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

Graduated Layers

Graduation season is upon us, my friends, and I for one couldn't be happier. Not only do I get to revel in the fact that I'm a "prefessional adult" who's DONE with school [NEENER NEENER], I also get an excuse to drag out some of the old grad wrecks I never got around to posting.

Here's one from the last Ice Age in internet terms, aka ten years ago:

That was the year we learned to ix-nay on the unfortunate onograms-may.


Skipping forward a ways, we come to "2009":

Year of the "Dipolma" and "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.


In 2010 we had a fresh crop of Permedics celebrate their "gradudlion:" 

It's a tough call, but I'm pretty sure "Gradudlion" is my new favorite misspelling. The trick is to put the emPHAsis on the second sylLAble, like this: GraDUDlion. And then pronounce the end bit "leon" instead of "lion." Go on. Say it with me: GraDUDlion. GraDUDlion. [Ignore those co-workers; they're just jealous.] Now once more, with feeling! GRADUDLION!! YEAH!

[looking around]

[sitting back down]

[patting hair back in place]

K, where were we? Oh, yes: 2011. The year we learned that only the very BEST cakes get reserved for store displays:


 The grace. The dignity. The spacing.

(First one to say, "But at least it's spelled right!" gets the patented Jen Death Glare. DON'T TEST ME, PEOPLE.)


In 2012 bakers broadened their horizons by combining the fine art of Dali-esque surrealism with a post-modern monochromatic aesthetic:


I call it, "Tar Donkey Butt-Peeing."


So what will the 2013 grad season bring? Well, I hate to speculate, buuuut...

I've got a pretty good feeling about it.


("Graguates gradudlying! Graguates gradudlying!!")


Thanks to  Stephanie F.,  Jen S., Alana G., Brittany R., Daffny A., and Julia A. for gradudlyating at the top of today's class.

« Summer "Lovin'" | Main | The Good, The Bad, And The Wrecky »

Reader Comments (83)

Why, yes, I'll have a glass of the 2009. Thank you. Excellent year, that.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShirley Fowley

Tinkle, tinkle from the tar
How we wonder what you are.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzoomom

And one really wonders: was it supposed to be "paramedic" or "premed"? Either way, yikes!

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkespicer

Last-day-of-school crazed kid stuff all day, but I just HAD to say "Tar Donkey Butt-Peeing" changed my life. I'll never look at anything the same again. Beginning with my computer keyboard... (mop, mop, mop)

(I totally missed yesterday, so continued hugs to Jodee and Allison in Indiana. Take care.)

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

That green one looks different somehow. They managed to spell congratulations right. They get an A in spelling!

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathy with a K

I now cannot unsee the tar donkey butt-peeing.

Your imagination, Jen, frightens yet also fascinates me. (and makes me snork, too)

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSaraV

Ohh boy. Better grab my mirror; I'm *definitely* getting the patented Jen Death Glare, so I need something to deflect it... :-) (Can I help it that I noticed it was, surprisingly, spelled correctly, despite the spacing issue?) And another thing, what the heck is it supposed to resemble?! That's the inherent problem of a CCC like this. The middle part, "2011", looks like half of an old green styrofoam egg crate and the rest? I got nuthin'...

Tar donkey butt peeing? GIGGLE-SNORT!! Or a peeing penguin behind in a fleet of fellow penguins? Or a sea lion butt peeing? Maybe a sea otter butt?

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarateLady

#4: I wonder that since the "display" cake is so wrecktatious that the actual cake will be perfect? Nah, it will still look like a green colon trying to pass a brick.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdutchgirl

What's the green one meant to look like? A green submarine going through a green stargate? A green RV being nearly surrounded by an enormous slime mold? I've got nothing. (No comment on the spelling, honest!)

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBB, Miami

I am from a city called Kankakee - in the dark ages they used to abbreviate it as KKK - now you are more likely to see it as K3.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

Actually both the red one and the green one both spelled Congratulations right. (I'm safe :-p ) Law of averages, I suppose.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBea

I lost it at "Tar Donkey Butt-Peeing." Jen, whatever you're drinking that helps you come up with this stuff, I want some!

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

As disturbing as the thought of a Tar Donkey Butt-Peeing may be, (Oh no, typing it made it worse!
EW EW EW!!!) Okay. I'm better now. As disturbing as a you know what may be, I'm more disturbed by the thought of members of the KKK "Living, Laughing and Loving."

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

See, I prefer "Gray-DUDE-Lion" personally.

I guess this is the "Gif"/ "Jif" argument all over again! ;-)

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd

If you eat the Tar Donkey Butt Peeing CCC, then whatever comes out of YOUR butt is your own fault. That black icing will not be pretty once digested.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaxmom


May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Former CB

The green one will haunt my dreams tonight.

And not in a good way.

GraDUDlions cracked me up too, BTW.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

I too would like some guesses on the meaning behind the shape for the 2011 cake, but then I guess that's just part of its wrecky "beauty."

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

I run education programs for graduate and undergraduate students, and I type the words "graduate" and "undergraduate" all the time. After the last cake, my brain exploded, and I couldn't remember how to spell "graduate." Are there two G's?? I just don't know anymore!

And I died laughing at tar donkey. I can't bring myself to type the rest of it.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

@Barb, what's the airport code?!?

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

My Co-woriker: "What are you laughing at?"
Me (laughing): "Butt-peeing!"
Co-worker: "What?" (Coming over to see) *GASP* "What IS that?" "Ewwwwwww!!!"
Me (laughing too much to talk)
Co-worker: "No really, what IS it?"
Me: "Guess!"
Co-worker: "Ewwwwww --- I don't know!"
Me: "Its a cupcake cake (pitooie!) in the shape of a grad hat! And the caption is.... (reads caption out loud, resumes laughing hysterically)"
Co-worker: "Oh man, that IS funny!"

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

Actually, SuBee, the official website of the KKK does post a "message of Love, not Hate", but only to WASPs. And the only reason I know that is I was looking up Nathan Forrest, who founded the group.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLady Anne

My first reaction to the second-last one was that it looked like a grand piano.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoel Polowin

What is that tar donkey one? I even clicked on it to get a better look. It sort of looks like a baseball diamond...but I had to close it because a close up looks even worse enlarged but if I stick with the baseball diamond, then the yellow puddle could be home base and the yellow line could be the line the ball would go if thrown.... No, on second look, probably not.

can any one read what the labe says? I can only get the "24 white cupcakes with --- ---- kit" maybe that would help explain what it is supposed to be.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

"Tar Donkey Butt-Peeing."

i am so happy i did not have coffee in my mouth when that rolled up.


May 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterearlleen

Is it a moss-covered, three-handled, family gradudlion?

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve the Pocket

Sometimes I worry that I've been reading this blog for too long and getting a little inured to the true awfulness on display - am I becoming immune to the wreckification?

Then, along comes a cake that makes me laugh out loud - and today that was Tar Donkey. What on earth were they thinking? I see that it's meant to be a mortar board, but why isn't the thought in the decorator's mind that says "Hey, I could do a cupcake cake shaped like a mortar board!" followed immediately by another that says "No wait, mortar boards are square so impossible to form with round cupcakes, and black's a horrible colour to use as icing across a whole load of cakes, and the tassle will be really hard to do, and no-one will be able to tell what it's meant to be, so I won't do that."?


May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVicki

Do they have Tar Donkeys at Epcot? Because if so, I totally want to go see them. I hear their butt-peeing is worth congragualating.

(Will never stop laughing at that inspired figure of speech. Metaphor? Whatever.)

And: Gra-DUD-leon would be a great cat name.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFM

I wish I knew a 2013 "Graguate" for whom to purchase that last cake. It's awesome.

Of course, so is the donkey butt.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma

I would totally work the tar donkey phrase into conversation somehow if I could actually say it out loud without gagging. o.O

Thanks for all the love! You guys are awesome!
@Allison in Indiana, my thoughts are with you too!

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJodee

With so many (okay, three) people wondering what the green display cake was, I decided to use my Google Goggles to find out. When you hear the answer,I guarantee you'll feel foolish for not seeing it right away.
Its the LA Cheder Menachem Choir 1910 Chaannuukkaahh Concert. It's obvious now that they didn't spell "congratulations" correctly, they simply misspelled Chaannuukkaahh.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

What you have referred to as “Tar Donkey Butt-Peeing” is actually a highly sophisticated cake that incorporates historical, metaphysical, poetic, symbolic and optimistic elements using only a monochromatic color scheme highlighted by a single accent color. It is a complete graduation speech contained within the confines of a CCC (which, for this masterpiece, is not only credible, but crucial). In a clever, yet subtle, interweaving of the present and the past, this cake is offered as a contemporary graduation cake. Yet, if we look closely, we can see how the past has been interwoven throughout as an almost subliminal subtext. Let’s look closer.
A graduation cake typically represents the end of something, generally a series of studies culminating in a diploma or degree. This cake is no different in that regard. The students are done. Now, when we say “done,” what frequently comes to mind? Of course, the poet John Donne. This, then, brings to mind his famous line “No man is an island…,” an appropriate reminder to those about to go out into the world that they, while individuals, are a part of something larger. That theme is echoed in the shape and crafting of the cake. While to the untrained eye it appears to be an island, it is not. An island would be one Man, yet this cake represents a collection of “Men,” and this is creatively underscored by how the cake is made: a CCC, where each cupcake symbolically stands for one Man, and thus the cake itself shows unity and that “No man is an island….”
The black surface of the cake clearly is tar, and a symbolic reference to the Le Brea Tar Pits. (Note the fine detail of the tar oozing on the right side of the cake.) In its prime, the tar pits, with their slick, smooth appearance, lured unsuspecting animals, ensnaring and enfolding them, ultimately turning them to fossils. To the new graduate, the world can be very much like that: its lure can entrap them, suffocate them, stifle their growth and fossilize their development. A bleak picture, indeed.
Yet, there is hope. The yellow accent color represents the potential of the future. (There is some debate among scholars as to whether it represents actual gold or oil, often called liquid gold.) In any case, it clearly represents the opportunity for success. If you are careful, the decorator tells the graduates, if you are diligent, and avoid the traps of the world, you can succeed.
Thus, the cake comes full circle – you are not alone, you are part of the world, and, while there are dangers, you can be successful. Such a powerful message simply portrayed!

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermel

Jen, I still giggle every time you use the word "prefessional".

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzoomom

But at least 2011 is spelled correctly! AmIRite?!?!

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTor2ga

Mel, I have sat through many graduation speeches much less succinct than that. Of course, they weren't followed by cake like that, either.

Me, I just looked at the picture of the cake, ignored the large black blob in favor of the smaller black and white on on the right, and wondered why they used such a poor representation of a motorcycle on that cake. THEN I read the caption. Ohhh...

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdrgns4vr

Happy Gradudlion, Graguates!

Perhaps 'Tar Donkey Butt Peeing' is the school mascot of the elusively located Wreckorator School of Cake Decoating.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

I have lost faith in humanity

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

The Tar Donkey cake was on sale for 40% off! Nobody had snatched it up at full price!?!?

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJustine

I have read your blog for a long time now...and I don't think I've ever laughed as hard out loud reading it as I did when I read "Tar Donkey Butt Peeing". <---even typing that has me chuckling. Fan-freaking-tastic post.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnen

The Tar Donkey Butt Peeing cake reminds me of the new black starship from the new Star Trek movie. If it had a tassel, anyway.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKara

How is "Congratuations" possibly considered to be spelled correctly? And what is it???

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzzzzz78759

Can you say ("Graguates gradudlying! Graguates gradudlying!!") 3 times fast???

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTauna

HA! Barb, I'm from Peoria; I COMPLETELY remember Kankakee being abbreviated that way!! Good times...

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

I like how the green one has green lettering on green frosting. Bold decision, chef.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Donna Martin Gradulates!
Donna Martin Graguates!
Oh hell - give her the dipolma already!

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

TAR DONKEY BUTT PEEING!! I almost spilled and spit my coffee at the same time. The Tar Donkey must be their school mascot. Butt pee is just what happened after the senior skip day and nobody really likes to talk about that, so I'm not sure why it was depicted in a cake for all to see/remember.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Hey, maybe Brian Dipolma's kid is graduating this year! Okay, I know that's not how he spells his name, but it's possible somebody out there spells it that way ...

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterApril Fool

"Permedic"? Wow, there are some real winners in this bunch.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDoris

What is that green one supposed to be? I keep staring and still have no idea.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

When I saw the Tar Donkey Butt Peeing cake, I thought it was some piece of dominatrix clothing with a Golden Shower spilling forth.

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine

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