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: Around the World in 80 Days

In 1873, Jules Verne published Around the World in 80 Days, the story of Phileas Fogg and his attempt to circumnavigate the globe to win a bet. Now, we can accomplish the same feat in just over two days, with another couple of days added in to get through airport security. (Well, I always manage to get behind that guy...) Today, let's slow down a little and retrace Phileas' trip.


The first thing most people think about when they hear Around the World in 80 Days is a hot air balloon. I found this amazing balloon cake with two guys who might be Phileas and his valet, Passepartout.

By Jacques Fine European Pastries

Isn't this gorgeous? Wouldn't it be great for a little circumnavigating? There's just one problem -- it never happened. There's no hot air balloon travel in the book.

Really, you can look it up.


They did take trains, though, like this beauty.

By Sugar N Spires

"Woo, wooooooooo... Chugga, chugga, chugga, chugga..."


They also rode a lot of steamer ships.

By Cake Central member Gingerbread_from_Germany

Don't you love the wooden decking?


Phileas even bought an elephant and hired a guide when there was a gap in the train lines in India.

By Heather Barranco's Dreamcakes

What can I say? It was a big bet -- millions in today's money.

Sadly, he didn't keep the elephant.
(I'd have found a way. Elephants who can accessorize are rare.)


So, now that we've lined up trains, ships and pachyderms, where exactly did Phileas and Passepartout go?

Well, they started in London.

By Elite Cake Designs

Pay no attention to any perceived anachronisms -- Jules Verne was a visionary who predicted electric submarines and video conferencing. An edible double-decker bus wouldn't have stretched his imagination at all.


From London, they headed to Egypt.

Submitted by Stephanie R., photo by Jennifer Klementti Photography, baker The Cake Museum

I'm going to be extra careful the next time I peel the fondant off a cake, just in case there are precious paintings underneath.


Sadly, Phileas didn't have time to stop and read the hieroglyphics. Instead, he pressed on to India.

By Michelle Sugar Art

Just. Wow.


Even though he was on a tight deadline, he still managed to rescue his future wife there. That necessitated a rather rapid departure to Hong Kong.

By Let Them Eat Cake

Do you think anyone would notice if I took one of the dragons? They look like foil-wrapped milk chocolate.


Of course, there wasn't a lot of time to see the sights in Hong Kong, because they had to make their connection to Yokohama next.

By Krumbcakes

This is much too peaceful and zen-like to run past on the way to your next stop. If I hadn't been rooting for Phileas to win, I'd have made him stop for a nice cup of tea.


Sadly, leisurely refreshments weren't in the cards, but a trip to San Francisco was.

By Cake Coquette

I really like the contrast of the razor-edged whiteness of the rest of the cake with the tumbled chaos of Lombard Street.


If Phileas had just had a pair of roller blades, he could have coasted all the way to New York, his next destination.

By The Icing on the Cake

It's just wicked that he didn't have time to catch a show, but the schedule was getting VERY tight, and Phileas still had to get back across the Atlantic.


After inciting a mutiny and burning most of the wooden parts of a ship for steam, Phileas and friends made it to Ireland,

By hello babycakes

which, you've got to admit, was pretty lucky. (Don't worry, they appeased the Captain by paying him a boatload of money.)


Still, there was one more stop before they got their pot of gold.

So, back to London they went.

By Emmacakes

Sadly, it appeared they were a day late -- but of course, it wasn't that black and white.

They'd forgotten about the International Date Line! Upon realizing the correct date, Phileas rushed to his club and won the bet! Significantly richer, he married his lady love and settled down to a quiet life.

(Maybe he even bought a hot air balloon...)


Have a Sweet to submit?  Send it to sundaysweets(at)cakewrecks(dot)com.

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Reader Comments (39)

Gorgeous cakes! I always love the gravity-defying ones, especially when I can't quite figure out how they pulled it off.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeirdre

It took me several minutes to realize that the British flag on the last cake hadn't melted, but the Union Jack was wrapped up around a #1! I hope that the 1 signifies one year in London or 1 day until someone leaves for London. Otherwise, such an elaborate cake for a 1 year old who can't enjoy it seems like a waste of money.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDrockbox

Historical note for the day: the fellows in the hot-air balloon are probably the Montgolfier brothers who invented the first practical hot-air balloon.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCapt. Video

I am in love with the NY cake :D and the Sanfran cake is so sweet and cheery :D. The Egypt one is AMAZING :O

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

Isn't it a shame the phone boxes in the London cakes weren't blue?

The locomotive, by the way, is a Shay, invented by Eprhaim Shay and used on a lot of narrow-gauge miining and logging railroads in the USA.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTrebuchet

According to a reliable British source (M. Python), the Montgolfier brothers were preoccupied with washing.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

I want that elephant. You can't stop me I have land! I'll just tuck him in next to, the uh, chicken coup. Yeah. That'll work, he totally won't blow past my place and go on a swath of destruction through my area. Ha ha, that would never happen. "Um, no officer, um, what makes you think it was my elephant. I mean besides the trail of destruction. And besides the collar. That elephant sized dog house? Uh yeah, it's a uh, decoration. "

Okay, maybe I don't need an elephant.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHolly Folly

I'm actually playing a match-3 app based on the book. It normally costs a couple bucks, but was free when I got it from amazon for a day. >.>

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

The art on the Egyptian cake is from a real tomb wall painting- it's a hunt scene the Tomb of Nebamun. Kudos to the baker/artist!

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbluerider

I love the houses on the San Francisco cake. Deidre, the support for the ballon cake is is a post in the center, hidden by the flames from the fire. Its my favorite one of the bunch too.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCecily

WOW love them all and the story a great one!! thanks for sharing.
the San Fran is so amazing but all are surpurb.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJilene

I love these beautiful cakes. Sundays are always a treat. I think you need to do one on dragons alone! :) But really, you have inspired me to read the book. I never did, but your synopsis makes me want to read it, plus I do love Jules Verne.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

soooooooo enjoyable...I'd love to join this journey and get away from this cold, snowy, wintery day...(and a little cake would be nice, too......)

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermel

I'm with Jeanne. I must be a CW junkie when I look forward to Sunday Sweets all week! :)

These are fab!!

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnother Jen

For people who want to enjoy the Jules Verne book, you might want to try the audio book narrated by Jim Dale. It's amazing. Normally I don't like audio books, but I'll listen to Jim Dale read anything.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdrgns4vr

Sharyn, the cakes were amazing but I really loved your imagery and we adored the same things about the cakes!!

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

I'm with Holly Folly! I want that elephant too! Sadly, I don't think my apartment manager would be ok with it.
I have also never read this book but now I want to find it and read it all in one day! (I'm a really fast reader,,,what?)
Thanks Sharyn for opening our eyes to yet more amazing cakes!

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJodee

@mel: I look out at our snowy landscape -- a foot of snow yesterday -- and toast you with a slice of cake (yellow, with chocolate frosting) -- and a cold glass of milk. At least in Colorado it'll be gone in two days... Stay warm!

@mindy1: I hope the job hunt's going well!

@Craig: I'd forgotten about "The Golden Age of Ballooning". I should have included a plumber.

Cake Wrecks readers are the best! Now I know about the balloonists, the train-maker, and that the pyramid paintings were real. (I wondered...) I love getting knowledge from unexpected sources!

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

Trebuchet, why do you think the 'phone boxes should have been blue? Our 'phone boxes are red!! The cake is a masterpiece. They all are actually!

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

The Hot Air Balloon cake is actually one of my friends wedding cake! I think its an amazing cake, but was so surprised to see it on Sunday Sweets (where it belongs!). So glad you found it!

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterskwiddy76

The balloon comes from another Verne novel, 5 Weeks in a Balloon, which was made into a fun movie in the 1960s. It had a great theme song that my family loved.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy in Nashville

i agree with Capt. Video about the guys in the hot air balloon one.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterarchersangel

Love that TARDIS (tethered aerial release developed in style!). And yes, the phone boxes should be blue.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTinaBC

All simply stunning! I sure couldn't be the person to cut into any of them.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanice W

"such an elaborate cake for a 1 year old who can't enjoy it seems like a waste of money." A birthday party for a one-year-old is often not about the one-year-old. It's about impressing the one-year-old's parents' friends.

Lombard Street on that cake looks even scarier than it does in real life! The next Big One might make it look just like that!

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpikkewyntjie

Love all the cakes! However, it was Phineas Fogg, not Phileas.

[Editor's note- Actually, I thought so too since I've been watching Phineas and Ferb. However, it is Phileas. Also, I took off your name so you don't get harassed. Have a great night! -john (thoJ)]

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Actually skwiddy76 is right. The balloon picture IS of our wedding cake and the people in the basket are... just us. We got engaged on a hot air balloon ride and incorporated it as a theme item. Flattered at the other ideas though.

March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAri

The phone boxes in the London cakes aren't blue because they're London cakes, not Dr Who cakes. Blue police telephone boxes were common when I was growing up, but you don't see them now (except when the Doctor is in town) because the police have radios.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMorag

Wait. No hot air balloon???? *sob* There should have been a balloon!

OTOH, if there was no balloon, we shouldn't have any qualms about eating that gorgeous balloon cake other than that we would no longer be able to look at it. :-)

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGinger

Objection!! Actually he was not a single pence richer, since the bet was about the same money he estimated to need for the trip (20.000 pounds) equaling half of his property.

But the cakes are absolutely AMAZING anyway!!

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSaddy

What a great post full of beautiful cakes. Seriously though...was it just me? Am I the ONLY one that looked at the Yokohama cake and immediately saw gums bearing sharp, pointy teeth on those roofs? That, ladies and gentleman, is exactly where my mind went upon first glance of that cake and I can't get past it. Monster house!! Maybe I should have my head examined.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSOman

What patience, what magnificence,- I applaud all the bakers and decorators.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterhotmama3

Of all the posts I've seen of beautiful cakes, this one definitely... takes the cake? These are works of art! Especially the Indian inspired pieces. My jaw had dropped since the first photo. Just wow...

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKrys

I was afraid at first that you wouldn't mention that they never actually rode in a hot air balloon in "Around the World." But then you're too much of a Steampunk fan to not have read Jules Verne! I wish someone would make a realistic version of this film. It's actually quite action packed and doesn't need goofy tweaks to make it entertaining (cough, cough, Disney). Nice storytelling in this post Jen. Oh, and the cakes were gorgeous too.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeavenscribe

My daughter Grace would *LOVE* the New York "Gracie" cake! :-) And she loves the movie version of "80 Days" with Jackie Chan as Phineas' assistant. (Me, too - Go Jackie!) Great post, Sharyn!

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarateLady

.... The right-hand fellow in that first cake looks like Gordon Freeman.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Haiku

The version of "Around the World in 80 Days" that I own has the story paired with "Five Weeks in a Balloon," also by Jules Verne as mentioned above and it does have a hot air balloon pictured on the cover. Perhaps that's the source of the association of the balloon with 80 days? Both the stories and the beautiful cakes definitely make me want to travel. Then again, most things make me want to travel! ;)

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterjklGoDuke

At first I thought the balloon was for a gay wedding. But then I read the post, but then thought "Why would the valet be wearing the same outfit?" Then I thought about the old cartoon series "Around the world in 80 days" and wondered if that is where people get the balloon association from.

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Save me, San Francisco cake... from my sugar craving!

March 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPinkie Pie

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