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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

Who You Callin' 'Pro'?

You all know I only feature professionally made Wrecks here on CW. The irony, of course, is that I mistake pro for amateur way more often than the other way around! Heh. So anyway, while I've been told that today's Wrecks are indeed made by real, honest-to-goodness, got-paid-for-their-efforts cake decorators, part of me still refuses to believe it.

I'm still posting them, though, because they're all wedding cakes. Served at people's actual weddings. And even if one was actually made by Aunt Mildred who calls herself a pro but really isn't, I think the world deserves to see this cautionary tale.

Plus, it's kinda funny.

Whew, thank goodness for fresh flowers! Too bad they didn't have enough to hide the fact that the cake is being served on a giant dry-erase board, though.

I also like the gentle placement of the topper. That took "finesse."

Apparently this was taken during The Great Icing Shortage of '73 - back when grooms were stayin' alive with their groovy butterfly collars and the bridesmaids wore Frigidaire green. Looks like they ran out of flowers here too, though, and raided the fruit bowl instead.

Hey, "Love to Highway", right? And getting married doesn't mean the groom has to give up his matchbox cars, right?

And now, a haiku for you, wedding cake:

red bleeding ribbon
did the cake get in a fight?
lumpy icing tiers

And finally, before I show you this last Wreck, I feel I should reiterate that the bride herself *assured* me she paid actual money to an actual professional to make it. Honest. Really.

Now, in the baker's defense, I'm told the insides of all the cake tiers were raw.

How is that a defense, you ask?

Well, um...

Oh! Imagine how hard it must've been to stack all those raw cake tiers! Eh? Yeah, I like to look on the sunny side of things. Which is good, because this cake is so sunny I think I can hear my retinas sizzling.

Hey, Grace C., Tony M., Anony M., Anony #2., & Anita R., "sizzling retinas" would be a terrible band name. Really. Just awful.

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Reader Comments (129)

While I personally wouldn't want it for a wedding cake, I imagine the "Love to Highway" cake was exactly what the bride and groom ordered. They probably loved it.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I feel so bad for the bride of the yellow cake! I remember walking into my wedding reception to find my cake was bright, neon yellow! It was heart breaking then, but funny now.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think "love to highway" has the potential to become the next "happy Falker Satherhood"!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNYCGirl

I really thought that last one was supposed to be a radioactive volcano.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheri

So, what I get from this, is I can take actual money from people and then let my 8 year old break out her Easy Bake Oven and that makes me professional? SCORE! Extra income for a stay at home mom and something to keep the kid busy!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertjbmurph

That top one looks a bit like what happened to my box of Crayolas when I left them in the back window of the car in July of '72......

And the one with the toy cars.... uh, frosting the color and apparent texture of boogers is not really MY pick for frosting on any cake, let alone a wedding cake.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA Paperback Writer

1. Lumpy pillows? Icing is cracked too.

2. No icing on a cake? Naked cake = unappetizing.

3. Highway to Love. Notice the groom figurine trying to escape? Probably from the wrecky cake.

5. Beehive? That's just WRONG!

Sharon's Edible Art

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSharon


July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

The second was for a health nut's wedding. I hope.

WV: hirstiki -- She put hirstiki fingers in the cake.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClassic Steve

I hope nobody got salmonella from the raw cake.

But given how unappetizing it looks from the outside, I'm thinking nobody wanted any. So I guess it was a favor from the decorator to warn off people.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermeep

What's a Highwab?

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWolvie Girl retinas sizzling. Good one. LOL. Gotta admit those "pro" cakes were pretty bad. I'd be asking for some money back, especially on the electric yellow neon Barbie bride cake.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStella

On the last one, I would love to see the example photo the bride showed the baker!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

OMG! These cakes will haunt me in my nightmares! They are truly wrecktastic!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenniffer


July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKirstan

First time commenter here! These wedding wrecks are REALLY scaring daughter, and fiance's, big day is next month. I can only imagine the nightmares I'm going to start having after seeing these, 'ahem..."professional" displays.
Anyway, back to the individual wrecks; perhaps the "Love To Highway" baker is dyslexic, and the saying is actually supposed to read, "Highway To Love"? As for that yellow last one, it reminds me of a huge beehive. I expect a swarm of African Killer Bees to come swarming out of the top any second now!
Thanks for the great laughs this morning. Gotta go...I think I hear a bee somewhere! LOL!

WV: colupe. "Congratulations to the happy colupe".

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie In Mich.

the last cake looks like a yellow version of the cake in sleeping beauty...BEFORE they use magic to make it!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjen bryner

I hope the bride got her money back for the last cake, especially if it was raw inside!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

The first thing I thought of when I saw the first cake was that it reminded me of a coffin with a funky lid.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Shame about the ribbon one. It had potential, I think.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

Amazing! So, what's the "rest of the story" on the yellow cake? I assume the bride (and everyone else) were livid, but did they get their money back??

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

After looking at the last cake and reading the description of it all I could think of was the falling, already decorated and lit up birthday cake, from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Remember that scene? "Of course it will be much stiffer after it's baked!"

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatjaMouse

Raw? Raw? I assume she meant it didn't bake evenly and was underdone, and thus hard to decorate. Because to me, "raw" cake would be the batter before you baked it, which would be impossible to frost. Still, how does that fact that the cake turned out badly work as an excuse for lousy frosting? Bake another cake, buy another cake if you're out of time, but don't just frost lumpy cake. This gives new meaning to the term "half-baked."

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarb W

Wow! Those! Sorry, that's all I can muster. Those really are awful! Poor brides!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Oh, your haiku was singularly awesome.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

cake haiku! I love it!

The first one looks like a boxy car shrouded in a sheet. then wrapped in ribbon. and adorned in flowers. on a dry erase board? seriously??? was this a low budget bakery or were they so busy they ran out of cardboard from so many orders going out that they had to use office supplies in a pinch?

#2--maybe they're anti-icing activists? or they wanted a harvest theme? fruit and brown+ dead leaves?

Love to Highway or Highway to Love? hmmm. meanwhile, why is one car driving into a waterfall? matchbox cars. how old is the groom, ten?

neon yellow and green mountain cake (who chose THOSE colors? did they work for chernobyl?) your description of unbaked layers reminds me of Fauna's attempt at a cake in Sleeping Beauty. Before the magic.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjo

@Cheri--what a romantic thought! a radioactive volcano erupting the loving couple in all their 50's cake topper harmony. a little dry ice would have been a nice touch.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

@meep--good call. bright colors in nature (plants, amphibians) warn of their toxicity. That last cake HAD to be toxic and the decorator rightly chose caution tape yellow.

meanwhile, i wonder if the dry erase board was at least erased of any inky messages before they slapped the cake on it.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

i'm pretty sure i saw that topper from "love to highway" at walmart the other day.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermurphiz

These made my wedding cake look amazing!!!

I ordered a white, fondant (totally plain and smooth) cake with four square stacked layers and ended up with four round cakes on seperate cake stands with lumpy buttercream icing and piping that looked like lace on top of each, topped off with ugly silk calla lillies. Huh? I'll have to dig up some pictures of what I ordered and what I got to send...

But after seeing these, I feel blessed!!!!

I will DIE and probably throw a hissy fit and cry if my cake on my wedding day looks like these.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Boob Nazi


July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Having flash backs of my own wedding cake. All the poles holding up the tiers were placed too closely together. It fell over before I ever got to see it. Although, the wreckage was delicious.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I wish you would do a full story on the last one...One of those, this is what they order and this is what they got.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErika

I DIE. The second one, with the apples, was inspired by a Martha Stewart Wedding cake (apple spice with cream cheese frosting, which was indeed only meant to go on top of each layer, not on the sides, and garnished with dipped crab apples.) I know this because we took the recipe/picture and replicated it for my wedding, with FAR more success, I will add, though it was baked and assembled by my mother!

*going to call and thank her this morning for being "better than a pro" at cakes*

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Mantchev

The poor brides. I imagine there are worse things that happen on wedding days, but walking into your reception to see these disasters... recipe for instant tears.

I had to read your comment to know that was 'highway'. Then, having a dyslexic brother, I realized it read from bottom to top. Though, why highway mixed lc and uc, then full uc for the other words?

I decorate cakes and get asked why I don't go 'pro'... My answer - "It's too scary what I'll become - just look at the pros on CW!"

"radioactive volcano" -- *snort*


wv - hictic -- it was a very hictic day after the bride saw her wrecky cake.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Wow. And I thought the first cake was bound to be the worst. Really, how can one judge which is worst though? (It's the yellow one: I'm right, aren't I?) I almost want to cry for the brides, if it weren't so darn funny...

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDangGina

just plain nasty

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

These are hilariously abominable! A dry erase board as a tray? Really? I'm dyin' here. "The Great Frosting Shortage of '73." Snort! Oy vay, these seem even worse than usual. Keep up the good work!

wv: crubr
These cakes look like they've been frosted with crubr.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergena

So I was looking at these and thinking how terrible it'd be to have any of them on your wedding day when I realized "You know? If I got anything like that (especially the last one!) on my wedding day now I'd probably be excited. I imagine the thinking would go something like: Good God that's terrible....I'm totally getting on Cakewrecks!!!" as opposed to being upset at the awful cake.

Just another little added service of your blog. Making disappointment a little more happy :)

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurenH

red bleeding ribbon
did the cake get in a fight?
lumpy icing tiers

I wonder if it was a typo, personally I think it should be "tears" on the poor haiku cake. =)

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDani

I hope Aunt Mildred made the first one 'cause it's kinda charming. The last one is Thomas Kincaid radiation window yellow. I think I have to put a cool cloth on my eyes! Norine

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Just another lesson on why you ask to see the "professional's" portfolio before ordering something as important as a wedding cake!!!


wv - dedlea

Eating one of these monstrosities could prove dedlea!!! (I thought it was appropriate)

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

Are we sure the first one is actually a cake and not the ring pillow with some flowers attached to it?

The second looks like a wedding cake I would make, complete with wonky writing.

If done correctly, the apple cake would have been gorgeous, especially for a fall wedding.

The bleeding cake isn't that bad, but the ribbon definitely makes it a wreck.

The last one---does the baker work on Three Mile Island?

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBree

Good grief! That poor bride with the yellow cake! What was she hoping for?

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

LaurenH said: "If I got anything like that (especially the last one!) on my wedding day now I'd probably be excited. I imagine the thinking would go something like: Good God that's terrible....I'm totally getting on Cakewrecks!!!"

My thought exactly! I would have laughed so hard if my wedding cake looked like one of these. (The cake wasn't the centerpiece of my wedding anyway. In my book, as long as the bride and groom are married at the end of the day, it's a success!)

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMel V.

Holy. Yellow. Crap. (Batman)

Did a highlighter go skinny dipping in the icing? What the what?

The first one did look like comfy fluffy pillows and my naivete thought it wasn't bad. .until I noticed the whiteboard. Uh.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Wow. I have to wonder if these "professional" bakers have portfolios that show their work. I got my wedding cake baker's info from our florist, and she did a wonderful job. She worked out of her tiny, non-air-conditioned house (which I have to give her a lot of credit for-- I can't imagine how hot it gets in there) and did not do fondant at all (probably b/c of the heat). Her favorite medium is buttercream, which I ADORE. The test cake she gave us to try (and take home) was a 6-inch white cake with white buttercream and was delicious! It was also very smooth and indicative of her expertise in working with buttercream. I just couldn't imagine that with all that backing her up that she could have shown up at our wedding with something horrid.

So though I feel awful for these couples who have ugly wedding cakes, I have to ask myself if they did their research, or if they were somehow duped (e.g., fake portfolios).


PS - I'll have to track down some pictures of our wedding cake and groom's cake, since they were pretty impressive, considering they were both fondant-free!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRBX

Ok I need help in defining “PRO”.
IMHO a Professional cake decorator makes their living (gets paid for) making and decorating cakes.

A Semi-Professional cake decorator makes cakes in their spare (off regular job) time and gets paid for making and decorating the cake. Usually this is a hobbyist who enjoys decorating cakes but needs to charge to pay for all the gadgets and that Kitchen-Aid mixer.

An Amateur cake decorator does it for love of the art.

Were these cakes made by true “Pro’s” or the neighbor lady down the street that charged for her ingredients and time?

They should all get their money back.

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterearlleen

Re: Raw Cake.
As a sometime raw vegan, I'm sure that the Bride ordered it to be raw; it contained NO dairy/eggs, thus no salmonella, and it was probably very tasty.
However, it was butt-ugly.

I've eaten raw "cake"... it's delicious, very healthy, and fun. However, I think the issue is that the Bride insisted on a traditional presentation for something that is best presented as a single-layer sheet cake!

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVeganWitch

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