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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

12 Swoon-Worthy Steampunk Sweets

I can't believe it's been nearly two years since I featured steampunk Sweets! Ack! How is that possible?! If you follow me over on Epbot, then you know how near and dear steampunk is to my clockwork-loving heart, so this is a grievous oversight.

Well, we've got some serious catching up to do, lords and ladies, so gather your goggles, bustle your bustles, and let's get steamy!



Submitted by Tracey W., made by The Sweet Life Bakery

 Steampunk often gets the "when goths discovered brown" rap, but all that Victorian influence can actually mean lots of fabulous color - and I'm digging these sweet pastels.

Plus: hot air balloons.

I loooove hot air balloons. 

They're like candy-coated bubbles of pure, floating whimsy.


Here's one with more traditional steampunk colors: all rich burgundies and gleaming copper and brass:

Sub'd by Robyn & made by Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

 A lot of steampunk cakes can start to look the same, but to my knowledge this one is wholly unique. Check out the "glass" domes on the stand, and that fabulous gauge topper. I half expect to see a jet of steam shooting out!


Here's a dapper delicacy from my friend Darla over at Bakingdom:

Sub'd by Marlene W. & made by Bakingdom

 The hats are made of Tootsie Rolls! NOMZ.


 Speaking of hats, here's a lovely specimen with its own wind-up key:

By Tramie's Kitchen

Did you know there's still only *one* mass-produced gear cookie cutter? (At least that I know of - and believe me, I've looked.) That means pretty much every gear you see on these cakes was either hand cut or the baker made her own cutters (like we did.) Something to keep in mind as we continue on to...

By Cake Central member CakeDiva11

 Great grinding gears, look at all these details! I think my favorite is the pocket watch chain wrapped around the middle - it's amazing to think all of that is edible.


After hot air balloons, my second favorite mode of air transport is, of course, the dirigible:

Su'd by Meg N. & made by Charm City Cakes


(Did you know: The difference between a blimp and a dirigible is that a dirigible has a rigid internal structure that gives it a shape, whereas a blimp just has gas.) [insert too-many-burritos joke here]


And now, clockwork butterflies:

By Gimme Some Sugar: Las Vegas

 Get out. I want one of these for a hair clip, STAT.


This next one is less 'punk and more strictly Victorian, but I've never seen a dress cake done this beautifully:


 Submitted by Camberly T. and made by Grace Cakes

 Seriously - never. Check out how the tiers are graduated on a gentle slope, so that the bustle falls in just the right line. That, and the fabric draping, and the laced corset, and the utter LACK of creepy human torso bits sticking out make this my new favorite dress cake.


Who's up for a steaming cup of steampunk joe?

Made by CW reader Lisa N.

You guys. Look how adorably perfect these are. LOOK AT THEM. Not only are there tiny hand-painted temperature gauges, there are also tiny hand-painted strength gauges on the the other side!

The little rivets! The swirly "steam!" I'm swooning over here, Lisa. Major kudos.


Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't include the most recent amazingness from Mike's Amazing Cakes:

Sub'd by Arwen M. & made by Mike's Amazing Cakes

Believe it or not, this DaVinci-inspired steampunk Sweet is a tiny, single-serving cupcake. Which has to make it the most effort expended per person served in the history of Cakedom. I know we say this a lot on Sweets, but seriously: how could you eat this? I'd have it preserved in an airtight dome just so I could stare at it in awe for the next fifty years.


Remember what I said earlier about how steampunk can be colorful? Well, hold on to your top hats, folks, 'cuz this one's my favorite:  

By With Love And Confection

This cake is very nearly perfection. The cameo, the feathers. the gear and clock design, the stripey corset - I love it all. But I think I love that color palette most. So, so pretty.


And finally, let's go out with a grand, gravity-defying delight:

Sub'd by Debbie B., made by Christopher Garrens

Take it all in: the jaunty airship trailing a sky banner, the bride and groom robots on a tiny top hat, the intricate skeleton clock, the goggles - even a gramophone horn! (I've actually featured this one before, but this is a much better photo than last time; every time I look at it, I notice some new little detail.)

Believe it or not, I have even *more* steampunk Sweets to share, but those will have to wait for another time. 'Til then, if you have a Sweet to nominate - yours or anyone else's - then please, send it to me at Sunday Sweets [at] Cake Wrecks [dot] com!

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Reader Comments (54)

Just to let you know, that last cake was actually by Christopher Garrens cake shop. It was featured on Amazing Cakes and was done at his store. Lindsey (the owner of A Wish and Whisk) worked there at the time and worked on that cake, so perhaps that's why she's including it in her portfolio. I know its a small detail, but technically it wasn't made by her store, but his.

[Editor's note- Hi Danielle. Jen and I actually discussed this at length last night. Was it made AT Christopher Garrens BY Lindsey Sinatra and that's why she has it on her page? I don't know. To be safe, I changed the credit to Garrens because it was his shop that was responsible for it. Have a great day! john]

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

It's actually been almost 3 years since your last steampunk Sunday Sweets post in October 2009. Oh, the horror!!! LOL

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

WOW! those are amazing! And you're right, that teal one.... BEAUTIFUL!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharis

Wow, these are some amazing works of art! I have to say the second to last one is my favorite followed closely by the Victorian dress one. I love to decorate cakes and when I see these I want to give the designs a try. Love this weeks picks!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichele Southworth

Did some digging. That last cake looked familiar because it was made while Lindsay (from A Whisk and A Wish) was working for Christopher Garrens. Not quite sure it should be counted as her creation if she just worked on it with the other people at that bakery, before she moved out and opened her own shop. Seems like false advertising, but that might just be the stickler in me. Either way, all the cakes today are AMAZING. Cheers!

[Editor's note- Hi Linden. Yeah, this seems odd to me. Jen and I assumed that if it was on her new site, she must have been entirely responsible for it, even if it was made at Christopher Garrens. I don't know, maybe they have some sort of duel credit thing worked out. Hm. Anyway, I changed the credit. Thanks! -john]

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinden V

These cakes are so intricate and so interesting -- absolutley incredible! What beautiful labors of love. I've got to head off to the bookstore to see what all this is abouit....

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermel

OMG the butterflies :D how perfect.

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

YAY FOR STEAMPUNK SWEETS!!! I've been perusing all your Steampunk archives on EPBOT and was thinking "according to my pocket watch, more steampunk ought to be trickling over to Cake Wrecks promptly." Now that I have a word for what I've always loved, I've been spending way too much time looking at it!

Ok, HELLO - the hot air balloon on the first cake has little teeny weeny gears on it! *sigh*

But THEN - oh then then then my eyes feasted on the CLOCKWORK BUTTERFLIES and I was speechless for probably a whole minute. My kids were like "what's wrong with mommy?" and "Mommy, are you aghast again?" (I am often aghast). So now where do I get a non-edible one to wear in my hair (like Jen intends), or as a necklace, or as a brooch???????

And the colors on that second to last cake are ALL MY FAVORITES - It's almost as if it were made for me, with dark purple feathers and a Perry-the-Platypus turquoise top hat... heavenly!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAgent B

OK entertaining AND educational. Never heard of steampunk until today but it is incredibly interesting...and makes for some great themed cakes!! It's like an old teacher used to say....if you're not careful, you might just learn something!!!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

If/when I find someone interested in marriage, I actually want a steampunk wedding cake, themed around cameos. XD I'm so in love with those things. I own several cameo necklaces.

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I love every single one of these, even though none of them depict proper corset lacing. It's okay for cakes, but take care of your corsets, kids!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

You know certain unwelcome people have been WONDERING how anybody can stand to eat some of the more spectacular Sunday Sweets.

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeg

That last one is AMAZING, as is the cupcake by Mike's Amazing Cakes, but the butterfly one is my favorite! Love Sunday Sweets!!!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTerraD

The butterflies remind me of a Nathaniel Hawthorne short story. And now I have revealed myself as probably the only living reader of Nathaniel Hawthorne short stories.

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKara

Kara - no, you're not. My wife and I read them, and there have been a few times my wife tried to read our two year old son bedtime stories out of the Tanglewood Tales.

As an engineer, though, the gears on the windup hat cake accidentally had me wincing. The baker managed to do some major geartrain no-nos, including having two gears with very different pitches meshed together and trying to have three gears meshed into a triangle. Either one will bind up if you try to move it. Ok, maybe that's just me. (But maybe there's a market opening for a set of different sized gear cookie cutters, all having the same spacing between each tooth, and even an involute tooth profile so they'll turn smoothly if you meshed together your gear cookies.)

Ok, enough griping - there's some amazing cake sculpture here. My favorite has to be the second one, even if that pulley looks like it's fixing to throw a belt.

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMad Scientist Matt

Less than three, less than three, less than three!

Don't wait so long before featuring steampunk sweets again, please!!!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaisley

Wow, Kara, haven't thought about that short story since college! Thanks for the reminder. I love Hawthorne.

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulieLeto

I am now eyeing a royal purple, sparkly butterfly on my shelf- wondering if I should just put a gear on it! :D

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

I opened a tab for the YouTube "Just glue some gears on it..." and gave the Sunday Sweets Show a soundtrack! No simply glued-on gears among these beauties. Thanks!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLouisa

This for Kara ^ I also like Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories, so you are not alone!

Why am I not Steampunk? It would be a great look!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeadant

Oh my goodness I'm so glad you posted this! I actually have a draft that's been sitting in my inbox all week where I was going to ask if there was any way to find out if there were any bakeries in TX that have done sweet-worthy steampunk/geek cakes... but then I got incredibly anxious about sending it because I'm a geek and therefore awkward. Would any of those other steampunk sweets happen to be from bakeries in Texas? We seem to have an utter lack of good geek weddings down here. :(

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Jessica - Yes! The cakes are all gorgeous and I love them, but the terrible lacing is driving me nuts. All those hypothetical broken corset ribs and bruised body ribs. Made of cake.

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKayla

I think you need a "Steampunk Second Sunday Sweets every month.....

Just saying my little cog filled, bustled, steampunk heart would love it!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShadowL

Wow, that's one of Mike's best. Steampunk is most impressive when the mechanisms seem to do something. The topsy-turvy cake is wonderfully detailed, but I'd have liked it better straight. Tilting layers don't suggest fine engineering. Maybe it's about to blow up?

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarkM

This is definitely my favorite Sunday Sweets post so far! The butterflies in particular are amazing, but really all the cakes you included are awesome. Wow!

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I think I drooled a little when I saw the clockwork butterflies. These cakes are all gorgeous, but those butterflies... Wow. :)

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I was absolutely blown away by the cakes today. That cupcake was astounding. The last cake was my fav, but only by a small margin. Please feature steam punk more often. I love this stuff.

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

Those butterflies are amazing, and I would take up drinking coffee if it could be from one of those cups. Thanks, for sharing these beauties with us.

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarnieB

Holy crap, those CUPCAKES. So freaking adorable.

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternikki

Oh man, those butterflies have got me itching to get out the craft supplies and see how close I can come - I'm faving this page right now just so I can find it again easily!

My favorite cake is definitely the first - so much detail, but it still looks like a cake, which gets it extra kudos in my book!

Oh, and I both agree with the ladies on the corset lacing issues, and all those fine folk who all love Hawthorne! Wonderful to know I'm not the only one out there! (Now, is there anybody else here whose read any of Charlotte Bronte's works other than "Jane Eyre?" Or anything by her sisters other than "Wuthering Heights?" I went through a fanatical Bronte phase when I was in high school, heh.)

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIkwig

Say, Have you been to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM? It's a really fun show to go to, and I bet you would have a blast there! They even have a Darth Vader hot air balloon. :)

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEstefania Trejo

@Ikwig: I have read, I'd say, all of Charlotte & Anne Bronte's novels over the past couple of years. Gotta say, "Wuthering Heights" is not my cup of tea, I prefer the other, "boring" ones...

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVeni

Cake 1: I totally LOVE the second layer, with the gears on the "inside". That. Was. Genius.

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Obviously, those are all fashion corsets ;)

Also dirigible mean it has power steering - not necessarily that it has an internal structure (I was recently caught by the terminology police on this one, so I thought I'd share :B).

Awesome cakes! Thanks for posting ^_^

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlady

Oh my god! These are BEYOND studding!!!

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

Sublime...simply sublime. I giggle at the wrecks...I mean, well, who wouldn't. But I remain in awe at artistry on this level. Please keep this site up...for it's horrors and it's beauty.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJo

"Dirigible" is not the opposite of "Blimp".
"Dirigible is the opposite of "Hot Air Balloon".

Hot air balloons are at the mercy of the wind direction [though the aeronaut can do *some* direction-selection by choosing different altitudes where the winds may be blowing differently].
Dirigibles have motors and propellers and are steerable. "Dirigible" is French for "Steerable".

What IS the opposite of "Blimp" is "Zeppelin". THOSE re the ones with keels and rigid frameworks supporting the gas bags.
The term "blimp" goes back to before WWII, when dirigibles were classified as (a) rigid or (b) limp.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret Middleton

I can't say that I really understand the point of steampunk, but those are some awesome cakes!

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTrekkie Gal

Oh my GOSH. These are absolutely amazing. How do these ever get eaten? I couldn't bring myself to cut into one!

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley Austrew

Oh I am in LOVE with those butterflies! I need one as a hair clip too. If you make one, please put a tutorial up on EPBOT.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

Oh wow, I love all this steampunk goodness! Gorgeous cakes!

Plus an extra grin for me, the bride and groom on the last cake are the same cake topper my husband and I used on our wedding cake. Which makes that cake pretty huge, once I try and put it in scale.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

Very pretty, but personally I don't want to eat ANYTHING in metallic colors.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDC

I adore all these steampunk cakes and I agree its been too long since we've seen them. I especially like the teal and purple one. I have always loved the color teal but since recently being diagnosed with ovarian cancer and learning the awareness color is teal I have been obsessed with it, thanks for showing steampunk can be bright and colorful.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

While I do love all these sweets, my favorite part is the cut-out on the pocket watch layer of the first cake. Do you see all those little gears inside?!?!? Like the cake is working on the inside! LOVE

And yes, those butterflies are pretty freaking awesome!!

July 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMimi

Now I know what I want for my birthday cake... In two months and a day. (My 19th, whoo! :3 )

July 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIAmWreckGar

OMG! The butterfly cake is mine from my wedding on October 10, 2010! The best part? It was delicious, too! Peanut butter cake with grape jelly on the bottom, strawberry jelly on the top.

July 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLorelei

So fantastic - so creative and original! ...congratulations!
Deb and Les

the butterfly cake is epic !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternaomi

LOVE the dress melted my heart it's so beautiful. And what whimsey on the last one...sigh....

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMotherofBug

Oooh I LOVE the idea of those butterflies as hairclips. Challenge accepted!

August 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter104 Jewelry

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