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

Do You Wanna Bake a Snowman?

With Frozen all the rage right now, I thought we'd take a look at the new design going like gangbusters at local bakeries. It's supposed to look like this:

Which is a bit... odd. I mean, I guess those are snow-capped mountains - and Anna's floating down a river, hip-deep in a glacier? Ok, sure. But how do the bakers get the mountains to stick up like that?


Short answer? They don't.

Oooh, look. A cut-off toe-sock. With some glitter.

[jazz hands]


Of course, it could be worse.

Like this!

Frozen has left the building, kids. I think it melted.
(Well, except for the plastic snowflakes. THANK GOODNESS FOR THE PLASTIC SNOWFLAKES.)


Seriously, cake kit peeps, I AM DISSAPOINT. No Sven? No Elsa?!

Well, FINE, then. I guess I'll just go back to my favorite Little Pony.


Or I hear pie is nice.


Thanks to Mandy S., Ashley, & Michaela for keeping these wrecks on ice.


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Reader Comments (49)

Let it go, indeed...

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Lol...Elsa is on one side, Ana on the other...the decorators are supposed to build the mountains up on icing...not everyone is talented!

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Sung to "Let It Go" (Theme from Frozen)

The cake gleams bright, full of glitter tonight
Cut-off toe sock. Trees of green.
A kingdom of melting glaciers
Someone better call the Ice Queen.

Your kid is howling, letting out the screams inside
Can't calm her down, heaven knows you tried.

The wrecks can't win, don't let them see
Just how mad you feel about Pinkie
So, what's the deal, didn't they know
That it was snow?

"Make it snow, make it snow!
What's wrong with this cake store?
Make it snow, make it snow
And then you could charge more!"

Don't they care
You're not going to pay?
No point to rage on
Scorn never bothered them anyway.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

Actually I do this kit at work and it looks 3d but it isn't suppose to be its just the way it lays flat on the cake. You can tell by the way the border match up with the edges of the mountain range.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterelle
these are the directions to the way you do and you couldn't smooth it out if it was 3d it would fall over

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterelle

Sharyn, If I close my eyes, I can almost hear Adele Dazeem singing your beautiful lyrics:
Your kid is howling, letting out the screams inside
Can't calm her down, heaven knows you tried.

I'm sorry...I'm so choked up...I need to lay down...

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

The "Little Pony" looks more like a Little Piggy...No-wait! Make her hair blonde, smudge the heck out of the mascara so it runs, and call that thing "My Little Hammy"...(from the *baker*. Get it? No?Never mind.)

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

Bwahahaha@sharyn. Cannot believe the laziness of people, how do they have jobs

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

At least the snowflakes are (correctly) six-sided!

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLizziebeth10

I am the purchaser of that first Frozen wreck. Before looking up the original picture to remind us that it was supposed to be a mountain range, we had a great debate as to what exactly it was. My first reaction was a cloud. My husband thought it might be an ice cave or Elsa's ice castle. The birthday girl decided it was a crown and stuck with that even after we looked it up, and then insisted that her candles should be placed in the crown. She was perfectly happy with it, though, despite all our laughing at it because she's completely obsessed with Frozen. I can't wait to show her the post later, especially since today is her actual birthday.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMandy

@Sharyn - well done, as always.
@elle - thanks for the link. The original still looks suspiciously 3D, while the directions clearly are not. Seems a little sketchy marketing 'magic' is happening here.
@Lizziebeth - that was my first thought!
@Mandy - I'm glad Nora found the best in her cake. And every birthday girl should have a crown!

I had never seen the connection between My Little Ponies and Miss Piggy, but it really is plain as day.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMalia

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s post features the newest and most revolutionary professional decorating device to hit the market since the Pan-Wow!

Yes, I’m talking about the amazing Trace-A-Rator Toes! Used by professionals for years, this groundbreaking tool is now available to the general public for their private use!

How many times have we all said, “Oh, I’d like to have mountains on my cake, but I don’t know how to do it”? Or, “My kids want a cake with speed bumps, but I don’t know how make one”? Well, now, thanks to Trace-A-Rator Toes those are problems of the past. Simply follow the included directions and you’ll be the decorating envy of the neighborhood. How simple is it? Want five small hills? Just trace around the Trace-A-Rator’s five “toes” and instantly you have an amazing, life-like set of small hills! A speed bump? No Problem. Just trace around one digit! Mole hills? Difficult for most, but a snap for you! The secret? Start your tracing near the top of the “toe” and only trace part-way down each side. (Don’t worry, our instructions are FULLY ILLUSTRATED!)

And, this is just the beginning of the amazing things you can add to your cake with the Trace-A-Rator Toes cake decorating tool. Our astounding, illustrated idea book – included – will show you thousands more ways to bring new life to your decorating skills just by “toe tracing!” Amaze your family and astonish your friends – order yours today!

Trace-A-Rator Toes is completely safe and washable, and made of all-natural material from plants. You’ll really cotton to this product. Recycle friendly, they are made of 100% post-consumer socks.

Act now and we’ll include, at no extra cost, instructions on how you can use your Trace-A-Rator Toes to make a morning treat! Yes, just mix up some fruit, sugar and pectin, fill the Trace-A-Rator Toes, refrigerate overnight and watch your kid’s expressions the next morning when you cover their breakfast toast with your own homemade, tasty Toe Jam!

But wait, there’s more….

Order today, and we’ll throw in the Trace-A-Rator Gloves – perfect for making tall buildings, mountains out of molehills, and, of course, the finger lakes!

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermel

Happy Birthday Nora! I think you're right. It looks like a crown.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Touche, SuBee - Wreck meets Travoltized-name. Turned that up to 11, you did.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Mindy

Poor Pinkie Pie. Maybe that's her evil doppelganger that isn't an exact duplicate. Doppelgangers are all the rage these days. Luckily I haven't run into mine yet.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

We have that design where I work too. Even though Frozen is really popular me and the other cake decorator didn't even bother ordering it because it's so dull and plain. We did,however, order the rigs for the cupcakes and they have all the characters and the design for them are pretty blue cover in sugar crystals. Unfortunately, cake decorators in the bakeries for stores can't deviate a lot from the designs nor make anything that can be copyright infringing. We had a huge situation recently involving a cake kit design that the people wanted done more gruesome, and we were told that you are in no way allowed to change the designs because of copyrights. Technically we can't even make an edible image if someone brings in, say, an Elsa picture. I am not even supposed to free hand pictures (and I'm actually very good at that) of copyrighted characters. This makes me question a lot of laws and there exact wording because I see tons of cakes on here, tv, etc of copyrighted characters and such being in made in to cakes. Does anyone know how people get around that law?

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Pink skies, what do I see?
Pink skies, looking at me!

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Looking at the instructions (thanks elle), I fail entirely to see how the white wavy top of the mountain is supposed to extend past the blue border, as illustrated. Nora's cake looks like an admirable attempt at following the given instructions, barring the sensible reversal of #14 and #13, and I'm not too sure about #4, but that glittery stuff looks cooler than the example. I seriously don't think the example could have been done in real life. Not with those instructions, at least.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbob

I had a customer ask for that exact cake. I was a little dumbfounded when I saw that a mountain scape didn't come with the kit. So I made one out of gumpaste. I was pretty happy with the results.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlma

Sharyn and SuBee win the internets today. I totally sang the whole thing, Sharyn. Nicely done :-)

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

That's... that's one Too Many Pinkie Pies. Let's see...

On the left: One of many pictures of adorableness.
On the right: "Betcha can't make a face crazier than... this!" ...Somepony get Twilight to zap it or something.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNyperold

my daughter had that same was most definitely are wreck!!! :( i was so disappointed!!

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersam

It's funny that while Frozen is a very good movie, and it's taken off in popularity like wild fire, the marketing and merchandising departments a far from organized it seems... like they didn't expect the it to be so popular. I was just in the store the other day with my mom who was looking for a birthday card for my niece, we were surprised not to find any Frozen cards, wrapping paper, or party favours, I'm surprised this cake design exists at all, but seriously guys? Just a plastic Frozen chatchka??? (sp?)

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersam

Haha SuBee, Adele Nazeem. My most WTF favorite moment of the Oscars.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Can we talk about the shape of ol' Porky Pie's cake up there? It looks like a pillowcase!

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

We have in our house a thing known as a Pinkie Pie promise, more serious than a pinkie promise, an oath carried out before any old "cross your heart and hope to die" statement. At the time I instituted it, I just thought it sounded cute, being close to but an extension of "pinkie promise", and the punishment for breaking it was that Pinkie Pie would come after you. But my daughters, far more up on MLP than I, informed me that there actually IS such a thing, and the consequences are a cupcake to the eye. I think I'd rather the cupcake. Pinkie Pie is FIERCE.

@Jess: I don't know about THAT law, but I am dumbfounded about one other. As my children are getting near teenaged, I looked up WA state law concerning them. Do you know there is NO specific age concerning when it is legal for a child to be left home alone? Parents are supposed to use their best judgment. You can't leave an 11-year-old in a parked car and go into a place that sells alcohol (as now our grocery stores do; no joke), but you can leave your 3-year-old at home alone and go GET the alcohol. That's fine.

Our state is crazy.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

This is one of those cases where the original wasn't that great to start with. If you had not said those were mountains, I would have thought that was a purple tsunami about to overtake the hero. I'm one of the 5 people on Earth who hasn't seen the film so I didn't know buy maybe a purple tsunami was part of the story. That said, I think Purple Tsunami would be a great band name! We'll be a cover band for songs by Adele Dazeem.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpikkewyntjie

@mel: Brilliant and hilarious, as always. :)

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermillbrit

@ jess and @ elle you are both correct, I am a grocery store decorator and we have this issue all the time. It's amazing what people expect you to be able to do. I personally had no training prior to taking this job, I was taught by the other decorators and I think in general most store decorators do a pretty good job considering that most never had actual cake decorating training.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Hee, Sarah you beat me to calling SuBee Adele Nazeem! Great minds think alike! (Or at least warped ones do!)

Love the insider comments from the bakers in these comments!

Jess, It's been years since I took copyright law and don't practice it now, but I'm thinkin' those bakers are just breakin' the law! The only way around that kind of thing that I can think of would be to make it at home for personal use and not use a professional baker.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

I'm gonna say the example cake utilizes a legal defense called "puffery".
"Puffery: advertising copy that indulges in subjective exaggeration in its descriptions of a product or service." Puffery can also refer to images such as the perfect Big Macs seen in McDonald's commercials, or that lovely 3-D cake.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteressjaytee

When we first got this kit at my job, the main decorator and I stared at those mountain tops and tried to figure out how to get it like that for a while. Like it was said above, the instructions aren't really clear on whether it's standing up or not, the card just said "pipe mountain." Also, we're talking about a supermarket cake here, and with the customers in my area, with the way they manage to destroy even a package of cupcakes that are nestled in their own little holders, we couldn't make it standing up even if that's the way it was supposed to be. They'd fling it into the back seat of their car and that would be the end of the mountain, and then they'd bring it back in, get a refund, and take the cake home anyway. We just figured make the mountaintops go just to the border instead of blobbing them off the edge, close enough, problem solved. Also, I've thought for a long time now that BakeryCraft and DecoPac are computer airbrushing, fondant using, cheating cheaters anyway. I like a good deal of their stuff, but some of the kit designs are just silly and unrealistic for a supermarket. We have a great decorator, and she can't even pull off all of the designs like the picture.

tl;dr: This kit sucks! The picture lies, and it's blaaaaaaand anyway.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Xerxes

#4 Are we sure the customer didn't *ask* for Miss Piggy with a bad dye job? Gotta be fair, here. No, Theardare, I'm not saying it isn't a wreck. Go chase the laser pointer.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

So, I work in a grocery store bakery, and we do this cake at least weekly... the kit is supposed to come with the mountains, as a white plastic bumpy topped arc you airbrush/ice as well... Not that it makes it any less tacky... However, about half of the ones we get from our supplier don't have the mountians and the decorator has to free hand.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

@millbrit: thank you! glad you enjoyed it....

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermel

Actually that first photo of the "frozen" kit is Misleading. The card that deco pac sends looks almost exactly like the second photo.

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterK zei

I also made this design at work the other day. I didn't sculpt a huge mountain of icing either. The customers would complain there was too much icing or wreck it getting it home and then want their money back. It was fun airbrushing everything though!

March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

@Lisa I agree completely with that! Some customers expectations are too high for what grocery stores can deliver. I was trained the same way you were to be honest. I have a high standard for cakes and can make really nice ones so I never agree to do a cake I don't think I will be able to execute well.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterElle

Aw the last one is at least kind of cute lol. The others on the other hand have me scratching my head in confusion. But then again when don't wreckerators confuse people?

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

"Jaylee"?! *Gag*

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTeal

@Jess: copyright laws are pretty antiquated and have not kept up with technology. The hardest part is 1) catching people in the act; and 2) getting evidence. In the case of a cake, the evidence is probably long gone by the time the pictures appear.

Here's an amazing factoid about using copyright images: the "end user" is ultimately held responsible. So if you hire an agency to build a website for you and they use a bunch of copyright images they've stolen, YOU are held responsible. The agency suffers no penalty, even if they guaranteed the images were not stolen.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

O pony maker: the eyes should be looking in the same direction. And don't feed the pony so much.

I know that decorating cake is difficult. What I don't understand is not knowing how to transfer a design to a cake…If they had gotten the proportions right, it might have looked ok.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVic

When we got this cake kit in at work, I had to ask everyone what exactly it was. No one knew. The first picture shown is what is shown on the website, the image given to us at work didn't have the 3d effect and the direction card didn't even say what it was as. And the water wasn't done in piping gel, it's just sprayed. So until I saw it on the actual website I didn't have a clue, that being said, since I've seen now I try to make it more 3d but still it's not as easy as it looks.

More often than not the image on the website is far more detailed and sometimes not even the design we get.

I'm more worried about the people complaining about the mountains when a lot of them are done just like the picture they ordered from. True we can spruce up the cake a little bit but then someone will complain that it's not just the picture which they ordered.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBB

LOL to all of you! I'm glad the birthday girl loved her "crown". Apparently, some "decorators" need some instruction.
Our decorators at work were perplexed at how to get the mountains at first. ( They don't even bother looking at the "instructions" of any kit anymore.) But they came up with making piles of icing mountains. Our head decorator thought the mountains and trees should be a plastic backdrop. But it is all moot now since EVERYONE underestimated the buying power of parents who just want their kids to hush up about Frozen. Hope the manufacturer can make their estimate of mid-April! We have had many, many unhappy customers.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCerri

It's Pinkie PIG!!!!

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNora

I enjoy reading your page, Jen, but you should do more research before you blog. I work at Walmart as a cake decorator, and the first image is not how the Frozen cake looks in our order book. It looks exactly like the second picture, which is not a wreck at all. It's really well done. The second wreck isn't done very well, but customers need to realize that Walmart is WALMART, not a bakery filled with trained professionals. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Try getting a cheaper cake somewhere else.

April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterA Cake Decorator

Ooooh...that's COLD.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTheCreepyTribble

there are some very weird cakes surfacing now. check this one out:

May 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercakecreep

I'm a bit late on finding this, but I have to say these cakes are all wrong. Including the person who says the "mountain" is supposed to be flat. I too decorate cakes at Walmart, but I have many years of experience. Hey, you take the job where you can when you're not willing to decorate from your home, right? It kills me to have co-workers who make this cake "flat" and think it's ok. As well as the many other short cuts they take. When my friends come in and order cakes I have to put name on the order so they get the proper cake done by me! It can be quite pathetic! Btw, different stores have different designs they are supposed to do for the very same cake kit, from the very same company.

January 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterExperienced Cake Decorator

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