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: Dia de los Muertos

You may think Halloween marked the end of all the fun, but not if you celebrate Dia de los Muertos!

(By Ashlee Trotter)

Yep, Day of the Dead actually spans three days, which just wrapped yesterday - but we're extending it through today, so you still get to feast your eyes on all this Sweetness.


Probably best known for its colorful sugar skulls, Day of the Dead is a celebration of loved ones who have passed on:

(By Vale Cooking and Fun)

Traditions vary around the world, but this is very much a time of joyful remembrance, full of color, laughter, and good food.


Of course, all those bright colors and gorgeous designs make Day of the Dead a popular theme for more than just Dia de los Muertos:

(By Fabricake)


In fact, Day of the Dead wedding cakes are really popular:

Found here, and created by Choccywoccydoodah


Here the traditional skull-and-crossbones gets a colorful makeover:

(By Bobbette and Belle)


While this sugar skull gets a sweet mosaic treatment:

(By Cookie Cornucopia)


As a Mexican holiday, it makes sense to honor Frida Kahlo with this stunning La Calavera Catrina (or, "dapper skeleton"):

(By Highland Bakery)


I especially love all the rich colorful flowers and delicate lace patterns:

(By The Royal Bakery)

And that little candle! Ack! So cute.


Sugar Skull face paint is also popular - so how appropriate that this next beauty is actually handpainted:

(By Three Little Black Birds)


I had to look at an extreme closeup to believe that wasn't a printed image. Talk about amazing detail!


And even the most adamant skull-a-phobe will admit these sugar cookies are simply irresistible:

(By Ooh La La Baking Co.)

Dibs on the top left one. And the third one over. And the bottom left. And the... oh, are we moving on? Ok.


Remember how I said Day of the Dead is a popular wedding theme? Well, check out this gorgeous example:

(By Cakes By Bert)

The hand painted panels, the "tiled" swirly bit, the sculpted toppers!!


And finally, I'll leave you with one of the most beautiful digital shorts I've ever seen, which is perfect for today's theme:

"Dia de los Muertos" by Ashley Graham, Kate Reynolds, Lindsey St. Pierre.


Curious which bakers in your area have been featured on Sunday Sweets? Then check out our Sunday Sweets Directory!

« This Wedding Wreck Is A Real Stretch | Main | RED SOCKS FOR EVAH »

Reader Comments (52)

I was so hoping that we'd get an invitation for a Halloween party -- I wanted to wear sugar-skull makeup!

Kudos to the wonderfully talented bunch at Ringling -- it's a hidden (and hometown!) treasure of incredible art talent (and the Ringling Museum of Art is nothing short of world class).

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Nimous

That short is beautiful! And so are the cakes. But seriously... That short..,

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Oh, Jen, what a wonderful post! The wedding cakes are fabulous. Those sugar cookies -- oh my! I call dibs on the lower right one. :) The Frida Kahlo cake is my favorite. I adore the tiny skull buttons.

Thank you for including the film. I can't believe it is a student project -- the animation, the music, the story -- beautiful doesn't even come close to describing it!!! No wonder it won an Academy Award. (I'm off to find some Kleenex -- danged allergies!)

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZippy

Like that wedding cake-so cool

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

Aww, that short is just....awww.
Dumb question, when you eat a cake covered in black fondant, does it turn your teeth funky colors?

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLorie

I always have fun on Sunday trying to guess who's writing the post. I wasn't sure with this one until the author called dibs on the orange and teal cookie. Then I knew. :)

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTAL

A collection of colorfully creepy confections!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSaraV

Lovely, lovely cakes and that short animation was just gorgeous! Only problem is I now, too, have had an attack of "allergies."

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterakathleen

Ah dang it Jen, that short made me smile like a goofball and cry at the same time! SO deserving of that Academy Award!

That last cake is so freakin' adorable! And that other one is all hand-painted? WOW!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterE. Anne

Okay, who knew I could cry so much in three minutes?? Gah!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Anyone else see Ozzy Osbourne in that 9th cake down?

@Lorie: (Re: black fondant) I imagine that it would (black food coloring usually translates to green "in transit", if you get my drift). Huh; I didn't think people actually ate the stuff.

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

Absolutely stunning! This exquisite mix of the macabre and the beautiful has produced some of the most incredible Sunday Sweets ever. And that short! I had to watch it several times to catch all the amazing treasures it contains. And, by golly, just like it did to @Zippy, it triggered my "allergies," too....

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermel

That short. It is so pretty, funny, and deeply moving, all at once. Zippy, I think I have allergies, too.

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLady Anne

the unknown cake looks like one of choccywoccydoodah's

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermilly

As a Spanish teacher, this post really tugged at my heart. Thanks, Jen, for such a lovely tribute to a holiday that's often mistakenly given a poor reputation. And I would bet that video short is going to cause many allergy flare-ups today - it did for me!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachel T.

Oh, Jen, thank you for the short, it was absolutely marvelous!!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Allergies, my ass(thma). I cried.
I've cried at Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp, and a lot of other animated stuff. That an animator can elicit emotions in that way is (to me) genius.

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

How perfect! Today in Tucson AZ we celebrate Dia de los Muertos with a wonderful parade called the All Souls Procession attended by tens of thousands of people.

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJunebug

Now everyone go play Grim Fandango!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIsolder74

I can't hear that short...
....if it plays in the left side of my headphones....

But on the bright side, at least beautiful cakes!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter-Unknown-

That short took the (ahem) cake!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDrockbox

Absolutely gorgeous! I call the chocolate skull with lace, people! <Stands before the cake in a menacing fighting stance whilst holding her bo> (that's a *big* stick, y'all, not a boyfriend... :-)

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarate Lady

I know the girl who helped make that "Til Death us do Part" cake!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbby Schrupp

I love this post so much! Dia de los Muertos is such an important tradition for me. Thank you for the post and that beautiful short film!!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLicha

YAY! This is one of my favorite holidays and I'm so happy that you put together this set of sweets. I adore those sugar cookies and the blue skull cake.

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily


November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

Very creative and colorful.

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Saxon

Those cakes and cookies are gorgeous!

But that video...damn ninja onions.

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJude

amazing work on those cakes.

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterarchersangel

Oh and by the way the i should have an accent mark in día.

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

this is so awesome!!!! thank you for the link to the short..... amazing! side note, i went as day of the dead minnie mouse at the Tower of Terror 10 miler earlier this month.. :)

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersambycat

I am partial to that first cake ... but I love bright colors on black ... not so sure about eating that, but I love the color combos. Love the cookies too!

And yes, the tears are flowing here too. Love the short, Jen. Thanks for including in this post.

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAddie

Between the cakes and the short, this might be my very favorite "Sweets" post ever!

Now, off to find my kleenex, and watch the short again!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJill

It should be noted that that artwork on the painted cake is taken from artist Sylvia Ji.

-concerned fellow artist

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

The wedding cake made by Flor was at the Oklahoma Sugar Arts Show a couple of years back- I have several pictures of it, and of several others with the same theme. It was gorgeous- each of the handpainted vignettes was different!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTeri

No fair making us cry!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

To answer the question about black fondant... it depends on how it's made. At my bakery, if I need to use black fondant, I start with a dark chocolate fondant. If you've never had chocolate fondant before, it's worlds apart from traditional fondant. It tastes and smells AH-mazing. Since the color is so dark to begin with, only a small amount of black coloring needs to be added. Doesn't stain your teeth (or your insides, lol), and doesn't take away from the delicious chocolate taste. Some bakers use massive amounts of black coloring with traditional fondant to achieve the color. This will color your teeth, and also creates a very unpleasant taste. Another option is to hand paint or airbrush the black, but it's hard to get the same intensity of color in my opinion. Chocolate fondant is the way to go! Wish I could use it for ALL my cakes!

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGabRoc

I just wanted to mention that the hand-painted lady on the cake made by Three Little Black Birds is actually referencing artwork done by Sylvia Ji. :)

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLily

I did not know that skulls could look so delicious. Also touching short.
PS: I thought you said that you were a grammar Nazi. In the third paragraph It should be "best known" not "best know".

[Editor's note- Bwoops. -john]

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBram

I went to a Halloween party yesterday and my husband and I painted our faces in this tradition to honor Dia De Los Muertos. And then to see these cakes put our make-up skills to shame! So beautiful! (When we were stopped at a light on our way back home, though, we creeped out the people in a car next to us!)
love, Love LOVE that short! *sniff*

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGingerSnap

Did you know that Disney applied for a trademark for Dias de Los Muertos? They have a movie coming out and want to trademark the toys from the movie.

Anyway, the Latino community roasted Disney on Twitter and Disney decided to rename the movie and withdraw the application.

Suppose they could trademark Christmas? Just a little out of touch.......maybe?

Love the cakes, the cookies AND the short.

November 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKnittedbooties

D'awww, happy sads at the short film! *sniff*

Such beautiful cakes!

Thank you to all the other commenters who noted the art reference on the painted cake.

November 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNebet

My daughter wants the first one as her wedding cake (she celebrated Dias de los Muertos every year). Guess I better brush up on my color flow skills

November 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

Alright....who's cutting onions.......*sniffle*

I want to get a sugar skull tattoo because of all the beautiful colors.....

And that short....(still looking for the onion cutter) :*)

November 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStaci

No fair, making me cry. The short was simply wonderful.

November 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim S.

OMG, that short...Beautifully done.
And the cakes were awesome too.

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCT

Interesting that the purple "Dia de los Muertos" wedding cake sash says
"Till Death us do part" which was a British Sitcom in the 70's. Or did they mean "Till Death do us part" which is typical marital liturgy.....?

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPriscilla

Thank you so much for sharing my cookies!!! :)

November 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOoh La La Baking Co.

my favorite Sunday sweets ever!

November 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoAnnaphylaxis

WoW! Can't believe it the last cake...the wedding cake with the sculpted bride and groom is MY CAKE. I took this cake to the 2010 Oklahoma Sugar Art Show!!! So honored that my cake made it to your Sunday Sweets. just wish that you had given me credit as the creator and not to who ever is listed. More info about this cake. The six panels around the second tier are hand painted one in front is bride and groom, four panels are musicians, and the back panel would be the maid of honor and best man. The sugar skulls around the base are made the traditional way with white sugar and water and allowed to dry then hand piped with royal icing.

December 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoberta Graham

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