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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

Great Expectations

I know we all love wedding wrecks with a schadenfreude-filled passion, but when it comes to what-they-wanted vs. what-they-got wrecks, believe me, it's not just wedding cakes:


You know those days when you wonder why you even bothered showing up for work? 

That's the top tier on the right.


 Ammi T. hoped to find a friend in her baker when she ordered this Toy Story-inspired Woody cake:

But instead she went to fecality, and beyond:


It's like two poop ropes shaking hands.

In fact, I think we're going to need a rear view on this one, don't you? [nodding] Yeah.

Turn 'er around, boys!


Hoo-WHEE! Saggy.


 Now, to be fair, I'm not sure how anyone would go about recreating this next cake exactly:

 (What is that, printable fondant? It sure doesn't look like paper...)

 But regardless, this isn't it:


That moment when you realize the awful Pooh picnic wreck is an engagement cake.



And finally, Virginia K. wanted this shaped number cake for her eighteenth birthday:


 But instead, she celebrated her legal coming of age - and all its unlimited litigation possibilities - with this:

So many things to say, but I keep coming back to those color choices. "Ok, you know what I'm thinking? I'm thinking EARTHWORMS and MINT ICE CREAM. Can we make that happen? Yes? AWESOME."


Thanks to Rebecca, Ammi T., Anony M., &Virginia K. for that horrifying mental image. I mean, sure, I wrote it, but still. I BLAME YOU.

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Reader Comments (86)

Hi everyone. My husband ordered the horse cake for me from the same baker we had ordered his squirrel birthday came from earlier in the year. His birthday cake was absolutely beautiful! Mine...not so much. All I can think of is we didn't find out until cake pickup that the baker no longer had a store location, she was working out of her house, which says to me that she lost all of her competent bakers/decorators. :(

Oh well. The cake was delicious anyway, and I WAS massively tempted to pour red food coloring all over the neck stump for the pictures, but my party guests vetoed the idea. :D

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLadyLockeout

I am in the "I just would not pay for it" camp- and I do not understand why people do, or why they take the monstrosity home. I do NOT agree with the "cheapskate" remarks- the bakers need to say "we can't do that for $40" instead of "certainly Madam".
I would happily have no wedding cake rather than some of the ones I have seen on here- and if I had already paid for it the baker would be wearing it home.....

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKirri

Many others have already stated it, but when you go to a grocery store or home baker with a picture of a $250 cake and expect it to be recreated you are going to get something like this. You need to do your research and spend a little money if what you want requires it. While the bakers should have worked with the clients more and parts of these are inexcusable, I really don't have a lot of sympathy any more for these cake buyers.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

OMG!!! I made it on Cake Wrecks!!!!! (Wish it could have been on Sunday Sweets, but I'll take what I can get, LOL) I made the "What They Wanted" version of the horse head cake for the 2006 Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. I won a blue ribbon for it. You can see that the person's photo was taken at the actual show, because some jerk stuck their finger in the buttercream to see if it was fondant or not. Fortunately, that was after the judging. The fingerpoke is on the bottom right corner of the neck, just below the mane. Sorry it creeped you out though, Jen. :^)

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna

o come on! don't blame customers for not knowing what it takes to make a pretty cake. if they knew, they would make one themselves. it's the bakery's job to explain what a costumer can and cannot expect for their money. and a manager that forces employees to make a wreck will eventually lose good staff and paying customers because of that.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCorina

As a cake decorator, I can once again GUARANTEE that the people who ordered those cakes did not pay the price to have the cake that they wanted. People don't want to pay what a complicated and/or detailed cake requires, and then get upset when their cake looks awful. If you want a nice cake you are going to have to shell out a nice sum.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdebbyrose

There's something creepily appropriate about titling this post "Great Expectations." (Though I'm pretty sure even rats wouldn't live in the shell of some of these wrecks...)

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAVA

@Jane--I agree. Picture 1 seems to be the 2nd and 3rd generation of wrecks. I'm guessing someone saw the cake online, and made a decent attempt at home. At least that's what my cakes look like--I can do anything with fondant as long as it fits a cookie cutter shape. And my clients (ages 4 and 6) aren't too fussy about lumps. But then all hell breaks loose, there's a sudden shortage of white cake and green fondant, and some poor soul is presented that tired looking short stack.

That mint and earthworm color combo? Perfect for a boys cake. Shaped like a brain. On Halloween.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjackwire

My mind can not comprehend WHY people go into the bakery/cake decorating business if they don't know what the heck they are doing!! And if they do have ANY skill at all, but do not have the proper kit/supplies, then tell the customer no instead of trying to create something that, in my opinion, shouldn't even be charged a dollar for. As a decorator, some of these posts cause me great anger and anguish to see. They aren't just cakes, they're memories and pieces of art.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDani

Everyone who says you just say no doesn't understand that some people don't take it. I am grocery store cake decorator and I tell people no and they looked shocked that someone would actually say no. They insist they don't really care and just do your best when you say you can't do something. So finally agree because they badger you and thats how you get cakes like that. I stand firm now thou.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCrissy

@Jane-I was going to say the same thing regarding the first cake, but I thought it was just my eyes.
I guess the "18" cake actually does look like a pair of moldy bedroom slippers...

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

I think the horse was a good attempt, the proportions were just way off. :(

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCamille

Wheeeee! Enjoying the cocoa here in the bunker!

This is pretty much the only Epcot that occurs with such predictability. Never. Fails. Hee. : )

I've noticed there's another Andrea here. *waves* Maybe I should change my author will be very hard to diferentiate my crazy from her/his comments, I'm sure. : p

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Hey Andrea, do you think it's safe to come out of the bunker yet?! ;-) I think you were spot-on, though it was not as bad as in the past. What is it with these bakers that take personal offense & have to go on & on about buttercream vs fondant and customer expectations and managers forcing them to work & such. I mean, if your boss makes you, then it's not your fault, so why complain?! Geez...

By the way, how did you manage to get the key from Haiku Joy? I only help guard the thing, I don't have the key... (Search CakeWrecks on Haiku & key and you'll see what I mean... ;-)

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarateLady

These cakes are why I make my own cakes for my kids-well so far only son, he'll be 3 on the 16th, daughter is only 7mo, but will also make hers. At least this way I have no one but myself to blame.

I definitely did a better job on my son's 1st bday cake (3 tiers, a mini him, monkeys, and banana trees), and that was with no training and using fondant.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNiferWatres

I'm staying in my basement laBORatory except to pop up to the Bunker now and then to greet regulars (and keep tabs on Theardare).

So far, we've established that you get what you pay for and you shouldn't pay for what you get if you don't like it. Of course, if you don't pay for it, you don't get it, unless the manager hands it to you in exchange for going away quietly. Get it? Third base.

2w: I think this was just the wreckerator's clever way of avoiding copyright infringement (AKA the other EPCOT white meat).

3w: See 2w. Not entirely sure about a solitary bear (check expression) -- and a solitary congratulation -- on an engagement cake... (Awww!) I do think Tim should give serious thought to changing his name to Boris, though.

4w: After much consideration (and to allow time to regain typing strength after an extended laugh), I call dinosaur. The mouth even looks like a beak. I guess T. Rex wasn't the only species Cinderella tamed.

5w: They should have at least tried to wreck the daisies. I propose a new regulation, stating that brown frosting shall not be piped by anyone who has not attended an accredited decorating school for at least four years, graduating with a minimum grade of A+. Be sure to demand proof before handing over your cake order.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

I sympathize with the bakers whose customers don't know how cake design works, but it's much more funny to gawk agog at the output of a baker who doesn't know how a horse works. All the right elements are there--lumps, colours, spikes, round things--how was the poor decorator to know that they are supposed to be assembled on the horse in a particular geometry?

I think the bakers who see nothing wrong with these were over-effusively praised for their childhood crayon drawings, leaving them to extrapolate that if a scribble for their sister and a rectangle with five legs for the dog is "a perfect masterpiece" then these cakes are obviously fine for those snotty customers and their printouts.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAviatrix

Are those sea anenomes on the 8?

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanel

From my experience, people just don't understand how expensive these cakes can be. I sell mine 40-50$ (150 for a tiered wedding cake) and it isn't nearly enough for the 10 to 15 hours (minimum) it takes me and my helpers to complete them. I enjoy making them and I wouldn't sell them if I were charging what they are worth. So it's just not a "non professional baker thing". Lots of bakeries don't do these types of cakes. I agree they should be honest on what they can or can't do though.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLilly

blah blah fondant blah blah Sharyn's clever blah blah Haiku Joy's awesome blah blah frosting blah blah ZOOMOM/zoomom blah blah Andrea's funny blah blah mel rocks blah blah ...
and then Craig hits me in the face with a dead squirrel with "third base," "Boris" and "Cinderella + TRex" causing me to laugh like an asthmatic hyena and reach for a rescue inhaler

see, I try not to take anyone for granted as we've got some amazing talent (Jen herself, for instance) but, sometimes, we all slip into a pattern (fondant vs buttercream). then one of you makes me laugh until tears run down my leg and I forget how to breathe. ahhhh, good times.

P.S. I especially love it when the victims write in with the back story- I'm a sucker for a good tale. ;)

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

I have to point out that the Woody cake 'wreck' is BUTTERCREAM not fondant. You can clearly see the paper towel marks on the back of the cake where the baker tried the "viva" method.

As for the cakes that were inspired by fondant but came out buttercream, that HAD to be the client who asked for buttercream instead. I get those clients a lot. And each time I explain that fondant and buttercream are two different mediums and cannot produce identical results. Some talented bakers CAN do a damn good job. And some can't.

And I do resent the statement that 'oh they are just in home bakers' because that is what I am, and I am damn good at it. Don't throw all Home Bakers into the same bucket.

It would be wonderful if clients truly valued the talent it takes to make a beautiful cake. I bet you all of these people took the photo to someone who COULD do the cake, but didn't like the price. I often get the "oh my, why arent' you as cheap as Kroger/Sams Club" remarks. The population looks at these baking shows and think it takes an hour what really takes days to make. There would be far less cake wrecks if people would value bakers.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenn Everett

I honestly hope whoever received that 18 cake got their money back.. man what a scary thing lol. The horse head wasn't so bad but I could be wrong. I liked the cute winnie the pooh they attempted in the corner of that cake. Wasn't too horrid lol.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

"itty bitty unicorn horn", I laughed so hard I peed a little :)

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNan

Uhhh...Barbara'm not funny? You...mentioned Andrea and then skipped straight to Craig's without mentioning... *me*...sniff...sniff... :'-(

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarateLady

Ohhhh, KarateLady! You are lucky I love, because you just gave me an awesome set up for the best 3rd grade comeback of all time. I will, however, refrain. My humor has matured to AT LEAST the 4th grade.

Theardare and I have an arrangement; he gets scratched behind the ear and a stash of catnip once a week in exchange for allowing me special access to the bunker whenever I feel the need. Sometimes he holds out for more catnip or a new firearm, the stubborn devil.

Barbara Anne, Craig made me bruise a rib holding in my laughter here at work this morning. Then I read your comment and just lost it! TeeHee!

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Hey, where did that key on my ring go?

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

@Haiku Joy - looks like Theardare grabbed it!

@Andrea - Gee, thanks...I think.

@Craig - Ok if I join you in the laBORatory? I'm not much on electronics, though. Genetics is more my thing. I used to work in a department called "Experimental Pediatrics". No, we didn't experiment on kids, but on kids' cancers. It was at an old institution with some rather outdated department names like ours next to things like "Molecular Oncology", "Molecular Gene Therapy" and so on. Perhaps my skills could be used to enhance Theardare's abilities...or to tame him, which ever... ;-)

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarateLady

I was explaining the Epcot bunker to my husband last night and it crossed my mind that he may think I'm crazy. Then I decided that that's okay.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzoomom

here's your sign

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterseretha

KarateLady, I like the idea of experimenting on kids' cancers. Like how to banish them back to the Pit from whence they came...

I admire Theardare's bargaining skills re: weaponry. Not sure I'd like to see Theardare tamed -- what sort of enhanced abilities? (Ulp)

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

@ Craig, re: banishing cancers back to the Pit - Exactly! As for Theardare, well, the easiest thing is to enhance his inherent abilities. Good targets would be eyes, ears, and the vestibular system, given that cats have excellent night vision, exquisite hearing, and they always land on their feet. With the right genetic adjustments, Theardare could detect a case of wreck-nial several states away at any time of day or night. He could then make great leaps and bounds toward his target, dodging dogs, animal control officers like Officer X, and desperate wreckorators bent on revenge. Once these goals have been achieved, we could focus on adding features like the ability to squirt acid at an oncoming attacker. See, first you'd cross Theardare with a Texas Horny Toad, cuz they squirt blood out of their eyes. Then you'd have to add some glands for the acid to the tear ducts and...oh, *Hi*, Theardare, *Hi, there* <scratching furiously behind the left ear> Nice kitty! Nice, *nice*, NICE kitty! <more scratching, *very* furiously> Oh, the Horny Toads? Oh, nothing, Theardare, nothing...You see, they're...they're....endangered down in Texas and I'm...trying to rebuild their population! Yeah! They're such fascinating and unique creatures...You don't like them? The spines are too poky and the meat's too 'gamey'? Oh. Well, I promise to keep them out of your way...really! No, REALLY! <scratch-scratchedy-SSSCCRRAATTCCH!!!> I'll pack them up & move 'em out right now! <hurriedly grabs a lizard aquarium or two & heads for the exit, pronto!> Don't worry, Theardare, I'll be back for the other cages in a jiffy! Going to take them back to Texas; I'll just breed them out the garage there, nooo problem... Thanks for letting me store them here temporarily... <scratch, scratch, scraaatttcch> Bye, now - back soon!!!

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarateLady

I am also a "home baker" by night, and a preshool special eduation teacher by day. :) I know my cakes aren't perfect, but I also know that I am making special cakes for co-workers and friends that they couldn't get somewhere else. I do my best to give them what I want, but also tell them that I reserve the right to "artistic liberties". I don't get paid near what I should for the amount of work (probably 10 hours from baking to making frosting and fondant to decorating) and supplies, but I enjoy it and I like it when they are happy!

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

my dearest, loveliest, KarateLady, I would never deliberately leave you out in the cold! it was the inhaler- those things make me woozy sometimes.
hope you didn't get a hand cramp from scratching Theardare so much but it does seem to keep him calm and soothe his itchy trigger finger/paw/claw

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

I am the mom that purchased the Woody cake. Yes, I understood the "inspiration" was fondant and that buttercream would be different. I didn't have unrealistic expectations, but come ON... this was horrible! We've had cakes from this baker before and they were great! Not sure if she got lazy or what, but we paid her just as much for this one as another we'd had before (and FYI, it was NOT $20)

My biggest problem was that the baker carried it around in her car most of the afternoon in May in Arkansas (HOT) in a PAPER box (as in, a box that hold reams of paper) in the trunk (not in the air conditioning). If you look at the pic, you can see where the white icing is seeping through the colors (this also explains alot of the melting/drooping). And I suppose she only had one size of decorating tip. AND my son's name isn't Tucker, that's our last name.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmmi

There is a woman in my town who does cake decorating claims to be professional. Uses professional photos on her site... but very much like these you see the fabulous photo and get something completely different...

January 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterluCinDa

On seeing the "horsicorn cake" (the wreck...I had already passed the original when my husband looked over my shoulder) he said, "Star Wars cake?"

( sure could be).

February 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGale

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