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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

Cake Wreckin' Under-Achievers, Unite!

You know how it is for some of these grocery-store bakery decorators: some days they're just not reaching their full cake-wrecking potential. On those days they give their airbrush, questionable design choices, and horrific color palettes a rest, and instead produce a simpler, quieter kind of wreck. A wreck that says, with world-weary disdain, "Hey, I make $7 an hour. Deal with it."

I guess the cracked icing counts as decoration.

While I'm sure Tim appreciated the baby-pink roses for his big 4-0, I get the feeling that someone really enjoyed skewering the cake with those candles, dartboard style.

This cake is Cake Wrecks approved! Way to knock yourselves out, there, decorators!
(They get bonus points for the random capitalization.)

Thanks to Lindsey W., Jessica B., and Phoebe H. for the submissions.

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Reader Comments (28)

Maybe we should add a spell checker to those icing writers?

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa DiStefano

Talk about insult and injury... You mentioned the random capitalization in the AnniVerSary cake, but I'm equally impressed by the random *lack* of same.

The second E in the company's name is supposed to be capitalized, as in: FedEx.

Attention to detail? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Thank goodness this blog is here. At least the receipients of these sad, sad cakes can get some enjoyment out of having them included.

If you can't cry, laugh, right?

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLyz

Personally, I'm more disturbed by those brown flecks in the icing of the first cake there.

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLambie

I have to say that I do find some of these cakes amusing and other horrifying.

However, I truly hope that you don't feel that all grocery store decorators decorate in such a manner. There are just as many talented people that work at a supermarket as there are untalented. Just saying.

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary

I think it was for FELIX, not FedEx.

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. C

i need a tissue.
i have actual tears streaming down my face.
i hope i dont wake my children with my laughter right now.
i'm almost embarassed by how hard i'm laughing. :*D

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarissa

Hey hey hey! I am a "grocery store decorator" and I can do something BESIDES airbrush! And I do have good color tastes, except when customers come at me with gawd awful color swatches and combinations.... Oy. Teal, rose and antique gold anyone? Oh, and I should have submitted the Baby Sonogram shower cake I had to do last week myself, especially since the customer wanted gel icing "bubbles so it would look like he's floating" around the EM picture. *headdesk*

Seriously, don't discount all of us Grocery decorators. Some of us are pretty darn good. I've been recruited by more than one of the local specialty bakeries, but they can't match my salary, union benefits, vacation/pto time and such.

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterplastiqueponi

Brown flecks are caused by chocolate cake + stiff white icing (usually buttercream)+ a decorator who doesn't have the time or inclination to solve the problem by taking extra care.

For the rest...sometimes customers actually ask for cakes just like these. "Aw, no, nothing fancy, just write "Welcome home Jack" on it." They don't even want a colored border or sprinkles. Other times, if they don't ask, the cake decorator doesn't add any extra flourishes, for fear that "Laverne" could be a man, so wouldn't like pink roses, or roses at all. Other times, men actually want a cake full of roses- they say that they want the extra icing.

And, in my opinion every bakery, grocery store or otherwise, should have a dictionary.

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterchamoisee

well, at least the lackluster "congratulations graduates" cake was spell-checked. that could have gone very south. either/both of those words has/ have caused problems for bone-headed decorators in the past! maybe it would've been more entertaining to let an idiot decorator inscribe the cake... instead of an english major.

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hahaha - imagine turning up to your surprise birthday party or whatever and finding one of those cakes! You'd be forgiven for thinking that the party organiser had cut a few corners...

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJacq

So you are saying that someone actually PAID for those cakes? That's amazing.

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Strangely enough, the decorator knew to put a direct address comma after AnniVerSary!

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTheCourteousChihuahua

And I worry if my cakes look good enough on a daily basis....! Ha ha! This blog makes me feel like freakin' Picasso!!!! Or even.......DaVinci!!!
When one of my cakes appears on here, I will know it's time to hang it up.....

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie Welch

If that cake was indeed for FedEx, you'd think that a giant company would have desired a slightly higher caliber of cake. Too funny.

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSari

I love your commentary, sometimes it's even funnier than the cakes!

August 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermina

One word: Sprinkles.

They make everything better.

August 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLiz C

The 'Congratulations Graduates' cake looks like it was written in the blood of Sideshow Bob.

August 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteralicialouise

roAm I the only one that sees this cake wraped in plastic? I think FedEx was showing off that they can ship a fresh cake. They just should have picked a better example.

August 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think these are an example of the baker's day off. I know at the bakery my roommate works at if the baker is off that day people just write things on pre-decorated cakes and send them out. He's made a few of these gems himself.
I'm shocked people don't complain but apparently they're happy to pay for anything with icing on it.

August 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChance

I work at FedEx Freight.
We did, in the past year, celebrate the 35th year of the company.

The center I work at just brought a grill onto the dock and had a rotating shift of people making burgers and hot dogs for everyone.

Knowing the type of people that work this job, I can just imagine the amount of hilarity that this cake would bring.

We also probably don't pay as much attention to the second E as you might imagine. It just exists to make the arrow in the logo.

August 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The plain white cakes might also be 'ringers' of sorts. I recall our grocery in California sold blank cakes and you got a tiny tube of writing frosting free. I don't recall plain white, usually there were a trio of roses and random squiggles in opposing corners, done with whatever color of frosting they had on hand. Blue roses. Teal roses. Green Roses. whatever.

so, purchased? Yes. Professionally decorated? sorta maybe

August 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNil Zed

Well as a cake decorator, I actually can see how some of this happens. Basically, everyone in the bakery/store is told they have to know how to write on a cake. MANY times people come into the store last minute, grab a random cake out of the case (hense the pink roses on that one, probably the only one with white icing or yellow cake or whatnot, it happens), then ask a random employee to write on it. Cake decorators aren't there 24/7 and many stores are open that long. I personally leave either at 7am, or 2pm. So you get the mentally challenged minimum wage clerks to write on the cake for you, instead.

What's sad though, is when as a cake decorator you start getting requested because the other two decorators suck in comparison, and they've been at it for decades.

August 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

OMG, that second cake said happy FOUR-HUNDRED-SEVENTH and the candles said FOUTIETH, which is it *wink wink*

August 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My fiance worked for several months in a grocery store bakery making $7/hr. They gave him next to no training on cake decorating - he was the cookie/donut/bagel prep guy, not the cake decorator guy, after all. Even so, he was expected to be able to write stuff on cakes - not just literately, but all nice and pretty. The thing is, no matter how nice one's handwriting may be (and my fiance has pretty nice guy-writing), handwriting and cake writing are not equal.

He hated that job. Especially when he got customers like the lady who wanted a cake for her daughter, didn't specify a color for the writing, and got irritated when he wrote in red because her daughter hates red. Because he's psychic, you know. And merely covering up the writing with a preferred color wouldn't cut it. She wanted the writing scraped off and redone. Then she was mad when it looked horrid and wouldn't purchase the cake. He and a buddy paid for it and took it home (it was an ice cream cake and pretty tasty).

Not that there's an excuse for a lot of the cakes on this site, but yeah, if you go to a grocery store bakery, especially if the main decorator isn't on duty... You are taking a big risk assuming the guy behind the counter has much (if any) skill with a piping bag.

September 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I work in a grocery store bakery and many of my friends are amazed at the off the wall orders I get on a regular basis. weird color combinations, designs that are scifi, at best, and even spellings that boggle the mind. They seem to want some of these things to be a practical joke on the birthday person and it ends up looking like some of the pics on this blog. We try to warn them that it's not going to look good, but they have it in they're mind that that is what they want and nothing will change their minds. Then we have to listen to them complain and try to get the cake for free, cause " this isn't what I ordered". When in fact it's exactly what they ordered.

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterberta

I used to work as the closing cashier (3pm-12am) for a large chain grocery store. I can not tell you how many people would come in after all the bakers and deli clerks went home and not just asked, but pleaded to have someone write/draw on the cake. Being the only one that late who even knew how to use a piping bag, I'm ashamed to say I have given people cakes that look like this! And the thing is, I used to tell them I have terrible handwriting and if they really wanted me to write on the cakes, it would NOT be pretty! They didn't care! Some people were so happy I agreed to write on their cakes they would try to tip me...even though the resulting cakes looked very much like the ones above. What can I say? Some customers are weird like that.

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWolfidy

Happy AnndterSary, Fedex! And happy 407h birthday Tim!

February 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWreckophile #1

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