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

Half-Off Wreckage!

Sometimes the stories you guys send in with your wrecks are so perfect they don't need anything more from me. So, Steph S., take it away!


It was my son's "half birthday" and he wanted a cake. Because I'm a modern mother, obviously I said yes, but "just half a cake." So, I went to the bakery and explained the sitch.

"Think you could make me a half a cake?"

"Well, nooo, 'cause then we'd like, have to throw away the other half."

"Well, it'll be special order so you can just make one cake layer, right? And then cut it in half and stack it. Like a layer cake!"

"I don't know what you mean."

{{ repeats previous statements with hand motions }}

"Ok, like, I have no idea what you're wanting here."

"Look, just bake one round cake, cut it in half and stick the two sides together for a layer cake. Makes half a cake."

"I think that'll be really messy."

"Sure. Ok, just... Whatever. Do what you've gotta do."


And here is the result:

Thanks to Steph for literally making me screech with laughter. Oh, and for next time: there ARE bakeries who sell half cakes all the time. In fact, some will even write "Happy Birthday" on it first before chopping the thing in half:

See? Now that's service!




[THURSDAY UPDATE: Due to some severe server issues beyond our control, most of you who visited yesterday couldn't actually SEE this post, so we've decided to leave it up an extra day. Rest assured we'll have plenty of fresh new wreckage up tomorrow, though!]

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Reader Comments (142)

Oh my gosh that is so funny! I actually made one for my son bc his bday is in the summer so he always misses the school parties. So this year I took a "half" cake to school for him. He loved it! I showed him this wreck and he thought it was hilarious!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

beef (I know, I know...) so my mother asked the cashier if they could take my patty and put it on her burger. After about ten minutes of explanation, they finally gave my mother a burger with two patties and a patty in a dish.

@ Brenda: Hmmm.... It's just possible (maybe) that they did that deliberately, since the instructions WERE pretty simple. I'm thinking that it MAY have been a "passive-aggressive" response to plain annoyance! (i.e.: why couldn't the customers just take the darn things to their table and fix it themselves? It wouldn't have been hard, and there could've been a long a line of other customers behind them.) There are ALWAYS more than one way of looking at things. For example, right now, I'm looking at these cakes upside-down. It doesn't help the cakes any, but standing on my head is painful to me, and lets me appreciate NOT doing it more. =^-.-^=

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

I think that's just awful!!! What does New Year's Eve have to do with a kid's BIRTHDAY?! For CRYING out LOUD!! YOU didn't CHOOSE the day!! DAYAM!! If I were magic, I zip right over there RIGHT NOW with the biggest, gaudiest, and yummiest birthday cake you've never seen. ((HUGS)) =^u.u,^=

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

After yesterday's gorge, I was beginning to think that maybe there were no new wrecks in the world. Thank you for renewing my faith, and for once again proving that truth is still stranger than fiction.

Necessary? Is it necessary for me to drink my own urine? No! But I do it anyway, because its sterile and I like the taste.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjackwire

I just want to know what kind of container could house such a cake.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I just spent five minutes trying to figure out how we got there from here. For a moment, I almost managed to convince myself that the wreckerator thought they were supposed to cut the layer in half i.e. halve the thickness...and then I realized that STILL doesn't explain it!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKHandcock

Wreckerator Savant

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

I'm screeching right along with you, Jen.
And I love, love, love the fact that Steph just brought the darn thing home. Maybe CW will start a new trend beyond the half-birthday . . . the half-a-brain cake, where people can't figure out how to stack two half-circles on top of each other.
Although I think I like this way better.
And look how neat the lettering is!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFM

I do half-birthdays for my kids - both summer babies - so they can have a birthday treat at school. At home, I make them a "half cake" with one layer, cut in half, stacked up, which is what poor Steph wanted in the first place. What she got, though... YEESH! I can't decide if it's sheer cluelessness or absolute genius????

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlysafulb

Oh, my brain really hurts now....

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

I so did not see that coming!

sad and clever at the same time. And oh so funny!


June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhx

This right here is why I am not surprised when a baker puts sprinkles on the side of a cupcake. This right here.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSabs

It's actually kind of cool. I mean, the baker was unclear on the concept, but what they delivered had considerable panache.

Also, confetti sprinkles.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterchacha1

I knew, from the spelling posts, that many wreckerators failed school.

It never occurred to me that anybody could fail preschool.

I suppose she could have explained it with a piece of paper and scissors ("Make a round cake. Like so. Then - before decorating it - cut it in half, like so. Then Put the halves one on top of the other like so. Then decorate.") But then she'd run the risk of getting very flat cake. Possibly cut in half with scissors.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSkeptic

I have a summer birthday but as a kid it never even occurred to anyone to have a half-birthday so no treats at school and sometimes low turnout at birthday parties (that is until the kids lucky enough to attend starting telling those who missed out what they had mom was the QUEEN of birthday parties. One year it was fondue - so we started with cheese, progressed to hot oil (for meat and veg) and finished with chocolate. Another year she put together a scavenger hunt with all sorts of clever clues etc. and I wasn't allowed to win the prize which was tough because the whole thing took lots of brain power and was so much fun I really wanted to win..) but what I'll never forget is a couple of my parent's friends who came to visit from Britain and happened to be there on my brother's birthday. He got a real English policeman's helmet (and at the age of 5 he thought it was the best present ever!) but I got an "Unbirthday Present" (A very merry unbirthday to you! To YOU!) which was a pendant of my first initial and I thought the "Unbirthday" was the most wonderful idea. Any reason for fun and happiness (and CAKE) is a good reason!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkrunchifrog

Props to the baker for making an awesome half cake stack!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

You deserve something like this asking for something as stupid as a "half birthday" cake.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPete

I understand what she wanted when she placed the order but I have to say I kind of like the result. In a "the world is upside down so let's eat cake" kind of way. And there is nothing wrong with half birthdays! My nephew would ask about celebrating his "birthday coming down" since we would often say "your birthday is coming up!"

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

I think that cake will start a new trend.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

The fact that these places actually possess the variously-sized/shaped containers for variously-sized/shaped cake-pieces (see 2nd pic) tells ME that this type of request isn't all that unusual. Unless they simply cut a larger container down to fit a smaller piece. Cutting that "crisp" kind of plastic can be a pain in the butt, too.(And no, I'm not going to say how I might know this.)

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

Hey Pete, that's not very nice.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzoomom

I read this several times and I swear I still don't understand what she originally wanted either. I get half a cake. I get half a layer cake. After that, I was lost.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterL

I just love customers who say--"just do it this way..." I always want to say "just do it yourself..."
That aside--with all the different languages spoken, english is often the 2nd language and mis-communication is the norm. She bought a whole cake--she could have cut it in half herself. This one is more irritating to me than funny...

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdebbie

I read this several times and I swear I still don't understand what she originally wanted either. I get half a cake. I get half a layer cake. After that, I was lost.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterL

I love the idea of the half birthday! Unfortunately for one of my girls, maybe we could do a quarter birthday? Her birthday always falls on the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and while we have told her that one day her friends won't go out of town quite as much as they do now, I'm not totally sure that's the case. Though she'll be able to plan things herself by then. But it's a shame, because it appears her half birthday would fall most likely at Thanksgiving weekend! poor kid can't win!

All in favor of the quarter birthday! Then we all get quarter cakes every 3 months!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebs

Best. Wreck. Ever!!
My son's birthday is in mid December and I am going to request this exact cake for his half-birthday next June. It's too perfect! I can just imagine the look on the faces of our friends and family members when I reveal this beauty!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteph R.

Welllll... actually.... the cake is well-executed and pretty (and probably a little dry along the edges), and I would have joyfully taken it home for one of my kids' half-birthdays, just for the laughs. Of course, *I* made and decorated the cakes in our house, so they never got store-bought ones, but I can sort of see this working at a half-birthday party. Lots of laughs, anyway.

And yes, both my children used to get half-birthdays for the reasons above - one was born in early January (a week after New Year's) and the other in late February (during school vacation week). Both were born in ice storms, and evidently that set some sort of curse on them, because whatever day we picked in the winter for their party (near the day, on the day) - it stormed. I remember feet of snow, and tons of ice, and power failures, and attendees who had to walk to the house because no one was driving on THOSE roads...

So we began having a party in June, and another in July. They got a half cake, half-burgers and half-hot dogs, and half presents. Like, half the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in a ziplock bag from one kid, and the other half from his/her sibling; or clothing outfits with one giving the top and the other the pants. We played half-games for half-prizes (races that stopped halfway down the course, f'rinstance).

Hmmm. We should go back to that. I wonder how their adult selves would enjoy half a CD, or half a tool set???? Or half a pair of shoes/slippers?

But I may have to attempt that balancing cake act, just to see howtheheck they did it!

This was one of those posts when I knew what the answer was going to be, but scrolled down to see the picture desperately hoping I was wrong. Unfortunately, I wasn't.

I don't think they decorated the cake, then cut it, because of the borders on the top and bottom edges. But the edge isn't frosted, even though there's a border.

Oh, this makes my head HURT more than the nasty salesman we just dealt with while computer shopping. My cure for that is ordering online. But I don't think there's a cure for this wreck!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

Have half a haiku.
Here you go.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

I really like it! I think it is really cute! I understand what she was going for and I love it! I wouldn't do it like that if someone requested it but it is half a cake. Yes those are actually half pie containers more than likely!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterelle

For those confused about what she wanted. A handy dandy illustration.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLibby

Oddly...I think that this is kind of cute. It still executes the idea of half a cake...only it is a whole cake....only it is half of a cake.....oh my.

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPH

Just when I think things can't get any wreckier, something amazing appears.

I can't believe they live among us!!

June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisaP.

Because today 6/27 is my half birthday and I'm a jilted Christmas baby.... Christmas card that say happy birthday -.- I'm looking at you mom.....

I request that top cake!!!!!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Hey, at least they spelled "Happy Birthday" right! :-)

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJess

"Half a Haiku" and
a "Wreckerator Savant."
Genius among us!

But the best thing is
we found the missing sequins!
We can all breathe now.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbirdergirl

So glad you left this up a day. I spent all yesterday at Disney World and was too exhausted to check when I got back last night.
We waved at you Tuesday as we drove through Orlando (involved lots of waving, since we had no idea where you actually live in relationship to DW and Highway 4).

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdrgns4vr

This smacks of a decorator who was so used to starting from the standard 'round cake in two layers' base, that they didn't realise this needed to be a custom bake. It's the only rationalisation I can make. I suppose it's <B>almost</B> understandable that they would make this mistake, if their normal job is just to add icing to a selection of identical cake bases.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermojacardave

Arggggg.....severe weather stole our power for three days and when we finally can come back here we find that severe server problems stole our much-needed dose of humor....... Glad you're back!!

I'm just intrigued at the fact that the "cut line" isn't iced, simply border piped... LMAO!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

As a kid born July 6 - I started celebrating half-birthdays because not only was no one in school - but everyone was gone on 4th of July vacations. So I completely support the 'Half-birthday' event.

As for the Wreck - I don't know the execution has gone so far over the line past wreck that I think it's made nearly a full circle to come back around as a masterpiece.

Yes the decorator failed in cognitive listening/processing skills but it's a very nicely decorated cake!!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaggieck

I'm so glad I work in an office by myself. Because the way I was laughing when I saw that would have gotten me some very strange looks. I really like that cake. It would be great for some kind of weird event. But I bet of you ordered it to look like that, it wouldn't.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecca


June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoel Polowin

I was wondering why I couldn't get in to see the cakes yesterday. I know I'm going to be banned from the group-but I actually like the 1st one. It's cute and orginal. I bet nobody else has ever had that cake.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

@L : She wanted half of a two-layer cake (like the second picture, only not with the lettering cut in half.) However, the baker initially refused to sell half of a two layer cake because she thought it would involve baking an entire two-layer cake, cutting it in half, and throwing the other half away. So, she attempted to explain to the baker that you can actually achieve the same thing without throwing away half a cake, by simply baking ONE layer and cutting it and stacking it (as shown brilliantly in Libby's graphic link, thank you, Libby!) As seen in the picture, the baker apparently GOT the part about baking only one layer, but failed on the "how to stack it" part.

Hope that helps.

@Debbie: I understand that it is sometimes frustrating to work with customers who tell you how to do your job... however in this case, the customer was trying to let the baker know that no, you do NOT have to throw away half of a cake in order to sell me half of a cake, so I think her instructions were justified. Unfortunately, the baker still did not get it. BUT Stephanie did NOT go home with a whole cake, like you said. It is indeed half of a cake. It is one layer, cut in half and stacked. Not two whole layers. (They just didn't stack it in the proper way to give that nice "half of a 2-layer cake" look.)

At any rate, our local grocery-store bakery routinely sells half-cakes (two layer round cakes cut in half, as in the second picture) right off the shelf. They aren't special orders; apparently they just sell half for people who don't want to eat an entire cake. So for them, it wouldn't be an issue at all to custom decorate a half-cake for a customer. There would be no question about "throwing away the other half;" they would just package up the other half and put it out for sale!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenP

We are all December babies in my house. In fact, between November and December we have 9 birthdays in my family with my oldest girlchild being the last one on 12/19. A couple of years ago she asked for Birthday pie instead of more cake. O.O

Half birthdays are a great idea! Those cakes...not so much o.O

@Jackwire ~ Please tell me that's a joke. Even if it's not just lie and tell me it is. O.O

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJodee


June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwildmaven

I'm not getting it I guess. She wanted the baker to make one layer, cut it in half, and stack it into... two layers? Why didn't she just order a single cake and cut it in half when she got home? Or perhaps buy one half-cake off the shelf like I see for sale in every grocery store around here? Sounds to me more like she was overthinking the directions and confused the baker.

I get the half-birthdays for holiday babies, but I don't buy the excuse someone gave that a year is too long for a young child to wait to celebrate their birthdays. That's how you teach them patience.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeghanKelly

I did NOT just see that cake. I wanted to poke my eyes out.
I don't see the point of half-birthdays. Aren't people spoiled enough? They can't wait for a real birthday? Pitiful.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

And if that's one layer...why do I see frosting in between??

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

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