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

Paying With Plastic

Bakers, it's time again to "holiday" up those displays, but don't you worry: adding a little winter cheer is as easy as jamming a plastic penguin pick in place!

Aww. Seeing the traditional Yule ducks always gets me a little misty-eyed.


Of course, all of your leftover stock cakes will need the same treatment, too.

After all, a flattened lizard/alligator/green blob with eyes is BORING - but shove an ornament in his mouth and a tiny Santa sleigh on his back, and....

...well, I guess it looks like that.


What's that? You need a Christmas baby shower cake?


And look! I didn't even have to unwrap it!


Plus, this really is the best time of year to be a baker, because all of your new designs can look like this:

Heck, you don't even have to place the plastic pieces in the right order; just chuck 'em in with the cupcakes and call it a "cupcake puzzle!" Easiest twenty bucks EVER.


For you overachievers out there, though, there's also this fun option:

Note that there isn't a single edible item in or on that mess of frosting. Score!


Of course, some people - let's call them humbugs - insist on most of their cakes' decorations being edible. (I know, right?!)

For them, there's this:

See? They get something that's technically mostly edible, and you get to see their faces when they open the box! It's a win-win!


Thanks to Karen K., Nora B., Erika A., Sharon P., Cindy J., & Jennifer H., who think paying for plastic with plastic never gets the proper credit.

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Reader Comments (50)

Maybe that first one is the Soul Cake Duck. He's just moonlighting at Christmas for the extra cash.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeeley

Nothing like the sweet, sweet taste of hemlock on your cake. Eww!

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterXenotropos

So, obviously that last cake is for Euell Gibbons ("Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts ARE edible.")

The rest are tragic, as usual, but I think my favorite is the "Valley of the Gwanji Christmas Special" cake, where Santa encounters giant prehistoric babies napping. Even the plastic flotsam is embarrassed -- did you notice the Christmas Tree is trying to escape?

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

Snowman CCC
suffers from common winter
complaint: bad snow drift.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

OMG.. those first few were very funny. But that last one is absolutely dreadful!!. Who can eat that? Who would GIVE that??????

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandra C/So Fla

I thought the 5th one was an avalanche or a snow tsunami.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbassgirl

Did the last one fall into a wheelbarrow during a heavy day of yard work?

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

Oh, the dead yellow rose of CakeWrecks
Is the only rose for me
They are buried in the icing
Why? It's a mystery

Reflected in the plastic
Of Christmas glitter balls
They decay atop the green stuff
That just looks so awful

My apologies to The Yellow Rose of Texas.

What a mess, plastic greenery, plastic ornaments and DEAD roses? Maybe this is something to send to an ex? EEeeeeuuuww!

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdoAnnie

@Keeley, straight off of Duck Man's hat! Happy Hogfather's Day.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdoAnnie

Was that second one supposed to be Florida or the Grinch?

*head tilt*

Or maybe Oscar the Holiday Grouch gone bungee jumping with the cord tied to the top of his head?

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDB

Crap, beat me to the Soul Cake Duck reference. But you're right, he probably needs a little supplemental income while the Hogfather's getting all the attention.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinzred

Cakes that make you go hhmmmmm O_o

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

That's the laziest baby shower cake I've ever seen. It doesn't even have any disembodied limbs on it!

Speaking of limbs, those are cedar fronds on that last cake. You see those jagged little bumps all over the green stuff? Each bump is a serrated-edged section that will break apart from the other sections at the slightest hint of pressure. Have fun picking those out of the frosting (and your teeth, and the carpet).

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

Oh, I just love the holidays! And these cakes somehow put me in a festive mood. And when that happens, I just have to wreck a song! (Do you know "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"?)

Wreckin’ around the Christmas cake,
bakers love this holiday.
generous Yule ducks share their lake,
(but only for display!)
Wreckin’ around the Christmas cake,
Doesn’t every baker know
alligators with deformities
are more Christmasy than snow?

You will get a special kind of feeling when you see
babies sleeping under plastic,
Santa thinks it’s just fantastic!

Wreckin’ around the Christmas cake,
Choking hazards are such fun!
The aftermath of a snowman war
will bring smiles to everyone.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterzoomom

Oh, that last one is so awful!! Who would EAT that? Who could?

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

Can you imagine trying to serve that last cake? To pick off the cedar, or to cut as is and smush them through the cake. (either way I'd pass - allergic to cedar)

The snow man death-by-avalanche cake would be good for the "I only eat cake for the icing" crowd.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterspel chek

Nothing says Merry Christmas like a rubber ducky.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary Connealy

Is that baby shower cake giving me the FINGER?!?

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

I kind of think that last one wouldn't be out of place on a Sunday, myself...

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBea

I'm really tired of seeing penguins as Christmas/Winter Underlined ornaments. There are no penguins anywhere near the North Pole. Penguins live in the southern hemisphere, where it is SUMMER right now!

Just try telling people that, though. It's like trying to explain why the new millennium started in 2001, not 2000.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary

Way to get me singing at my desk, zoomom!

What awful wrecks! Plastic flotsam does not on a cake belong.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlisadh524

My middle child has a birthday on Christmas, and years back we ended up with an ugly commercial cake that had the exact same plastic Santa and sleigh as is on the baby shower cake. It was so tacky and awful, it became a tradition and it has appeared on his birthday cake every year now for the last 16 years. We had a panic last year when we couldn't find it, LOL. I'm amazed they still make the identical one.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary Gordon

I'm *so* going to make a cupcake puzzle. I think this opens up a whole new genre of wrecks.

(Sorry Gary. Penguins are cute. And funny. And they are already dressed up in little tuxes, so they might as well add a Santa hat. You can't blame them for wanting to celebrate Christmas too.) :-)

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermouse

Uh, OK. I think that the baby christmas cake is kind of cute. You can't really put anything past a cute little baby leaning over to watch the even smaller Santa ride by. And about that green blob cake? I think it looks like a green manta ray. My dad thought it was a raindeer.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatWag

I don't know. I saw something more ... flaccid ... when I first saw that second cake. Had to read your words to realize that it was a croc/alligator!

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRooh

Wait. What the Sam Hill is going on with that green cake? WHAT IS THAT?

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynn Baber

Mary Gordon:

My birthday is also on Christmas, and I had the same Santa sleigh on a cake! That was about 30 years ago. I kept it for a long time to decorate a shelf each year, but eventually threw it away--I think. Who knows, it may still be around after all!

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I personally don't see anything wrong with #3 or #5.
I mean, #3 is not very creative, but I get the connection. I thought #5 looked fine....

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

That last cake has glitter ornaments! I have some, and couldn't even hang them on the tree without all of me and half the living room sparkling! I can't imagine what the frosting underneath those ornaments must look like. Yech!

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin

The snowman CCC is actually the best-looking of today's line-up. What does that say about the rest of these wrecks?

And what was that alligator head thing supposed to be, anyway - a Christmas tree?

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCakelover

@Gary: I hear you, man. No year zero.

DOC. Resistance is fruitful.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

roflmao!!!! love the poems and songs!

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjenzizcool

Ha! Yule ducks!!!

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

In my world (beginning this year, that is) ducks are part of Christmas. My 1 year old knows the word/animal "duck." We have an inflatable penguin in our front yard as part of our Christmas decorations. We showed the baby the yard, he points at the penguin and says "duck." We kept saying "penguin." He took my face, turned it towards his, looked right at me and says "mama. DUCK." I was laughing so hard. So now ducks are a part of our Christmas decorations :) Strange? Absolutely. Dismaying to the 4 year old? Oh yes.... that's the best part. ;)

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

I kind of like the avalanche cake, minus the plastic flotsam. The next time I have a white-iced layer cake split on me, I'll tell them that's the look I was going for.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebra

Oh that last one-won't the frosting taste awful even if you can get all the life greenery, plastic, and glitter off? Like chewing on a wreath...yuk....nothing like Wrecking a cake that might at least have been edible underneath the mess?

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

That green blob/gator cake, when I first saw that Santa I thought it was "squished clown" lol. Santa makes way more sense ;)

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

$20 for 17 cupcakes and some plastic? Yeesh! I need to quit teaching little kids and start catering their school birthday treats. I've at least got that level of talent. BTW, I saw a CCC today that was actually pretty. They arranged a 4x5 rectangle of 20 cupcakes and smeared on a ton of frosting so evenly they could decorate it like a sheet cake with Hello Kitty. However, I still oppose CCC for the fact that nobody should allow a 2nd grader to consume that quantity of sugar when the school day is only half over. 20 kids tanked up on 8 cubic inches of frosting for another 2 and a half hours...The person who thought that was a good idea should be boiled in their own frosting with a sprig of plastic decorations through their heart!

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarnieB

psssttttt- J&J(thoJ)
that avalanche cake was Gary's! you remember- he had the idea to stand 15 ft away from a cake and throw flotsam at it as a party game for the book tour??
I think this was just taken part way through the game, though, as it looks a little sparse.

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

Wow never knew rubber duckies were a part of Christmas. I learn new and terrifying things everyday on this blog lol. But like a lot of things I just cannot look away even if it is a scary looking clown/gingerbread thing like yesterdays. But why on earth would you put ornaments on a cake?? I can almost imagine someone trying to eat them lol.

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterArlene


You are always spot on and I love how you can take a mess and make everyone moan in agony and then wet themselves with laughter all from the same picture.


P.S. It was great to see you in Pittsburgh!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen Cory

Come on, @MarnieB, tell us how you really feel. Don't just give us the sugar-coated version. :-D

(I agree, but that's beside the point.)

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

That CCC Snowman-puzzle cake put two words in my head: "SNOWMAN ROADKILL"

(...technically, that might be four words... but that's my story and I'm sticking with it)

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbyrdie

The second picture... Wow. Perhaps it's just me, but it looks like a very enlarged (and decorated) scrotum and ahhhhh...ummmm....well... you know.. "it" just HANGING there! O_o

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCall me crazy

@Craig, tomorrow I have my sweet revenge. We have a Christmas party. I tank them up on sugar and send them home to their parents at early dismissal. They will have all afternoon to contemplate an 8 year old on an extreme sugar high. Every kid is leaving the party with a big candy cane (I spared no expense.) :-) Mwahahahaha! It's payback for CCCs and allowing the child to pack their own lunch the day after Halloween!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarnieB

"Send me dead flowers on my wedding cake
And I won't forget to put roses on your grave."

December 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnneke (Mudhooks)

@Xenotropos that's cedar, not hemlock...

December 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnneke (Mudhooks)

OMG the second one *IS* an alligator cake made into a Christmas tree by the simple expedient of throwing baubles at it! As if the alligator cake in its original form wasn't bad enough! What kind of alligator was it modelled on, for crying out loud? One that has survived a major radioactive pollution event?

December 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

MarnieB, as an educator, I hear you and agree. My take on the snowman CCC was someone really wanted to shut that guy up. Gives new meaning to calling a scarf a "muffler." From the terrified expression, I suspect the corn sugar mafia. Also, how is there ever a wrong time of year for rubber duckies? That's like saying teddy bears can't come to Easter. You try to tell them they aren't welcome.

December 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStaying Anon.

Holy crap! So, if the glitter from the gigantic gold tree ornament gets on the cake and into your mouth, is it okay because it's adding texture to the dessert experiment? That is the dumbest f**king thing I've ever seen.

December 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLydia Lee

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