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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

She Turned In Her Own MOTHER

Sometimes the best part about your Wreck submissions isn't the photo, but the e-mail that came with it. Today's Wreck is aces on both counts. So allow me to allow Sarah L. to give you the intro.

"This wedding cake was made by my mom (who you can see having a nervous breakdown in one of the pictures) for her brother's wedding. Yes, she's my mom, but she IS a professional pastry chef. She went to culinary school, works at the Ritz Carlton, and her brother paid her for her services. (She's made several wedding cakes for $$ since then that turned out much better...I SWEAR.)"

You'll understand why Sarah was so adamant about her mom doing better work in just a moment.

In fact, I'd say all will be made clear right...about....

Hi, Sarah's mom!
Say, you DO kind of look like you're having a nervous breakdown. Perhaps if you sprinkled a little more powdered sugar?

To be fair, Sarah offers the following explanation:

"The wedding took place during August in Dallas, and I think the biggest lesson here is humidity and fondant DO NOT mix. The cake was essentially "sweating," and as it melted, it began to lean."

And yet, bravely, (some might say suicidally so) Sarah's mom battled onward:

Ah, that's better. The writing really helps camouflage all bits. Don't you agree, Sarah?

" ended up looking like it was constructed by an over-caffeinated toddler with poor spatial awareness."

Whoah, whoah, whoah! An over-caffeinated toddler with poor spatial awareness? Really? C'mon, maybe if she just added a few flowers...


So I know the readers are dying to know, Sarah: what was the final verdict?

"It was made with love, and it tasted great, but...I thought the bride was gonna have an anxiety attack."

You mean she didn't have an anxiety attack? Aw, now that's a couple that's gonna go the distance, right there.

Well, I think we've all learned some valuable lessons today. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to dig up some embarrassing pictures of my mom during Band Camp; this mom stuff is comedy GOLD.

Oh, and Sarah? Better go with the premium bouquet this Mother's Day. With chocolates. And a few diamond necklaces. Delivered ahead of time. By someone else.

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Reader Comments (131)

I can't decide if I feel worse for the mom or the bride!

Oh the internal conflict Sarah must have been fighting, "turn in mom, or show off this horribly hilarious, yet delicious wreck?"

Nice choice Sarah.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStacie

Hey, if it was made with love and tasted great, the rest is icing on the cake. May the bride, groom, guests, and especially Sarah's mom be able to laugh about this for decades!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

august in dallas. i think that excuses all and the bride should be gratful for the herculean effort! sinking ship, papercup, same idea.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercath c

Way to start off the Mother-In-Law/Daughter-In-Law relationship- they're destined to be besties for life!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

This is the best story ever. I've made a wedding cake in Dallas in July and it ain't easy.. props to the mom for hanging in there, but seriously, that looked awful.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGina

Having lived in the South West in August I would have gone with serving popsicles instead of cake.

Also- the colour is pretty and the bow is cute but yeah..humidity is not kind.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergreeblygreebly

Dallas in August?
It isn't the humidity, it's the heat.

(Believe me; I'm from Dallas.)

... But hey, these things happen. Way to not give up, Sarah's Mom!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary

Poor Mom. A least it was made with love. My wedding cake was beautiful, but it turned out that the baker was rude at the reception. She was a "friend of the family" and so her and her husband were invited to the wedding. The two of them standing in the middle of the reception with big frowns on their face, waiting to get paid, is a vision I will regretfully always remember and never forgive them for. I would much rather have a heat induced wreck, than get a cake from someone who is a wreck.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You could see how it could have had potential to be a good cake! Too funny about the daughter turning in the mom, though!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Sarah's Mom, we need to see some pictures of your good cakes to redeem your reputations!

WOAH... Im glad I wasnt the bride.. I'd hate to have been arrested on my wedding day...

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel

Next time, just cover in Blue Bell ice cream.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermagda

Oh, poor Mom! At least she tried, unlike some of the other wreckerators featured here.

Yeah, Dallas in August will leave everything as a hot mess. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the (female) guests' hair and make-up (and, since this was in TX, there was some serious hair and make-up going on) resembled this cake by the end of the reception.
But it could be worse: it could have been Houston in August. Now THAT's humidity.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

OMG this is so funny! Thanks for the laugh!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEryn

I have the same tendency to follow something disasterous through to the end. Sitting on the other side of the wreck it's easy for me to say You should have just started over! A plain white, buttercream tier cake would have been way better, and would have taken just as long to create as it did to write all that stuff and add horrid beads and flowers. Stop, think, re-evaluate!

But, I'm likely to do as the Sue's mom did and plunge ahead wildly hoping it all works out. So I'm not condemning, just offering constructive comments.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCookieMonster

Her mom should be featured on a future Sunday Sweets!!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhollandk

I realise this is probably going to be a very weird-sounding comment...

..,but that is the most adorable wreck ever! It's so squishable!!

Of course, technically, I don't think cake is supposed to be squishable...

Still, I kinda just want to hug it.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Poor mom, you can tell she was trying but that cake was doomed thanks to humidity.

On the other hand the family has a great story to talk about at the family reunions, and to tell the grandkids when they're old enough to marry.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Black Dog

I've been there with the melting fondant, and it's so frustrating!! Despite all of your best efforts, it just keeps sliding down the side of the cake. The best you can hope for is that the client wanted a landslide cake...cause that's what they're getting!

As bas as I feel for the bride, I feel worse for Sarah's mom! Poor thing! She must have felt mortified and like she was letting them down! I'm glad it was still tasty and everyone seems to be able to laugh about it now!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBakingdom

The writing was what made me loose it. The last picture is the best, where you can see that she really tried to cram in as much as she could. The last few letters of "timeless" are slipping off!

Thanks for sharing Sarah.
Hope this brings your family closer together!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkelly dwyer

those poor ladies...the decorator and the bride.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Oh dear. Thank you for sharing your family's sugar-filled funny, and I hope the bride and mum-in-law have become friends!

I'm sure every baker out there has wrecked a few... this one was wrecking in style, though!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Oh Man! Turning mom in so close to Mother's Day is especially harsh. Hope mom has a goo sense of humor about it. Got to give mom credit for toughing it out and finishing the cake. Once the cake started melting I probably would said "Oh, screw it!" and given up.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterReading Rachel

Love that Sarah turned in her Mum-- and just before Mothers Day, too!

However, her mother deserved it. Doesn't she have A/C so as to prevent these disasters while baking & decorating? Even a cheap window unit would have helped. And there must be tricks and techniques that professionals have developed over time, since I doubt this was the first wedding cake to ever have been put together for a summer wedding in Dallas

Glad everyone's laughing about it now. And that it tasted better than it looked!!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAliza

Sarah's Mom is one heck of a trooper! By the time I got to the last photo and saw the top tier heading downtown I was laughing hysterically.
Never give up! Never Surrender!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSiouxzr

Well, I think it could be said that the family that wrecks together, stays together! =D

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterladyrazorsharp

I'm with the other posters that Sarah's mom needs to be on Sunday's Sweets since this was such a brutally honest expose of delightfully persistent wreckitude!

Could have been worse: what if it was an ice cream cake?

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Poor Moms! And to have her daughter publicly humiliate her like this...well, all I can say is Happy Mother's Day-and some empathy too..we've all been there-humidity is a cake-killer every time, but that's what chopsticks are for...that's what I did during an immininent collapse and it worked great...until cake cutting time-wehn it just didn't matter any more...

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermizdarlin

Oh, it's just a beautiful metaphor wedding cake... about how two (or, in this case three...layers) become one!
Someone, give me a hankie.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterregina in oz

Excellent storytelling! Got me in the frame of my own family. I know if I'd had a cake meltdown like that, my brother would appreciate it even more. You know. Future sibling torment material.

Oh, yeah, and Sarah, you owe your mom a new springform pan and/or refreshed sprinkle stock.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermsyendor

Awwwwwwwwwwe I think she did her best. But having the wedding in the dead of the sweaty summer? I live in AZ and even I knew to make sure to have my wedding in the spring to avoid the heat waves.

And good idea HollandK. Sarahs moms good cakes should be shown on Sunday Sweets to balance things out.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGoof

oh what an adorable catastrophe! Sarah's mom I sure hope you kept your sense of humor. Your cake is a superstar!

That's the thing about weddings. Expectations are always so high, so much money gets spent, every last detail gets over-hammered. There's always so much stress trying to have the perfect day, that sometimes the whole idea of having a wedding gets lost. I think it's wonderful when little wrenches get tossed in the machine, like a tiny symbolic storm the couple and their family will weather together. Love and joy will prevail - even in the face of sagging fondant!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle S.

A Titanic like cake in the end.
The Mom did a heroic, if doomed job.

I tip my hat and bow low.


May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

This is classic! I thought the first picture was bad enough, but I was so excited/embarrassed when it kept getting worse with each picture! I love it!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

Reading Rachel said...
"....Hope mom has a goo sense of humor about it."

Seriously...was that a typo? Ooooor NOT. heehee

My take on all of this?
Well..ever the optimist, I'm picturing being *in* the room in that last picture, gazing out of the window (with my back to the cake), thinking, "Oh, WHAT a GLORIOUS day for a wedding...!"

(And then..."What was that 'thudding' sound?")

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

it looks like cellulite . haha

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelli

I hope the mom-in-law and bride were able to laugh about it. Somethings are just not that important!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUtahRoetkers

I wish more cake wrecks had a series of photos showing how they came to be. There are just too many that can't claim Texas heat as a good reason for being.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjj

When I was in my 20's, I worked for a big fancy catering company. We didn't cover cakes with fondant, but we did use sheets of marzipan sometimes. We were doing a wedding in the Sonoma wine country on a very hot day that had a tiered cake and while I was in the kitchen I heard that tumbling thumping sound you never want to hear from the dining room, especially if there's a cake around. The marzipan prevented a complete disaster, but I did have to raid the garden for *lots* of flowers to camouflage the problems. The bride and groom cut one slice then we lifted the whole cake on its tray and took it to the kitchen to cut up. No one ever complained or asked for money back, and I didn't see those telltale whispers behind hands while they were cutting, so perhaps it wasn't that noticeable. Or maybe I'm just was a long time ago.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Yet more evidence that fondant is evil. Disgusting and evil.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

This is the best! Thanks for sharing that, Sarah.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hmm... I know (as a cake decorator myself) that cakes can be fussy in different humidity levels - BUT from the looks of it I would say Mom just needs some more lessons in working with fondant. :-/

I get the whole "pastry chef" thing at the Ritz obviously makes her talented (with pastries) but I definitely would have to say - you need some practice on your fondant before accepting wedding cake orders! Even if it is just family.

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

I can totally sympathize with everyone involved. We got married at Disney World in mid-September. Turns out it pretty hot down there at that time. Everything was outside. I have no idea how long the cake had been outside before the ceremony. But by the time we cut the cake there was no hiding the fondant bubble or the fact the it was sweating so much it was shining. We even had to rush thru the first dance to make sure it didn't melt completely :)

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

So the bride and her new sister and law..Do they still speak? I mean really? Was this the grooms cake or the sure 'nuff wedding cake? I don't think I would have doe that to anyone, let alone my future sister -in-law. wow!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think Sarah now owes it to her mom to submit one of her successful cakes to Sunday Sweets. :)

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMinerva

OMG.... it's not terrible, but for a wedding??? I feel bad for the bride, I hope she took this in good spirits. I can't believe that as a professional, Mom didn't relize that humidity and fondant are a NO NO! LOL Oh, well live and learn

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

OMG! Great story. hahahahaha

I feel a little concerned about my mental state that I actually don't think the last pic looks that bad. It certainly isn't a "traditional" elegant wedding cake in its actual manifestation (though I can see where it would have been very nice if it came out as envisioned), but it has that kind of manic, surreal Alice-in-Wonderland look going for it, purposeful or not. :) I also LOVE the gold decorations. There, I said it. :)

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterspacedcowgirl

I kinda like it - it reminds me of a what a cartoon cake would look like. The blue is so soothing too LOL

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

What a shame! It should've been an amazing cake...stupid humidity! I hope someday this mom gets included in the Sunday Sweets!

May 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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