

Why, oh why, does that cake have mustaches?!?!?!

And that last one is so close...and yet so, so very far away.

Final question, why are there random things sticking out of the mad hatter cake? What are they? Do they even know what they are supposed to be?

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz W

I spoke to a bride just yesterday who said that another baker would do the cake I quoted her for half the price. I told her she had better look at REAL pictures of cakes that baker had done before she signed that contract. I should send her a link to this post! :)

Honestly, I don't think this is a fondant/buttercream issue, this is an inexperience issue. My buttercream cakes are often mistaken for fondant because they are SO smooth. The bakers that made these cakes were just in WAY over their heads!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Cup a Dee Cakes

Are you sure wreck 3 was supposed to be that cake? Did the wreckerator have the wild west on his mind? It kind of looks like the top layer is a mustache, the middle layer is a bad attempt at a club (cards), and the bottom layer is horseshoes.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranon

I like my grandpa's favorite swear words - "moose milk!"

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Gloria - generally, the baker sets the cake up his/herself at the reception site, so you don't usually get to see your cake's a disaster until you GET there.

Like my cake, for example. It was a perfect example of "what you asked for, what you got", looking very much like the couple ready to stab their cake. I wanted simple small hearts piped on the sides, with a basic border. We were providing flowers for the tiers. What we got was 80 zillion large plastic hearts stuck to the sides of the cake, with borders piped around all of them, makign it way fussier & way heavier (and uglier) than it was supposed to be. I believe swans wer einvolved as well. And, it was leaning. Thankfully, my groom had the forethought to use some fishing line to attach the top tiers to the wall, so the weight didn't topple it down. (He & the groomsmen were decorating the hall - otherwise, we'd have had a floor full of cake.) I don't believe we have any pictures - I didn't really want to memorialize the thing. Now, I wish I had - however, since this was 17 years ago, pre-internet, I doubt I'd find my source material for the reference.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPattyAD

Honestly, when I see these posts I really wonder if these people ask for portfolios from the bakers before they order cakes.

I also wonder why people don't realize that if you're going to go cheap you're probably not going to get that amazing, elegant cake unless you're really good friends with a talented baker.

Reminds me of all the awful flower wrecks I've seen over the years for weddings because people wouldn't shell out for a real designer, tried to do it themselves with no knowledge of how to design, etc. It's sad.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracey

You almost made me choke on/spit out my coffee with your lovely side remark. I can indeed see Gordon Ramsay saying something like that. I would pay money for it.


June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

And this is why we simply served cake instead of having a cute cake cutting ceremony. We weren't going to be embarrassed by a baker.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAM

Oh my gosh . . . I just . . . uh . . . um . . . yeah . . . .

That red and white plastic flotsam one is just . . . is the baker on acid? 'Cause that's just the *only* thing I can come up with to remotely explain that . . . that . . . whatever it is.

I frequently yell out strange gibberish when I'm angry. I have a lovely Yosemite Sam impersonation I do complete with the jumping and hat stomping. Having a toddler who repeats me has increased the creativity in my vocabulary by leaps and bounds.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeighAnn

I don´t get #4. As for the rest, I can see that the backers wrecked the original design but there is a shadow (very, very thin) of it. However, in #4 I simply don´t get how the baker went from the original to the delivered cake.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

I can't help but wonder if any of these decorators had any training at all....

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDi

Only now do I understand the lyrics to "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" since I now know what "At Sixes and Sevens" means.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdrumnate

OH. MY. GOSH. What are these people thinking?

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley Austrew

Inspiration v. Perspiration - Perspiration doesn't ever seem to win.

I think the last cake is stil perspiring, it's so droopy. :-(
As for the damask cake, the mad hatter cake, and the simple request from the couple - just...not even...completely flabbergasted. They better have been free, plus monies for personal trauma. Really.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlisadh524

My friend Bill used to use Fahrnerbocken when he was upset (it was really the name of a company that stocked magazines in grocery and drug stores). As a librarian, I was always partial to to the last name of children's author Anna Pistorius.
And, as a side note, I was embarassed to death as a college student when I had to take my eighty year old grandmother to a new young doctor. She called him "you young whippersnapper" to his face--a term I had never ever heard her or anyone use in real life before--or since.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdrgns4vr

Seems to me that folks desiring fondant cakes aren't bothering to check whether the bakery *does* fondant. Not all do, and of course the person taking the order should inform them of that, but apparently not. Frosting vs. fondant ... not gonna get the same results. Ever. Or perhaps the person paying for the cakes just cheaped out.

Personally I don't like the taste of fondant, but it sure is gorgeous.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

I had an experience like the couple with the knife on the 5th set of cakes. My (now ex) husband's aunt was a cake baker, and she gave it to us for a wedding present. Let me just say that was extremely nice of her, and I did appreciate it. However... I asked for 3 tiers with lilac beaded hearts around the sides, and few dabs of flowers. Nothing too flashy as I am not a flashy person. What we got was 7 tiers, a water fountain underneath it, plastic bridges, piped flowers, and my silk floweres EVERYWHERE. There was so much stuff, it was hard to tell where the flotsam stopped and the edible part began. I walked into the room, saw that cake and wondered if I had wandered into someone else's reception.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The lovely red and white cake that has all that plastic crap on it..... I honestly wonder if there was some strange order switch up or sabotage by the bridal family or something. ("The cake they ordered is too plain, I'm gonna call the bakerey!") Cause that's just waaay past an honest mistake or a wrong frosting issue.

Someone should write a sitcom about this. With colorful non swear words...

Pyvso, oh there are some 6'8, 7 feet tall men out there who'd love to snuggle you like that , trust me. I'm almost 6 feet too, all the super tall guys I dated just loved me. ( but I married a compact 6'1)

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

@Susanna K. -- Yes indeed. WKRP FTW!

#2b I see the groom caught the train. The wreckorator should have done that, as well.

#3b I'll give the wreckorator a few points for attempting to dress up the presentation, but... The problem with this one (as with most of the others) is, if I saw the 'before' and 'after' cakes side-by-side, I would never guess there was a connection. Is it just a case of cost-cutting run amok, or can someone who is paid to make cakes really interpret an image in a way so radically different from everyone else in the 'normal' universe.

Theardare O'Brien: "How many tiers are there?!"
Wreckorator: "Two. Three. Four. I don't know! I really don't know!"
TO'B: "Better. It is not easy to become sane. Let's listen to 'Like a Virgin' again, shall we?
Wreck: "Noooooo!"

#4b This one is a poser, in both senses of the term. For one thing, it is actually rather well executed (perhaps the wreckorator was as well). However, it is difficult -- OK, impossible -- to imagine decorating this while thinking, "wedding cake" and not "Last of the DoDos (AKA 'Porky in Wackyland')."

#5b This one takes the "How did we get here?" sweepstakes. The only common thread: both are cakes. Maybe they ordered #665 from the catalog and somehow received #666 instead.

#6b This one actually deserves a prop for effort. 'Smooth' can happen in buttercream -- we're told -- but I don't hear any buttercream people claiming 'square edges'. It's a bit like asking someone to duplicate an ice sculpture in Jell-o. (He said, bracing for 'square edges in buttercream' EPCOT.) Are those dominoes on the base?

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTheardare

My husband went hiking in Nova Scotia with a friend once. He came back with the name of a small town (I think?) as his favorite "swear" word. We've taught our 8yr old son to say "Tatamagooch!" when he's feeling frustrated. Works wonders!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeneric

Did any of these brides get at least SOME of their money back? I'd love to hear the "after the wedding" follow ups.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I hope those cakes cost 0 dollars becase that's about how much talent the bakers/decorators displayed in making them.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergabsmom

You get what you pay for. If these people keep expecting cakes under $500, they will not have a professional cake. How about going to a reputable cake maker, looking through their portfolio before ordering and being disappointed.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristina M

this is not a fondant vs buttercream issue. i ice all of my cakes in buttercream, and it looks smoother than fondant...people ALWAYS say, "i love your cakes on your website, but i don't like fondant," to which i reply, "i don't use fondant!" there are really good bakers out there, doing 3D, multi-tiered, amazing cakes, and using buttercream to do it! i can guarantee most, if not all, of these brides went the cheapest route possible, and as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. plus, they didn't look at the portfolios at all, or closely enough. many "professionals" have 'inspiration folders' of cakes they'd like to do. and the fail to show people the cakes that they've done. BIG MISTAKE! ask to see the cakers work, and study the pictures. look to see if it's leaning, if there are huge (or even little) dents and bumps in the frosting, are the tiers evenly spaced, and even as far as height is concerned. all of these things are visible to the eye, but can get easily overlooked. hope that helps!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermandie

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