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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

The Masked Menace

And now, I'd like to tell you all a little Mardi Gras story. It's the story of how one baker was given this picture for inspiration:

...and then asked to make Madison's sweet 16 birthday extra sweet.

This baker was no common decorator, though. She preferred to blaze her own path, rather than lowering herself to such common standards as "pretty" or "appetizing."

So the baker made a cupcake cake (ptooie!), used up all her colored icing outlining the bottoms of the cupcake wrappers - guaranteeing sticky hands and stained fingers - valiantly knocked a few sprinkles on top, and then bravely did battle with both common sense and decency before heroically charging Madison's family $34.99.




Thanks to Madison H. for that stirring tale of highway robbery.


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Reader Comments (47)

They're like some strange animated anthills or something.
Perhaps we need a "Cake for Madison" fund. Poor girl.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFluffy Cow

No, no! It should be
more with the tassels and less
with Walter Yeo.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

Sung to "Doe, a Deer"

Oh, my dear, that's wrong I fear
Both of them, not only only one
Gee, that's lame, I called myself
Don't charge me, you'd better run.
So, I think we're having bread
Ma, it's time for you to go
I think she's losing her head
Madison must never know!

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

Why did the Batman theme song pop into my head...immediately to be ended like the scratching of a record....

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermiss_paper

On the one hand, a cake that looked anything like the "inspiration" would cost as much as my first car.

On the other hand Madison's actual "cakes" should cost the price of four boxes of cake mix, a few eggs,a pound of confectioners sugar, a package of cupcake liners, four tablespoons of food coloring, two cake boards and a quarter cup of sanding sugar X 2, so the price is just about right.

On the third hand, Madison should have simply purchased five or six boxes of Entenmann's Big Black donuts (do you guys have Entenmann's Big Black donuts ( I don't think that's the actual name.)) because they'd at least be the same color as the mask and they're seriously delicious.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Madison.You may have had a weird mask-like ccc (ptooie!) for your sweet sixteen, but at least you made it to Cake Wrecks which, as we know, is the most awesomest place in The U S of A!

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Most days CW inspires however it's ?????? ????????? I suppose I shall come back later and get my laugh on once some comments have been posted. Until then, I question the sanity of the universe. I question the sanity of EVERYTHING. Zaphod Says Yes to Zaphod. Until later CW...

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVBeach Alemap

I hope she walked away and didn't pay them b/c that is definitely a rip off.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoJo

Although the cakes look awfully amateurish, the price seems to work out to about a dollar a cupcake, which is actually pretty reasonable for bakery cupcakes. Not defending the wreckerator, but it's not a total rip-off.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkayk

As said before, anyone who gives a photo for "inspiration" and then is left with instructions to "make Madison's birthday extra sweet" deserves everything and anything she gets.
Something something Hitchcock on how actors should be treated something.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

That would be a little over a buck a cupcake, so not really what you'd consider outrageous, so I'm with Subee. Besides, the "inspiration" is a beaded mask, for corn's sake. Replicate that with something remotely edible and anywhere close in appearance? Good luck! The birthday girl would probably been thrilled to get the actual mask! It IS quite lovely! =^-.-^=

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

I count about 80 cupcakes between the two cakes, Forget the bad work, but add the boards and the boxes and the overhead that a real bake shop has and you actually have a pretty good deal (for 80 cupcakes).

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTom

@Sharyn --- hahahahahahahahahahaha you always find just the right song for the wrecks
Why, oh why did she frost the bottom of the wrappers?? WHY?

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

In spite of the beautiful mask for inspiration, this wreckerator was definitely uninspired.

At least there weren't any words on the cakes to be misspelled.

And SuBee is right: a trip to the Cake Wrecks blog is worth the wreck!

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

I think this would be so much worse if we had a sense of the scale of it! There are at least 75 cupcakes between those two monstrosities!! But to be fair, I'm not exactly envisioning how to make the black mask into a decent cake that serves at least 75...short of a Sunday Sweet costing close to 4 figures.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMalia

They need to be moisturized.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTheCreepyTribble

All I Ask of You (with apologies to the musical, “The Phantom of the Opera”)

No more talk of darkness,
Forget these wide eyed fears,
I’m here, nothing can harm you,
My cake will please and charm you,
Let me be your baker,
Let my work calm your fears,
I’m here with you, beside you,
To bake for you and guide you….

Say you’ll follow my every small direction,
Turn my head with birthday cake sublime,
Say you’ll make what I want, now and always,
Promise me that all you say is true,
That’s all I ask of you.

Let me be your baker,
I can make it right,
You’re safe, my cake’ll astound you,
Your fears are far behind you….

All I want is a mask,
Done in black – no white,
And you – standing beside me – can you make it right?

Then say you’ll let me make
One cake of a lifetime,
Let me show my own ineptitude,
Say you’ll trust me now, I think I can do this,
Anything you want, I’ll make for you…
Madison, that’s all I ask of you…

Say you’ll bake for me one cake of a lifetime,
Say the word and I will allow you…

Share a cake with me,
The cake of a lifetime….

Can you do it?

I know I can….

BOTH (BAKER leads while MADISON follows hopefully…)
Trust me – that’s all I ask of you,
This cake will be so special, pretty, too,
Trust me, that’s all I ask of you.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermel

Good lord that price for those cakes ?!?!?!?! Sharyn and Haiku joy hahaha :D

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

Mel, that was inspirational. I could see the whole darkly beautiful, unnerving scene unfolding before my eyes.

As for me, I'm just waiting for the CCC trend to disappear for good. Why hasn't it died yet? Just die already! Die! Die! DIE!

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeath

Oh, mel. That was just...beautiful.

Until I thought of the ccc (ptooie!). Then it was just sad.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee's the thing. At this point, some of the wrecks have become loud voices in our ears here, asking for - nay, demanding - an answer to the question: "WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE CUSTOMER SAW THE TRAVESTY THAT THE "BAKER" PRESENTED THEM WITH?" We MUST know (as Paul Harvey would have said, 'The rest of the story'. Please, please please - find some way of having people put that in with their submissions. "So then the customer upended the cake over the baker's head, laughed hysterically, refused to pay, and bought a sheet cake at Costco for the party." Please. Inquiring,disbelieving minds MUST know!

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChenaya

Mel, that was so beautiful. I loved it. :D

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhoenix

(channelling my inner George Takei) Oh my.

Uninspired? Yes.
Boring and drab? Absolutely.
Rip off? I don't think so.

Like a few previous posters stated, this works out to about a buck per cupcake. In my neck of the woods, the cost of one serving (cupcake) is double that, and that's with "basic decoration" (frosting). While the cakes weren't anything to write home about, the customer was definitely not overcharged for what she got.

Having decorated a few cakes in my time, I can say with confidence that it would be quite possible to re-create the mask either on a cake or as a cake itself, however, such a work of art would have to be ordered through a private bakery or decorator. Any employee working at one of the big box stores would never in a million years have the time needed to create anything remotely resembling the photo, regardless of any instructions to "make it extra sweet". In addition, the customer would have to be comfortable with forking out A LOT of cash to purchase it...and it definitely would be over $70. Having been on the decorator's end of things, I can tell you that many folks want cakes that are elaborate and gorgeous to look at as well as delicious, but they don't really want to pay the money they're worth.

My apologies, folks. I don't know. I love my morning dose of Cakewrecks, but this one kinda rubbed me the wrong way.

Thanks for letting me have my say.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarzipan

I don't understand the pink and blue - makes it look like it is for a baby shower. For a sweet 16? Although it probably is better that the baker didn't use black icing - stains galore! I still don't understand if they ordered two cupcake cakes though or needed to feed that many people or how that worked out. I'm also confused on the sprinkles on the pink cake - what happened? Did she run out and so she decided to dump all of it on one side?

Not a terrible cost overall I suppose, but I'm glad there was a reference image or I'm not sure I would have understood what it was supposed to be. Maybe would have come up with sparkly ninja mask for the blue one and also been confused on how that was appropriate for a sweet 16 . :)

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterashley r

Color me crazy but I kinda like them.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

She only got 8 candles!!! Is Madison realty 16 yet?

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCloudy

I wouldn't give this cake to a six year old, let alone a sixteen year old. In fact, it looks like something my 8 year old niece could do, only she could get the sprinkles evenly placed.
At the very least the baker could have piped a black outline of the mask on a full sheet cake, added some black sprinkly sugar and some pearly ball thingys (yes I know, my grasp of cake terminology is lacking). Whether the price is reasonable for a ccc (gaack) is immaterial if the customer did not request cupcakes. I would gladly have paid $70 for a sheet cake and those things feed an army.
My wedding cake was far prettier than this and fed 400 people at a cost of $80 for the fancy cake and two sheet cakes. yes, it came from a grocery store. yes it was not very large. Yes the sheet cakes were plain white. yes, it was a few years ago. yes, it was lovely and not wrecky at all and I was delighted with it.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Why not just get 80 or so designer cupcakes (there are some really lovely and delicious ones out there just at the local grocery, for heaven's sake) and give Madison the "inspiration"? Or is that just way too easy?

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

@ Heath. CCCs HAVE died. What we are seeing now are zombie CCC.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdrgns4vr

Did the baker actually SEE the "mask of inspiration"? The pink cake looks like "Hello, Kitty"-the blue one doesn't even look like a mask! You could recreate the "mask of inspiration" on a cake for about the price of the ccc's, I would think(where I live you could-if you could get someone to pay more than 50 cents for a cupcake). I'm puzzled as to the intent of the icing around the bottom of the cupcake wrappers themselves-did the baker think it would add to the overall effect?

Something funny's going on here.......

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWildDuck

Actually that price is pretty cheap. You get what you paid for. The cake like the mask would have been closer to a couple of hundred dollars. Which a lot of people aren't willing to pay. And CUPCAKE Cake? yeck

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLorie

OMG I cannot believe it!!!! Please tell me she walked away from that mess!!

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJo

hey, jen, can you make more than one post per day? I'm only here for the wreaks.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenternate

@Laura-"Pearly ball thingys" is absolutely correct. I checked the container in my decorating stuff cabinet and that's exactly what it said!

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Can someone explain why there are TWO of these masked cakes, neither of which is black? Or has beads? Even I, who cannot decorate worth a darn and would not have taken on the job, could still figure out how to make the cake look more like the fancy mask. And, there would have only been ONE cake.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdkzody

Agreeing with what many other commenters are saying - you get what you pay for/ not a bad deal ~$1 per cupcake.

My additional query is at the 'commissioning' stage. What budget was given (which could explain it right there) worked out per head? And could it have been perchance that a ccc (patooie!) was actually *requested* (I had this happen to me once)? Either/both of these would make sense of it.

No, it wouldn't make things any prettier or less wrecky, but it would explain things.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterObesaCantavit

Hey, the people posting on Facebook are talking about us behind our backs.
I'm hurt...

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Well I wanted a dream
A masque that's supreme,
Cake that would look so divine,
I'm sixteen, The cake's ugly, and it's mine!

You're all pink and blue swirls, Yes, I'm a girl,
But I wanted silver-black shine,
I'm sixteen, The cake's ugly, and it's mine!

It's my birthday, I'm upset,
I went in shock when CC's I met
I saw the cake, and my eyes popped
Mom, why'd you pay him for that slop

It walked out of my nightmares into our car,
Now on my birthday I'm cryin'
I'm sixteen, The cake's ugly, and it's MINE!

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

@Heath: hahaha... thank you...and I could see a whole musical about the Phantom of the Bakery...scary...
@SuBee: thanks...and beauty and that like comedy and tragedy? And I saw that fb stuff -- the nerve! Too afraid to come here and say that, I guess....
@Phoenix: thanks, and glad you liked it....

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermel

What the.. 34.99 each?? Oh please tell me she didn't buy those cakes. They don't even come close to the picture. Sheesh.

March 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

Thank you Haiku Joy:
I just Googled Walter Yeo.
Now I can't forget.

March 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterhyphen8

I'm actually disappointed. At least this wreckorator knew enough when to quit when s/he was ahead. After seeing the elaborate inspiration mask, I was expecting a never-ending conglomeration of icing loops, swirls, drips, flotsam, jetsam, etc. And sprinkles.

March 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBea

The wreakerator could have just dyed a bra black and stuck it on a sheet cake, and it would still look better that these monstrosities.

March 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjeliecam

ok, I get that these are not a bad price for cupcakes. But the bakeries here at least make the individual cupcakes attractive. Personally, I think they could have done better relatively easily. You can tint sugar black and recrystalize it so it looks like glitter, some silver non parreils would have filled in nicely for the rhinestones, and some careful icing work could have filled in the detail nicely, Instead it looks like they just slathered plain white icing over the top of a bunch of cupcakes after gluing them to the mat, and did some really halfhearted piping! Even if they'd done 2 cupcakes to a mask with an eye on each cupcake, it would have looked nicer.

March 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

I think the pink one may have a skin disorder.

March 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

NON PAREILS!! Thank you Heather!! Also thank you for mentioning the ugliness of the cupcakes. I get that $1 is not a bad price for cupcakes, in fact I totally agree with that. If they are pretty cupcakes. These look like cupcakes iced with Duncan Hines frosting and store-bought colored tube icing and the tiny bit of sprinkles left in the bottom of the container that weren't enough for a baby shower cake. It looks slapped together and just not pretty at all. Totally not worth $1 per cupcake. Especially considering the purchaser probably has a neighbor lady who could have done the same thing for nothing just because she's nice and likes to bake.

okay, sorry - stepping down from my soapbox. :)

March 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

That's just tragic

March 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStoich91

I'm with the "a dollar per cupcake sounds like about what I'd expect to pay" folks. It's about what I'd expect for generic cupcakes just packed in a box any which way. These are custom decorated and arranged. If the cake was supposed to be shaped like the mask, and they don't have a mask-shaped pan, then a CCC is the tool they have to do the job. If colours were not discussed then I think there's a good chance black would disgust.

Yes, if you took your black mask to Ace of Cakes, you'd get an amazing work of art inspired by the masquerade, but no one thought their local supermarket bakery was staffed by such a team of artisans, or that Ace of Cakes would do two custom cakes for $70.

I think Jen should do a post on how much cakes reasonably cost. It would range from a single cupcake simply iced, through various sizes and kinds of cake of increasing levels of quality and artistry. Perhaps it could be done price is right or silent auction style where commenters try to show we know what something is worth. We should find out how much of the baker's time these cakes took to make.

March 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAviatrix

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