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

The Emperor's New Cakes

Once upon a time, in the sprinkle-coated lands of the Cakey Kingdom, a mysterious stranger came to town. The stranger was peddling a wondrous new kind of icing: an icing so pure, so heavenly, that only those of unimpeachable character could see or taste it.

Since most of the Cakey Kingdom citizens didn't know what "unimpeachable" meant, they all immediately pretended they could see the wondrous icing - when, in fact, they could not.

"Oh, yeah. I totally see it. Yup."

"Me, too!"


Soon all the Cakey Kingdom people were raving about the wondrous icing - though without ever agreeing on its exact color or flavor.

The Kingdom's food critic finally settled the matter by describing the icing as, "a sublime mix somewhere between a summer's sunset and the color of lullabies." Which everyone agreed was exactly right.

At their customers' insistence, all the bakers in the Kingdom gamely purchased great big barrels of the lighter-than-air icing from the mysterious stranger, slathering it on their cakes with gusto, and perfecting the art of keeping a straight face during deliveries:

Occasionally a small child would cry, "But, I want my cake FROSTED!" and the embarrassed parents would have to hogtie the toddler and shuffle home in shame. There they would have a stern talk about philosophy and keeping your head down.

Eventually the new icing craze began to take its toll: cakes drying out left and right, roving gangs of black market "frost-iteers" scalping canned frosting on the street, and the pie business booming with its new slogan, "You can really SEE the difference!"

Even so, the old Emperor himself requested the wondrous new icing for his royal birthday cake. So the palace bakers purchased gallons of the stuff, and on the big day all of the Emperor's subjects gathered round for the grand unveiling.

As the cake was slowly wheeled into the throne room, the aged Emperor peered down his jewel-encrusted spectacles, bushy brows furrowed. The court held its collective breath as he silently scrutinized every tier of his birthday cake.

After several long, breathless moments, the Emperor lowered his spectacles.

"That," he said gravely, "is the ugliest cake I have ever seen."

The courtiers gasped, the royal bakers cringed back in terror, and at least one sullen teenager snickered.

Then, to everyone's astonishment, the old Emperor began to laugh. And laugh. And laugh!

"Finally," he wheezed, dabbing at his eyes. "After all these years, and all these perfect, beautiful cakes, at long last I have something I can send to Cake Wrecks!"


** THE END **


Thanks to Miranda R. and Anony M. for the reminder that there is always a silver lining. And in the case of cake, it's a silver lining you can eat. (Also,"naked" wedding cakes are totally a thing now. It's like bakers WANT this blog to live forever.)

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Reader Comments (158)

They look so sad...I wanna give them a nice icing hug :( love the story with the cakes XD

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

Yay! Nothing like CakeWrecks storytime to make a super start to the day!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda H.

That was seriously beautiful, Jen. You're a genius!

The person who came up with naked wedding cakes has serious issues, though.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMuria

What, this is a thing now?

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

What a great story! What terrible cakes!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelody

See I would totally love those cakes, because I hate frosting. I am the person who picks off the top of cupcakes and scrapes icing off pieces of cake. Or asks for the middle piece of a sheet cake because it only has a bit of frosting on top.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterA.J.

You know, with beautiful layers, filling not too thick and out of sight, nicely applied icing sugar and careful attention to structural integrity and balance, this idea could make a lovely cake.

None of these cakes are remotely like that, of course, but the theory may be sound...

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShinnewn


June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy

Genius. (The writing, I mean. Not the cakes. Definitely not the cakes.)

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercw

ARE YOU PEOPLE FOR REAL??? NO ICING???? Sorry to yell but just when I think things can't get any worse in Cakedom, I am proven wrong. Also, great story Jen.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNewb

Sung to "Pinch Me" by the Bare Naked Ladies (It just seemed appropriate...)

They're the perfect cakes, I hear
And you can count every tier
They taste fine enough, I guess
Considering that they're such a mess
There's a bakery down the street
Where this is all they have to eat
I could walk, but I'll just drive
To find a cake with sweet outsides

Oh, buttercream, will I remember you when you're gone? and I
Try to ask them to spread some more frosting on, and I
Try to eat these naked cakes I abhor

It's a crime cuz cakes you buy ought to make you smile, and you
Realize eating dry cake can take a while, and you
Try to point out that's what frosting is for

Pinch me, pinch me
I need
Please, Jen
Tell me
That I'm still asleep

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

I'm afraid that while these cakes are horrific looking, I prefer TINY amounts of frosting/icing to 5 inch layers of the stuff. I LIKE these cakes from a taste pov. but looks wise, UGH how gross and awful looking they are!!! I want CAKE and icing not ICING and cake. but that's just me.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJamie Jo

So I'm a fairly new reader but have spent an embarassing amount of time reading through Cake Wrecks archives. This is hands down my favorite post. In fact, it's on the list of my FAVORITE THINGS ON THE INTERNET OF ALL TIME. Could not stop laughing as I read it! Jen, you're brilliant. Thank you for this blog!

Now excuse me while I go eat a jar of Nutella and weep for the poor, naked wedding cakes.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah McD

Whilst it seems a lazy way of decorating, I have no objection to a naked cake or two (apart from that last one), but jamming cut flowers inbetween the layers worries me. Anemonies (them blue and pink daisies at the top there) contain gastric irritant. Yum, wedding party at A&E anyone? Unless they're fake, in which case hand me a big old slice and I'll shut up!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline B

I agree with Sharon - this is a thing now? WHY?!

It's ok if you don't like icing and prefer a light glaze or maybe powdered sugar, but if that's the case - what's with the filling between layer being 2" thick?

Paint me confuzzled.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDelphine

Wha....what? It's a "thing" now??? Why??? I was thinking the cake was constructed/put together on Wednesday, and then it was forgotten in the cooler 15 minutes before delivery.

Now, in all honesty, most of these cakes look structurally sound, and if you did put frosting or fondant on them, they would be quite beautiful. Cake #2 looks like it has two oatmeal cream pies stacked on top of it, and the last one just looks...sad. :(

@Sharyn - Earworm for my Friday! :D

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSaraV

That was such a captivating story :D well done, Jen!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKrisfromParis

This ... is a thing? How can this be a thing? Surely if this were deisgned to be a thing the purpose of it would be to showcase the baker's craft and professionalism, such that the unfrosted cakes would underline how expertly each element of said cakes was put together, but that ... that isn't what's happening here, is it?

Maybe if I tilt my head a bit to the side ... ? Nah, the cakes are still appalling but now I'm kind of dizzy.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

Are you telling me you don't see the gorgeous frosting on these lovely cakes?! Why, it is marvellous! True works of buttercream artistry! Such a shame I am the only one able to see it.

Seriously though, Jen, that was amazing!
The naked cake thing? Maybe for a nudist wedding. I actually think this is a brilliant scheme on the part of the baker/decorator who came up with it. I mean, it's ugly as all get-out, but from the baker/decorator point of view, all the money and half the work is pretty cool. Can you imagine how they laughed when it actually took off?

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzoomom

@Sharyn - Perfect! And a song I don't mind having stuck in head, so thanks for that!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzoomom

GREAT STORY! ... oh my, unfrosted cakes are UGLY, they don't look appealing AT ALL.... <shudder>

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Oh my that story is awesome and wonderfully written. This should be made into a children's book and possibly a short cartoon movie!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

Well, considering cake is unhealthy anyway, what's a little icing? Actually, if you make a cake from healthy ingredients and shoot for a fruit filling, maybe that is a lot healthier. I'm sure that's what people are going for when they make these. I'd eat all but the first and second because they actually look tasty.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

And I saw the post about not too much filling, so you can't "see" it. What would be the point? That's the only edible part.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

Love the story, the cakes not so much. When I think wedding cake, I think pretty frills, frosting flowers, decorations. Not something that looks like a last minute replacement when the bakery forgot your order!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatty

"It's like bakers WANT this blog to live forever" was my favorite.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNagzilla

Nekkid cake?! Why!? Just....why?!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

"Naked" wedding cakes for "rustic" weddings? What are the bride and groom wearing? Hmm?

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLDM

I'm not sure why this is funny.... I've been using a similar product for years -- it's called Invis-Icing. It comes in a variety of colors and flavors (it says so on the label), is very easy to use and has no expiration date (though sometimes I can't tell if I've gotten it all out of the can).Their slogan is "Give your cake the shellacking it's been lacking!" I initially got a sample with my Pan-wow and have been a user ever since.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermel

@ Sharyn, I LOVE the song!

As a person who usually avoids frosting because it is TOO sweet, I can understand the appeal of a the so called "naked cake". However, cake just isn't the same without a bit of icing. It doesn't have to be the consistency of Spackle, to save a cake from drying out....just a little bit is plenty. Of course by a "little bit", I do mean considerably more than is on these cakes, and applied in a fashion that is only seen on this blog on Sundays.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Strangely enough, I'm kind of into these frosting-less cakes. They aren't super pretty but the first one and the cake with the cookie crumbs around it (3rd from the bottom) look pretty good. Not the worst wrecks I've seen on here, that's for sure.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterstrah

is that flour all over the cakes? i know that when baking we use butter and flour so that the layers don't stick. is it supposed to be powdered sugar? i'm so confused.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOlga

GORGEOUS peonies on that third cake! And, look at how well the bricks and mortar kind of "jive" with the cake colors and filling on #1! Anyone ever make a brick wall cake? I think it'd be truly tripindicular ~ especially for Pink Floyd fans.
Now...this is painful, but I can't NOT mention the one teeny, tiny thing that I find disturbing.The third cake-if you squint your eyes-(and trust me- I thought it would help, but it doesn't ) looks eerily and disturbingly like some sort of blindfolded, bound-and-gagged, strait-jacketed hostage.
(I'd almost PAY someone to tell me that it's not just me!)

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

I absolutely HATE naked cakes. I see no attraction or beauty ina naked cake. The icing prevents the cake from drying out! Everytime I see glowing praise for a naked cake, I cringe and wonder, "WTF? Are we both looking at the same cake???" If I actually saw one I would laugh, too, and ask, "ok, nice joke, now where's the REAL cake?"

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandy in So Fla

Is there anything you can't write? Mad writing skillz! Thanks for the daily laughs!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErin

All I can think is, I hope "naked" wedding cakes don't cost much. No talent involved. I also think the guest will need milk to wash them down.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I remember seeing this a while back and just waiting for the wrecked versions to make there way here!!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternicole

Thanks for a good morning story! Very clever. . . . and while I seldom eat much of the icing, you've shown how pitiful a cake looks without it.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Great post, Jen!
@Sharyn -- well done

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

Blame Momofuku Milk Bar for these cakes. I do believe that is where photos 4 and 5 came from:

They're expensive, but so tasty!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertheminx

What the WHAAAAT?!!!

This looks like the kind of cake they would eat on the Unhappy Hipsters blog!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd

Dear mel:

We are the law firm that represents Invis-Icing, and I just wanted to express my thanks for your endorsement. This innovative product has been ridiculed repeatedly since it was first introduced. I don’t see it myself – that is I don’t see the reason; I think it is sheer jealousy! Many cake topping products poo-poo Invis-Icing and claim to be superior, but in blind taste tests using actual blind participants, they are not any butter. Nevertheless, others continue to belittle this product, and, frankly, it is a royal pain. Sometimes our eyes glaze over, we ganache our teeth and feel whipped. It’s like we’re always at the fourth down and we have to Bundt.

In summary, we are very proud of this product. I could go on and on, but I don’t want to spread it on too thick – you get the point. Thank you again for your support.

Mr. Potato, Head Counsel
Tinker, Toys and Tops

PS: I almost forgot to mention this. While many other toppings leave stains and other unsightly marks on the dishes, we have never had a complaint that our product marzipan.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermel

Is it just me, or did two of these wedding cakes actually use Funfetti box mix?

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Helms

Ok, I have to admit, I'm a frosting freak. However, I was curious and googled "unfrosted wedding cakes." There are actually some really beautiful ones. I'm thinking...Sunday Sweets: Unfrosted!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

"It's like bakers WANT this blog to live forever." could be the tagline for just about every post in the last few years or so, really.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve the Pocket

So, a couple that look sort of OK, if not quite up to wedding standards, a couple that look like someone threw a handful of powdered sugar at them, and then... cake that looks like the icing was scraped off because someone wasn't paying attention.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterR3Test

If you don't want icing, couldn't you just use a Bundt? I expect a wedding version shortly.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterchristy

Part of me hates the idea of these "naked" wedding cakes, but then part of me remembers consuming enough of the nasty tasteless fondant that it makes me think that maybe someone is on to something.

Also, these bakers are totally trying to make sure this blog lives forever, it's the Cakeinnati!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Black Dog

Did a little googling and I found this:
Turns out that the "Wish Dream Love" Cake is on a very special stand as well, one with tentacles holding the naked cake up! I think this adds an additional something special. Makes sense that under the sea creatures would be interested in these cakes. The salt water must mitigate against the cake's dryness.

As for the fourth cake in the series, am I the only one who thinks it looks like it is already molding?

I've read a fair number of your posts, Jen, and this one is my absolute FAVORITE. Thank you!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

So how about someone (Jen??) post a link to some unfrosted cakes that are gorgeous?

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLizziebeth10

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