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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

Oops! They Did It Again

Will you guys ever get tired of seeing wedding missed marks? 'Cuz I'm thinking, "no."

Let's test that theory, shall we?


What the bride wanted:

What the bride got:

That'll buff out.


A lovely leaf motif:

And a lovely...oh good grief:

Actually, that leaf design is so popular I have two wedding wrecks based on it:

Whoah. This baker needs to make like a tree, and get out of tree decorations.

(Hm. I feel like that line didn't go quite right. Maybe I should follow it up with something clever.)



(Theeere we go.)

This next one's in reverse order; here's what Anthony L's bakery replaced another bakery's initial wreck with, and with only an hour and a half to do so before the wedding started:

Not bad for less than two hours' work, right?


Especially when you compare what the original cake (again, from another bakery) looked like:

Am I the only one who thinks this looks like Play-Doh? I keep expecting it to spring to life, claymation style. And then maybe turn into a giant demon dog and terrorize a nerdy New York accountant.

Just me?


Here's a fun, modern pattern:

Aaaaand the fun stops HERE:

It's never a good sign when your cake is crying.


Goodness gracious, great balls on wires!

Seriously. They're like shiny little bubbles of joy - totally cute.


These, on the other hand, are just...



Thanks to Krista V., Emily B., Allison I., Anthony L., Tempest J., & Sarah B. for feeding our horrible wedding wreck obsession.

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Reader Comments (122)

I just... My six-year-old does a better job with clay than these people. I hope they at least tasted good.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMimiheart

looks like melon balls on that last cake or a japanese confection.
that blue and white one does look like playdoh.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDouglas

Wow. So um, the first wrecked leaf cake is just BEGGING for a monkey. A really bad monkey.
The black and red one is like a deck of cards. From someone who has NEVER seen cards!
The last one seems to have all sorts of eraser balls on it!

But a gold star for whomever was responsible for getting that replacement cake. You know SOMEONE had to yell to get that done!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFluffy Cow

Re: The blue and white playdoh cake.
It shows that the decorators, if asked (pressured, embarrassed, threatened, ) can actually do a passable job and just don't bother.
It's kind of like my husband making the bed. Without some cajoling (pressure, humiliation, threats,) tossing a comforter over a pile of sheets and pillows and pets is just fine. If his mom is coming to visit, well...

As usual, these cakes put me into a deep depression (oh, those poor brides,) so I'll just have to go lie down,

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Oh god. My wedding is in 3 months and cake wrecks is both the sickness (stoking my obsession that the cake will be a disaster) and the cure (hey, at least we can send it to cake wrecks!). Thanks John and Jen for simultaneously terrifying and comforting me!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarahC

Anthony L's bakery deserves an award! Bravo!

The rest...*sigh*...I know so many incredibly talented cake decorators, but there are always a couple around who really, truly, absolutely think they are as good as the best on FNC (to the point of constantly trying to get on the show) when they're generating as bad or worse than the wrecks here today. I heard a Kerry Vincent interview on Cake Fu where she said she gets Facebook pictures all the time from people showing her what they think will qualify them for the show (as if she even does the scouting, which she doesn't) and the fondant isn't even applied smoothly.

Maybe this "everyone gets an A for effort" mentality has gone a wee bit too far, hm?

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly Chapman

I always enjoy the wedding cake wreck posts, but they make me feel so sad for the brides who ended up with them. I would have had a hard time dealing with something like this on my wedding day!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRegina W

Goodness gracious. Why are bakers bakers if they can't see the difference between buttercream and fondant??? Just asking.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Answering your first question: NEVER!!!
Although I've only ever made ONE decorated cake in my entire life, I know I could make every single one of these cakes better than the bakers. Not sure how long it would take me, but you'd better believe I wouldn't dream of presenting a client (or friend/family member/acquaintance...) with a cake like that. My word.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmberK

I like the extra effort of using white twist ties to hold up the balls on the last cake. Way to be...uummm...resourceful and thrifty. Yeah.. thifty!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

I noticed a lot of the example cakes use a lot of nice smooth fondant for the cake covering and decorations. The bakers of the wreck used icing in almost every example taking pretty, sweet cute, smooth, crisp, and clean decorations and turning them to shiny, sweaty, lumpy, drippy, thick messes. Why are bakers so afraid of fondant? I know it can be tricky to work with, but at least they have a chance of a not slimy cake...of course that second leaf cake does not really help my case any :-)

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfawm316

I don't get why bakers keep trying to do with buttercream what has clearly been done with fondant. Those two things don't look the same at all.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Always curious about these (and I'm not excusing the poor craftsmanship) - is this sometimes the result of "What the bride wanted to pay for", as well?

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Seconding the motion to give Anthony L. an award. The cake isn't perfect-- I can see where the end of one of his fondant ribbons has come unstuck-- but man, to do all of that in two hours? The dude and all of his assistants deserve an FBI Medal of Valor. ("FBI" here stands for "Fallback Bakery Illuminators." The Medal is a small star-shaped cake pan that doubles as a festive hat.)

Final cake: the balls aren't even round! Instead of shiny little bubbles of joy, they got dusty little oblate spheroids of ennui.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

Eh, the first leaf wreck was not TOO bad, but the rest of them D:

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMINDY1

And to think that these people CLAIM to be "professional" "bakers" who make "quality" wedding "cakes"??????????? Imagine if this was your wedding and you got one of those cakes. SAAAAAAAAAAAAD.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfim chizzle/ratmallow

Actually, the wedding cake wrecks make me cringe and feel sad for the weddings ruined. I much prefer the less emotionally charged wrecks or the ones that are emotionally charged but cause the comments to spiral out of control into hilarity (a la King Cakes).

Also, the daisies in that first wreck look like they've been dead for 2 weeks.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

In answer to your first question, Jen, NO, we'll never get tired of seeing wedding wrecks. I think the message there is, "There but for the grace of (fill in the blank) goes I".

"That'll buff out." - Absolutely Brilliant!!!!

My son is getting married to a wonderful young lady in October. My sincere hope is that their wedding cake is Sunday Sweets-worthy, and nothing close to a Cake Wreck...

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnne-Marie

Just because the fisr picture is taken on an angle doesnt mean the bride wanted a lopsided cake!!!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnAngelDisgraced

You know, the first leaf cake wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected! It could have been so much worse (see, cake #2). When will bakers learn that when people come to them with a fondant cake, and they want it done in buttercream, to just say no.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor

there is no cake.... ONLY ZUUL !!!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlunamoth

No one commented on the awesome Back To The Future Reference????

Anyway, I cry for these brides. My wedding cake wasn't what I asked for, but it wasn't ugly. And I couldn't complain because my stepmom made it. (First rule of thumb: I don't care if you're related. NEVER get a loved one to make your wedding cake. Just not worth the hassle. Pay to get done what you want... as long as it's not one of these bakers...)

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersariah

Even the cakes themselves are mortified to be a part of it - black dots are crying (mascara running all over) and roses are jumping ship ("No! Get me outta here!")

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterK

Ditto to Patrick--I'm wondering how many of these brides didn't want to pay for a fondant cake. Still, the bakers should have just said "I can't do that with will look like crap".

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiggergirl0325 the man in the background of the first cake wearing a gun holster?

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenn D.

You most certainly get what you paid for. I blame the inundation of cake shows... it's got far too many people thinking, "That looks easy! I'll just take a Wilton class and put an ad on Craig's List". I feel shame for my profession.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkelleykakes

YES!! x I absolutely LOVE these types of wrecks!!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDreya

Whenever you do wedding wrecks, I'm always reminded of my Aunt's wedding. Here is a distinguished couple in their late fifties, with adult children, and even grandchildren. My aunt's dress, a very modest creation in ivory, is picture perfect. Her cake? Lovely! And BRIGHT PINK!!! It was supposed to be ivory and very simple, with an ivory couple on top. BRIGHT PINK! HOT PINK! BLINDINGLY PINK! It was... PINK! I have a photo somewhere of my Aunt, draw dropped, whispering "Why is it soooo.... Pink?"

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

They could have used pastel mini-marshmallows on that last cake and the end results would have looked almost identical. Just sayin'.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Once I looked past the obvious horrificness of the red and black travesty of butter cream (seriously, I need to be a cake decorator... I can do better than these guys...) I noticed the scotch tape used to attach the rick-rack *ptooey* to the cake stand. So many levels of wrecki-ness on that cake.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I am seeing a lot of sympathy for brides in the posts. Really, what are they expecting? They must be trying to get their cake done on the "cheap". Did it occur to any of them to look at past work by the baker? Any reputable cake maker would have tons of photos to show what they can do. They should also be able to give you a list of past clients that can testify to the quality of their work.

Yeah, I feel bad ( or embarrassed) for the bride too, but you get what you pay for. If they need to cut corners on the wedding cake maybe they should pick one up at Costco. And no, I do not make cakes professionally. Many of my own cakes qualify as "wrecks'!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertali

In the hands of a very skilled baker/designer, buttercream can look like fondant. Our wedding cake definitely had the smooth look of fondant, but it was pure buttercream (no fondant for us!). When we looked through our cake maker's portfolio, I thought it was all fondant, but she said she didn't work with fondant, only buttercream.

But I'm guessing most bakers don't have her level of skill.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

I made my first wedding cake this past summer... and was SO nervous I was going to botch it something horrible (and end up your featured wreck)...

it turned out fine - and every time I see one of the wrecky posts mine looks even better!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTisforTonya

These days, EVERYone thinks they're either a cake decorator or a photographer. FB is replete with both. At least the product of the latter can be manipulated into something half-way decent via photo-enhancing programs. Hey! Maybe brides would be better off to display life-size standees of their dream cakes whilst serving pre-cut kitchen cakes to their guests. Think it would fly?

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKd

There is scotch tape on that black and red wreck! Scotch tape! Oh, my. Thankfully, I follow several local bakers on facebook so that when my time comes I know I have a couple of places to go where I can get a quality cake.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

I love the tape holding on the trim on the crying cake. A hot glue gun would have put them over budget!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJolene

I'm with the posters on the "you get what you pay for"/"too many cake shows" bandwagon. It's so, so wrong to misrepresent your skills and fail to deliver a product, however, as with *any* important purchase, people need to realize the level of skill required for the design, how much that skill is going to run you pricewise, and just what bakeries are prepared to deliver that level of skill. (In other words, check out their other work, etc. If they bait-and-switch the day of, that's a whole 'nother story). My mother-in-law made my wedding cake, and while she makes a perfectly professional-quality cake, she's not at the level of the Cake Boss, so even though I saw tons of extravagant designs online that I admired, I chose for myself a simple design that moms could replicate easily (I also didn't want her going too nuts!).

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFoxy_Moron

Whenever you post wedding wrecks, I become grateful that my own wedding was done on a budget--just two crazy kids who were poor as churchmice and paying for everything themselves--so our cake, by necessity was handmade by a friend of ours who was a caterer. In fact, that was her wedding gift to us--that and the food. It was just a simple layer cake, frosted with ivory buttercream frosting and tasted marvelous. My mother decorated it with fresh flowers, the same ones that were in my bouquet, and it was beautiful. Sometimes I think people obsess too much over the cake. It is, after all, a dessert and supposed to be enjoyed.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

Oh, for the love of fondant, wreckers PLEASE stop trying to pipe horizontal buttercream borders. Unless your hand is super steady, your icing is buttah consistency, and you're Colette Peters, it's gonna suck. Thanks in advance.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSvhadden

I think the leaves on the first "leaf wreck" look a little more realistic than on the original. The original leaves look kind of cartoonish to me.Although the yellow leaves look like bananas. I'm also thinking that brides shouldn't just take a cake picture from a magazine and walk into a random bakery and say "can you make this?". It seems a lot safer to pick something from the bakeries examples of what they've actually done. Just shop around until you find a bakery whose cakes you like. I also think bakeries shouldn't say "oh, yeah, we can do that" when they clearly can't.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeigh Ann

I can't believe these cakes come from bakeries. How do they stay in business?? And I agree, if the problem is that brides want a fondant design made in buttercream, the baker needs to tell them that it won't look the same. But believe me (I've made oodles of cakes) looking different and looking horrific aren't the same thing. These bakers shouldn't be anywhere near frosting. Or cakes. Or brides. What a sad, sad thing to have happen to you on your wedding day! :(

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiffiny

It's amazing, some of the inspirations and wrecks aren't all that different. Except at the same time they're so, SO different.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEG

I'm a big proponent of you get what you pay for. If you take a picture of a Vera Wang organza creation to Walmart...ain't gonna happen...why would you think you could take a magazine picture of a PROFESSIONAL decorated cake to Safeway and expect a Safeway baker to create it at a Walmart price...better chance of getting struck by lightning twice and winning the lottery.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMcGee

Been reading in silence for months now... Love the site... Asked for a copy of each book for my birthday this year... Have spent several days hiding in the corner of the Epcot Bunker giggling myself silly and loving every minute of it... So tell me, how can it be???

Where are the "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man" references I expected to see in the comments???

No??? Someone must have said something about how crossing the streams will cause a cake to come out like that ... All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

I did see Zuul mentioned once...

Big thanks to Jen & John for the hours of entertainment and occasional trips down memory lane with side treks into movie trivia land.

Lookie there, I didn't even swear...


August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeckerby

Every time I make a cake I wonder if it will be wreck-worthy but alas, not even my worst cake would qualify. I do not have any professional training so the cost of my cakes reflect that, but even so, I find that people will still balk at paying more than $1.50 a serving. FOR A CUSTOM CAKE! Ironically, those same people are telling me that I should do this professionally. I have told three brides to be that they are looking for a custom cake (given the pics they give me as examples) for a Walmart price and that I can't do their cake. Then they get mad?!?!?! I think this is how wrecks come to be. It is a lot harder than people think it is.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCake Tailor

How long before I get tired of these wrecks? Never!
However, how long before I get tired of brides finding stuff on the internet and then asking someone who does not specialize in that kind of artistry to repeat it and then feel disappointment? Very soon. The first one should not have been that difficult for a baker that does fondant and knows what daisys are, but the rest are the brides fault.
I had a picture from a Wilton mag, my aunt did her best rendition (it was very beautiful, but compared to the picture would have been a wreck), and I was totally happy.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

You know I agree with McGee you get what you pay for. Being a cake decorator myself, you should know when someone's asking for something that may not turn out exactly like the client wants it to. That first cake I can guarantee that the client said they loved the design of the original but did not want any fondant on the cake. I get that a lot. So this is what they did. Doesn't make it right by any means but is anyone honest these days?

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercraft a holic

I gotta say something here. Making cakes is HARD. All those folks on tv make it look ridiculously easy, but it absolutely is not. I'm betting dollars for donuts that these brides went to people who were not truly professional and insisted on having their cakes done under impossible circumstances. The young girl behind the bakery counter at Walfart, the one who barely makes minimum wage, is NOT going to be able to fulfill your wedding cake dreams. Making large cakes like these takes incredible amounts of time, talent and patience. It baffles me that so many people have commented that they could do a better job... because honestly... not so much.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrelcarcoma

I will say I will NEVER get tired of the wedding wrecks. Sometimes, making a small cake yourself and then getting the sheet cake from costco is the best idea -after all, you'll have no one to blame but yourself.

The first one really strikes me as the worst of the batch simply because the ribbons aren't even even! The cake is all sorts of wonky - like it's a real cake in front of a fun house mirror and someone took a picture of the mirror.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIsabella

I made my own wedding cake. Since we had a tiny ceremony at the magistrate's office, I got away with doing a three layer lemon chiffon cake with white chocolate Italian buttercream icing and fresh raspberries. It was gorgeous and delicious. My mother-in-law didn't bother to ask anything about the cake ahead of time and went to a local grocery store and had them decorate a 1/8th sheet cake for our wedding. It was airbrushed and horrid with the faux whipped topping and bright green borders that were crying down the cake. We ended up giving that one to the staff at the restaurant we had our reception at. But, yes, these are pretty horrid, too. But there are a lot of decorators at your local grocery store who are capable of doing some pretty amazing things with buttercream.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim

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