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

Zero Craps Given

Today's bakeries face a lot of challenges: laziness, incompetence, negativity, temper tantrums, extra long bathroom breaks...

But enough about your kids. Let's talk about the bakers.

See, I'm starting to think some of them have just... well... stopped giving a flying crap.

Or in this case, perhaps giving too much of one.

And just think: Someone was PAID ... to do THAT.


This, too:

And this:

And this:

And this:

The good news: I've managed to convince a bunch of bakers that cupcake cakes (pthooie!) will always be hideous, no matter how hard they try.

The bad news: So they've just stopped trying.

It's a hollow victory, sure, but I'll take it.

(Besides, this is still an improvement.)


I see this next design a lot, and I'm convinced it began as a dare:

"Oh yeah? Well *I* bet we could drag our fingers all through this here icing, and customers will STILL buy it!"


Sometimes I think about my great-grandfather, a proud man who left home at age 13 to spend his life overcoming poverty and obstacles with dignity, grace, and hard work. Then I see something like this:

... and I think, "DUDE - they spelled everything right! Amazing!"

(And I'll bet you a whoopie pie you just thought the exact same thing. THIS IS WHAT WRECKERATORS HAVE DONE TO US, PEOPLE.)


Of course, that amazement only lasts as long as it takes me to open the next e-mail:

Aaaand the wrecky balance is restored.


Thanks to Cathy W., Leah Z., Rachel C., Megan & Rebekah, Shoshana J., Colleen M., Kathleen S., Eliza T., & Luna L. for the fresh plate of perspective.

« Half-Off Wreckage! | Main | Good Neighbors »

Reader Comments (72)

And to think...some people go to school to make sunday sweet level cakes, and people still buy these D:

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

Isn't that last one from Harry Potter I?

[Editor's note- You are absolutely right and I feel like an idiot. Luckily, I have 947 other birthday misspellings so I was able to replace it. :) Thanks to the many, many, many people who left an identical comment that I am about to delete! -john (thoJ)]

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAx

What's with the "Gold' stickers on a couple of those? They certainly aren't gold medal worthy. At first I thought there may be gold dust being used (on the first one) but then the later one doesn't seem like it would have any.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjessica

If people get paid to make cakes like this, I am not paid nearly enough to do my job.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

Am I the only one to wonder on the white picnic cake what the heck are "plain buttercream-sequins"? Yikes!

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOrlandocommando

I totally thought that about the Valerie cake!

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelody

Let us know when these "bakeries" merely put opened cans of half used icing in their display cases and slap a price tag on them. (Notice I said, "When", not "If".)

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShirley Fowley

Let's channel Sinatra -- I read "flying crap" and immediately heard the first line:

Fly me to the loo
Before these cakes get more bizarre
Red ovoids and brithdays
Don't belong on cakes of ours

In other words, blobs aren't grand
Blue circle cake, it's a mystery

Top cupcakes with spores
And drag your fingertips some more
All the words are spelled right
But the cake is an eyesore

Yes, Hagrid sat
There, it's true
Cake needs a spell
Maybe two...

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

My first thought: WHERE are my sequins????
My second thought: Nebulae. All these bakeries hire cosmologists?

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFM

Of course, spelling everything properly doesn't guarantee one's not colorblind. I wonder if it was a conscious design choice to make the bottom part of the frame pink and the rest red, or if they just ran out of one color and switched, thinking no one would notice?

I'm truly stunned by the level of bad here and the fact that this much bad was actually for sale in places that hadn't been shut down by the health department. (And I'm a Jackson Pollock fan. I'm used to thinking splatters and blobs of color are awesome!)

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMe

Signs your father was a marine biologist:
On the "Dare" cake - "Hey, someone ordered a sea anemone cake!"

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

I'm a cake decorator for a dairy queen and i'll tell you what....people just settle for this stuff!! My crew and i jump through hoops just to make sure everything is as perfect as possible. even the simple designs get more attention than these poor cakes! I cant say ive had enough experience for the sunday sweets page but GEEZ, i'd mop the floor with these decorators!


June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

I thought that the 5th cake was the eye of a hurricane. I couldn't find the "plain buttercream sequins" on cake four. I'm also wondering what plain buttercream sequins are.

Finally, I can't believe that someone was paid to make these and that they expected customers to buy them. Hmmm... Maybe I can have a career as a cake decorator. I've never taken a class but that must not be a requirement.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvie_M

Sharyn thanks for the smiles :D

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

Is it just me or does that one label have "Plain Buttercreme-Sequins" on it? Sequins? as in the little pieces of shiny plastic flotsam? I'd be interested in cutting into this cake, and calling my local new station, because I don't sure see any sequins on top!

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam

I am ashamed to admit, I was thinking that about Valerie's cake. And looking at the other cakes/CCC/cookies, I have no idea how someone would be able to hand this to a customer and smile, or expect them to buy it? I can do better in my own kitchen and I am not artistic at ALL! it's just sad

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKrysmon

What on earth about that first cake is "gold" or "traditional"????

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

This is what comes of giving every kid on the team a trophy...

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

I owe you a whoopie pie. What flavor do you choose?

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

Anyone else see a pink/red head-down My Little Pony on that butter cream picnic cake?

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbassgirl

If anyone, ever, handed me a cake like that and expected me to pay for it... Well, let's just say it wouldn't be me doing the paying.

It would probably start a trend in cakes bearing the inwards impression of shocked wreckerator faces, mind you.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

It seems that many of these bakers have been studying existential philosophy. Some of the designs put me in mind of the great quote, "What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind."

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzoomom

Okay. I've looked at Happy Birthday Valerie for about an hour now and I can't figure out what is misspelled!! Somebody, please tell me!! :)

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Thought process of Valerie's Wreckerator:

"Hey, I spelled everything correctly, even the name! Now I'll just finish piping this inch-thick red bord... DAMMIT, I just ran out of red frosting... Crapola... Now what... Wait, I know... Pink is just lightish red, right? I mean, Donut said so, and he's on the internet, so it must be true... I'll just finish it in lightish red. Everyone will be so impressed by the fact that I spelled everything correctly, they'll never even notice!"

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma

I didn't realize they even made Swamps of Sadness cakes.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHolly Folly

1: The shadow of the sole survivor of a shipwreck...he's walking with driftwood on his head. He is going to try to build a fire. Let's wish him luck.
2: I had to enlarge the photo, but I managed to make out "CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIE CAKE WITH PHLEGM."
3: Play Doh, REAL beach and sand, bits of coal,and radioactive gel. Emily is a lucky girl...a lucky, lucky girl.
4: "SEQUINS"?? I don't see no stinkin' sequins!
6: Bright side? Maybe 6, 7 servings, tops.
7: "HEY! What happened to my mutant, as-yet-unidentified-and-possibly-deadly VIRUS specimen?"
8: That's just sad. Pink and red together? Sad. Running out of squirt-on crap? Sad. Being Valerie? WAY sad.
9: Were they shooting for a modified "yin/yang" motif? Shoulda shot for it from a cannon.(badaboom) =^e.e^=

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

YES!!! SuBee! Exactly!! Finally someone who says it out loud!

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

I can think of two logical explanations: no-so-subtle passive-aggressiveness coming from working a minimum-wage job with no hope of a raise/better conditions or time off to practice drawing (I know, I'm getting too serious for CW!) , or else a policy that allows the bakery staff to take unpurchased cakes home at the end of the day...and bakers who really want to make sure that their kids have a good supply of plain buttercream sequins. It's like the child who licks the cookie (which he was supposed to share with you) before handing you your half.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZoe

Three thoughts:

1) With the "Gold" stickers, all I could think of was "Seinfeld". ("It's gold, Jerry!")

2) It's amazing how just changing the tip on the pastry bag would make things look so much better.

3) Forget sprinkles, I want a cake....

*jazz hands*


June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSaraV

Okay, I say this only after doing some research -- after all, names can surprise you by being gender-neutral even when you've only ever heard them applied to one or the other -- but as far as I can tell, Emily cannot have a brith.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNyperold

Yes, Jen, I owe you a whoopie pie.

Does that cookie cake have Parmesan cheese on it? Surely, those are not sprinkles? Pixie Dust?

To have to specify "Plain" buttercreme-sequins implies there are OTHER types of buttercreme-sequins out there...

It is a sad day when the cake with finger marks all through the icing is the best looking cake design of the bunch.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJust Andrea

OY VEY it's still a wonder to me how the wrecks KEEP COMING we need wreck police, STAT

Also, thanks for forever ruining that song in my head, Sharyn...:D

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStoich91

I love looking at all the wrecks, but I get pretty peeved, sometimes, knowing that I, an English major and amateur cake decorator who HAS taken classes, couldn't get a job at any bakery. That must mean one has to have had as little schooling as possible to get these jobs.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSnidelyW

What's wrong with "Brithday?" Obviously it's just somebody with a lisp celebrating their son's bris (if you're not Jewish, look it up).

I will grant that Tomya is a strange name for a boy, but no worse than North West.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVelvetKnight

Clearly, Snidely, there are places you haven't applied. The places that employ the artists making these edible creations come to mind. Yes, it took lots of willpower not to use quotes around "artists". Oops. There they are.

I would like a side blog of all the cakes that get pulled off cakewrecks for one reason or another. It stinks when you come later in the day to find that one of the cakes disappeared, and you didn't get to see it. It's like those early bird special sales. Especially in the summer when the kids hog the computer in the morning.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMuria

On the second cake, why did it look like the frosting was bubbling??

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoy

Thanks! I will be hearing this song all day (but with slightly different words!) I'm not being facetious--I really LOVE the old-school, Rat-Pack kind of music. I swear I was born in the wrong era! I grew up with my parents' stuff (Big Band, jazz,classical)-and loving it all! Then the Beatles came along...*swoon* =^~.~^=

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

The 5th cake looks like the Eiffel Tower about to be sucked into a black hole. Is that white thing on the right a reflection or something on the cake?

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

I dunno...I think this might be the best cupcake-cake you've ever posted. I mean, at least it's embracing the limitations of the medium and going abstract instead of trying to look like a unicorn.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSummer

@ bassgirl: Re: pink/red head-down My Little Pony.
Well, no--I actually DIDN'T see that. Now, I kind of DO. It makes about as much "sense" as anything.
Who would've thought: a lot of this crap is like a baked Rorschach test! =^?.?^=

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

JustAndrea, the objects on the cookie cake are probably the plain buttercream-sprinkles missing from the picnic cake.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJane

I noticed the white buttercreme-sequins label too. My guess is that it has a sequin filling - yummy!

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLorien

My son's 11-12 Little League team just won the city championship, working its way through the bracket to the final game, where they beat their heavily favored opponents 7-2. Everyone, even the daisy pickers and star-gazers, made a significant contribution to the win. But guess what--No trophies! How ironic.

Yes, I was so busy spell-checking "Celebrate" and "Birthday" that I missed the pink border.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjackwire

@zoomom: It appears that there are several versions! That's just a molecule away from the way I've known it: "If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. If it doesn't matter, you don't mind."

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

But Summer . . . I was trying to make an unicorn.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

Everytime I see these kind of cakes I think "Was it bring your toddler to work day?" Everyone has to start somewhere with their decorating skills, but they shouldn't put them up for sale.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfkv

@SnidelyW: Two words (and a hyphen):OVER-QUALIFIED
They don't want skill.They want desperate. And they will pay dearly for they should.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

Um, what does "best creme" mean? If it refers to the frosting, does that mean the bakery sells cakes with second rate icings?

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLost In Tennessee

The following conversation ensued when my daughter saw #7 (the finger dragging cake):

her: "What is that?"
me: "A cake"
her: "Made of what?"
me: "That's the question."
her: "And what's that on it?"
me: "Exactly."

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkay

My nod to Haiku Joy:

Rorschach ink blot test,
decorated Petri dish—
oh how they tempt me.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatimomkat

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