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

Love is in the Air...

It's wedding season, and the spirit of fairy-tale perfection is in the air. So naturally, I must CRUSH that spirit with tales of wedding cakes gone wrong!! Mwuahahahahah!

[patting hair] Ahem.

What Stacey H. wanted:

Nifty modern texture. I like it.

What Stacey got:

Erm, I'm pretty sure dragging a fork through crusted-over icing doesn't count as a "technique".

Anony Bride wanted a cake with tiers similar to this:

But instead she got tiers like this:

Something about the puffy wobbliness of this cake makes it look like a diaper cake to me - you know, those shower gifts made out of actual diapers? Which probably would have been sturdier, come to think of it: the weight of the wedding topper made this cake start to collapse in on itself.

This was Stephanie S.'s inspiration:

Which resulted in...this:

I'm not sure who gets the blame for the ribbon selection, but that neon teal "scroll work" combined with the black icing border is sufficiently Wrecky on its own.

And lastly, Vanessa wanted a single layer version of her wedding cake for her one-year anniversary. Here's her wedding cake:

Oooh, preeeetty.

And here's what she got for her anniversary cake:

Oooh, pretty.

Ah, the mismatched whites, the battle-scarred frosting, the ponderous folds of flabby fondant! Who else is inspired to throw a toga party?

- Related Wreckage: Wedding Wrecks

« Early Detection is Key | Main | Copyright Unfringement »

Reader Comments (203)

These always make me a little sad because you only get one wedding. Birthday cakes are fine because it's not a huge deal, but wedding cake wrecks hurt a little. And now I can't stop chanting "Toga, toga, toga!" in my head. Thanks, Jen.

Sorry brides; but this is what happens when you take a design meant for fondant and try to replicate it in buttercream...

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWild Cakes

Ahhhh - thanks for stirring the memory pot, Jen....To-ga, To-ga. Cheers to John Belushi.

How much a part of each wreck was caused by the switch to buttercream from the fondant inspiration?

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle P

That last one is horrible, just horrible!

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

When will the wreakreators realize that tiers means *tiers* not tears?

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShinnewn On-line

When the person decorating the cakes compares the example and the actual cake side by side, what do you suppose they are thinking? Am I missing something here????

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa

Not that it's NOT a wreck, but what's up with wanting the swathed cake (Vanessa's) in only one layer? Seems to me it was destined to remove the dramatic effect of the draping.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRian

After reading your blog every day for the last few months, I'm amazed that any of these "bakers" expect to be paid for this crap.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Greggs

Wedding cakes gone wrong are my favorites, because you know people are really counting on those. Wrecks make for a more interesting memory, anyway.

Those first two cakes made me crack up . . . the "What Stacey H wanted" picture looks like new rolls of toilet paper, and the What "Stacey H got" looks like what happens to my toilet paper rolls when the inevitable something springs a leak and they get soggy. Both are just delightful toilet papery wreckiness, even though I know you didn't mean the first to be posted as a wreck. :)

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNick

Ah yes, a bargain hunting we will go, a bargain hunting we will go...hi ho the dairy-o, a bargain hunting we will go.

Sorry to keep you on hold, to reach a real cake decorator dial 1, actually, skip that, to reach one that will have no clue what you are talking about, dial 2, to say "what the heck, I have money to flush and need something good to complain about on my wedding day", dial 3. An operator will be with you shortly....

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

Oh and, Please have your credit card card ready :D

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

Do these brides NOT look at the work the baker has done before?? Who are these people? I cant believe they are actually #1 still living, and #2 still selling cakes!!!
I have to go lie down, this was too much!


July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterROYALTY

It looks like in the first two they ask for a translation from fondant to buttercreme. And while still a wreck, switching over is usually asking for a mistake at your average cakery.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Am I the only one that thinks the first cake, even the non-wrecky one, looks like a stack of toilet paper rolls (descending from house-hold to industrial size)?

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJust A Midwife

I have a feeling "ponderous folds of flabby fondant" is going to haunt me the rest of the day!!!

This makes me oh so happy that my wedding cake actually looked like the picture. These are scary! I will never look at ribbon & frosting the same way again!

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

These poor brides! I just got married myself and was lucky to get exactly what I gave to the decorator. Even if it did turn out wrecktastic, we probably still would have gobbled it down. Cake = awesome.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHorribleLicensePlates

So for that first cake, what the person *wanted* was a stack of toilet paper?

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGaladriel

I just don't get how they messed up the second one! I have limited decorating experience (basically watching my mom, who took the Wilton classes and did some cakes on the side), but I'm pretty sure *I* could accomplish a better looking cake that more closely resembles the original!

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

This is why I'm making my own wedding cake.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarcasm397

It looks like the bride and groom toppers are getting ready to jump off the one cake, they hate it so much.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDan Lewis

I actually don't mind the last one; it seems to be the "best" out of the bunch. At least you can see that the baker at least TRIED. I think anyway.

The first two . . *shakes head*

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I kinda like the topper on cake #3. Too bad the rest of it was a wreck.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMilton

OMG! If any one of these cakes showed up at my wedding I would not only demand my money back, but the baker would be wearing it on their way back out to the car.

I feel sorry for the brides
_Max Martin

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMax

I love these types of posts, but I have to rant about the last one. For one thing, I can imagine that it would be really difficult to pull off making fondant look like a draped length of fabric. For another, the effect only works if you have multiple tiers like in the sample picture. How the heck are you going to pull off the drapey fabric look on one tier in a way that people will get that it is supposed to be drapey fabric? Am I making any sense here? Boo to the bride for requesting such a thing and boo to the baker who consented to it.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStraw

I also had wanted something similar to what Stephanie S. did for my wedding cake - only all in white, and without the ribbon. A friend of the family, who does work as a professional cake decorator, was hired to make it. It was delivered to the reception hall and I didn't see it until we arrived after the wedding. She had decided that my request was too plain and had "jazzed it up" for me. "Jazzing it up" equated to pulling every pick of white flowers out of her drawer of antiques and shoving them into the sides of the tiers. It was horrible. But I wasn't allowed to say anything because she was a friend of the family. I'm wondering if some of the other brides weren't in similar situations.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHai Dee

Okay, I'm curious as to why the first cakes have the same initials on the disc. Are the same people getting married again and decided they liked the first cake but didn't want to pay the same price the second time around?

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

17 yrs ago, because I was young and stupid and broke, we ordered our wedding cake from an Albertson's bakery. And can I tell you? It turned out exactly like I wanted it, fantastic detail, colors exact, and the taste was superb. And it only cost about a hundred bucks.

Of course, I did have a Precious Moments wedding topper, which that fact alone can make a cake a wreck. (please refer to young, stupid, and broke above.)

my word verification is "winseyed", which is what I think some of these wreckerators had to be to produce that they not have properly working eyes?

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMissie

These "what they wanted" posts are my 6 year old son's absolute favorites. I called him over from his video game (yes, he abandoned video games to come see). So sorry to those people that have to experience the wreck to give us a bit of joy!

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterapril

The third cake is not a wreck. Add two more tiers and put it on a candlelit table photographed at a distance, and you've got the original "inspiration" cake. If the bride was disappointed, she should be kicking herself for asking for a design that should not be used on just one tier.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Well, I don't blame the baker for the last one. She wanted a 1-tier cake for a cake meant to have several tiers. What was it SUPPOSED to look like?

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

that first one looks suspiciously like it was decorated by the guys who artexed my ceiling...

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

What's peaking out from under that toga? are those toes? sweet sugar it looks like toes.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergrimperspective

Ew! The scrollwork one had the support plates sticking out?!?!?! Don't you know the meaning of professional?

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllison Harris

the last one made me say "less is more less is more!" Oh these poor brides! I'm so glad the lady who made my cake said I cannot do fondant, that way I could pick out something non fondant.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChrista

I can't help but wonder how much of this might be the bride's fault. Did they request or acknowledge that buttercream frosting was going to be used instead of fondant? Seems like one of those things you make clear right at the start as the contract is being made.

And the last one isn't horrible considering what the bride requested. I don't think there's many ways that could have looked good as a 1-tier cake.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

These posts used to make me laugh...until my wedding day when I got wreckage of EPIC proportions.

Sometimes in spite of doing everything right-it still all ends up wrong.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca Welch

I think that first one was done with dental floss. Which is probably still in the cake somewhere.

Angie (from over at

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHalf Assed Kitchen

lol hehe that last one looks like the marshmallow man from ghostbusters!!!!

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVicki

Wow... Depressing

Raychel -

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRaychel

@Missie, I was not young or stupid and ordered my wedding cake from Publix. It was beautiful and delicious. I have no interest in wasting money on overpriced boutique cakes that taste like cardboard.
It can be a succes if you assure your grocery has a real baker.

Anyhoo, I agree with the others, the last one is a wreck only because the request was stupid and cheap.
That cake won't work in one layer. Bad request, not-bad implementation.


July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The biggest problem I see with these is the same problem I had with my cake. The cake I was inspired by was rolled fondant, but I wanted buttercream because it tastes better! Whoops.

Still definitely wrecky!!!

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Hobbs

These posts are always my favorites! :) It makes me happy that I chose my wedding cake design from the book of designs provided by the bakery! Maybe not the most original, but at least it was safe!

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

To be fair, that last one isn't far off. It's not a design that lends itself to a single tier.

As for the rest, let us all remember the Wreckerator's Code: Any Blue Will Do!

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFlartus

Oh man, it's not hard. Go to a bridal show. Or go to a cake tasting event at the bakery. or just freaking GO to the bakery once, ever, before ordering from them.

I don't feel that bad for these people (well I do cause it's their wedding day). But if you want a really pretty fondant-looking cake but want to eat something that tastes good, get one of those fake display cakes that you fake cut and then they take it away and bring everyone pieces of a cut up sheet cake.

Yes, that is a thing that exists.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChrysee

This what happens when people go to grocery chains for wedding cakes.
As a former production baker/decorator who had pride in his work, I will tell you that many "bakeries" are both understaffed and untrained. Cakes often get about 30 mins or so in total. That is it.
Most work with premade "bettercreme" or "buttrcreme" or some other variant spelling; sometimes it comes in pre-colored... ugh. nasty stuff.

simply put, most of these production bakeries are completely unable to balance the demands vs the limitations.

I personally once refused a wedding cake order from a regular customer - three times. Only to come in one day to find it waiting on the cork board. Mind you we had no tiers, no fondant, etc... and only myself for 7 hours. This plus all the regular work to do = no cake. I hung up my apron not long after.

I see these cakes not so much as wrecks, but proof of a wrecked system.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDohmnaill

The ironic thing with AnonyBride's cake is that it would have been a lot easier to, say, MAKE THE CAKE LIKE THE PICTURE than to mix, spread, and pipe all the buttercream. I would rather smooth fondant until the cows came home than try to replicate it with buttercream.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterraspberry wench

Ohhhh, those poor brides....

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

I have a question from a non-cake decorator: Why would you switch from fondant to buttercream? What is the advantage? Also: Is fondant really inedible? If so, how are cakes served that are covered in it?

I have seen these comments many times on this blog, and I think I would understand/appreciate this blog all the more if I understood this. (And I can't be the only one wondering.)

Thanks in advance...

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterblueiguana

I agree with commenter Nick that the first non-wreck cake looks likea stack of toilet paper. I thought the same thing and at first thought it was meant to be the wreck, until I saw the actual wreck that looks like toilet paper after the cat has attacked it.

I can't even imagine what kind of moron looks at their creation, compares it to the photo supplied and stares at it with satisfaction. How embarrasing.

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter:::b r a n d i:::

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