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

Happy National Cake Decorating Day!

Ok, yes, there really is a holiday for everything - but that's not the point.

The point, my fellow cake lovers, is that today is an excellent day to consider taking up a new hobby.

I'm talking, of course, about miniature railroad building.

Or, failing that, I suppose you could try cake decorating:

Now, I know what you're thinking. "John," you're thinking - although you're mistaken, because this is actually Jen typing - "John, how can I, a mere mortal, achieve the unspeakable grace and beauty displayed on this delectable-looking delight?"

(Admit it: that's what you were thinking, wasn't it? Dang, I'm good.)

Well, have no fear! When it comes to cake decorating, there's really nothing to it.

What, you don't believe me? Bwa. Aha. Hah. [<-- cheerful chortling] Perhaps some illustrations of paid-for, professional examples might help?

First, the basics. All you need is 1) some icing, and 2) a large plastic toy.

Feeling more confident now?

Or, if you really want to have some fun, get yourself a food grade airbrush. Oh, the fun you can have with that!

As an added bonus: no piping needed! Just spray on some random patterns, and you'll have a cakey creation to rival any "professional" in no time!

Of course, if you really want to break out the piping bags, don't feel like a recognizable pattern is necessary:

'Cuz it's not.
(Also, changing tips is for sissies. Just sayin'.)

Once you've mastered these few simple skills, you'll be able to create cakes guaranteed to make your friends sit up and take notice. Like this:

(Centering is also for sissies.)

Or this:

Drink it in; this could be your work someday.

That's right, aspiring artists: work hard, dream big, and some day you might achieve the ultimate of cake decorating feats: the wedding cake.

Dare to dream big.

Thanks to Wreckporters Michael, Melissa, Casey R., Kate R., Trisha W., Kenny K., Lydia D., & Jessica E. for today's "inspirations."

- Related Wreckage: Love is in the Air

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Reader Comments (92)

Done CORRECTLY, that wedding cake could have been gorgeous.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I think my fave is the non-diary icing tag on the round airbrushed one. Butterless buttercreme? *shudder*

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristy


I see you've already started on your next book: "The Seven Secrets They Don't Want You To Know About Cake Decorating."

Long time lurker here. Best wishes on the rest of the tour and thanks for all the chuckles.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

sign me up for the next cake decorating class! i'm thinking i could do no worse than these.

the wedding cake actually looks almost ok. maybe it's all that chocolate dripping down the sides that entices me.

are those fried eggs floating in a sea of icing (next to last cake)?! geez. these are too difficult to figure out so early in the morning.

hope y'all have lotsa fun in austin today. am going to miss being there!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Lee

Actually, the writing on the first one is kinda nice.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKait

I love the bride and groom on the wedding cake done in dipped strawberries!

Take it easy the next few days, y'hear? You're real troupers to get back in the tour saddle, but don't push it and end up back in the hospital.

WV: crywova - Don't crywova spilt milk or wrecked cakes, for that matter.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Somebody failed their Wilton Cake Decorating classes! A LOT of somebodies failed! (However, the wedding cake isn't *that* bad . . . I just think a non-paid-non-professional could have done just as well!)

Hope the rest of the Texas "Hold 'Em in the Hospital (NOT)" Tour goes well!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWriteCards

My reactions to these cakes kept getting worse (or better if you are a glass half full kinda person). They started out as a mild groan, advanced to a quiet, "Oh dear," and finished with a tight squeezing shut of my eyelids while pinching the bridge of my nose.

I keep scanning the bakery departments of my local grocers hoping to find a wreck worthy of emailing you. So far the only things I have found are a few lovely apple turnovers that wanted to go to the party in my tummy. The search continues.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessica H

I can't decide if the second-to-last one looks more like Martian breasts or bisected avocados.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEnzzo

i would eat all them!!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhostels barcelona

Wow... my favorite would have to be the stripey-ish one. The wedding cake isn't so bad, although maybe a little sloppy.

Thanks for cheering me up!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlia

That first black-and-white cake, SO disgusting. Looks like it was decorated with coal dust.

Whoever thought black was a good cake color?

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTypo Tat

I'm pretty sure the red one is Tomato soup with Mozzarella on top and a little cilantro garnish.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

The second-to-last one looks like a faux moldy pineapple upside-down cake. "We're out of pineapple rings, just airbrush some on!"

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie B.

I think the little groom strawberries are adorable. Sadly they look like they landed in a pile of snow somebody unsuccessfully tried to defrost with windshield-wiper fluid that a dog later did it's business on.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The one in the middle with orange-y/pink blobs looked like a shrimp salad with wasabi on the side. Could be tasty, but on a cake?

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

ohhhhhh my! that made me sick! :(

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucille Ball Jr.

You mean I could get good enough one day to make that green poo border??? Swoon.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHalf Assed Kitchen

NON-DAIRY WHIPPED TOPPING? That is the worst offence against cakes ever.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEvie

Mmm, grey food.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRima

The little strawberries in dinner jackets are adorable, shame about the rest of the cake

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

Apparently, along with "some icing" and "a large plastic toy", you will also need some very funky cake pans!!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJanella

...on second thought, "wonky" cake pans sounds better, doesn't it??

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJanella

i actually really like the first cake... if it had been done in different colors. the script is actually pretty. it's just barely legible since the whole cake is basically all in the same color.

oh, and i love the bride and groom done in chocolate dipped strawberries. but that's the only positive thing i can say about that cake.

for the rest of them... there's just nothing positive to say at all... in fact, i'm feeling sort of dizzy from all the crazy rainbow colors and the off centered designs. oh, and all the crazy messed up stars all over that one cake. i guess five year olds can take wilton classes too?

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Well.....if you squint your eyes while looking at the wedding still looks like crap.....never mind....

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara_in_WA

The 5th cake reminds me of my microbial pathogenesis class, the STD's chapter to be precise, ewwww.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeray

The Wedding Cake, I'd laugh at it, but I'd still eat it. Chocolate...yum!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

The completely random bits of tulle in between the wedding cake layers have truly made me question life, the universe and everything... (tehehehe)

WV: whillai: Whillai recover after seeing that cake?

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney C.

The wedding cake is a really cute idea in theory. It's a shame it looks like a kindergartener had a lot of fun throwing melted chocolate on it.

Also, I need to defend non-dairy frosting. I make vegan baked goods and I've made some vegan buttercream that is so delicious you would have no clue it's vegan. I mean, it's eat straight out of the bowl until you feel sick delicious. I use earth balance, which tastes and acts exactly like butter. Don't diss it until you try it!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterderomanticize

The first crappy non-centered cake with the comic book (?) scene is really set off by the long green poo.

I would smile and laugh, of course, but I've got all this tulle stuck in my teeth from a wedding cake from last night.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

I took the intro Wilton course many years ago and everyone there did way better cakes than these - even on their first day! Even the children! I would encourage people to try a cake decorating class though (Wilton or otherwise) - it turned out to be a lot easier than I thought, and I learned some great little tricks. (For instance, if your cake is lumpy and uneven, just cut the top off so it's level. The car cake above might have been helped with that one!) The great thing about cake decorating, which the professional wreckers don't seem to realize, is you can just eat your mistakes and then no one will know...

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSN

It never fails to amaze me, the wrecks in that show up in bakery display windows. But even more amazing is that people actually BUY THEM!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSheri

John and Jen,
You guys are responsible for many couch snuggling moments in our house. I'll sit on the couch with my laptop, yell, "CAKEWRECKS!"
and my 4 children come running. My ten year old really tries to figure it out. My 3 year old has the best things to say, since she can't read.
First cake today, she said,
"Oh, look, can we get that cake for Halloween?" Yes, yes dear. When you graduated from college during Halloween.

And the car birthday cake, she tried to do her normal "name the shape of the cake" game.

"Its a...its a sort of circle?"

The wedding cake was met by confusion by my husband, who also wanders in. "That's a pretty good wedding cake! Why did it make cake wrecks?"
Why indeed. Don't worry, he's from a small farming town that creates many treasures that would be wreackable in big cities.

Haha, you can have a selection of cakes "you might be a redneck if you think this cake is pur-dy"

Love you guys!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiagnose Rachel

The 2nd-to-last cake looks like a prepared slide of stained cells in a biology lab. (Yes, yes, I am a geek)

WV: zoodissp

No idea, just thought it was a really cool word! :-)

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMandy

Ryan, Melanie B
Thanks for the extra laughs!
Avocados, pineapples and soup, oh my :)
They gave us much to ponder about the thought processes of under-educated decorators

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiagnose Rachel

My 2 year old just asked to see some "beautiful cakes." Sadly, this was all I had to offer. When we got to the green pseudo-pineapple upside down cake concoction, she said, "Ew. That cake's yucky."


The apple doesn't fall far.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Thank you Janella - I also didn't realize that a cake could be a square/circle hybrid. Maybe they were going for a Leaning Tower of Pisa look??

I also agree with Lauren that while the first cake is the least wreck-y, it's too monochromatic to see the quality.

and couldn't "non dairy whipped topping" just be Cool Whip?

okay, I'm done with the randomness - Jen and John, I'm glad you both are feeling better, and hope that you continue to stay that!

wv - eyshoot, there's a shoot my eyes out pun in there but I can't figure out how to make it...

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDigital Daguerreotypist

Can someone help me out here? Does the writing on the first (gray lady down!) cake say "CONGRANLATUNS"? Sounds a bit like medieval Latin: Congran latuns? Or Spanish! "Con gran latuns!" With great/large ... whatever latuns are when they're at home. Just wondering....

All the best on the rest of the Cakes Tour - and, as others have said, Take it Easy there, big fella'

hugs from Deborah in California

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

It seems probable to me that eating the first cake could result in heavy metal poisoning.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThanny

I'm almost positive that the red cake with the white and green decorations (all with the same tip) is ....


It's got a fat ring around the base of the cake. The white decorations go in the center where a bone would be. The green decoration is parsley

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEle

That next-to-last one would make the PERFECT substitute for a pineapple-upside-down cake for somebody allergic to pineapple. Really - take another look. See?

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

I tried to send this to you but the contact page doesn't have any usable emails on it!

A completely edible (if you call fondant that) steampunk cake!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I believe the fifth one may be brain on a plate. Garnished with parsley, of course.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNYCGirl

It's possible the first photo is black and white, and the actual cake has nice colours.

It's not IMpossible, anyway.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjanet2buns

Ok, so it's a quiet Saturday and there was an inexplicable PULL on my psyche ... Does anyone else see - in that ersatz pineapple upside down cake - a resemblance to some of Van Gogh's works? Could there be a cake-wreckerator somewhere contemplating sending a "gift" to a lost love? Will it show up on a cake someday soon? These questions and more....

Deborah in California who is now going to STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER....

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

that would have been a pretty wedding cake!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucille Ball Jr.

YES! YES! Deborah in California, I did indeed think of van Gogh on that second to last one!!! Then I thought, that's stupid, no it's not. HOWEVER, upon seeing your comment I was encouraged to review it and let my Van Goghian side out to play! It's uh, v.g.'s long lost painting of eggs sunny-side up in the grass! Or an homage to the breast, on a pool table. :-) I dunno if pool tables were all green felted back in v.g.'s day, but yep,, they've got his style, no question! Lily

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

oops, ok, I juist got the "gift" part. oh goodness, I hope nobody is mailing around any spare parts.

I'm gonna stick with the s.s.u. eggs of the HOMAGE, no actual parts.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Wedding cake? Maybe a divorce cake. As you go down the cake, or through the years see how the bride and groom get farther and farther apart

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

That wedding cake looks tasty! I can't eat pretty cakes.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlinguafranca

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