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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

Great Expectations

I know we all love wedding wrecks with a schadenfreude-filled passion, but when it comes to what-they-wanted vs. what-they-got wrecks, believe me, it's not just wedding cakes:


You know those days when you wonder why you even bothered showing up for work? 

That's the top tier on the right.


 Ammi T. hoped to find a friend in her baker when she ordered this Toy Story-inspired Woody cake:

But instead she went to fecality, and beyond:


It's like two poop ropes shaking hands.

In fact, I think we're going to need a rear view on this one, don't you? [nodding] Yeah.

Turn 'er around, boys!


Hoo-WHEE! Saggy.


 Now, to be fair, I'm not sure how anyone would go about recreating this next cake exactly:

 (What is that, printable fondant? It sure doesn't look like paper...)

 But regardless, this isn't it:


That moment when you realize the awful Pooh picnic wreck is an engagement cake.



And finally, Virginia K. wanted this shaped number cake for her eighteenth birthday:


 But instead, she celebrated her legal coming of age - and all its unlimited litigation possibilities - with this:

So many things to say, but I keep coming back to those color choices. "Ok, you know what I'm thinking? I'm thinking EARTHWORMS and MINT ICE CREAM. Can we make that happen? Yes? AWESOME."


Thanks to Rebecca, Ammi T., Anony M., &Virginia K. for that horrifying mental image. I mean, sure, I wrote it, but still. I BLAME YOU.

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Reader Comments (86)

To be fair, the "terrifying" horse cake looks like Maximus, the horse from Tangled, and he was actually very funny.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

If you pay $40 for the $400 ($800?) Winnie the Pooh cake, you get a cute little Winnie the Pooh cake.
If you pay $40 for the $400 Woody cake, you get to pay for Tucker's therapy.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Once again the awful results when you use buttercream instad of fondant or sugar paste, and then the buttercream curdles and you cant even pipe a decent line or swirl...or your totally colour blind and working in the dark...with no fingers...why do they even pretend they can make a cake like that one???

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdiddleymaz

Sung to “You Don’t Know Me”

You give your hand to me
And say, “I’ll make it so.”
And I can hardly speak
My heart is beating so
And anyone can tell
I think you’ll do it well
But you don’t know cake.

No, you don’t know the way
To lay on fondant right
A Dalek mated with
My blue Roomba last night
Woody poo just won’t end
And so I won’t pretend
No, you don’t know cake.

You never knew the art of making cake
And my heart aches at the sight of Pooh
Trusting you, guy, I let me chance go by
For an engagement cake for two

You took my order form
And made a rastacorn
Your minty nightcrawlers
Just fill my heart with scorn
I think I just might yell
You seem to think it’s swell
But, you don’t know cake.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

I cannot imagine picking up the last cake for my daughter's 18th birthday and actually paying for it. Fire would have been pouring from my eyes, ears and probably many other openings. Can't the bakers recognize problems at all.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermla314

Wanted a pony,
not a pony on a stick!
(Gimme the stick.) CHARGE!

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

Exactly how old were Tim and Natasha/Nataska…what's-her-face???? Was it some kind of arranged medieval child betrothal?

These cakes show that people who "love to bake" are not necessarily artistically gifted.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShirley Fowley

Oh dear--Jen, you've given me nightmares. My twin daughters' 10th birthday is coming up the 13th, and I must soon order cakes. I sincerely hope they don't end up here. (Although we don't usually want anything that elaborate anyway, so maybe we'll be okay.)

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

Also noted; Only one of them (Tim/Natasha) received a "congratulation" . Did they fight over it? Who got it?

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShirley Fowley

That 18th birthday cake would have made me cry. Especially if I had a big blowout party with lots of my friends there. It's hideous. And i know it's just cake, but i still would have cried. Luckily, that did not happen TO ME, so I can just laugh my ass off about it. :-)

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Hmm...the horse cake doesn't look that bad to me. I get flashbacks from the Godfather but otherwise, it looks okay :)

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaphne24

RASTACORN!!! That's priceless.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterA Luke

I'm disturbed by both renditions of the horse cake. It's like the Godfather scene!

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercraftycassie

Oh yes, "Ghostbusters" and "A Bug's Life" for the win!

And Sharyn? EXCELLENT.

The wrecks today? Totally wrecky.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSalannB

As a professional baker-NOT a decorator- I can say that asking for a fondant item from a place that only uses buttercream is a mistake. Why not ask if they can use fondant before ordering the cake? Often the decorators are handed orders they know they can't do and told to make it or find another job. I have been told to do decorated items because the catering manager where I work thinks that we should be able to recreate anything she finds on Pinterest. Most of my stuff would probably qualify as a wreck, but then again, I'm not a decorator, and I don't claim to be.
I still love to wince at some of the more egregious offerings.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeckyH

This is of part you pay what you get. Also is you didn't scope out the person before hand and just trusted them. These are people who are home bakers and decorators. You can tell because most grocery stores wouldn't take on cakes like that because they are stacked. Almost all stores get there cakes come in frozen one size 8" round or 1/4 sheet cakes.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCrissy

Oh dear, some of those make doubt the ability of the average baker...

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

"two poop ropes shaking hands". Awesome!

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdutchgirl

Ghostbusters AND Bug's Life = AWESOME!

Sharyn~ I have no idea how you do it but I am, once again, in awe of your talent.

The unicorn/horse would have resulted in a coffee filled keyboard...but I remembered to set the cup down when the page was loading. See? I'm learning! Which is more then I can say for the people making these wrecks.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJodee in WA

What's weird about the horse is that the bridle shows some actual ability-- it's quite well done. Can't imagine what happened to the rest of it, though.

And I think BeckyH's post explains a LOT -- the manager takes the order because IT'S AN ORDER -- then threatens and belittles people into doing their dead level best -- even when they know that it's going to end up here....

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Nimous

I thought the Pooh cake-- while being miles from what was ordered-- was actually an adorably executed Pooh picnic tablecloth, with one lonely Pooh and one lonely Congratulation.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHappy Camper

@Shannon - Hey, it's your party & you can cry if you want to, cry if you want would cry too if it happened tooo yoooou... (I sure would! Sometimes these wrecks make me *glad* my kids & I have food allergies! :-)

Maybe next time it'll be... Judy's turn to cry, Judy's turn to cry, Judy's turn to crrrryyy...

@Sharon - glad you included the youtube link lest these young whippersnappers miss out... :-)

@Haiku Joy - another winning composition! SCORE!!! :-)

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarateLady

Well, while the buttercream in place of fondant cakes still look truly terrifyingly horribly done I must say on behalf of bakers that it isn't always that the baker can't do the cake in fondant. It's that the customer insists on trying to replicate the cake in buttercream because even though they want the beautiful fondant cake they are too cheap to pay for it. So they want a $400 cake for $40 and hello! You get what you pay for. So this is definitely at least partly the customer's fault as well.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdarkchylde

Yes, yes, what can be done in fondant cannot always be replicated in buttercream. Except when it can. Also, that doesn't explain the first wreck. That looks like fondant to me!

@BeckyH: I feel your pain. That is why a lot of the time you'll see us complaining about the management in the comments.

On the Woody Monstrosity: "You're going to need a bigger cakeboard"

Jen, thanks for the Heinrich bit. I totally did LOL.

@Shirley Fowley: Hahahahaha! Both of your posts are cracking me up.

@Sharyn: Thanks for making me Google Rastacorn!

Okay, y'all. I think I see an Epcot (or two) brewing. I'm heading to the bunker, just in case. I will whip up a batch of hot chocolate because it's cold here in the So Cal. It's currently about 54F / 12C.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Maybe the baker on the "Godfather" cake was from Vancouver Island, and decided to instead pay homage to a local legend, and recreate "Caddy" in icing...

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma

His name is Heimlich.....and that's the best line in the whole movie. ;)

(editor's note: Good catch, Brianna!)

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianna

Um, no. I don't care what amount you're paying for something. If a baker takes your order and your money and claims that they can make what you're asking for, you shouldn't end up with the cakes seen above. Bakers need to be honest with their customers about what they can and cannot do. If someone comes in to pay $40 for what is obviously a $200 request, the baker needs to either say no or come up with some sort of compromise that makes it clear to the customer what they should expect.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeachkins

Wow, I can't believe how far down I had to scroll before someone corrected Heimlich's name. Usually people are jumping all over themselves to correct things!!!! *coughcoughEpcotcoughcough* Excuse me, I have a bit of a cold. ;)

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTrekkie Gal

I look at the horse cake and all I can think is...
"Come on, Chaaarliiiiiee! We're going to Caaaandy Mountaaaaain! Caaaandy Mountaaain!"

Seriously. Watch Charlie the Unicorn on youtube and see if you don't agree (not kid friendly).

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermeeshybee

Those are just awful...this is what happens when someone takes one cake decorating class and starts selling cakes. Wow...

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKara Buntin

Hmm - I'm envisioning that Pooh's solo picnic (how SAD) was a couples baby shower cake for Tim & Natasha? No matter what, Pooh certainly needs a haircut - he's overly fuzzy.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPamtha

The buttercream vs. fondant argument doesn't even apply to the first cake. It's a fondant design to a fondant execution and still a fail on so many levels. So.Many.Levels. (especially the top level)

That being said, these are my favorite type of wrecks.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlisadh524

Never before has the "nailed it!" meme seemed so apt.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJenni

Well, the horse cake looks like it had a good base - it was beginning good. The bridle has good detail, the fondant looks pretty smooth, and the color on the nose looks decent. Then it looked like they were pressed for time when it came to the mouth, ears, and eye and threw it together. But seriously, WHO wants to eat a horse? Yuck!

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

I was going to pass comment on the quality of the 'What they asked for' cake for the first but it's clearly not a professional baker and the concept is very nice so I just felt bad doing it :)

Peachkins is absolutely correct, if they cake that you are asking for is clearly more than a £30 cake then the baker should be honest with the customer at the outset. However, I would hope people are bright enough to think to themselves that 'I'm not going to get this cake for £30'. However, and this is a HUGE however, the pricing of supermarket cakes against actual decorator/baker created cakes gives some people an unrealistic idea of exactly what they are able to get for their money.

In the true spirit of Cake Wrecks I do hope that the 's' after Congratulation on the Winnie the Pooh cake has been piped onto the side of the cake though!

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLittlefox

"Two pooh ropes shaking hands"!!! I'm dying here! It's a lovely tribute to bowel health. I sort of imagine those pooh ropes are congratulating each other on the great job they did sweeping the colon clean.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzoomom

Sharyn's poem has reached new heights of epic-ness to go with the wreckick-ness here.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris

That second horse looks like a Hannibel Lector unicorn!! Fava beans and unicorn anyone?

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

I love these posts! We all laugh at the bakers that make these wrecks, but we should also be laughing at the cheap people that order them. You want a $1,000 cake for $20? YOU GET A $20 CAKE. LOL!!!

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I've never been able to understand why the customers who order these cakes take delivery. If it were my wedding/birthday/graduation/etc. I'd sooner send relatives out on a mission to gather plain cupcakes or pies from every store and bakery in town than accept one of these disasters. But then I'd have to do my work all day instead of enjoying Cake Wrecks breaks.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSummer

Poor Tim and Natash(k)a--they only get one "congratulation." Most newly engaged couples get an unspecified multiple number of congratulations.

I would also like the back story of the terrifying decapitated horse cake. If it was black, I would think there's a Godfather link.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpikkewyntjie

I have to agree with a lot of the statements above- being a grocery store decorator, and the huge surge over the last few years of cake shows, we get tons of people who come in with pictures online, and when I say "that is probably a 400 or 500 dollar cake and it is fondant" and they reply "well, my budget is only 50 and I don't like fondant"... I simply say "then you aren't getting that cake" lol! You get what you pay for!!

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJami

This is what happens when someone wants a expensive cake for cheap, so they think it can be recreated in buttercream! When will people learn and bakers! Its okay to tell someone," cannot make it look the same with buttercream." Its going to cost more then $50.00. You might lose them as a client, but who wants a cheap client anyway.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSD.

Earthworms? Or ashes of earthworms?

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

When am I gonna learn to NOT eat when reading these?!?!?!

Too funny!!

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMajksmom

Poor Tim and Natasha (Nataska?) only got one congratulation. That's so sad. And the horse head looks like a turkey vulture to me for some reason. Excuse me while I go consult with my therapist.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMom A

I totally agree with Peachkins, when I ordered my wedding cake at some ordinary bakery, I showed them the pinterest picture and asked them if they could do something similar but for 60$. We agreed on which parts we had to change or leave and I had a pretty exact cake in mind AFTER we talked about it. So I knew what I would get and when we picked up the cake there were no surprises...

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPixi

I actually think the first photo (1st birthday cake) is a lumpy, wrinkled mess of a fondant wreck too so in fairness, the "what she got" cake isn't that far off...

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjane

I love these kinds if 'wrecks', although I feel terrible for the customers who order them.

I wish I had the 'before' and 'after' cakes I ordered for a shower. I have searched and searched. It is NOT always the customer.

I discussed it with the decorator, asked her what they could/could not do. And it was awful. Wrong shape, color, they put my decorations on entirely wrong. It was 'beach' theme, just 3 layers with light blue frosting, and some decorations (brought by me) to look like sand and shells. With simple piping around each tier. It came out ELECTRIC blue, with a pile of my 'sand' on the top with the shells in a lump. and square not round.

yeah. no.

so it is the baker in as many cases as it is the customer.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

I'm going to be making my own Wonderpets themed cake and cupcakes for my son's 2nd birthday (I have to make my own because it needs to be gluten-free, and GF professional themed cakes are REALLY expensive!), but I also plan on making a few "test cakes" prior to the big day to get the hang of fondont, etc. Still might be a wreak, but now I have hope - can't be worse than the woody cake or the sweet 18 cake!

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLacey S

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