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

Well, I'm Stumped

There is a tradition of making wedding cakes that look like tree stumps. Why? Beats me. And since many of them have little shotgun shells decoratively sprinkled around the edges, I'll let one of you ask.

Here's an example of a stump wedding cake, and also what bride Zsofia asked her baker to make for her wedding:

As you can see, it is remarkably stumpy. Now, again, you may be questioning the reasoning behind celebrating a new life of love together with a murdered tree. To this I say: It's not like it's a real tree, so let it go already. Besides, that's not the point.

So what IS the point?

The point, my dear Wreckies, is that Zsofia got THIS for her wedding cake:

See? Betcha don't give a poo-streaked muck pile why people order stump cakes now. Now you just want a better view of this poo-streaked muck pile.

Happy to oblige, my friends, happy to oblige:

This is a wedding cake, people. A wedding cake. For somebody's wedding. Which people were expected to eat. With their mouths.

Now don't get me wrong: the green shredded coconut adds a festive touch to those 15 cent cardboard rounds, and the fake bird is totally workin' it. Still, the bride suspects (and from this photo, I think with good reason) that the cake may have fallen over a few times en route, since in addition to looking - well, like this - it was an hour late to the reception.

Happily, though, Zsofia reports that by the time the cake arrived most of the guests were too drunk to care what the cake looked like, anyway.

[sniffle] Aw, I just love happy endings, don't you?

- Related Wreckage: Inspiration vs Perspiration

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Reader Comments (181)

(staring in open mouthed horror)

What. Is. That????


Kelli F.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I truly am STUMPED! Was the decorator able to CARVE out an excuse after the bride tore a strip off her and BARKed at her about the ROTTEN to the CORE job she did. I WOODEN't have wanted to have been her. I bet the bride was really BUGGED and the decorator wasn't very POPLAR after that. And how about those mushrooms? I bet the groom wasn't much of a FUNGI after he saw the cake either. He probably felt like a real SAP for paying for it. Still they WOOD have each other and the NUTTY memories!

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

I wonder if the bride presented the baker with a photo of the original fondant cake and asked it to be done in buttercream. Not saying that excuses the way the final cake LOOKS...but you can lose a LOT in translation when you go from fondant to buttercream.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdottie park

That's just sad. I don't know what I would do if that were my cake. Throw up, maybe?

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlaura

And what's in that box to the right, with all the wildlife on it? It looks more like the top of the original cake.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdottie park

I think the tree-stump cake has a lot to do with the romantic history of carving one's initials and the initials of one's beloved into a tree.

And it's easier to realize a stump in sugar and frosting than it is to realize an entire tree.

Still, that cake is a total fail. Wow. I hope she got her money back!

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

That is truly one of the most tragic things I've ever seen. Yea to being too drunk to care!

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwaterhouse96

Why are we not mentioning the cardboard in the middle of the cake? Is that standard practice? Seems like it would make it super difficult to cut.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbourbonmama

True wrecky hideousness.

It had to have been late because they were just too dang embarrassed to bring it. Maybe the whole "wait 'til they're drunk" thing is the plan they have every time a cake comes out looking, well..crappy.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDorci

That cake was hideous! I wasn't particularly fond of what she asked for, except for the adorable little toadstools on the top. How cute were those?

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

Did anyone else notice the cardboard sandwiched between the top two layers? Extra fiber, perhaps? Yikes.
WV: Nuburr- the guests reaction upon seeing this cake.
Carrie B.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The Giving Tree, maybe?

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I hope they didn't charge her for this wreck.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeAnn

Somebody get an ax! QUICK!

WV: breasp... not touchin' it...

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentereilbeback

I don't know what you all are complaining about. At first glance, I actually thought it was the same picture twice. They're virtually identical. OK, off to my cataract surgery. . . .


July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMMCQuarterback

There's cardboard IN the cake! In between the top two layers! Gross!

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

How sad! I thought the bird was a snail... That really grossed me out. I'm glad it's really a bird tho.

Love your blog! Thanks!

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCamille and Luke

That bird is "workin' it" and so are the butterflies, but no amount of woodland animal effort could save that pile of brown-food-coloring-painted fondant. Oh, that is so sad.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRunning 365

WHAAAAAATTTT????? I cannot EVEN believe a baker would present that to a bride on her wedding day! I think I'd have thrown it him, and demanded a refund! A plain white sheet cake from the nearest grocery would have been better than THAT! Ugh.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

That is deeply disturbing.

I honestly thought the sample cake was going to be the wreck, but to imagine someone giving you that pile of crap FOR YOUR WEDDING?

It may trump the plaid cake.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterchelsea

I tried to find the meaning of tree stump cakes online, but all I found is that they are more common than one would think. I mean really, it has to mean something other than the destruction of natural living things, because that's tacky for a wedding...

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBonniejean

As to the great question of Why Stumps?

One word - loggers.

More words - around here, deep in the South, there are stump tombstones. Let that sink in for a bit. Stump. Tombstones.

I can get a picture if you like

John H.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Hill

"This is a wedding cake, people. A wedding cake. For somebody's wedding. Which people were expected to eat. With their mouths."

Laughing out loud this morning thanks to your caption.

Thank you!

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Yes Jen noticed the "15 cent cardboard rounds", Read the commentary people!

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

Can we talk about the butterflies? For one thing, how did the single, elegant butterfly on the example turn into a plethora of butterflies swarming like bees around the pile of poo. And I am not positive, but I believe that the single butterfly was not a dimestore plant stick, attached to the cake with a not entirely hygenic piece of wire.

WV: suksal - Wow, that cakes suksal the big one.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessi

This could be my favorite wedding wreck, although I must admit that it'd hard to choose just one.

Yeah. These posts are always my faves: what I ordered vs. what I got. I know I shouldn't laugh at the expense of others, but DANG...

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDangGina

I looks like meat.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRoses

That cake looks more like a rolled rump roast than a tree strump. One that was rolled in the dirt to boot.

wv: porken -- or maybe a rolled pork roast?

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDelibird


July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMs Avery

I have to be honest- both cakes are pretty wrecktastic, all things considered.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChel

Having witnessed the recreation of a wedding cake that hit the floor before hitting the table, I believe this cake may have gone through the same process. One giveaway on the cake I personally saw was the carpet fibers embedded in the icing. I zoomed this photo in and I think I see similar evidence. (Click on the photo to zoom in). I hope the bride was also sufficiently soused!

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Holy mother of god. That is not a stump. That is not a tree.

And the fact that the cardboard is actually in the cake AND in plain view? And an hour late? Holy cow.

That better be a free cake. That and get the cake decorator fired.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy C

WOW...I seriously hope they didn't have to pay for that.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteri {heart} papers

It doesn't excuse not covering the edges of the cardboard rounds with frosting, but I assume they were between the layers because the layers would later be separated before the cake was cut up and served.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I think the wreck is awesome....if you ordered a 'cake that looks like roast beef'. really, i'm sure the baker just got the orders mixed up. *gag*

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Up there with my favourite cakewrecks, the commentary had me sniggering like an idiot.

"...with their mouths..."

You are a legend :-)

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTracey

I hope they didn't try to make her *pay* for that horror...

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersleepsong

stump tombstones are from a company called Woodmen of the World. so that should make some sense. My grandaddy has one. rather nice actually. Not hot for a cake though. Ugh.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

I wonder if the stump cakes have anything to do with the book "The Giving Tree". I've always thought that it was the perfect expression of a parent/child relationship, where the tree constantly gives and the child constantly takes, only for the child to eventually realize what has been taken, and yet, the tree still gives. However, I guess you could look at it as you both are constantly giving, like the tree does, in a marriage. Or someone just liked the romance of the initial carving in the tree (which the boy does in the book as well).

That said, that cake sucks.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter*~*Zann*~*

At least they didn't try to recreate the toadstools on top. I can only imagine what (how inappropriate) those would've come out like.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMzHartz

I think this is truly the worst cake wreck yet. How horrible. Please, Zsofia, we need to know more backstory! What happened next??

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCurlyMarie

The guests were too drunk to care? Maybe the baker was drunk, too, WHILE making the cake! The only explanation of tree stump wedding cakes I could find were references to it being "traditional." As others have said, maybe it relates to carving initials in a tree, or maybe it has to do with getting married under a special tree? I really hope that cake was free. Even then, I'd send someone to the grocery for cupcakes.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think the tree stump cakes are meant to represent enduring love. Just like carving your names in a heart on the side of a tree. It's meant to be there "forever"....Or I guess as long as the tree doesn't get struck by lightning :D

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

My favorite part is that you can see the cardboard rounds under each layer. Nothing says "tasty" like "cardboard layers". Nom nom nom.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLandry

Oh My God! I would be so pissed off if that was my cake. I was actually a cake nazi for my wedding. I was super picky about the cake and getting exactly what I wanted. I would have DIED if my cake would have turned out like that. Ouchie..

btw: my word verification word is it just me or does that sound like a curse word?

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Georgio-who

You see poo streaks; I see barbecue sauce.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdeckardcanine

I'm a little disappointed you didn't mention the lovely cardboard sticking out from the top tier. Wow, even I could do this.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor

@ Anonymous,

Holy smoke you're right...there's a HAIR stuck to the side; you can see it in the zoom shot.

A (vomit) curly, WIRY hair.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Reading this blog, I think there is a lesson to be learned: stick with the styles that you find in your local baker's portfolio. If you want something unusual, be prepared to pay extra for someone who knows what they're doing.

I'm wondering if too many people are watching that "Ace of Cakes" and thinking that all bakers can do that sort of stuff?


July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKait

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