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

Too Soon?

Michael Jackson died Thursday afternoon. Barely 24 hours later, Laura H. found these in her local bakery:

Yeesh. Ok, so it's America, and I get that we tend to capitalize on tragedy - I mean, have you seen "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here"? - but this seems to be pushing the bounds of good taste, don't you think?

And on top of the whole "let's eat the face of the deceased" thing, they went and made it worse by making them CCCs. [ptoooiee!]

Ah, the perils of putting a group photo on a memorial cake...

Plus, logistically this begs a question: how exactly do you separate the cupcakes in a CCC when there's a large edible image on them? From my experience, that paper is pretty thick.

Two words: dash placement.

Still, I suppose the question of how you eat it is secondary to "who thought this was a good idea?" Even if the wreckerator's motives were pure, couldn't s/he have put a little more effort into them? I mean, these things give ugly a run for its money.

And finally, I know I'm opening Pandora's box here, but what do you guys think about eating a decorated cake to commemorate someone's death? Seems to me there's a reason most funerals have pie: cake symbolically represents celebration. Granted, we should celebrate someone's life in their memory, but you certainly don't want to be seen as celebrating that the person died.

So again, what do you think? Are these cakes some morbid capitalistic ploy, or simply a sweet gesture?


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Reader Comments (195)

Yes, too soon!

I just have no words, although for some reason I expected to see this on your blog!

In other news, every week, I go to our local grocer hoping to see some cake wrecks, but the decorators always do a wonderful job. Darn.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

O.k... This is just wrong, and not in a fun way. I cannot really believe that people would feel moved to purchase a cake like that. You are right, cakes are celebratory, not for a memorial...

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

I think it really depends on who it is. I would be concerned if someone close to the tragidy ordered a cake like that, however MJ was a very big star. He had thousands of fans. People who aren't close to him but love him in a different manner. If these kind of people want to stuff their faces full of badly decorated ccc and sit and watch old music video's and remember the 80's I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Of the too soon questions dealing with his death I think there'd be other things to look at a little worse than cake. (Like the custody battle that started hours after his death I mean give the kids some time you know.)

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterXarian87

A little too Soylent Green for my taste

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPriscilla

I vote for morbid capitalistic ploy.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDarla

I think this opens that whole "eating someone's face" thing again - like the edible baby. Ew. And that dash placement is... strategic?

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSkye

The answer to the question posed is likely: a little bit of both. I'm not yet such a hard-boiled cynic that I see dastardly (god, I love that word) capitalist motives in everything, so I'm willing to believe that some of these cakes were made in a legitimately commemorative spirit, albeit poorly. There are a lot of people who are heartbroken right now, so the benefit of the doubt comes into play in my assessment of these cakes. Is it possible that they were made because someone *knows* that the public will scarf up anything Jackson related (do I have to remind all of you what happened after Princess Diana died...let's hope this doesn't result in the creation of a "Thriller" Beanie Baby tm)? Why certainly...but my gut is telling me to err on the side of common humanity...and not to eat any of these cakes.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTheWickedGingersnap

I vote for morbid capitalistic ploy... I agree with you that cake seems to be a "celebration" food. (Weddings, birthdays, baby showers, etc.) I honestly have NEVER seen a cake at a funeral.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJane

i think what i find the most morbid with these particular cakes is that not only are you eating a cake memorializing him, but the cake has HIM on it. so...basically, you're eating a dead man. and immediately i think of corpse. maybe that's just me, but i don't find that leads to appetizing "MMM CAKE!" thoughts...

and about HOW to eat CCC's. i've been wondering that for a while...with frosting an inch thick, you'd think it'd be a bit difficult.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkaleidoscope.

I assume Ms. Manners would says it's proper to decline the cupcake with the deceased head on it and polite ask for the arm, abdomen or ankle.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott

Shocked, I tell ya, just shocked. Not that these cakes were made, but that it took them 24 HOURS to do it! On a side note, the major motion picture of MJ's life opens this Wednesday.

Can you picture a group of people tearing into these? "I want Michael's head!" "I want Tito's torso!"

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I don't mind eating cake to celebrate someone's life, but IMO it should be a personal thing. Like 'we will always love you, grandma' or something like that. But the whole go to the local grocery store to pick up eggs, milk, bread and, oh yeah, the king of pop is dead lets eat his, no. And the CCC, two, three all tear off a piece of the RIP cake.
Wrong. Just wrong.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjess

Since I cannot in a million years think anoyone would ever specifically ask for an MJ memorial cake, to create them and put them in the case can only represent a desire to profit from tragedy, which is the lowest form of moneygrubbing.

The only counter to this is if the bakery is legitimately responding to a need- meaning, SOMEONE at some point actually requested an MJ memorial cake and therefore they figured someone else might want one too. But I cannot fathom that, so I can only revile them for it.

Plus they're ugly as hell.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Sooooooo tacky!

The cakes, not your blog. :-)

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristy

Wow, that was fast. Not surprising though, considering the local music store sold out of all thing MJ mere HOURS after his death was announced.

I think its weird. I'm not a fan of eating pictures of people in the first place, so eating pictures of dead people just seems wrong.

Someone asked me to make a MJ memorial cake, and I said no. To me it seems like just another excuse for people to eat cake, and not a very nice one.

I COULD understand having some kind of celebration of life thing at some point with cake, on some sort of anniversary or his birthday or something, but right after he dies? It just seems wrong to me. Of course, he was an unusual guy, so maybe he wouldn't care so much.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

This has nothing to do with timing. It's just plain weird to purchase a cake commemorating someone's career as a pop singer who just happens to have recently died. Totally bizarre.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

tacky,bad taste, morbidly greedily capitalistic and
what Scott said above.
OY! seriously bad idea. Talk with your money. Take pictures but don't take the cake!

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarieA

I think morbid capitalist ploy because when I imagine a devoted fan attempting to eat one of these things, all I can see is some poor soul crying all over her plate as she attempts to eat the cheek, hand, hair or whole face of someone she's mourning.
All I can say about these particular wreckorators is that all their taste is in their mouth (and even there, in short supply).

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTwo Hands

Totally tasteless, so to speak.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCheri

I agree; this is way inappropriate.

I have been to funeral repasts where cake was served, but they were plain, homemade cakes, not decorated, bakery-made ones.

My first thought when seeing these wrecks was, "Are people really having 'Michael Jackson is dead' parties?"

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Luxuries

If you care about a comparison of cultures, I live in Argentina, South America, and this website always surprises me (apart from making me laugh) because you are so weird, hahaha. No, I mean, we hardly ever buy/make cakes, I'd say only for birthdays, weddings and those kind of days. Plus, they usually aren't decorated. But you guys bake or buy cakes for EVERYTHING, which is great, mostly, because you get to eat cake.

And then there's this... which makes very little sense.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMilu

Heck, if I saw this at a bakery, I'd leave and boycott. The man was a pedophile, people seem to forget that fact now that he's died. Why would anybody in their right mind celebrate a pedophile?

As for how to separate a CCC...grasp the cupcake by the paper and pull straight up. You may need to slightly tilt the CC toward you to break the icing, but if you pick it up and pull it toward you, you'll lose your icing (which sometimes is not a bad thing)

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Why anyone would waste perfectly good cake and frosting memorializing this freak is beyond me.

On another note, none of this will matter when North Korea blows us off the face of the Earth.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteringraystr

"King of pop"? Seriously? Hey wreckerator, if you're going to capitalize on this event, could you at least use proper capitalization?

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Wrong. There are cakes at funerals, but not with the decedent's picture on them! Eww..

And that dash placement problem? Geez, people! Watch where you point the frosting tip!

~Amy B

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Beyond morbid.

And, as you pointed out, people will do anything to make money.

I also have to admit being concerned about the people who BUY these Wrecks and later consume them... Really.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

I've been to a "celebration of life" instead of a funeral, but it was specifically requested by the deceased (before death). Somehow, I doubt that's the case here.

That dash in the last cake makes me really queasy.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGaladriel

Being seen to be celebrating someone's death with cake and actually celebrating a person's death with cake are two very different things indeed. I certainly wouldn't wish to be caught, but I wouldn't rule out being so delighted at certain people snuffing it that I'd want to enhance the experience with the consumption of tasty cake (which none of these are, clearly).

As for memorialising a person with cake - no. If the best you can do is cake, then I think that it is a case that doing nothing at all is the superior option.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStuart Anderson

Hmmm, your mention of pie at funerals is interesting, and very true. Cake definitely holds a celebratory feeling in America, and this set of Cake Wrecks is such a sad sight. I'm sorry, but I would never buy a cake commemorating the death of a celebrity, period.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteremily

I truly believe that these "creations" are sincere attempts (made by people lacking both good taste and common sense) to memorialize a fallen hero.

That being said, I would never in a million years be caught eating one.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGeri

Yes, it's creepy, but there's historical precedent for almost every creepy thing you can think of. There was a (Welsh? Scottish?) quasi-religious tradition--abandoned long ago, probably--of setting a meal on the displayed corpse of a loved one; and a person was hired to eat this meal as a symbolic way of cleansing the deceased of her/his presumably unconfessed sins. Wow. I'll refrain from making judgmental comments about applications to

There was even an episode of ROD SERLING'S NIGHT GALLERY (featuring Richard "John Boy" Thomas) featuring this more-or-less sickening practice.

Which doesn't make the cakes any less creepy.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterA-not-Ansel

Very bad taste and completely greedy ploy. I mean, can you imagine seeing a cake with a picture of your grandma at her funeral? How morbid.

It's one thing to display a framed picture of someone as a remembrance and have a plain cake, pie, etc. But these are just creepy (subject pictured aside) and too celebratory.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterknitorpurl

My dad died May 21 at about 2.30 in the afternoon. I live out of town and by the time I got home, around 11pm, there were already two cakes, boxes of cookies, and a pie at my Mom's house. Over the next few days, we got three MORE cakes (all but one was Dad's favorite, german chocolate). It was strange, because cake always feels like a celebration food to us, too, but we decided that we weren't going to have a memorial service, we had a life celebration and told jokes and laughed and remembered him as he was and didn't dwell on what he wouldn't be there for. So, I think that cake can be for a funeral, but I agree with everyone else: NOT with a picture of the deceased on it. I think its weird to have a cake with a photo of someone's face period. The icing outlines aren't so bad, but the photo transfer is just creepy and so so wrong.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergrlfromtexastech

yeah, not good.

and i think, yeah, if you want to have some sort of celebration to commemorate your loved one, then you'd want a really GREAT cake, not....those.

and then, Michael Jackson, though maybe strange, presented us always with QUALITY, to be represented to ugly and cheaply, then sliced up--"I want his face!".....

oh boy.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHallie Smith

My dad died May 21 at about 2.30pm and by the time I got home (I live out of town) around 11pm, there were 2 cakes, 2 pies, and several boxes of cookies. We got several more boxes of cookies, 3 more cakes, and a various assortment of sweets over the next few days. Of the five cakes, 4 were German chocolate (Dad's favorite) and only one cake was homemade. So, since we had decided to do a life celebration instead of a memorial, focusing on what he'd been there for instead of what he wouldn't, laughing and telling jokes, cake was appropriate for us. When it comes to pictures of the deceased, that's just hella creepy. It was hard enough seeing Dad's favorite cake there without him to enjoy it, I can't imagine trying to eat it with his face on it. Ew. The icing outlines aren't as creepy, but still. Please don't eat someone's face.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTali

I made a decorated cake this year to commemorate the Ides of March. I may have gone a little overboard by sticking "bloody" knives into it, but everyone loved it. And at 2053 years, I don't think it was really "too soon."

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle Alberti

How macabre! How about a nice rhubarb betty.

Angie (from over at

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHalf Assed Kitchen

I have seen cakes at funeral, though they're usually blank, with little frosting ruffles on the edges, and maybe carrots if it was a carrot cake.... hey maybe if there was an infant funeral one time... that Might explain a certain cake, especially if that infant had strong nihilistic tendencies. As to MJ Cakes, I'm not that surprised to see MJ wrecks on here, I am surprised that those cakes are all new! Or have they just been expecting him to die so long and storing them in deep freeze?

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieT

Tacky, tacky and even more tacky. This country is all about capitalizing on ANYTHING! It's disgusting how everyone just wants to make a buck and will do anything to sell stuff. I am not an MJ fan, I think he is/was quite tacky too, however, I don't think that we need to exploit everything that comes down the pike. A clear and defined line needs to be drawn somewhere.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commentervanfox23

So for a memorial CCC, does R.I.P. mean Rest In Pieces?

And @Donna, I think you're confused about what the word "fact" means... he was acquitted of those charges after all.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJR

Please remember he was proven innocent in a court of law.

These no matter how u look at it are wrong and disrespectful. Shame on the store that let's them be in the case!

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

Wow! It is a shame that so many people have the urge to capitalize on someone else's tragedy. This is just bad taste. But, I am sure there are those out there who are buying them!

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrace246

Most funerals have PIE? I need to go to more funerals!

(I've seen all sorts of food at a shiva, but not at a funeral)

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterReuven

It's not inappropriate. Jackson's body of work is not exactly conducive to a somber atmosphere. It's all right if people remember him in ways that seem strange. He was dedicated to making people dance and have fun.

I guarantee that the bakeries know people will want those cakes.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

@donna: The guy was never convicted of anything. And his accusers were always very shady characters. I think you calling him a "pedophile"(and I'm no fan of them, believe me) is uglier than any of these cakewrecks!

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterReuven

All I have to say is..... I WANT ONE!

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Here's my take on the cakes above - I think they're fine that they were made so quickly -- except that they were not decorated WELL at all. But the idea behind them is fine.

Take a look at this Flickr Blog post:

Fans immediately were getting out and celebrating MJ's career/life by gathering and dancing and having a party. The post here in Cake Wrecks previous to this one even mentioned how people were having parties. So to have a cake with the photo of MJ on it, why not? To say you're eating his face (etc) is silly, c'mon people. It's a photo.

As for having it at a funeral or a wake or even a "celebration of life" event for a loved one - it would really depend on the sensitivity of the family I suppose. My family has been through several really rough deaths and I know that at each one they would have loved to have seen a cake with a photo on it and wouldn't be squeamish at all over it.

The bottom line is that it's just cake, decorated to look like someone or with a nifty edible photo on it. It's not the person - don't put so much into it.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I'm thinking more about the copyright issues with using those images. Also, if the edible image is on a buttercream frosting, it will be absorbed into the frosting. If you are using whipped frosting, it stays thick and nasty.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersnarkygurl

Isn't it Prince of Pop? Not that there is a king out there, but the alliteration is nice.

June 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

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