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)

That last one is Marvin The Paranoid Wedding Cake! " I suppose you want me to sit on the table, on a plate!"

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSandra L

And this is why I had pie at my wedding!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I cannot get over the 5th cake. It's like someone just said, "oh, ivory wedding cake with red accents" and just went from there. Other than the colors there is nothing that even remotely resembles the inspiration picture. Seriously. If I were the bride I'd be hopping mad. My mom (non-professional cake decorator) made our cake and it was totally simple, but at least it wasn't hideous.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmberK

I own a bakery and retail shop. You wouldn't believe how many times people come in to buy supplies to make a cake for someone and they show me the picture of what they're supposed to make and they say "well I'm supposed to make this but I think its ugly so I'm just going to do something else instead". It makes me want to strangle them but I cant say anything.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersweetdreams035

This makes me worry about even having a cake at my wedding. :(

Oreos and chips ahoy! For everyone!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermums

Is it just me, or does the third wreck look like a crying robot?

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda Maple

I actually quite like the Mad Hatter cake - though I'm not sure why the decorator decided to get all Jackson Pollack with the icing - and would be thrilled to have it as my birthday cake (and I'm turning twenty-three, not three.) But for a WEDDING? And based on the previous photo? No, no, and no.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstopdropreload

We made our own wedding cake and it turned out way better! I would be HORRIFIED if I had paid good money to someone else and gotten any of those!!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

My darling husband is no stranger to swear words, but for some reason when he's playing video games he reverts to his 12-year-old, mom-can-overhear self and says things like "Jiminy Christmas!" and "God....bless America!" Kills me every time.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermelydia

Talk about leaning cakes. The "we want this" photos are leaning. At least baker of the last cake attempted to get the cake to lean:-) What is it with the leaning cake pictures anyway? Are leaning cakes supposed to be more fetching - leaning into the camera?

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

What the...? I knew this post would be headdesky from the moment I saw the Betty Crocker tube icing on the first cake, but really. The poor folks who got these cakes should be compensated for pain and suffering.

Also, I *do* in fact curse with random, slightly cromulent words--not always, but sometimes. It's a survival mechanism for a potty mouth in the workplace. Although these days I tend toward "flippity monkeys and a half with cheese" rather than "doofin' finkel schmirtz."

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlenxa

Bahaha this is SO FUNNY WHERE IS MY BRAIN? You guys make me glad I got out of bed in the morning! With everything you are going through, I don't even know how you're STILL SO HILARIOUS. These cakes make we want to laugh and cry and then laugh again. Someone, tissues please?! :D

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStoich91

What baffles me most about the wrecks that are supposed to be copies of pictures out of magazines I presume is, if a client shows you a cake that is decorated in fondant, why would you try to make it our of buttercream..... and why is it so many of the bakeries make cakes that are so unpolished, that the edges aren't even clean... I ice a cake better than that and I assure you that is not saying much. BAKERS: if you can;t recreate the picture, don't try! Cake Buyers: vet your bakery before you ask the local grocery store to create your cake, you sort of get what you deserve. I love this blog!!! Always good for a smile. THanks!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Yay!! Jen, here's a virtual hug welcoming you to Phineas and Ferb fandom! It's the best thing on tv nowadays. Sure, I'm a mom but I watch it when the kids are in bed. I've even hit the treadmill to their cd. Totally fits with us geeky and funny girls. And thank you for another great episode of What They Wanted.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnalogmommy

Yes, what Tracey said above. Anytime I see these sort of wrecks now I assume the bride has decided to cheap out, rather than pay to get the cake done properly by an expensive decorator.

If you want a cake that looks like those photos, you will have to pay for the time and effort that goes into it. And if you really, really, really want to go the cheap route, then ask for a portfolio with examples from the person who will actually being doing the decorating. If you go into a bakery, ask for the world, and expect to pay 200 bucks for it, you need to be prepared for disappointment.

And if you have no idea what the abilities are of the person you're ordering a cake from (which sounds crazy but sometimes needs must; I found myself in this situation in the small European town I was married in), just ask for something simple, whatever they specialize in, with some flowers.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

the last one looks like tons of mashed potatoes stacked up that then was pipped. I may be a beginner at cake decorating but how could a person ruin anothers wedding day like that.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterchristina b 83

Damask Mustache Cake, FTW!!! Love me some mustachey goodness.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcy W.

Okay, Just have to ask... do the poor brides end up having to PAY for those monstrosities?? I would be like, "Uh, so this cake is free. RIGHT?" But do bakers get to just sit there and say, "Hey, you use it, you pay for it." ?

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Haha, melydia, your hubs sounds like fun. And I identify whoever said she was apprehensive about having a wedding cake. If I ever get married, I'm making cupcakes and putting them in stands.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdoodlebug

I am just going to go look at pictures off my wedding cake and coo over how pretty it was and how lucky I was. Seriously, it's worth it to go to a specialty baker for a wedding cake if these are the alternatives.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim

1) Translation problem:the manager described the image to the decorator, on Mars.
2) Oh! You're not Mrs Smush with the brown-n-white for her daughter's wedding?
3) I can't get past the saggy mattresses down at the bottom there ... maybe the word 'brocade' means "Mattress World Traditional Anniversary Cake" in Wreckspeak?
4) Nice cake; wrong party. "You're not Mrs Smush, are you? Great! Here's your birthday cake for little Maria!"
5) See #1.
6) Considering the rest, this gets an ...A-. At least it RESEMBLES the original... um ... maybe a B- for both being fondant ?...

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergobbler

Whenever I see these kinds of horrible wrecks I always wonder: did the bride get some sort of deep, deep, DEEP discount at least when they picked up the cake? There's no way in heck they could charge full price for these. Unless the full price was $2.50.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterktfisk

I often wonder if people ever order a cake from a bakery for another occasion before trusting them with something as important as their wedding cake! Or, ask someone else whose cake was wonderful, where did they get their cake?

Actually, if the flotsam was removed from the mad hatter cake, it really was pretty well done, except not anywhere near the example. I think I want that cake for my birthday!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatti

Okay- although the last cake is super sad looking, the baker at least *understood* the design on the pictured cake. They just aren't a very good artist, you know? I guess the first cake would technically fall into this category too.

The other cakes....well, they don't even look like sad, poor artistry! Just dumb, crazy baker ideas of what things should be!

and pyvso-- I'm 6' and found a great guy who's 6' 4"- I can still wear heals and he's great for snuggling :) You'll find your match some day!

Also, regarding portfolios - with as many cake pics that are available online, I'm betting that these wrecky bakers pull images they think will sell and claim them as their own.

Makes me a little more at peace with my poorly phone-shot cake pics. I'm sure no one would think mine aren't authentic! ;)

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKiki Cakes

The "what they asked for vs what they got" just never get old. The pink damask is the best (err worst). Well, the mad hatter one is pretty up there too...

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

I was all together and planned my wedding about a year ahead of time--music, cake, flowers. I thought everything was going to be fine. The band broke up and I had to scramble to find two ex-members (bagpipe players) to take over. I should have checked on the cake and flowers. I had specified NO PLASTIC on my cake, and what did I get? Tiers with columns and plastic. It seems they had hired a new decorator in the interim and didn't bother to call me. The flowers were nothing like I had ordered--the bouquets were made at the site, but it was too late to object. These all should have been omens about the marriage. . .

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarilynH

Phineas and Ferb Rock.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I'm so glad that when I got married, all we did was stop at the nearest grocery store and buy something from the freezer section ... course we also eloped and were married by a judge with witnesses whose names we didn't know. Could also explain the divorce... but yeah, didn't have to go through this trauma!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDegera

I agree with the other posters that mentioned the wonderful things you can do with buttercream. My own wedding cake was done in buttercream, and you honestly couldn't tell. Granted, there wasn't anything super difficult to be done other than make the sides smooth and put a few decorations on, but you could say the same thing about several of the cakes in this post.

For example, the scrollwork on the first cake was (in my opinion) the biggest issue- that would've been done the same way on fondant or buttercream. There were also several cakes here that just flat out weren't the right size, weren't shaped correctly, or looked like they were about to fall over. Those are not fondant vs. buttercream issues.

Even if the translation from fondant to buttercream was an issue- which may have been just one of many reasons the "mad hatter" cake failed so miserably- the baker should've known from the start that it might be a problem. Considering the fantastic things that good bakers have done with cakes, I wouldn't assume that a bride or any customer would necessarily know for sure what a particular bakery is and isn't capable of- especially if the bakery in question is assuring them that there shouldn't be a problem.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeachkins

Oh, and ironically, my lovely wedding cake was bought from a grocery store. Granted it was a family-owned grocery store that's been around for almost 90 years, is renowned for their homemade foods, and has their own "real" baker. I hadn't even considered going there, but they had a stand at a local wedding show, and their cake was fabulous. We made an appointment to meet the baker, and she was able to show us her portfolio and let us try some more flavors. The price was reasonable, the cake tasted fantastic, and the cake was gorgeous- just what I wanted. Just putting it out there to let folks know it can be done!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeachkins

I think the damask What They Got was inspired by Jane Seymore's Open Hearts collection there on that middle tier....

To the Groom on the picture for What They Got #4: DO IT! DOOOO IIIIIIIIIIT! The wreckerator did not even TRY to copy that picture. At. All.

My current favorite curse-type words come from the Pirates of Dark Water: "Noi-gee-taht!" "Gee-tahtn Monkey-Bird!" or "Chongo-longo!" I have no idea how those words should be spelled...but they are fun to say!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

@ Gloria

To answer your question of "why do they pay for these things?" most of them don't really have much of a choice and the bakeries all know it. Like pointed out before by others the brides often show up to see what they have already paid for and be completely shocked at what they got. At that point there is no time to get an alternative to replace it.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIsolder74

I weep on behalf of the poor couples subjected to these cakes.
For some reason my husband has adopted the word "Farfugnugen", yeah, I have no idea how to spell that, (from the old volkswagen commercials) as his "swear word" of choice.
@ Amelia- love the "inator" reference! I would love to see Dofenschmertz build a cake-inator.
Did Craig change his name to Threadare?

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRikki

I agree that it's not a fondant v. Buttercream issue. I work with both mediums and my buttercream is very smooth with sharp corners. I like pp's that it is miscommunication and not seeing referrals. When brides come into my bakery, I have them look at my work before we even discuss what they want.

Also, the damask cake (pink) actually isn't fondant OR piped buttercream. It's royal icing smoothed over a stencil set. I know because I have the exact stencils!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

see? stay single & stay happy!! (the cakes- I meant you won't be disappointed!)

I'm pretty sure Kelly's cake has a pain down it's left diode

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

I simply do not understand how someone could screw up a plain white, 3-tier cake with red ribbons. Mutants must have done that cake!

As for the rest: Really? Do you really make people pay for that? Because if my Web sites and logos looked that bad, I'd be out of business.

As for the alternative swear words: When I was co-editor of the newspaper in college, my co-editor used to say "scummy dogs" instead of swearing. And because we spent so much time together, I naturally picked it up from her. Unfortunately, I came home for Thanksgiving that year and passed it on to my then-13-month-old niece, who sat in her high chair and repeated "scummy dogs" endlessly! My sister was NOT amused.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

I have a set of old Wilton cake presses that have the same shapes as the "Damask Mustache Cake". You use them to make indentations in the icing on the cake and then you trace over them with your piping bag. Seems like someone may have used a huge tip on the bag lost the fine detail and then thought they had to fill the design in completely. Not that I'd know how easily that might happen when using said tools.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdork_bunny

Well, I see Theardare has been using my computer again. That's what I get for not checking the 'author' block before posting. Oh well, if it keeps him out of trouble...

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

That groom really does look like he wants to stab the baker of that cake. The bride is either horrified or trying not to scream in anger by smiling. Hmm did the wreckerators even look at the pictures? I am thinking they did then decided to just go with whatever they felt like making. Poor brides.. I would never have bought my cake if it looked like those.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

I'm so glad you've discovered the joy that is Phineas and Ferb. :)

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKippie

I have a feeling that some of the couples wanted to go the "who will make our cake for the least money" route. You get what you pay for.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

These cakes are what gives us cake creators chills. I am a home based cake creator and when I say "I can make that cake for you" the cakes shown above are why people are hesitant. Everyone of the cake "creators" and I use that term VERY loosely should be ashamed of themselves for the complete disregard of the bride and groom. Each and every one of them are horrendous ! And if they look that can only imagine what they must taste like. I was in tears for the couples
. Sad so Sad!

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Oh this makes me nervous for when I get married. How can you be sure your cake-spiration won't turn out looking like....that?

Also...phineas and ferb is amazing. Welcome to the funsanity.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLyssa

Oh, heck yes, Phineas & Ferb rock! I used to time my visits to the gym so I could watch it while on the treadmill (not having cable at home). My favorite swear phrases are "frakkin' banana nuts", "holy crapatola" and "holy mother of ponies" (don't ask me where that came from, just because I love equines I guess). And of course "gorram" and "ruttin'". And these cakes frighten me.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen (but not that Jen)

Ah, the Open Hearts collection. I had almost succeeded in forgetting about that.

I think 4b ('mad hatter' reprise) might have been inspired by Sandra Lee.

I always liked cartoon cursing (back in the days before they started using the real words in an effort to keep up with today's kids): "Razzm frazzm friggm fraggm!" My default, though, is "Mice!" Sort of an all-purpose interjection. Though it may be greeted with worried queries: "Where?!" I might give 'moose milk' a try. As a safe curse, not a beverage.

It's hard to beat Cosby, though: "What the foul filth foul foul filth and filthin' foul, you foul filth!" Or John (thoJ)'s very own "FERN!"

Fahrvergnugen = 'driving pleasure'. Need I say more.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

You know, the Mad Hatter wreck version isn't that bad. It's just nowhere near as good as the model, which I would consider it a crime to cut into.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJules

Honestly my first thought when seeing the disaster damask cake was, "Why are there mustaches on the cake?"

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKinipayla

Im guessing the red and white that has swans,pillars et al added by the baker was just because thats the only way they can do it! the poor misguided person has not 'moved with the times'
and is the the kind of very annoying person who KNOWS BEST.
so whatever the couple wanted, which would have been elegant and sweet was given a few special touches to 'make it special' for 1972!
I love these ses of pics the anticipation of wreakage and the hilarious comments, keep up the excellent work.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdiddleymaz

The black and white suppose to be damask cake but looks like cards: This was on our local news, as the bride was trying to get her money back. The baker told the news that he went out of business because he found "it just wasn't his thing". Poor Bride. I really feel for her.

I agree Mandle. I also do all buttercream cakes and they look just as beautiful as any fondant cake. Brides hate fondant! I hear all the time, even at set up "THATS buttercream! Amazing!"
Shame on these decorators who put out this nasty, horrible crisco filled stuff. That isn't real buttercream!!

My advise to brides. Research your baker. There are a lot of bakers who are no legal in their homes and do not know what they are doing. Don't let the 2.00 a serving price fool you. You will get what you paid for, and most likely never see your money again!

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLoriemoms

Hello Ladies. I am the bride in the "urine" colored cake pic. When I met with my baker I had shown her the pic of what I wanted. I also GAVE her my lenox colored topper to base the color on. I told her no spaces, no decorations no nothing. I wanted it simple and elegant. I told her it was ok to put buttercream UNDER the fondant. I didn't see my cake until I stepped out of the limo and saw it on display mere feet from where I was to walk down the aisle. I wanted to cry. That was NOTHING like I ordered, instructed or requested. Apparently the woman had electrical issues in her kitchen and her lights were dim (according to her) and she lost the book that had my instructions so she "winged it". On the plus side I didn't end up paying for it and it did taste heavenly despite being hard to eat something the color of Urine!

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

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