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)

Cake #2. Is that netting? Gauze? Cake has been injured bandaging? Is it a truss?

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpilgrimsoul

LOL! Brilliant! :)

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermillbrit

My personal fave is the one with random yard clippings and gold fishnet stockings.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma

Bwah ha ha ha ha! Best post ever! Cake Wrecks never ceases to disappoint, of course with wreckerators constantly giving us new fodder for our amusement, how can they lose? Some people just enjoy humiliation I guess.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersandy

Let me propose that cake #1 is a groom's cake for a wedding where the groom is a bricklayer. Look how perfectly the cake layers mimic the bricks behind it,with varying thicknesses of mortar/icing between. There are even flowers growing out of cracks in the mortar. The dark bottom layers with chocolate icing mimic the table on which the cake sits. This cake is not only clever, it's perfection! A MASTERPIECE of cake masonry! There is a similar contender in cake #3, but it lacks the artistry of the aged bricks in cake #1. I hereby declare cake #1 the winner!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine

The only two cakes that seem to even be trying are the 4nd and 5st ones. At least the edges are all lined up and the filling isn't just spilling out everywhere. They are neat and even.

Why is that 2rd one wearing a girdle?

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJust Andrea

The end totally took me by surprise. Hilarious!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTotalFluffster

@mel -- your argument is unimnectarineable. (Hey, a naked cake deserves a fuzzless peach...)

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

I too am trying to figure out what the heck is wrapped around the lower layers on cake #2. It can't be there for structural support because it wouldn't help at all. It's like someone said, wow it's a little too naked so lets wrap some random crap around it.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

See, the naked cakes are just to remind the guests of how the newlyweds will be very shortly. It's just fore-shadowing!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterACsMama

a couple of the cakes, including the funfetti one, looks like one's from the Momofuku Milk Bar recipes. They are great, unusal recipes and wormy baking. But for wedding cakes? Not so much. And to have multiple kinds of cakes plopped on top of each other, still not a good idea.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersally

As one who has absolutely no sweet tooth and scrapes icing off cakes and cookies (I know - sick) these must taste wonderful. (Yum, nothing but cake!) But I echo an earlier sentiment. What, is this a THING now?

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlynn

the fourth one is the only one that looks appetizing, imho. it's well executed and doesn't look sloppy and thrown together. the next one tries to imitate that, but the layers are too thick. all the others are just fugly as hell. *I* wouldn't dare to serve them at a family brunch. and i'm no baker.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLcP

Dear God! What is that thing? They look well made aside from that fact that someone forgot to ice them. They're like hairless cats!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy

I actually like some of those! Not being a big fan of icing in general, I think they could definitely work in the right kind of wedding. The third one is pretty in a rustic kind of way.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Calvert

I like the naked cakes idea! It's kind of rustic and country looking. With fresh fruit and powdered sugar, it can be done quite nicely. I've seen some very lovely "naked" cakes. Plus, icing is so bad for you. This way, you can have TWO slices of cake without the sugar high and the guilt!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNadia

Also from the Bare Naked Ladies (I agree with Sharyn; it seems appropriate)
To the tune of "One Little Slip"

It was a recipe for disaster
A four-tier cake of no-siree
It seemed that happily ever after
Meant happy everyone was after me

It was a cup of wrecky intentions
A tablespoon of one big mess
A dash of blank-faced "huh?"s
I assume you can guess the rest.

One big slip, one big slip
It was a fusion of confusion
With no confectionery

I get the feeling in this town, I'll never bake 'til I live down
The icing-less ick that seems to follow me around, and
They'll forget about the dry
When they all realize this guy
Is about to try or hit the fondant

One big slip, one big slip
It was a fusion of confusion
With no confectionery.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

"The colour of lullabies". That's beautiful. I want a dress the colour of lullabies.
Oops. I sound like a potential customer for Mel's invisible icing...

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPersephone

I am on the fence about the "nekkid cake" stuff. I only like good buttercream or cream cheese icing, and in a cake-to-icing ratio that I've not found very often. I can totally see stacked pound cakes, or something cool like that for a different wedding cake. BUT - it still needs something, like some pretty glaze. I googled the "frosting free wedding cake", and I gotta say that some of them look pretty, but I can't help but thinking they look exactly like a short stack of pancakes from IHOP.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBexter

I actually kind of like the look of the fourth cake, it's very well done except for the lack of icing. I bet it was requested that way and one of the guests sent it in. :P The first one kind of looks like it was made out of huge jelly doughnuts.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

What the hey! These are hideous. Looks like the bakers ran way out of time and just thought, oh well, I'll go set up what I have done. I can see puting less icing, but yikes! IMO

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKerri

This post right here is exactly why I'll never get married.

But in the off chance that I do you are all invited...and we're having pie :-)

@mel ~ I really think you're on to something with this! Apparently these cakes do too!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJodee

Don't be so hard, I'd definitely eat the bottom layer of the first cake! The one with some kind of Nutella filling coming out from all sides. And the flowers are nice on the first 3 cakes.

Now, is that mould on the 4th cake??????

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterM

This is the first time a posting has actually baffled me beyond words, well I guess I have some words because this is the first comment I've made on CW. I have never seen such a thing. Long live CW!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTeri

I wish these cakes were Never Nudes.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaxmom

Anyone brings me a naked birthday cake, I will cut a bitch.

That is all.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUglyGerbil

I don't know, I have to be honest...I kinda like the one with the pink peonies on it. The others, however, need help.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Naked cakes work for me. As long as they are not sloppy. No one likes a sloppy cake just because it is naked.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Great post!

Also I don't even like and I scrape mine off most of the time so a cake like this, despite being visually unappealing would be right up my cake alley. The only thing that would make them better is if they were served fresh from the oven.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDy-Anne

I thought all but two of those were beautiful.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAriana

I actually love those cakes, well not the droopy sad panda ones, but the straight towers with non wilty flowers ;)

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBets ills cake killa

I totally visualized this whole store a'la the Emperor's New Clothes complete with illustrations. This should be a thing Jen. MAKE IT HAPPEN :)

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterliz marek

I actually like the third from the bottom. That one seems that it was a purpose and done nicely. As for the rest.... sigh

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKat

I could see the appeal of having naked cakes, but only if the icing dam between the layers kept the filling in. There is definitely something to be said about execution, because I think they could actually look nice.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMimi

Say what you like, but that third cake- the one with the cabbage roses- is making me want to lick the screen. Of course it may be the PMS talking.....

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFarmWife

The 4th cake didn't look all that bad. I, too, cringe at the amount of frosting on wedding cakes, and this looks like just my kind of thing. Not sure how you would stop it from drying out, but.....

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

The 4th cake didn't look all that bad. I, too, cringe at the amount of frosting on wedding cakes, and this looks like just my kind of thing. Not sure how you would stop it from drying out, but.....

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

It is possible to make a cake with no icing look nice. So why do these look, well, I can't think of anything that doesn't involve a swear word! Excellent story. :)

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC Lomax

AJ I am a licensed psychotherapist. Let me help you develop a healthy relationship with icing again. You too can achieve happiness. Let's start with this lovely half-eaten Boston Creme layer cake that I happen to have in front of me at the moment...

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah B.

Carol wins today's Interwebz in the "this totally needs to be a thing" division for the suggestion of a cake made of huge jelly doughnuts.

#2 What is coming out from between the top two tiers? I have no interest in triggering another botanical Epcot, but my first thought was, 'oleander leaves'. Then I thought that not even wreckorators could be that er, 'challenged' (or 'homicidal'). But if not oleander, what: zygocactus? Who puts any kind of leaves between tiers of a cake?!

#3 W2: "This cake is due to be delivered right now and we're out of frosting! What do we do?"
W1: "Relax. Run over to the floral department and get the biggest flowers you can find."
W2: "Wow -- that must be why you get the big bucks!"
W1: "If you knew the truth, you'd quit."

#4 I can see this for someone not that into frosting (AKA someone who isn't me); it looks like it was intentionally made that way by someone with measurable competence. I must hasten to add, however, that it is still a wreck [ear scratch].

#5 At first, I thought those were doughnut holes, but then I saw that they are cake balls.

#6 Styrofoam Baker's original concept of "cakes ready in 20 minutes" proved to be a disaster.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

This made me think of an episode of Rocko's Modern Life. Basically it starts with Rocko going to a coffee shop and NOT wanting coffee because he doesn't like it. So, the Chameleon brothers tell him the story of how coffee started. Basically it's about a King who always followed trends, and his people would blindly follow him. One day he hears about coffee and decides he wants his kingdom to have it to. So, he has the Chameleon brothers find out how but they say they can't. So, he throws them in the dungeon where there's a guy cleaning the King's socks. Then, on his break, he scoops up the water, boils it and then drinks it. He calls it coffee. So the brothers give it to the king who pretends to like it so he looks 'cool' and then has his people drink it, who also pretend, but so they aren't killed. It's just sillyness.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine Raimo

I was just thinking about sending in a wreck that looks almost exactly like the first photo. The amazing thing about it, is I'm a cake designer and this photo was sent to me by a high end wedding planner asking if I could replicate the cake. I actually sent an e-mail back to the planner asking her specifically what did the bride like about the design - thinking maybe I could redesign it into something workable. But the bride loves the whole thing. Exactly as it is. I passed,

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

Call me crazy, but I think the first and especially third cakes totally work! They are odd, but beautiful (plus, I'm not a huge frosting fan). I don't think I'd want this style for a wedding, but in a garden party type situation, I'd totally go for it.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary P.

Somewhere I have a recipe for a cake that you craft four large "cookies" for (not to be confused with those cookie-cake things we keep seeing) and then you are supoosed to assemble the cake with the filling put on in small, reasonably uniform blobs so that when you add the next cookie, the weight causes the filling to create a sort of scalloped look at the edges - coming close to the edge, but not ooking over. (BTW, the cookies soften because of the filling so I really think of it as a cake and not a bunch of cookies glued together with poo-goo.)

I have next to no skills as a froster/decorator/writer of cakes, but even I managed to create something that looked fairly pretty and certainly edible.

These ones?? Not so much.

That being said, if there ARE 'naked wedding cakes' (or for whatever other event) out there, I think a Sunday Sweets that could pay homage to such creations would be widely enjoyed! Happy Friday folks! :)

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkrunchifrog

As someone who doesn't like most kinds of cake, these actually look tasty to me. Maybe it's because most wedding cake frosting is more about look than taste. Probably why we did cupcakes at my wedding. :)

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterserena

I think I'd rather just leave the picked off frosting in a pile on my plate. Or, here's an idea for the bakers: use less icing!!! Most cakes suffer from the high frosting to cake ratio syndrom.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlissa

The second cake is obviously nautical. Sardines hanging out of the second tier, fishing nets around the bottom, water lilies on top. Ariel would be proud. I wonder of the cake was chocohake...

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Tis troubling times in the kingdom.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFatcattn

If you don't like icing, then scrape it off... without it you're going to get a stale, dry, mouthful of crumbs :( I think this is just pure laziness. People trying to pass themselves off as cake decorators. Can't frost with buttercream.. no idea how to cover in fondant.. let's just stack a bunch of over-baked layers and stuff some over-sized real flowers in there.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrances

So brilliantly written! Kudos.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBee's Cakes

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