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

The Name Game

I don't usually post name misspellings, because - let's face it - names are kind of a crap shoot. Even really common names have those few screwball versions that mess it up for the rest of us. (I'm looking at you, Jenifer with one "n" and Jerimee with no "y"!) So really, bakers can't be expected to get them all right.

However, there is a point at which names get so thoroughly butchered that your only option is to laugh. These...[dramatic pause]... are those butcherings.

"Let's see, is it Steven or Stephen?"

"Eh, I guess I'll go with both."

This approach also works with the "ie" vs "y" issue:

(Try saying this aloud, and see if you don't sound like you're stuck in a stutter loop. "Criss-ee-ee-ee. No wait, I mean, Criss-ee-ee-ee-eah-crap.")

Those at least have a method to their mistakes, but now we're going to veer into some unexplained territory. See if you can guess the names on these next three:

Did you get them all? Here are the answers: Sarah, Susanna, and Seth. Yes, really. Seth.

Fortunately, sometimes a Wreckerator will recognize that something looks a little "off" with his or her spelling. When this happens, s/he will do the only sensible thing: draw a question mark after the name - on the cake.

Then, when the customer points out that the name in question should be "Jenny" and not "Fenny", the Wreckerator will spare no effort in making a few virtually undetectable corrections:


(You've also gotta love that lone "C" hanging out under "Happy".)

Stephen P., Crissie, Linda M., Lindsey L., Amy V., & Emily H., I now dub thee Steevan, Krissy, Lynduh, Lynnzee, Aimee, & Hath. You're welcome.

- Related Wreckage: Keith and What's-Her-Name

Note: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN!!! Those of you coming to see us tonight in Kansas City, be sure to offer him plenty of birthday greetings, songs, spankings, etc.

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Reader Comments (141)

What Hath wreckerators wrought!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdeckardcanine

Loved todays post!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucia

Wow. I had no idea Hath = Seth. That one threw me for a big loop.

Happy Birthday, Jaon?!!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBek

to funny!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucille Ball Jr.

I couldn't figure out why my page kept refreshing, I guess it was because you were posting the new pics. I suppose it pays to forget to set the clock by my bed back an hour and get up way to early for classes. Have a great day. Debra

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCalibug

Happy Birthday John! Or Jon. Or Joahan. Or Joan. Oh, just have a happy day, OK?

Tracy O (can't wait to see you in Atlanta!)

WV:dinguar - When the wreckorators can't decide between singular and double.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTracy O

That's too funnyie! I guess they are covering all their bases, there, yes? (Reminds me of Stepfanie Kramer . . . when she was registering her name with the Screen Actors Guild, she found out that both traditional spellings of Stephanie (Stefanie) were already used with her name "Kramer." She wrote "Stepfanie," never really expecting it to be accepted, but it was. The rest is history!)

I got Sarah . . . got Susanne . . . never in a million years would have gotten Seth! Seth? Really?

Poor Jfenny! I would have said, "Pfooiey!"

WV: tryet. Always ask the customer for the proper spelling. Tryet next time!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWriteCards

Happy Birthday, John! Or is it Jonh? lol

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Happy Birthday John. Your spanking will have to wait for Bethesda.

WONDERFUL entry. I'm cracking up at some of those. I went 2 for 3 on the names. Seth? Really? Um, sure thing... whatever you say....

I did, notice however, Susanne's cake looks like the decorator made an even WORSE spelling and cleared some of the icing off.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor

I thought Seth's cake looked like it was saying "Happy Birthday Hoth" as in the icy planet in Empire Strikes Back.

How would one know when a planet was born? Or do they just pick a day to celebrate? Why don't we have a birthday for Earth? Huh? HUH?

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthesacredandtheprofane

WOW. Just WOW. ('Seth', really?!?!? I am still just stunned at how that one came out LOL)

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCheri

HB2U John -- Kansas City is too far from Minnesota, but if you get up to the land of the Mall of America I will definitely come and visit.

I have a daughter named Sarah and I can imagine the conversation went something like this. "please write Happy Birthday Sarah with an 'H'"

Congrats too on the BUZZ BOOK in People magazine

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDebraSue

I love the stripy purple slugs around the edges of Sausnna's cake.

wv: clerch
Here's a fine clerch of Wrecks!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHelena Handcard

Happy Birthday, John!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEtiquette Bitch

Well...if you just run by the "Sarah" and "Susanna" cakes really fast, they look about right, like one of those anagrams or something. I thought the "Hath" one was for someone from a Star Wars film.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermaya

Similar to cake writing, I do writing on ceramic plates for folks. So far I've seen: Madison, Maddyson, Madyson, Maedesun, Maddison, Maddisson and Madson. I would've sworn that there was only one way to spell it, "Madison."

Granted I double and triple check the names I am given, but really, it can be hard on the side where one has to wonder, if the name spelling was done in ignorance or a unfortunate creative choice.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

BTW, Happy Birthday, John! Hope you have a terrific day! No falling and hitting your head, no hospital visits, no infections, no ICU, no . . . well, you get the picture!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWriteCards

The "Susanna" one isn't supposed to be "Savanna"? It looks more to be like the Wrecker wrote "Savannah" and was then told there was no "H"...

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLes

What's the purple rectangular thing in the bottom right on "Sauanna's cake? And is that butterfly a gingerbread cookie?

And airbrushing the border = fail.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

Happy B'day John!
This is exactly why, when I had to get a bakery cake at the last minute because I was too sick to make my twins' cake as planned, I did not ask them to put names on the cake but just "Happy Birthday". Their names are uncommon (though standardly spelled), and there just wasn't time to fix it, if things went wrong.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPangolin

My 2 & 4 year old girls just begged me to sing "Happy Birthday" because they saw the birthday cakes. HA!

Happy Birthday John!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Wonder what happy birthday wrecks will be waiting for today's birthday boy in at the Kansas City meet. tee hee

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I used to see a lot of kreatif name spellings when I taught school, but come on, people!

Looks like Hath was having a happy 21st, and after beginning the celebration a little early, tried to put the candles on the cake himself.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJiminycricket

that "C" under the happy birthday? that's the grade she got on the cake.....

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdoula_char

Did you know Cake Wrecks was on the Graham Norton Show on BBC1? It was re-broadcast in the States on Saturday. You got big laughs.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBridget

My name is pretty basic Anglo stuff and still gets spelled wrong, most recently by my OB/GYNs office. Most people seem to want to cram an extra 'e' into it to make it Kimberley. I keep telling people that I am neither a diamond mine nor a bloody great desert, thanks.

I've actually had to argue about it more than once. Yes, argue that MY name is spelled the way *I* spell it, and no, that I didn't write it wrong on the form. Duhhhhhhhhhh.

As for Sausanna, I think the baker had sausages for breakfast and maybe is also a Kids in the Hall fan. "SAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUSAGES!" A small number of those reading will find this very funny, the rest will be confused, as is the KitH way. :D

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly Chapman

haha!! this is great!! I like the F and J combo the best. I believe the second "S" name is supposed to be Savanna. U and V look the same though, right?!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Jen and John - You've moved up to international television - saw Graham Norton highlighting your blog on BBC America - way to go!!!!!

Tracy O

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTracy O

I thought it was Happy Birthday, Shrek

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAuntie Meme

Lucky "Shrah"! At least no one tried to create their own version of Hello Kitty. That could ruin any kid's birthday.

And do they still serve beer at Chuck E. Cheese? Because it shouldn't be to the people making cakes, even if they do get employee discounts. The butterfly is on super-straight, and the writing's sliding south-- can't blame that 'h' for jumping ship! Is that other purple thing a big candle?

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I can relate. For my son's third birthday, I spelled his name for the lady three times, "C A S O N".

When my sister in law picked the cake up, it said, "Happy Birthday Carson".

I had a feeling that would happen and had told my SIL to make sure it said CASON. Luckily, I have a sister in law that you don't cross so we got a new cake.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Happy Brithday, Jhan!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Good ones as always!

How is everyone doing? Healthy? Glad to see the tour is still on. Take care!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

just yesterday I had the gal at the restaurant spell my name Ranay

I didn't bother to correct her cuz I figured as long as it sounded right when she called me it's all good.

Happy Birthday John!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

What amuses and terrifies me about these mispellings is that any of these could be actual people's names.

I've always thought we should imitate the French by legislating that parents can only name their kids from an approved list of recognizable names.

I used to be a copy editor, and we were at a loss when it came to names (unless a very famous person was being named), because people spell their names every way imaginable, and many ways normal people would never imagine. Also, people have words on their birth certificates that most of us would never recognize as names at all. If a name appeared with more than one spelling in an article and we had no way of finding the correct spelling, we just went with the first version.

My mother says that people who have just had a baby (or are about to) are so hormonally disrupted that they develop bizarre tastes in names. That's as good an explanation as any.

Sometime, look at the "Baby Names" section on a forum like Yahoo Answers, and you'll see what I mean. Most of the mothers-to-be (it's rarely fathers) post things like, "I'm thinking of naming my baby Steaming Pile of Dog Dung if it's a boy, or Oozing Infected Pustule if it's a girl. How does that sound to you?"
Most of the responses are along the lines of "Oh, that's sooooo cute! You should definitely name your baby that!"

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGary

Oh, and happy birthday, Dzjhahnngn, and happy Dia de los Muertos, everybody else!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGary

Those bakers may well have been right though. I know a wilfully functionally illiterate teen who insists on abbreviating Abigayle, her given name, to Abbiey. She thinks it's different. I think she needs a punch in the head with a dictionary.


November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

As a Sarah, I recognized that one IMMEDIATELY- if you say "Sarah with an -h", the H is a random letter to be placed anywhere in the name except at the end.
Creativity with silent letters knows no bounds.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

We used the cake for my birthday, which my wife completely forgot to pull out during a party, as the cake for my son's birthday. We just removed my name from the icing and added his.

Fun blog...keep it up!


November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian O'Mara-Croft

The first time I read the Sarah cake, I thought they had gone for "Shrek" but misspelled it "Shrak". :D Doesn't make that much more sense though, does it? And Seth? Seth? How did that turn into a, misspelled, version of the Star Wars ice planet with the Tauntauns? 'Cause that's what I saw there. Though to be honest, I think if you're an entire planet, you probably get something grander for your birthday than wrecked cake.

Speaking of birthday: happy, happy, happy birthday Djauhnn!!! Oops. John. Ahem.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I agree that the Susanne one is actually probably Savanna, which makes it slightly less wrecky (though it still has plastic bits, smeared icing corrections, and airbrushing going for it).

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

OK, here's my guesses:

Shrek (even ogres have birthdays)
Sausage-anna (butcher's daughter?)
Hoth (child of Star Wars fans)

Oh well, I was close.

Happy Birthday Jon!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJerry

I know theres already a few Sarah's that have responded, but let me add.

90% of the population understands what you mean when you say "Sarah with an H" (which, if you know someone is gonna write your name down I think most would agree that you either say "Sarah with an H" or "Sara without an H") but every once and a while I will say that to someone and I will see their brain function hault and their eyes roll to the back of their head in confusion as they are trying to comprehend what I just said to them. Thats when you know the H will end up anywhere but where it's suposed to be.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Happy Birthday JHON!

Great post. :)

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkelliebean

Hope you have a Happy Day John...I got sausages too on the Susannah/Savannah cake and the last one was just a I'm hungry for pigs in a blanket right now....

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Happy Birthday John!!

November birthdays are the BEST!

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCakey Goodness

You have no idea how many people butcher "sarah".

You would think it would be pretty easy....but NO.

Especially when I say "Sarah with an H", because if you ask any Sarah, the most important thing is that H. We are not Saras.

Anyways, it will become Shara. Sarha. Sahra. They put the H everywhere but at the end.

Luckily it hasn't happened on my birthday cake yet. But hell hath no fury like a Sarah without an H.

(haha...get it...i used hath...)

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteraskmeques

I love on the Susanna cake it looks like there was more on the name, but is was erased.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlaylamic

Happy birthday Jhon!

WV: phanqu, phanqu very much.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjackie31337

Let's be nice. Hath, Sauanna, and Shrah are very nice names. That's what I'd name my kids if I was a wreckorator.

November 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterandygirl

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