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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

Two Words, Bakeries:

Drug screening.

Seriously. You guys might want to look into it.


You also want to make sure the DTs are over.


"Triangle Man, Triangle Man,
Doing the things a triangle can..."


And just FYI, managers: Drawing a tuxedo-clad "Triangle Man" with webbed feet is not compelling evidence of sobriety. So you probably shouldn't pick that guy to do the window display:

On the other hand, if you ever have an occasion that calls for a clown to run over another clown who's broken in half while stabbing at a third clown - who's drowning - and all three to be surrounded by bucks, bucking broncos, and mysterious brown swirls in the sky... well, then, you should probably seek professional help.


Courtney C., Jen C., Kirsten K., & Samantha R., I get by with a little help from my friends.


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Reader Comments (43)

" ... a clown to run over another clown who's broken in half while stabbing at a third clown - who's drowning - and all three to be surrounded by bucks, bucking broncos, and mysterious brown swirls in the sky... "

Man, that describes my yesterday perfectly...

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

Okay, if that clown monstrosity started out as a customer request, how do you suppose that conversation went? Hailing from rural Arkansas, I know a lot of outdoorspeople, and not one of them has indicated any kind of murdering clown fetish. Then again, I don't know any murdering clown fetishists, so there may be some sort of subset that includes large animal enthusiasts. One would think their conventions are quite small.

In regard to the green green chocolate green cake, I have to go back to the old standby, "Someone looked at this and thought, 'There, that's just right! I'm sure Nate will be very pleased.'?"

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Yay for the They Might Be Giants Reference!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

You had me at "Triangle Man..."

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

They Might Be Giants! Wooohooo! Thanks for the earworm.

LSD butterfly CCC, silly string icing, and dead clowns bigger than horses! I loves me some CakeWrecks!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKW

Bakery Man, Bakery Man
Wrecking some cakes as best as he can
Has he talent? It’s not important
Bakery Man

(accordion solo!)

Here is a dot, and there is a speck
The clown’s on a bridge so he won’t get wet
Is the other clown just a head?
Nobody knows, Bakery Man

Triangle man, Triangle Man
Triangle man hates Bakery Man
Makes him look bad, HopeTriangle wins
Triangle man

Cake Wrecks Man, Cake Wrecks Man
She’s really a girl (girl don’t rhyme with man)
Have to say I’m her biggest fan
Cake Wrecks Man

She’s got a keyboard, her talent’s grand
She’s even inspired a Cake Wrecks Band
When they play it's a happy land
Humorous man, Cake Wrecks Man

Bakery Man, Bakery Man
Hit on the head with a “PanWow” pan
Cakes belong in a garbage can
Bakery Man

Is he depressed, ‘cause his work’s a mess?
Does he feel totally worthless?
Who came up with Bakery Man?
Degraded man, Bakery Man

Cake Wrecks Man, Cake Wrecks Man
Cake Wrecks Man mocks Bakery Man
They have a fight, Cake Wrecks wins
Cake Wrecks Man

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee


March 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

AAAAck! The scary clown cake is back! This thing gave me nightmares the first time. Now I'll probably need therapy.

While I'm there, maybe the therapist can explain what cake #2 is supposed to be. Are those cabbages I see among the squiggles? Or am I going completely mad? (Well, the two aren't mutually exclusive, I suppose.)

Sharyn, hope today contains no clowns or poo swirls for you!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

Nate' s cake looks like some kind of neon green Rorschach test in which I can see a murderous clown armed with cabbages....hey, I think I could have a shot at being a professional cake decorator!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline B

Dude, I am pretty sure I have seen that clown cake in a bakery on Madison Street in Chicago. I have wanted to take a picture and submit for years, but this person beat me?

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

@ SuBee That deserves a standing ovation.

These cakes on the other hand...don't.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

Congrats, win the internets for today.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSaraV

I followed the link to YouTube for "Triangle Man", stayed for a couple of other TMBG videos, in the meantime wandered down to room 2 to inspect a bleeding hemorrhoid; by the time I got back to the rodeo clown cake, it didn't seem so odd after all.

@SuBee: Bravo!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJackwire

Sure, it’s easy to mock what we don’t understand, to dismiss the unfamiliar with a chuckle and a roll of the eyes. Picasso was mocked, Jackson Pollock’s school nickname was “Dribbles,” and Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2,” kept people in stitches (which is ironic, since the subject wasn’t wearing a stitch). Those who are ahead of the pack are so often thought by others to not even be part of the pack.

Today’s cakes were done by such visionaries. The first cake uses the oft-maligned CCC to illustrate its theme, Metamorphosis. The rather simplistic outline of the butterfly is our clue that there is more here than meets the eye. Symbolically centered, the oval body of the butterfly subtly suggests the caterpillar, from whence the butterfly came, highlighting this haunting theme. The simple smile suggests the simplicity of nature, which belies the very theme of Metamorphosis in that such an event is anything but simple. The white dots are elements of the child’s game, Connect the Dots. Just as in that elementary game, here, too, when we connect the dots something heretofore hidden is revealed to us. To accent that, the baker has used red frosting – not an accident. The message is clear. As the mad Renfield said in the novel “Dracula,” “The blood is the life!” And so we have it, the apparent simplicity of Nature deconstructed through the Metamorphosis, with an emphasis on the life-giving nature of our internal fluid. We may opt to remain the same throughout Life, or we may metamorphosize, or grow, into something else; the choice is ours.

The second cake clearly references the above cited Jackson Pollock, and is a homage to this prophetic painter. Just as many have debated – and written books about – the images that may or may not be in Pollock’s famous painting “Mural,” here, too volumes will most likely be written about this work, unless, of course, the cake is soon eaten (an unfortunate by-product of producing Edible Art, as it is called in culinary circles). While sometimes dismissed as being produced by Silly String rather than by a talented, tormented, artist, this style will cause controversy for eons as people waffle between acknowledging it as Art, or simply ridicule it as Frosting Fakery. As an aside, some people claim to see “Happy 4th Birthday Nate” interwoven in the design.

The whimsical meaning contained in the third cake is often lost. Poo-pooed as “silly,” this cake (actually, a cookie-cake) causes raucous laughter among those clever enough to see what it is. Barely discernable, the feet clearly give it away: a subtle reference to that old children’s song, “Be Kind to Your Webfooted Friends.” Commence singing!

The pièce de résistance is obviously the last cake. A visual mish-mash of objects and items, this cake is flush with relevance, and is a metaphor for and a celebration of the joy of Life itself. We know this because the artist has placed a Happy Birthday sign at the top, significantly in the upper left. This is where we generally start when reading something, and here the baker has invited us to “read” his work. “Birthday” signifies the beginning of one’s life, and here, in one cake the baker has placed relevant, if visually confusing, parts of life, concealed – and yet revealed – in birthday cake plastics (the “plastics” themselves are a clever reference to that famous line in “The Graduate.”) Predominant on the cake are the clowns, a nod to the fact that we should not take Life too seriously, and should enjoy it. The hot rod is a refiguring and up-dating of the tiny clown car seen at circuses, where thousands of clowns all come piling out of one small car. This tells us that no matter what, there is more laughter and fun ahead. Notice that one clown is in the water. While this may, at first look, seem troubling, it is merely a reminded that yes, sometimes things are troubling, but we can survive. Even when we’re feeling run down, like the clown on the bridge over troubled waters, there is hope, as more laughter is coming, referenced by the approaching clown. See how clearly this all ties in – life, laughter, adversity, and the hope of more life and laughter – a continuing cycle, like the never-ending clowns: the mandala of life.

The deer, at either side of the cake, represent strength, and in this case, our own inner strength, always with us. It is up to us to realize we have it, and bring it forth. They are standing before trees, a clear reference to the forest. (This is a particularly cleverly done metaphor since most people will see only the trees and not the forest, a reminder that sometimes we cannot see the forest for the trees.) The forest represent the unknown, the future, if you will, that we all face. Knowing that we have the strength (deer), we are able to go into the future (forest) with confidence.

In the forefront, a white bronco (white for purity) is bucking. This bit of optimism suggests that if we enter Life in a pure state we will be able to throw off the forces that rile against us. Note that the bronco is unsaddled, just as we are “unsaddled” when we are born (echoing the theory of tabula rasa).

And the two bananas at the top? Well, as every clown knows, as you go through Life you have to watch out for the occasional banana peel. But don’t worry, more clowns are coming.

So. Today’s lesson? As written in the Gilbert and Sullivan opera, “H.M.S. Pinafore,” “Things are seldom what they seem.”

[Editor's note- Wow. -john(thoJ)]

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Midnight Writer

OK, so we have deer that are almost as tall as the palm trees, and clowns that are MUCH bigger than both of em, as well as the horse by the bridge. And one of the clowns is a head without a body, and another one can fold itself backwards into a bridge. All of this highlighted by a frosting border on the front that's actually quite nice.

What kind of alternate universe does this wreckerator live in?

The wreckerator of the first cake spend his early career taking LSD and designing kitchen carpet in the 70s. Now that person has decided to work part-time at a bakery. Sadly, 40 years later, the LSD hasn't worn off.

As for thing 2 and thing 3: I am too stressed today to contemplate them.

But @SuBee, we now feature accordion solos in the Cake Wrecks band? You have just made my day!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

"With a little help from my friends" and the first association is not the Beatles but a cover/parody.


March 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermrx

YAAA! (Yet Another Annoying Acronym)

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOriana Giudici

Nice job, SuBee!

As for the clown cake, how good can we expect the cake to be when the decorators are being forced to use plastic decor left over from 1978?

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermelanie sparkles

I was helping my daughter with her Geometry homework the other day and one of the problems she was working on mentioned Triangle CAT. I started singing "Triangle Cat, Triangle Cat. Triangle Cat hates Particle Cat. They have a fight, Triangle wins. Triangle Cat." She looked at me like I was crazy.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRhonda

Yeah for TMBG! Subee's version was also great!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTrasawee

So in defense of the web-footed Triangle Man, perhaps the baker was influenced by the Tiny Toons version featuring Plucky Duck as the titular character!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

Nate's 4th birthday cake looks like maybe they let the birthday boy decorate his own cake!
And after lengthy contemplation of the clown cake, I believe I have determined the following: that poo splotch in the sky is supposed to be the sun with a cloud in front of it. And what is happening is that the clown on the bridge and the clown in the car are in the process of murdering clown #3 by drowning him in the river. The pointy stick is being used to push him under the water. Once the deed is done, the bridge clown will unfold himself and ride back to town on the horse (there doesn't appear to be room for him in the car).
Either that, or the decorator was entered in some sort of "Chopped" type contest where he or she received a basket full of random plastic decorations and had to incorporate them all into one cohesive design. It's hard to say if this would be a winner without seeing some of the other entries.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTipsykit37

I introduced my 8-year-old to TMBG recently. His take on Triangle Man: he's the symbol on ladies' room doors. It's actually not a room for ladies at all. Triangles only.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMomnonymous

The second cake looks like it was decorated by a little kid that really loved the color green.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Whatever it is that Midnight Writer is smoking or eating...I want some. Now! (Pounds Fists of Dough on the table)

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChenaya

I was doing ok with the clown cake until I got to @The Midnight Writer's monolog and now I think I'm even more scared of clowns!
Well done, sir! I second john(thoJ)'s "Wow"!

@SuBee ~ **Standing ovation** Bravo!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJodee

ooh. I did not get the "Triangle Man" reference. I humbly retract my previous statement.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermrx

... Hunh. I thought it was a Surrealistic Penguin.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrolypolyducky

Triangle Man is a rocket. A terrible, terrible rocket, but a rocket nonetheless.

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOrganic Marble

SuBee FTW!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMudmusher

To the Midnight Writer: That was unbelievable!! I'm completely worn out from reading your thesis, but in an energized sort of way. Maybe if I focus on it long enough, it will drive that noxious "song" out of my head before said head implodes. Even your "forest" resonates with me; I thought of Forrest Gump, who KNEW.
("Life is like a box of chocolates.")
And where you said "...don't worry. More clowns are coming"? Well, look at my name...
( john's right: Wow.)

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

Does anything a particle can

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterm

@SuBee, you are most awesome for that TMBG filk!

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMorrigana

@john(thoJ): thank you for the editorial comment, and I think I got a little carried away today...
@Chenaya: thanks, but actually, it was lack of sleep and overly strong coffee....
@Jodee: thanks...and sorry about increasing your fear of clowns...that's not funny, but in a funny way it is because the funniness in clowns comes not from their antics, but from their effect on people, which appears to be the antithesis of their intentions...that's funny, in an ironic sort of way....
@sendingtheclowns: thanks; I re-read the piece, and now I'm energized, but in a worn out kind of way....
@SuBee: the accordion solo was a brilliant stroke in a masterful piece of writing....

March 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Midnight Writer

Well I was rooting all the clowns on that cake would just die mysteriously lol. Never have liked clowns in particular those plastic clowns they put on cakes. As for that second cake I still can't figure out what it was supposed to be..

March 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

I am forever amazed at the talent manifested in those around us. I speak, of course, of SuBee and The Midnight Writer - NOT the wreckerators.

In the immortal word of john (thoJ), "wow".

March 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlisadh

The Midnight Writer is doing his/her dissertation on The Philosophy of Cake Wrecking?

March 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

@ Midnight Writer: You are now the official Professor of Cake Wrecks Philosophy 101. <standing and clapping heartily> Do we have reading homework as well this week or is it the standard observational people watching at the mall assignment?

@ SuBee: !!!! YAY love it!!!

March 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVBeach Alemap

I concur with Organic Marble. Triangle Man is indeed a badly drawn rocket. However, Triangle Man is far more epic, and thus shall remain my preferred explanation :)

March 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNik-knee

@lisadh: thank you; you're too kind....
@ it's "his," and it's a dessert-ation.... :-)
@VBeach Alemap: thank you for the title and the hearty clapping! No reading this week, just the mall thing...but for the next test he answers must be written on a cake...any color but brown....

March 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Midnight Writer

@Midnight Writer: You didn't happen to author the books Why Cats Paint and Why Paint Cats, did you? You'd fit right in. Hilarious.

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

This cake is amazing and I love it.

March 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercrookedfinger

I have been glued to this site for hours and it wasn't until Triangle Man that I acually started crying with laughter. I think I need therapy.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEleise

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