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


It's nice to see the bakers here in the U.S. aren't picking sides when it comes to Super Bowl cakes. Nope, they wreck 'em all equally.

Well, one out of three ain't, actually, that IS bad.
Never mind.

Ok, I have to admit it: when Anne-Marie mentioned the "terrible towels" in today's earlier post, I had no idea what she was talking about. Fortunately, a reader has informed me that these are yellow towels Steelers fans like to wave about during game days. (I suppose it's too much to hope that this is a tradition somehow inspired by Douglas Adams?) Heh, you sports fans make my wearing a Bajoran earring to a Star Trek Convention seem almost normal.

ANYway, so knowing about the towel thing helps a little when viewing this cake:

But you still have to wonder: did the baker feel even the slightest pang of irony?

Oh, and remember a few ages back when I made a crack about how next bakeries will be decorating our loaves of bread?


[shaking head] Well, at least they used dough instead of frosting. That's something, right?

Now, I can only assume this next one was made by a baker who knows even less about football than I do:

That, or s/he is venting some pre-game frustration.

Many thanks to Krista W., Catie P., Diana W., Jennifer H., and Corrie R., some hoopy froods who really know where their towels are*.

*If that last statement baffled/consternated/frightened you, go here.

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Reader Comments (89)

Surely you meant hoopy froods.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKari

At least they spelled "terrible" correct...

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKitty

Amazing froods? I'm sorry, the correct term is "hoopy." As in "Sass that Jen. She's a hoopy frood who really knows where her towel is."

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjayspec

Sorry, sorry! I fixed it. ;)

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Gee, those cakes reflect just how I feel about the Super Bowl and football in general.

But the bread? BREAD? Do I really want a glob of chocolate (I assume) icing on my ham-and-swiss sandwich? *shudder*

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScritzy

My mom made a Terrible Towel cake for the Superbowl in 1976. It was a basic sheet cake wit gold icing and black lettering, and crushed oreos as fringe (some of the towels had that back then).

It looked a lot better than that mess.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSheryl

Oh man, I am so kicking myself for not getting a picture of a cake I saw at Wal-Mart the day before the Championship game here in AZ. It said "Go Cardinals!", but the colors of the cake were yellow and black. At the time I thought the decorator was color-blind. Now I know she was psychic!

Still, these wrecky Cards cakes hurt my soul. They just can't catch a break, even with cake decorators!

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdawnspring

>> (I suppose it's too much to hope that this is a tradition somehow inspired by Douglas Adams?)

Unfortunately, no. The Terrible Towel was created by the late, great Myron Cope (Yoi! Double yoi!) Well, sort of. It was his idea to wave towels at games, and a local department store, sick of having all of its yellow and black towels sell out, created the Official Terrible Towel.

The lovely thing about them is that Myron Cope's son, who has autism, is at a wonderful facility out in Coraopolis for people with various mental and physical disabilities, and all proceeds from every towel sold around the world go to support this school and a couple of related facilities in the area (I used to work at an in-patient facility for children with MR and autism,and we received Terrible Towel money there).

So yes, we Pittsburghers are intensely aware of the irony of Terrible Cakes (I had a Terrible Cupcake earlier today, and many people were making appropriate jokes while talking to the baker) and Terrible Cookies and Terrible Muffins. And we are damn proud of it.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa Knits!

I always travel with my own towel, you never know when you might need to use it to wipe off a table at the restaurant at the end of the!

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCyberrblue (Colleen)

I wonder if they just put Go Cards! on the cakes - would they even have spelled that correctly? So funny. I've been checking the cakes here in Phoenix to see if anyone would dare put out a cake like that to sell here. None so far - phewwww!

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdeedee

A lovely story from today's New York Times about the origin of the Terrible Towel, and the lasting impact it is having on some folks with really significant disabilities.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeadBug

Hee. The cakes are painful. I'm also delighted by your dorkiness.... I usually dress as Major Kira for Halloween, and occasionally wear my Bajoran earring to work. Hm, if I can find it today, I'll wear it to D&D tonight. :D Maybe I can convince my gaming group that we should game instead of watch football this year...

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarianna

Why does the "Terrible Cake" make me think of Kraft Cheese Singles?
And I wonder if these wreckerators have just never seen dog poo before, otherwise I would think they would stop using globs of brown stuff to decorate things.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

I didn't know anything about the Terrible Towel before this week, either, but this story explains them - and it's really sweet:

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermhb

I can only guess that the last one is what a football would look like after a run in with a steam roller.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I've got four Terrible Towels on the back of a chair right here just waiting for Sunday... Pittsburgh is so proud of our Terrible Towels and their legacy. Never thought of making of a Terrible Cake, though, I'll admit... the wheels of creativity are turning...

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNikki


You've got a heart of gold.


J Rob

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJ Rob

Douglas adams, Star Trek, AND a Wreckspert? *swoon* what more could a boy want?

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

so long and thanks for all the cakes ;)

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjoanne wardle

I have more than misspellings on my mind when I see the double "cardnials" cakes. What is the lower cakes sposda be shaped like? Field goal posts, or worse: hand-standing football players with their team name draped across't the crotch?

Does the bread cake look like nothing else but feces-frosting? Srsly.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpopkernels

As a fandom costumer my usual retort to accusations of 'why do you waste your time with that' or 'dressing up is for kids' is that what we do is no less ridiculous than the people who paint themselves and act like idiots at sporting events.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaral

I've always found it tragic that chocolate looks just like poo.

Angie (from over at

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHalf Assed Kitchen

ah! I love the Hitchhiker's Guide series but I had no idea about towel day!!!

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

All this football talk, and what I'm wondering is whether I've ever met you at a con! Mine are Weekend On The Promenade (San Diego and Burbank), and Slanted Fedora in Philly, Oct. 2001. (That was a fun flight!)

I have DS9 on the brain! (And have never actually watched a football game, American or Canadian.)

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMark Stanley

That last "football" (and it really deserves the quotations!) cake looks alot like a horribly botched CCC masquerading as a horribly botched regular cake...

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

I got BOTH the towel and the Bajoran earring references! I'm both sport-savvy, and a geek!

My daughter is named Kira, but we didn't go so far to use Nerys as her middle name (but we were tempted.)

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeccy

I like the decorated bread.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter=Tamar

I had no idea about towel day, but I am already prepared for the next one - I made my own Don't Panic towel when the movie came out.

LOVE that you are a sci-fi geek. I dressed as a Yeoman at the last convention I went to, and my boyfriend was Data. *swoon*

Anyway...uh...great blog post about the football cakes! Not a fan of football, but always a fan of cake wrecks.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStraw

I have my towel and am ready for the next wreaktastic adventure! (also the fact that you just used that in a post made my week!)

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCait

Star Trek AND Hitchhiker's references, all within ten minutes of getting out of bed today? This is a good sign, indeed. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentershadow

I've been a lurker here for a while now - LOVE the blog. It always make me laugh and cringe at the same time. I wanted to say something on this post, though! I LOVE that you mentioned both Hitchhiker's Guide and Star Trek! I actually own a Bajoran earring, and I understood all of your sci-fi references perfectly. I wanted to hug you!! :) Thanks for keeping us all entertained.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

The loaf of bread hurts my feelings.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen L.

The last one looks like it's sad - dismayed at being such a misshapen football?

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMalibu Niki

Hitchhikers...Crazy book. Nice allusions to it.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeserlee

I love it! These are some great ideas-- Just in time for the big game.

I'm a Steelers fan and I think that even I can handle the Terrible Towel cake. I bet it'll be a huge hit!

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlexander Dombroff least the misspelling decorator is consistent.

Terrible Cake...oh yeah! I totally want that now!

It's a's a's a football. I bet it's also a soccer ball, basketball and baseball if needed!

WV: polorti: I think you need to reverse the polorti of the icing bag so you can spell more gooder.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Hoopy Froods, hehe. So glad to see a proper guide fan online. I do love your geekyness Jen.

Anyone who doesn't get the hoopy frood quote shouldn't really be reading this blog i believe

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPudding And Pie

I love the last picture. My 5 year old said "Mom! It looks like a smushed football! It needs air!"

Too cute!

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Jackson

The pics on this site make me cringe so hardcore...but I can't look away. I just stare and try to remember to shut my gaping mouth.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha

I rarely literally laugh out loud, but that football SPLAT got me!

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

ROFL!! I love the Terrible Cake and you are a Hoopy Frood!

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZiggyeor

I can't believe I didn't know about Towel Day ! Thanks for the heads up!

Your posts make me laugh out loud no matter how bad a day it's been.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKathi

I recently gave my 9 year old nephew my StarFleet Communicator pin - now I want it back! But he loves it so it's in good hands.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKathi

Some of these cakes break the "Cardinal" rules of decorating! :-)

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCammy


I love it. I want to buy it. I'm not a Steelers fan, don't even live in the same country, but... it's so bold.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan

popkernels said...
I have more than misspellings on my mind when I see the double "cardnials" cakes. What is the lower cakes sposda be shaped like? Field goal posts, or worse: hand-standing football players with their team name draped across't the crotch?

The lower cakes were cupcake cakes that were supposed to resemble goal posts with ginormous footballs flying at them.

What the picture doesn't show, because i snapped it after pointing out the error to a store employee who promptly removed the cakes, was that the "Go Cardnials" cakes were two of four that were ALL MISSPELLED.

When i went by the bakery a few minutes later an annoyed-looking decorator was scraping off the "cardnials" with a spatula.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDi

Thank you so much for the "Towel Day" info...I had no idea! (and here I thought I was a hoopy frood..gah). I have, on the other hand, been accused of being hip, although I have no trouble seeing past my pelvis.

Super Bowl Sunday is simply a day to go out and enjoy crowd-free activities while the throngs sit in front of their TVs, IMO.

Wreck on!

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNeb

I think the last one should have the title "Suspender-Wearing four-eyed frowning amoeba".

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPeter L.

I had no idea there was a Towel Day! I'll keep mine with me on May 25th. ( like I don't all the time anyway, who knows when your planet will be blown up?)

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

um, i don't think that bread is decorated with dough OR frosting. i think it's decorated with what i scooped out of the cat box this morning.

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbutcherbaby

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