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

Sunday Sweets: Big Top Treats!

DA-da-da-da-da-DA-da-da-da-da ... ... ...

Wow. Sorry.
As you may have guessed, (but probably not) today's cakes are circus-themed!
(It's really hard to type out circus music).

Almost as hard, Jen tells me, as hunting down circus clown cakes that aren't creepy. But they DO exist, and here comes one now!

By Chocmocakes

It doesn't hurt that she's a pink widdle bear-clown waving a tiny flag, either.


Yessiree, boys and girls, prepare for adventure, because the circus has rolled into town!

By Studio Cake

Circus, and train, and Curious George themed? This cake is a total triple-whammy! I bet birthday boy Lance passed out from sheer excitement.


Now hurry, hurry, get your tickets today for the finest show under the big top!

By Doodle-Cakes

And look at those details!

We promise nonstop entertainment and thrills! And seals! And pinwheels!


That's right, getcha' popcorn, getcha' peanuts right here, folks, and getcha' self a good look at this circus spectacular:

By It's A Piece of Cake

I don't know what I love more, that ruffled layer or the "ropes" holding the whole thing up. (Side note: those ropes are actually called "guys" in circus-talk. Oh yeah, I researched to write about the circus, y'all. Now you are smarter.)


Now please, take your seats and turn your attention to the center ring, where Jumbo the elephant is about to perform a death-defying stunt atop a ball, atop some giant popcorn, atop a cake, atop another cake!

By It's a Piece of Cake

Another circus fun-fact: The circus invented the word 'jumbo!' It was a name made up by combining Swahili words and given to a large elephant owned by P.T. Barnum, who promoted him as the largest elephant on earth, and now we use it as an adjective!

Ok, ok, fine. I'll stop with the trivia. Sheesh.


Now this one has it all: Clowns and seals and stars! And a monkey ringmaster!

By Sang's Cakes

All in a vintage color-scheme that I love so much, I am seriously considering taking the whole thing in to the paint counter for some color-matching.


Hey, it looks like someone remembered to send in the clowns, because this cake is crawling with them!

By Baked Impressions

Admit it: you were a little freaked to scroll down to see a cake crawling with clowns. Don't be scared, though; they're super cute! Do you see the little one doing a hand-stand?


Pop-quiz: What is the best theme ever for a topsy-turvy cake? Take your time.

By It's a Piece of Cake

Did you say "circus theme?" Then you are correct! Loving the bright colors here.


And step right up for another topsy-turvy treat!

By Chocmocakes

Note to friends: I have just decided to change my name to Eva, and turn one this year, and I request this exact cake to be served at my first birthday party, thank you.


I will also accept this cake, but I might burst into tears at the intense adorableness of it.

By Baking Arts

I love the clean and modern look, I love the simple colors, and I love how the top is recessed a tiny bit.


But ladies and gentlemen, you haven't seen "recessed" yet! You haven't even begun to see it!


Do you see it?

Holy smokes.

The figures are recessed into the cake! Absolutely incredible. I know I say this a lot, but SO MUCH DETAIL HERE! Drink it in!


And now, hold on to your hats, folks, 'cuz it's the moment you've all been waiting for.


The Grand Finale! Behold:

By Frosted Art Bakery
(More pics here)

*cymbals crash, acrobats soar in the background, confetti canons explode, clowns go crazy, audience claps their hands off, everyone takes a final bow*

You just can't top a cake that requires an electrical outlet.

(Yep, it had motors! I think all the tiers rotated independently.)

We hope you enjoyed the show!

Have a Sweet to nominate?  Then send it to us at sundaysweets(at)!

« WE Will, WE Will... | Main | Dora the Engorger »

Reader Comments (64)

Cakes that make you go AWWWW :D. The craftsmanship is AMAZING, love the motorized cake-wish you had video :(

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

I'm not sure if I'm the first commenter, but anyway... The details on these cakes are pretty amazing! However, I'm not sure if I can eat a cake that has such a life-like animal on it, especially the last one *shudder* How do you even cut into it?! "Here, have some elephant brain"...

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdy

Those are all seriously cute and I don't even like circus themed stuff.

Except that last cake...I'm pretty sure that black horse wants to kill me and feed my soul to those elephants. They're scarier than the cake crawling with clowns.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercrydwynn

Odd how many of those cakes were 1st birthday cakes. Beautiful though!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJustine

Spectacular beyond belief! However, I can see quite a few of those are for ONE year olds!


No, I do *not* begrudge anybody anything, quite the reverse in fact. Wouldn't it be a lot better, all around, to save a excessively fancy and expensive cake for when the kid is old enough to realize what he or she is looking at... say, four or five years old?

A one or two year old could very well be made a whole lot happier with a cake he or she could just dive into face first. Who else thinks so?

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaye

Jumbo got his name at London Zoo they had to sell him when he became "mature" as they couldnt cope with his urges Barnum didnt mind but everyone in London got very angry with the Zoo, Jumbo mania was a big thing he was the Zoos first animal superstar.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdiddleymaz

Jen~ do you refer to yourself in third person now? Haha I was confused b/c you referenced yourself... :) I love your site, I check it every day! I also have both your books~ ever think about making a sunday sweets book? :) Keep doing what you do best!
~Maddie J, 15

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaddie J

Re above, I wonder how many one year olds even know what a circus even IS, let alone have ever gone to one.

Teddy bear, cow jumping over the moon, etc make better motifs for a one year old's birthday cake. And they can be made every bit as elaborate as these cakes here are.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBea

I noticed that too about the 1-year-olds, thinking it's a lot of money to spend on a baby who couldn't really appreciate it ...and that last one? My initial reaction was "ok, that is going into crazy territory". But then I noticed it was for a woman who turned 100! Everyone who makes it to a hundred deserves a cake like that! Click through the additional the birthday girl holding a cake ukulele like she's playing it?

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie M.

My father used to drag me to the circus when I was a kid and I HATED it...not a big fan of clowns and frankly, I found the circus boring. BUT...these cakes are adorable...well, except for that last one, which I found creepy.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkaisee

OUTstanding cakes!! Lucky bstrd 1 yr. olds-- surely 1 Year cakes have become prof. baker exhibition opportunities or something? And wow, how can that last one be cake?! WIN, every cake. Totally agree on the color-matching and style craving comment, there!

And, if that was really a John-captioned and -written entry, John, you totally outdid yourself and hit all the 'admiring the details' points we love to read! Bravo!!! The points we've come to admiringly respect in Jen's entries (kudos once again, Jen, if that was really you 'hosting.') were all there.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeidiInBoston

I didn't know the Circus Song had words, so thank you!
I bet these cost more than the Dora with Hypothyroidism cake.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

No nightmare-inducing cakes here, and I am REALLY, REALLY afraid of clowns! Awesome post! Thanks for always making my day.

P.S. Did you notice that their watermark is spelled incorrectly? (It's what I do for a living - and I can't turn it off - even on Sunday)

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDM

I scrolled through the pictures going "I want that one, and that one, and that one..."

First birthday parties and their accoutrements are really more about the parents than about the one-year-old. "Here's to us for surviving a whole year of midnight feedings and mystery-color poop. We deserve cake. And beer."

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

Im generally very very afraid of clowns, bit these were cute.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertiny p elelohant

Cakes for one year olds are made for the mothers....OK, who did not know that??
Glad someone else obsesses about g=details as I do- PT Barnum only owned Jumbo for a short while and then he got hit by a train whilst ....well, changing trains- I am guessing it was the first time he actually met something that he could not ignore, unfortunately the train could not stop =either- it was on the wrong track and did not, for some reason expect an elephant- can you imagine the insurance claim??
Wonderful cakes, though, brilliant.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKirri

Loved all the cakes, though that last one was a bit over the (big) top!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacy D

Dawww! The cute little elephants, and lions, and seals! Love. them. all.
Love the entertaining and educational post. My favorite circus word is "roustabout." Those are the circus guys that set up the "guys.":-)
Final thought: I had no idea what song you started with, but the moment I saw the word circus your "Da da dada's" marched through my head with perfect circus music. You have a gift, my friend.:-)

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarnieB

I was totally expecting you to point out the steamy accents on the next to last cake. ( with the recessed figures). Awesome cakiness going on at the circus!!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

As if I didn't love this blog enough! Your Sondheim reference makes me very happy. : )

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMBaracuda

Maddie: You must be new! Many of the posts are written by Jen's husband, John.

The last cake was for a woman's 100th birthday. It was done by Brownwen Weber, who I capital-L love!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJT

I tend to agree that most cakes are wasted on a one year old. That being said, these are absolutley spectacular, and I want one for my mumble-dy-mump birthday this summer. It's a major milestone, and life around here is generally a bit of a circus, so it's appropriate!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLady Anne

To the other readers of this fine blog:

Yes, the cakes were for the birthdays of one year olds, but the cakes were made to impress the adults attending, NOT the child. You can bet the child's family went all out for this party, probably had clowns, pony rides, and what have you, so the fancy cake was probably the least of it. I won't stand in judgement of such families, even if I generally dislike such extravagance. If people have money to burn on a fancy birthday cake, at least someone else is being gainfully employed and their bills are being paid.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercrownring

I kept saying "That's my favorite of this post" until I'd scroll down, and then I'd say it again.

My 8 y-o daughter saw the last one and said "Oh. My. Glob. Awesome!"

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaaren

Did anybody else go look at the extra pictures of the last cake? I was stunned at the last photo which shows this cake is gargantuan, seriously the cake should be named Jumbo. How in the world do they deliver something so big in one piece????

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKimberj

Awesome, indeed. I kinda want Beau and Brooklyn's cake myself... Hey, c'mon, my birthday's only a month away; somebody better get to baking! And learning fondant-craft.

I do have one silly question, though: why is Ebby's choo choo train levitating? It doesn't even have any wheels! The wife-and-mother-of-railroad-fanatics has to know! Still adorable. But, it flies?

Well...but...adorably cute widdle baby outfits that make them look so precious...? Those are for the mommies and daddies - who love dressing up their offspring in oh-so-cute clothing. The baby won't care if it's draped in a clean rag, but the parents have fun with it. Obviously these gloriously cute cakes won't be appreciated by the baby...they're for the parents to have fun with. For the pictures that later on in life little Jenny or Jimmy will see and be amazed that they had such a cute cake at that tender age.

Heck, if I had a precious baby I adored, I'd probably dress him/her up in cutesy clothing and get adorable cakes for birthdays, too. It's fun! Shouldn't having a baby in your life be fun?

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChenaya

Hi folks! This post was actually written by me, Lindsey! I'm a regular contributer here on Sunday Sweets, even though this post isn't linked to my name ... but it usually is! I swear, I'm not totally making this up. I swear! Anyway, glad you enjoyed it! :)

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

I usually email the Sunday Sweets posts to my daughter, but she sadly suffers from a severe fear of clowns, so I'll just have to enjoy this week's circus-themed post by myself.

Count me in on these who feel that the elaborate, and surely expensive, cakes are wasted on one-year old children. Wait until the children are old enough to appreciate the effort that the bakers/artists have gone through for them.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn

Anyone who lives to be 100 fully deserves a cake such as that one! Many happy returns, lady!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAisha

A) Why do people get such lavish cakes for 1 year olds?
B) Do they have to keep getting bigger and better cakes for their kids every year?
C) Where do they get the money for those detailed cakes, for each kid, every year?

Nuts. But lovely, thanks for sharing.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobyn

I hate to be the Debbie Downer of the message board, but as awesome and intricate as these cakes are, the circus is disgusting and we should all work together to ban the use of animals as entertainment.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersarah j

Jen, why not change your name to Eva and turn 4 instead? Then you'll be 4-Eva young! ;)

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJade

This was a super-amazing circus post! ;D I loved the trivia, too! In the middle of working on an essay for college, any random trivia not relating to English II is welcomed! Heartily Welcomed! BTW, they're probably called "guys" because they are guy-wires, but my mom never let me run away and join the circus, so what do I know!? :D

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStoich91

@Kimberj, everything is bigger in Texas. EVERYTHING!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn O. Nemus

I commented about the plethora of 1st birthday cakes but I have no problem with it. People should get whatever cakes they like for themselves or their loved ones. I'm happy someone is keeping the bakers in business and artistic inspiration.

I just wondered, is circus the accepted theme for 1 year old like there are specified themes for anniversaries like paper, silver, etc., and if so, what are the themes for the subsequent years?

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJustine

The huge 100-year birthday cake is for a local businesswoman, Ebby Halliday. She's quite a legend in Dallas and actually just turned 101 in March 2012. She's a heck of a lady and built a huge real estate empire here, mostly on her own. Anyway, amazing cake but OH MY GOSH some of those others are cute overload! And I don't even really like circus theme stuff. Thanks for another great Sunday!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna2112

WOW...... Those are incredible!!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMags

The 100 year old lady is Ebby Halliday - Grande Dame of Dallas Real Estate - she plays the ukelele and I've actually had the honor of hearing her play live. She is a wonderful lady!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Hey folks! This post was actually written by me, Lindsey! I'm a regular contributor here on Sunday Sweets, even though it's not linking to my name for some reason like it usually does ... I swear I'm not some crazy person making this up, I swear! Glad you enjoyed the cakes!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey@BetterAfter

I love 'em all!

But my actual comment is off-topic. Well, sort of.

I only recently ran across the info (and I am 66) that the most-recognised circus music (at least in the US) is actually about THE Circus, and is titled "Entrance of the Gladiators," from an opera by Fucik.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn A

the person who made the last cake (which is incredible!) must have watched ALOT of "Ace of Cakes"! it looks like something Duff would have come up with!

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSueP

I love the Sunday posts!! I know you both are a Disney fans, so I found the posting of this ironic since phase 1 of the new Fantasyland opened up with the new Storybook CIRCUS. Coincidence? I think not. ;)

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAli

That last cake.. I half expected to see Duff from Charm City Cakes as the creator... :)

gorgeous as always on all the cakes :)

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who thinks these elaborate cakes for 1, 2, 3 year old children are a huge waste of money. They're for the parents, not the kids.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLizzyBean

Hard to say which was my favorite. I will say though a motorized cake is impressive, this one was a bit to busy for my eye site. I don''t even want to know what it looks like moving. lol That is just me but then I have a seizure dissorder. I don't even go to the circus. lol But anyway they are all very beautiful.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTerrie

I think the reason you see so many circus themed cakes for 1 year olds, is they're too scared of the clowns at any later age, so the parents get the creepy clowns out of the way early :)

Besides, by the time the kids are 2 or 3, they start wanting character cakes (ie Dora/Princess/Toy Story/whatever)

My kid won't be having a circus birthday party (if I ever have kids) because no matter how cute the clowns are above, I find them very creepy.

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermistiqueallie

So how does being for the parents suddenly make something a "waste of money"???

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJo

Here's another fun fact for you: The traditional entrance song of the circus is titled "Entry of the Gladiators." It was written by Julius Fucik (1872-1916) in 1897. I don't even like the Circus because of the fact that they're infamous for treating the animals, especially the elephants, so cruelly but I love all the cute little fondant animals! Adorable and cruelty free :-)

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLibbie

"Thank you- May I have a slice of the Horse's ass."

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhawkfeather

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