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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

Entries in Sunday Sweets (412)

Sunday
Jan292012

Sunday Sweets: Fun and Fondant-Free

When you consider our usual Sweets lineups and all the cake shows on TV, you might be tempted to think it's impossible to make an amazing cake without fondant.

But you would be WRONG.

Behold!

Submitted by Evy M. & made by Cupcake Cafe

This beauty was made entirely with icing. No fondant, no gumpaste, nada. And I will never be satisfied with my icing roses again. Wowza.

A lot of bakeries prefer fondant because it's easier to achieve certain looks with it. It also travels well and helps maintain a cake's freshness by sealing in moisture.

On the other hand, odds are you'll never find someone who just looooves the taste of fondant. In fact, many bakeries will tell you to peel the fondant off your individual slice and just eat the cake and icing underneath.

Which is all fine and good, but... did you know a fondant-free cake could look this good?

Sub'd by Taru and made by Katharina C. & Sara T. of SugarPlum Visions

Those accent flowers are gumpaste, but the rest of the cake? All icing, guys. Booya.

Obviously I love fondant for the options it gives us, but the fact is it can never replace traditional and oh-so-jaw-dropping piping skills like this:

Sub'd by Alison P. & made by Imaginative Icing

Can you imagine the skill level required to make each of those tiny, perfectly-spaced dots? And then carefully layering those hearts and cages on the edge? Even the top swirls are solid royal icing, which is unbelievably fragile. I would bet only one baker in a hundred today has this kind of skill, which is why it's so darned inspiring.

Ok, you're thinking, that's fine for traditional cakes - but surely no one can make a sculpted cake without fondant!

Oh, yeah? (And don't call me Shirley.)

Sub'd by Brittany S. & made by Deviantart user ~Kahlan4

Hot diggity dog! That's fondant-free, folks!

 

And from the master of fondant-free cake art himself:

By Don Buciak II

Just look at those highlights in Wall-E's eyes, and that cookie crumble "dirt"!

Btw, Don is one of my top ten all-time favorite cake artists, ever. The things this guy can do with icing will knock your socks off.


Think your only option besides fondant is boring ol' buttercream? Think again.

Submitted by Kendra T. & made by Andi B

These fabulous cupcake toppers are made with chocolate candy melts. The melted candy is piped onto a sheet of plastic, and once it's hardened they pop off for instant cake decorations.

I've always loved this technique because it's such a fun pop-art style. Don't these next ones look like they jumped out of the pages of a sketchbook?

Sub'd by Regan & made by Sugar and Cake


There's a similar technique done with icing called a frozen buttercream transfer:

Submitted by Gail L.; found here, but the baker isn't listed. Anyone know?

D'awww.

With the BC transfer you again pipe your design on a clear plastic sheet, but then you freeze it before flipping it over onto your cake and peeling off the plastic. Obviously this takes a lot of time and skill for more complicated designs, but can you imagine the possibilities?! CAN YOU??

Ahem.

 

I've razzed on edible photo paper a lot in the past - and with good reason - but like most things, it can sometimes be used for good. (Not very often, but sometimes.) In fact, I'm happy to say that this is the best use of edible photos I've ever seen:

By Valarie "Gwen" K.

Brilliant. And perfectly done. It also goes to show that sheet cakes can be just as much a work of art as sculpted cakes.

In fact, here's another sheet cake used as a blank canvas for - I can't believe I'm about to type this - an amazing airbrush design:

By Devin B.

Clearly this was not done with the Airbrush of Atrocity. Color me impressed.

Another icing technique with spectacular results is the run-in, or flooding, method. You see it most often on too-gorgeous-to-even-consider-eating cookies, like this one:

Submitted by Amanda N. and made by The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

Forget the glass of milk: this thing needs a frame!

And see how pillowly soft and smooth the icing looks? That's done by first piping an outline and then "flooding" inside the lines with the same icing thinned down with water. And while you see this most often on cookies, you can also pipe the icing on - you guessed it - a clear sheet of plastic, and then carefully - CAREFULLY - peel it off once the icing has dried. Then you place the hardened icing on your cake or cupcakes.

For those of you with mad art skillz, you can even use icing like thickened paint, like so:

By Amy Marie

Even her handwriting is gorgeous. Disgusting. (Er, in a good way, I mean.)

And yes, you can actually use a paint brush with icing. In fact, there's a technique known as "brush embroidery" that actually requires it:

By Chelsea Anderson

This one was done over fondant, but brush embroidery can also be applied over regular icing. You pipe the outlines of your design, and then use a wet brush to drag the lines inward. It sounds simple, but getting it to look as beautiful as this takes bucket loads of skill and patience.

 

Hoo boy, you guys! This is turning into a marathon post and John's going to kill me for rambling on this long and including this many pictures, but I've got to include just a few more:

Submitted by Jennie S. & made by Some Crust Bakery

Simple perfection - just look at those razor sharp edges!

Oh, and you should know that there are tons of pretty fondant-free cakes out there decorated with fresh flowers, but I didn't include any here because I wanted to focus on the bakers' skill with actual icing.

Besides, putting flowers on a cake is relatively simple. This, on the other hand?

By Serious Cakes

This is simply stunning.

 

And these will totally fool you:

Submitted by Evy M. & made by Cupcake Cafe

CAN YOU BELIEVE THOSE ARE ICING AND NOT REAL FLOWERS??

Because I'm not sure *I* do.

The fondant vs icing debate will no doubt continue to rage on, but I hope these Sweets have shown you a little more of what's possible in the hands of a talented baker - and maybe even given you aspiring Sweets bakers out there a few ideas to try with your own cakes!

And as always, if you have a Sweet to nominate, please send it to me at Sunday Sweets [at] Cake Wrecks [dot] com.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Sunday
Jan222012

Sunday Sweets: ...And Everything Nice

Rock-a-bye reader, on the laptop
did a week's worth of wreckage
make your jaw drop?

Your brain might be scarred,
with stunned disbelief,
so let today's Sweets
bring you blessed relief!

That's right, it's the sweetest-themed sweets of all: baby showers! Prepare for a mass cuteness attack.

Submitted by Jen C. & made by Sharon Wee Creations

I don't know how Noah's ark came to be synonymous with babies, other than all the animals supposed to be having babies, I guess, but it sure makes for an adorable cake! The rhinos are my favorite!

 

You know what else is adorable? Bears in a balloon basket.

By Sweet Tiers

"Ooh, Honey Bear, I just felt the baby kick!"

 

And speaking of kicks, check out the sweet pair atop this cake. I don't care how tough you are, if you cradle your hands around a tiny pair of baby shoes, you are going to squeal aloud. And if you happen to be pregnant and hormonal, you may also cry.

Sub'd by Julia D. & made by Johannas Tartor

Respect the baby shoe.

 

Sub'd by Nicole B. & made by The Cake Boutique

I love the different color vibe of this one. Minty green, deep chocolate and orange? How unexpectedly awesome! See, not all baby shower cakes have to be covered in pastel ribbons and roses.

 

But then again, you won't hear me complaining if they are! After all, this next cake is an explosion of pastel ribbons and roses, and it's amazing.

By Sweet Irene

 

And here's another be-ribboned beauty:

By Rosey Confectionery Sugar Art

Oh yeah, I'm firmly on the ribbon and rose wagon. Heck, I'm driving the wagon. This cake's so perfect and precise I can barely believe it was made by a human.

 

Now here's a cake sure to please any expectant mother about to 'pop!'

Sub'd by Tanya F. & made by Sugar Creations

But you probably shouldn't say anything like that to her, nor jokingly compare her size to a circus tent, or even innocently mention the word "elephant." When I was pregnant, my husband accidentally said 'cellulite' when he meant to say 'saline' and I didn't talk to him for five days.

But getting back to the cake: do take note of the little 3D detailing on the elephant's ears!

 

Owl bet you've never seen a sweeter little cake than this:

Sub'd by Cathy B. & made by Terry D.

This is too much for words. I'm sitting here with a goofy smile on my face, trying to absorb all the cuteness. Woodland creatures! A baby owl with his mommy and daddy! I want to push that knife off the table so nothing can ever harm them!

 

And because we can never have too many birds on cakes, or butterflies, buttons and balls... (um, let's just call them dots), and flowers for that matter, behold:

By Andrea's SweetCakes

Love it. Sydney is a blessed girl! I hope they save her a piece!

 

And finally, this next cake makes me want to go back in time, become a rock star, have a baby, name that baby something trendy and nonsensical like "Pumpkin Drizzle Gables," and throw a baby shower with all my cool rock-n-roll friends, for no other reason than to roll out this super-star worthy cake:

By Little Cherry Cake Company

Rock on, baby. ROCK ON.

 

Have a Sweet to nominate? Then send it to Sunday Sweets [at] Cake Wrecks [dot] com.