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)

Those are truly cake wrecks of naked cakes! I think they are trying (note: trying) to replicate the Victorian Sponge wedding cake idea. My cousin did one for a couple for their wedding this past weekend. And yes, when you first see a picture of it for the first time, it could be quiet shocking (coming from someone who can't have enough crisco icing on a cake). In the end (and 40 eggs later) the wedding cake she made was actually beautiful. In place of the icing, her sponge cake had a crispy crust that melted in your mouth like candy. Each layer had raspberry puree and a cream filling that oozed out just right. A light dusting of confectionary sugar made it all the better.. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Thank goodness we have wrecks like these to appreciate the really good ones!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpaige

I love the chicken wire cage holding up the 2nd cake.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

What's with the cake girdle on #2?

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternepetacataria

Yeah--I heard about naked wedding cakes the other day. I googled them--and although some of them are better than the ones shown here, they're all a bit...well...un-done. The Emperor's New Clothes analogy was perfect.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

It is indeed the work of all those people you hear exclaim, "I love cake but I can't stand all that sweet frosting." so instead of allowing the rest of us the opportunity to have our cake and frosting too, they created the naked cake. It is just wrong. If you don't like frosting, don't eat it.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara

I thought cake #2 was a fishing themed cake complete with minnows and a net! Was disappointed to discover those were leaves...what a letdow.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMomlady

Are we going to talk about the Funfetti layers in two of them?

Bakers please.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLizifer

I must have been living under a rock but I hadn't heard of naked wedding cakes before. So after reading your hilarious post I googled "naked wedding cakes" for some good examples. I found some that were nicely executed but still didn't get me excited. I really don't want to stare at the bare cake. They just don't look very elegant. So after some research on this subject I think that if you want to have an elegant wedding, no one and nothing attending should be naked ;-)

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMiA

I actually like the top cake. Mind you, this might be because it reminded me that, now that we have a house, I can actually plant beautiful blue anemones...

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKae

@Dorothy: i also thought of hairless cats when I saw these cakes. How sad.

@Lisa: Milk won't do for these cakes. We need CAKE vodka. LOTS of it!

The fourth one isn't bad, and I'm sure there are talented people out there who can stack layers correctly, put a nice thin layer of filling between the layers, and decorate the cake attractively with powdered sugar or flowers or something. However, these wreckorators do not belong in that group.

Jen, marvelous story!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

At first I thought these nekid cakes were for people who don't like icing, but the icing between the layers is more then usual isn't it?

It could be interesting if you have absolutely fabulous and moist cakes, but that doesn't happen often-the icing is what keeps the dry crumbs together in many wedding cakes.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I prefer the naked cakes stacked with the filling applied and the next layer placed nicely with the ooze peeking out a bit. The almost crumb coated, knife/spatula smeared icing is really, really industrial looking that's the only word I can find for it. It's not "naked" it's undone, unfinished, unpalatable and totally ugly. I love the write up though.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterholerollr

That is still too much frosting for my son who only likes bare cake. When he gets married, he will probably scrape the icing off the cake before his bride feeds him a bite. Luckily, I like frosting so I eat his that he scrapes off.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGinger

The Black Dog, that's why you use buttercream, not go naked. Jen is awesome by the way!!!! xD First time I've had story time with all 3 of my kids in years. (My youngest is 12) lol

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbieR

Yay! An allusion I can use in my classroom... It's always tough to teach that concept with students having so little literary/historical experience, but I can have them read the fairy tale and then share this post! Thanks, I think. As long as I don't get in trouble for showing them NAKED things.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteranonymoose

A couple of those are actually not so bad. Only the two with well placed flowers however. I like the shabby chic style.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterB-Rock

OK i just read through some other comments. SOmeone called Frances said that if you don't have frosting you will just get a mouthful of dry crumbs. Biggest LOL I have ever heard. The best cakes are beautiful outisde and in. Unfortunately this kind of talk gives cake decorating a bad name. So many poeple that don't get it hate fondant becuase of bad decorators that use it thickly to cover store bought sponge cake. Anyway that's my 2c. xx

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterB-Rock

Note to bakers: If your cake requires plastic netting on the finished product, something has gone horribly wrong. Just start over.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

This is... a joke, right?
No one is stupid enough to pay a decorator for an unfrosted cake, right?
Guys? (echoing empty hall) Guys???

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

I think the first one looks very nice. Especially because you can see the different colors of the filling layers. Plus looks better than that plastic-y looking stuff draped all over cakes nowadays.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
I think this is what they were trying for.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoanna

Okay, so when I see pictures of hairless cats or dogs (or naked mole rats) I always think that they project an aura of "I am ashamed of my complete hairlessness" and I believe that perhaps the only thing worse than being a mammal destined to be without fur is to be a properly furred mammal dressed in an argyle sweater or Gap hoodie (unless it is a hairless mammal wearing said attire).

These cakes make me realize that there are sadder creatures in the world.

Which causes further confusion when you realize that cakes are not creatures but inanimate objects incapable of shame or any other feelings.

Surely even a poo-colored coat or hastily thrown on sheet of fondant would give these poor cakes just a bit more dignity?

I'm going to go have another piece of pie.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurySch

So, if you're gonna make a naked cake like this, make sure you clean up all of the layers and make them look neat, even, and pretty. Otherwise, forget it and just frost my cake.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

Brilliant writing as usual, but...these cakes made my mouth water. To me they look delicious! Yummy looking, custardy filling peeking out, no horrible, horrible Crisco or fondant in sight. It wouldn't be my first choice with a formal wedding, but it would be my first choice with a SPOON!!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDancesWithSpatulas

Naked cakes??? The icing is often the best bit! The only one that could possibly pass as ok is #4.

Love the story. "Finally .... After all these years, and all these perfect, beautiful cakes, at long last I have something I can send to Cake Wrecks!" Sometimes I wish we bought cakes so I can send something in, but my 15yo daughter makes all our cakes.

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam

That was great :)

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercrystina

Best. Cake Wrecks story. EVER!

(Good) icing is the best part of any cake!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVik

My husband says the only way a naked wedding cake would be cool was if it was a naked wedding - but you probably wouldn't want to invite your family...

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCasey

Oh man. They really ordered these cakes this way? Or was this some unholy surprise the wreckerators threw in for free on the wedding day? Lol oh I cannot believe anyone would want a cake this way. Then again I don't think anything should surprise me cake wise now a days.

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

A naked wedding cake???? Only if I was getting married on Betazed.

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia

That first one DOES match the brick wall rather nicely, altho the mortar on the cake is less tidy than the point up job on the brick. And why oh why are those mildew-like colored things in the cake layers? Is that a thing too. I thought that sort of nonsense was limited to packaged confetti cakes: sprinkles belong ON the cke, not in it.

Torten that have no side icing can be quite lovely. These aren't them.

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergobblergobbler

Ouch... We're getting married next year and we want a naked wedding cake. Not only that, but cakes 1 and 3 are made by the bakers we're going with (I recognise the pictures).

We saw these bakers at a wedding fair. The naked cake was BEAUTIFUL, rustic and messy and amazing. And the smell of cake filled the whole room - no icing to block the scent - it was mouth watering. Since I don't like icing, it seemed perfect for us.

Oh well... Maybe I'll see my wedding cake on CakeWrecks... :(

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCODA

Oh--by the way, just in case you end up taking a poll, the color of MY lullabies was periwinkle. =^u.u^=

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

I didn't even realize this is a thing....and for some reason the whole thing has me fired up......why.... why... WHY would you want this???

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdee

I've seen naked cakes that were beautifully done (and the decorations were clean/tidy) so I immediately went to worst case scenario: I thought, "oh, that was made in advance and frozen!" When you freeze a decorated cake and thaw it then the icing can dehydrate and it pulls away at any thin spots leaving holes. If there's no one around to fix the issue the venue may just strip the cake- especially as some of the icings "weep" and become runny. Yes, some places decorate cakes in advance and freeze them- especially smaller shops whose decorators are taking a vacation. Back when I decorated, my boss and I got a call one Saturday from a hotel we delivered to frequently- the other bakery had delivered one such cake, the mother of the bride was freaking and would we come fix it as that bakery wasn't answering their phone (the owner/decorator was on her anniversary cruise). We grabbed supplies, drove to the hotel, stripped the cake, tinted the frosting we'd brought to ivory (because red/blue decorations make so much sense on an ivory cake! [gag]) and did a simple frosting job. We didn't have time to do what the bride had apparently ordered.

O.T. I am so determined to take a few days off work and go back through the 5 million song parodies left in the comments through the years and make a book out of 'em. If it every happens, I'll let you all know. Proceeds would fund the DOC. LOL

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

You know, I'd actually like these cakes. No frosting, no fondant, would be a delicious combo.

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlyssa

Why? Just... WHY???? Why would anyone pay for these??
Who is selling these? Lazy cake decorators who failed at Wilton courses, I bet...

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren S.

Cake Wrecks, I am getting married in a week and I want to thank you for giving me peace of mind about how my wedding cake will turn out. If it's beautiful, that's great. If it's terrible- I can finally send something in to Cake Wrecks! It's a win-win.
Also- nothing with a Lego bride and groom on top can possibly be all bad.

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlanna

Does anybody else want to know what those funfettie sphere things are doing around the fifth cake? It's like the baker was just staring at the cake and thought "wow. I really think this could just use one more weird piece. Something that just says 'what is happening here?'... OH WAIT! I KNOW!"

(also, sorry for commenting late :/ )

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterheather

For whatever reason, I like #3 a lot and I pinned it to a Pinterest board. Y'all are making snarky comments, but it has been repinned by at lest 7 people I don't even know! I am not alone!

June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVict

This deserves a place of honor on the side bar. SO funny!

June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAli

Really? It's really a thing?? ::googling.... followed by stunned silence::
Wow. It's really a thing.
Although, the cakes I found were rather cool looking... you know, evenly brown, no random icing, just enough filling between layers...

June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Ugh. A cake without icing? BLASPHEMY.
Seriously, these are just bad. Most of the cakes on this site, I'm like, "Well, it may be a wreck, but I'd still eat it." These just look disgusting. And is that mold on #4?

June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

To me, these cakes are meant for EATING! And I would , especially the one with the peonies. MMM-MMM
I think I'll bake something this afternoon.....

June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhyllistine

Add me to the group, like AJ and Nadia and others, who hate frosting so I like the idea of these cakes. I do think they could be done neater and a bit prettier but I like #3 (because I love peonies) and #4 looks edible as well. As a long time reader, I have seen much, much, much, much worse. {shudder}
The writing of this blog post, however? Brilliant.

June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFM

I have actually made (at the brides request) and eaten (as a guest in the eve) a naked wedding cake and as long as it is made properly (I baked it the eve before and soaked it with sugar syrup then wrapped each tier individually) it is not dry at all. Not sure I'd have it for my wedding but I've made 3 now, with more booked in so it is definitely a "thing".

June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFliss

I have just one teeny, tiny request...Jen, can you please work "frostitutes" somewhere into the story? I think they'd fit nicely with the frostiteers hanging out on the street corners. Pretty please, with sprinkles on top? (Or not...)

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzi

I do believe we can blame Hilary Duff for this trend. She had this naked cake at her wedding (hers looked much better) but ewwww, dried old cake, open to the elements for goodness knows how long - 5 hours sometimes between delivery and actual eating.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkate

Even on the sites with the "good" ones, the cakes mostly look pretty sad and crumbly. So the bride doesn't like frosting -- this is still pretty inconsiderate for the majority her guests who, I would bet, do enjoy some frosting. Have a special naked little cake for the happy couple and real cake for the rest of us.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkayk

@Sally -- "wormy baking" at Momofuku? Explain, please!

It seems the better examples of naked cakes (aesthetically, at least) -- the Martha Stewart pastel one, the purple ombre one -- have the sides trimmed off, not the raggedy pan-sides showing.

And @Fliss -- doesn't soaking each layer in sugar syrup negate the whole "frosting is too sweet" argument?

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkayk

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