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

Wrecky Replay: Come On Barbie, Let's Go Party

It all started with those kitschy toilet-paper cover dolls:

I think every grandmother was required by law to make enough of these things for her family to cover a mountain of TP. (My personal favorite was our red-dressed flamenco dancer. You?) After this was done, those dear crafty souls had to come up with new ways to use their stockpile of doll torsos.


Enter: the doll cake!  

It was understandable when at first children assumed they were being served yarn and TP. Here Jenn L. is saying, "How about you put that over there and go fetch me my real cake, before someone throws a hissy, Ok?"

Fast forward 30 years or so, and doll cakes have come a long way. Why, just look at all the diverse styles they come in now!


The "Hawaiian Shaving Brush":


The "Easy-Chair-Under-Her-Dress":

("My lap! My lap! My lap is on FI-YUR!")


The "I'm-a-Little-Teapot":


The "Girls-Shouldn't-Have-ALL-the-Fun":


And the ever popular "Climb Every Mountain":


Cherie, Andrea M., Sanne, & Cattie P., all together now: "Life in plastic - it's fantastic!"


Hey Oklahoma City!  We'll see you at 7pm.  WOOHOO!!!

« Heeere Leezard, Leezard, Leezard! | Main | Child's Play »

Reader Comments (89)

Ken! Really?!?!?

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFluffy Cow

still funny!

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

The Ken doll cake sure does make the Toy Story 3 Ken more believable.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMuria

Ah, the crocheted toilet paper cover...

Are they a terrifying memory of my childhood? Yes
Now that you've reminded me of them, will I ever make one? No
Were they the inspriration for adult incontinency products? Depends.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

I refuse to believe that Ken would ever wear such a tasteless skirt. The yellow stripes are all wrong and the bows are out of place.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Is that the remote in your left hand as you are directing proper cake placement with your right? So, even as a toddler, you knew that cake & techno geekiness were your future!

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterflying gargoyle

What...the... D:

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMINDY1

My mom took a cake decorating class and those were one of their assignments. When she pulled the rounded cake out of the oven, she just shook her head at me when I suggested she make it into a big, staring eyeball instead. She probably still worries about me.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwildmaven

Oh awesome, this replay came at a great time. My 22yr old niece is having a 'barbie themed' party and asked me to do her 'barbie doll cake' (quotes intended). I'm going to have fun with this. ;)

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngieN24

Oh the memories! This brings back my most vivid recollections of making these for my daughter:

The Hawaiian cake: Putting a pretty icing bra on Barbie's naked boobs makes you feel CREEPY.

The Fire Hazard: The challenges of keeping Barbie's hair and arms out of the icing AND not setting her on fire!

Dolly and Ken made me spew coffee on my monitor. And the last one reminds of Princess Diana--a tiny little woman inside MILES of wedding dress. Poor thing.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Is Ken a wedding cake? He's wearing a "ring."
(Nowhere is it written that you have to wear your wedding ring on your finger!)

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy'sMom

Excellent choice for this week's replay - this is one of my all-time favorite posts, plus now I get to have that song stuck in my head ALL DAY (I'm not sure if the latter is actually a good thing or a bad thing, though . . . hmmmm).

As for those toilet paper cover dolls, thank goodness neither of my grandmothers crocheted! (Except for one afghan, but that was probably an abberation, and as it didn't involve doll torsos I'm inclined to forgive and forget!)

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIkwig

*sighs* Fond memories. My mother gets to make these for my neices all the time, and good Uncle Dark Lord is always handily nearby with the camera to catch those priceless shots of my neices innocently licking the icing off the Barbie doll once the cake is cut. I can't wait until those girls turn 18... *maniacal laughter*

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDark Lord of Marketing

*Hanging head in shame*
I have actually made one of these cakes. In my defense, it was my daughter's 4th birthday and she asked me for it! Plus, it was Cinderella so there was no long plastic hair dragging in the frosting.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSelena

One of my fave posts. :)

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJolene

Ken is my favorite!!

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

My grandmother crocheted me poodles on wine bottles! They were adorable, grey poofy headed poodles! Hers weren't as pom=pommy as the ones shown online. As for the cakes? I made one for my daughter a long time ago. I used a read doll (didn't know you could get uppers to use instead) and her legs were too long! It ended up like that arm chair Barbie.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Miss "Easy-Chair-Under-Her-Dress" looks like she's being blown over in a nor'easter.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterA Non O Non

Is it bad that I think Ken would look kinda sexy in a kilt?

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBB, Miami

I had one of these cakes for my 6th birthday. I recall seeing the doll's head sticking out of a box, and thinking it was a new toy, I grabbed her and pulled... Oops. My mom was NOT happy.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Pro tip: let the cake
cool completely. THEN add your
plastic doll of choice.

Even quality
polysterene crumbs: taboo
in the best icings.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

This is one of my favourites! For some reason it brought Aerosmith's "Rag Doll" into my head, like this...

Cake doll, icing on your boobies,
Hot lap, Dolly’s lookin’ groovy,
So why are all the guests leaving by the back door?
Ken doll is making me uneasy,
Although these cakes are kinda cheesy
Cake Wrecks, you can always show me wrecks you’ve shown before.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterzoomom

That's the infamous Magic Ear Ring Ken from the 90s.

He was immediately dubbed Magic C___ Ring Ken by gay America.

Possibly he came to be because...
1) A naive Mattel designer saw all the fashionable guys wearing the rings as accessories.

2) An diabolical designer decided to see how much he could get away with.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDevlin du GEnie

Hahaha! Love this one.

I can just picture the facial expression of the girl in the background of the "Easy-Chair" cake. She seems mightily disappointed. Or bored. I imagine this picture being taken just at the height of a tremendous eye-roll. Hee!

Poor Ken. That skirt is hideous! The colors, the odd bows, the flowers and the metal-looking gold and red things at his waist. Hid. E. Ous.

Also: Their hair is in the icing. THEIR HAIR IS IN THE ICING! Ack!

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

I particularly love how thrilled the kid in the background looks in the arm-chair-Barbie cake! Ho, Hum, boring ol' cake!

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSpooky

One of the most famous Ken dolls, too.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSBJ

A. Not only did my grandma make these cakes and toilet paper covers, before she passed away she gave me her cake tools, including the upper torso of a naked barbie. She is on the top shelf of my pantry, just to freak people out.

B. I live in the Dallas(ish) area. Today you are in OKC. In two days, when you will be in Dallas(ish), I will be in OKC. Is it too late to adjust your calendar?

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I had one of those cakes (back in the 60s) too! I must find that photo, my eyes were really wide with FEAR! I wonder if I can get either of my daughters to let me make one for them? They are in their 20's so they shouldn't be scarred. Too much.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeg D

Did Dolly's arm fall off and just land upside down in her lap? It's very disturbing. And thanks, @Zoomom, anything Aerosmith is fabulous! I'll never sing it with the original lyrics again - "icing on your boobie" somehow fits them better.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPamtha

In the picture for 'Easy chair under her dress', check out the kid in the background!
"What's this? oh. good. a cake with half a dismembered barbie in it. thanks."

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterXion

Laughed so hard at Ken that coffee came out through my nose...surprisingly less unpleasant than milk or orange soda.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMree

I'm just wondering how you go about doing this!? Do you make a round cake and then plunge the doll in up to her/his! waist? Doesn't that ruin the doll, since I'm sure it's almost impossible to get all the cake crumbs and frosting out of those joint crevices...or is the next stop the Barbie swimming pool? Yuck...
Or do they wrap it in plastic, or even worse, dismember it's lower half first? Do they build the cake around it? Ugh...I don't know if I even want to know!

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTwinMom

I never got a Barbie cake and, yes, I wanted one. When I got my first Pampered Chef batter bowl I excitedly told my husband, "And it's oven safe!" "Why do you need a bowl that can go in the oven?" he asked. "So I can make a Barbie cake, duh."
Trying to explain what a Barbie cake is without photos to a man who didn't have sisters (or dolls of any kind in their house) was interesting. I don't think I'll be using these photos to help, though.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterM. Dale

My grandmother made poodle toilet paper covers. Those things were hideous, but some of these cakes are worse.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Ahem... now just imagine KEN in the easy chair dress... at a ONE year old's birthday party...

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBetty

The unfortunate color choices for the icing bra on Hawaiian Barbie Cake had me rolling. Really, wreckerator? You couldn't just pick one color?

And really--you know somebody's going to try to lick that off, whether it's the birthday girl (innocently) or Uncle Creeper McCreepyson (out on good behavior). Avoid the badness. No icing bras for doll cakes.

Zoomom's "Cake Doll" lyrics are perfect. That was exactly what this post needed. XD

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel T.

Ken, we hardly knew ye. No wonder the relationship with Barbie has been so rocky.

Alternative theory for 'easy chair': Mom: "This is how Mommy felt before you were born, so you had darn well BETTER enjoy this day!"

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

OK, I have to admit: I actually kind of love the Ken one!

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

After I saw the original post I went back through my mother's photo album and sure enough, there I was at my first birthday with a doll cake and that was in 1955, pre-Babie. It's hard to tell but I think it is a sort of Kewpie doll. Now I'll have to get it out again to see.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie in Texas

My mom made me a doll cake for my 5th birthday (in 1965). I thought it was so beautiful. She made a whole icing bodice, not just a bra. As I remember it, she wrapped plastic wrap around the bottom of the doll so the crumbs wouldn't get into the joints, and she cut a hole with a long knife for the legs to go in.

Sadly, I have only boys so I have never eyed a mixing bowl and thought "I could make a doll cake with this."

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterceecee

I think the child in the first photo just tried to use the remote s/he is holding to change the cake.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOldish Lady

I laughed so hard when I read M. Dale's post because it was EXACTLY what I was thinking. I wanted one of these things soooo badly and I begged my mom to make me one. (All I ever got was a sheet cake with plastic flotsam.) And then my mom bought the Pampered Chef batter bowl and I thought for sure I would finally get my Barbie cake. (I was 16 or so at the time.) But alas, my mother never made me one. I should just buy a batter bowl for myself and make my own cake - dismembered Barbie with icing bikini top and all.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel W.

One look at the Ken cake and my son started singing "I'm too sexy for my shirt". I just showed the boys the video by Right Said Fred yesterday and Ken is wearing a similar shirt.

Love the Cake Doll song!

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie in Joplin

rerun still funny as ever!

Chair under dress Barbie looks like she's leaning back to get away from the fire. Smart gal.
I'm a Little Teapot Barbie appropriately has the name Dolly on it. As in, I'm a little Dolly Parton Teapot!

I had a Barbie cake when I was 10 and thought it was pretty cool at the time. Unfortunately, I have no photos to look back on to verify if this was reality or not. Although, my Mom was a pretty awesome cake decorator - we never had any wrecks at our house - and she would make us whatever we wanted for our birthday cakes.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

First: My parents had a hideous plaid couch very similar to the one in your picture.

Second: My grandfather bought my grandmother a crocheted-mouse-in-a-dress-toilet-paper-roll-cover for their anniversary one year. They just celebrated their 50th, so she apparently forgave him.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEli & Ember's Mom

i made one of these doll cakes for my niece about 25 years ago when she was like 3. we lit the candles and her hands caught on fire! very traumatic for a 3 year old!

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergrite

I showed this to my 17 year old son. His reaction?

"Kennn's turned FAHB-yu-lus!"

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFeisty Irish Wench

I figured the easy chair one was supposed to be pregnant with quintuplets!!! Too funny!

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

THese are so lovely! And your commentary is brilliant. HIlarious. :- D

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLIly

You're right, Annie . . . I remember those doll cakes back in the '50s. Besides kewpie dolls there were Southern Belles with lavish frosting festoons all over their skirts. The toilet paper covers came after the cakes, if I recall correctly. (Always difficult at my age.)

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCandy

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