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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 Bad, The Bad, and The Badder

The following cakes were made by professionals, and paid for with actual money.
Do not adjust your screen.


Vicky W. wanted this cake, only in pink and white.

Hm. I wonder how it turned out?


Oh, that's right! This is Cake Wrecks.



This next cake is not the wreck.

It's actually what Mary J's half sister's other sister* wanted for her wedding.
(*cousin's nephew's roommate...)

Which Mary J's half sister's other sister apparently bought at a donut shop.

Okay, time for some hard truths here. Are you ready? Here goes:

If your baker makes most of her money selling donuts,

(King cakes should be fine, though.)

(OH SNAP!!!)


And finally, Elydia B. writes:

"My wedding was like a fairy tale. The cake was supposed to be from a very prestigious bakery in Tuscany..."

Wait, Tuscany? Like in Italy? Well, since I'm an American and everything I know about Italy involves designer clothes, expensive shoes, and bright red sports cars, I have to assume that the cake would be amazin...

"...but it was like the wicked stepmother portion of the fairy tale!"

AH. Right, then. So here's what she wanted:

Nice! I like how they digitally added in Elydia's monogram for this mock-up; really speaks to a high talent and prof... wait, you added that, Elydia? Oh.

Oh my.

Since I'm speechless, I'll let Elydia finish:

"The cake that we got is about twice the size of me..."

(Hey, the more the merrier, right?)

"...but was a thin layer of cake with STYROFOAM below each layer of the Cool Whip-type frosting."

(Oh. Um. Crunchy?)

"They took one hydrangea and broke it up into four pieces."

(A hydrangea? Where?)

"Honestly, I thought it was a practical joke!"

(Did you check if those "hydrangeas" were actually parsley garnishes from the salad bar? Because if so, then you were TOTALLY punk'd.)


Well, let that be a lesson to you, brides: always sniff your hydrangeas, and never... uh... yeah I got nuthin'.


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Reader Comments (48)

Here comes the cake
It's no mistake
Styrofoam layers don't make it a fake.
Want it correct?
Go on a trek.
To Tuscany where you'll find bakers making dreck

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Obviously, the song parody today should be 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, because that's how much these bakers must have had to drink. Sadly, we're on vacation, and it's too hard to write parodies on my phone. *sigh of relief* I'll leave it up to you guys, while I go look at Presidential heads on a mountain.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

I believe the phrase you are looking for is:

Always sniff your hydrangeas and never get involved in a land war is Asia.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFluffy Cow

I don't know why wreckerators still shock me, but somehow they always do. Styrofoam? For a wedding cake? I hope Elydia did not pay for that monstrosity.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

My co-workers are eyeing me suspiciously as i SQUEE with delight at the "inspiration vs nightmare" cakes. I have to be honest here...bride #1 could have gotten by with justifiable homicide for the monstrosity she was presented. Bride #2 should have looked for a better inspriation because I've seen wrecks on here with more pinash. Remember, sometimes you do get what you pay for. Bride #3...I got nothin...styrofoam? Flowerpot on top turned upside down? WTH?!?!? You got punked.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermiss_paper

Sharyn, Enjoy the PHoM, and if you have time, drive three hours south to Carhenge. It'll be worth it.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Since I am genetically and physically incapable of making a layer cake where the tiers line up and STAY lined up, I would hire a professional baker to make such a cake. In the cases of cakes nos. 1 and 2, why hire a professional? I could have made those messes myself. And on cake no. 2, I would have been able to do this without having a sneering lip of curled-up frosting on the front.

But cake no. 3: Styrofoam? REALLY? I hope you saved the pieces and went and beat the Wreckerator with them after the wedding.

And what did they cut the trim and initials out of: fruit roll-ups?

Sharyn: Ditto on Carhenge -- it's a riot! And I'll be waving to you from the other end of the state. Have fun!

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

The monogram on Elydia's cake is made from fruit roll ups, right? Sure looks like it to me! And I love the upside down flower pot top layer. Classy.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

The employee in the 2rd one even looks like they're saying WTFrosting?!?!?

@Sharyn ~ Have a blast my friend!

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJodee

Oh, come on; don't discriminate! What if you want your wedding cake made out of donuts?
But I have no excuse for the monstrosity shown here, though...

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErica

After fuming over the first two cakes that, "don't bakers know by now that you have to use a support system in the cake to keep the layers from, well, doing THAT?!" I scrolled down to cake number 3 and...
"Oh look! It's wearing a little hat!"

I think MBE stands for My Bakers Error.


July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

To Mary J: my sister's sister who is not my sister.....I have one of those also....Hahaha

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCindy H

Cake Wrecks In the Morning (with apologies to Dean Martin)

If you want to laugh, well heck, just come here and read Cake Wrecks in the morning
Nothing could be sweeter that the humor that you’ll meet here in the morning
Where wedding flowers twine around the cake
Whispering horror stories ‘bout what the store did bake

I hate to tell you, Lisa, but that’s not the Tower of Pisa… just a warning
Too late for intervention, and, I hate to mention, it looks forlorn-ing
If I had Aladdin’s lamp for only a day
I’d make a wish and here’s what I’d say

Buying at a donut shop is OK if you’re a cop snacking in the morning

One hydrangea becomes four, never seen that trick before…crying
Styrofoam has found a home underneath the “shaving foam” frosting
If I had Aladdin’s lamp for only one day I’d make a wish and here’s what I’d say
Nothing could be finer than to read Cake Wrecks in the a.m.
Reading Cake Wrecks in the morning

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermel

Just out of curiosity, have the Cake Wrecks crew ever heard back previous posters, saying "Let off for justifiable homicide", or "Sued the pants off the bakers and won"? With wrecks like these, you really have to wonder.

I decorated a cake once that ended up looking similar to the pink and white wreck, except mine was only 2 layers and I didn't think to use kitchen twine to drape it with. I also wasn't paid for it. It did taste pretty good.

I never thought to use Styrofoam to embiggen my cake layers. That may be my new thing that I learned today. (And I promise I will never use that piece of information.)

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdrgns4vr

And the "icing on the cake" is that I read recently that hydrangeas are poisonous!

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Dummy tiers of styrofoam, okay. Combining edible and dummy together... That just can't be food safe!

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTrill

Wreck 3 definitely gets the prize (takes the cake???) for the worst wreck of the day, maybe the week or the month. Wreck 1 was a run of the mill CW mess. Wreck 2 - I have to say that I am not all that surprised because the "inspiration" from the baker was awful enough. I actually thought it was the wreck until I kept scrolling. :-/ Then to give that to a doughnut baker? Yeesh.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

I am always fascinated/horrified by the ordered this/got that wedding cakes. I can't stop looking for more.

As a self-taught baker (read that not professional) who occasionally sells, I can't imagine presenting anything like this to someone, for pay or not! People who ask me for cakes realize it's not going to be Cake Boss or something similar. As to prestigious bakers in Tuscany... Shame on them.

I was not up to the daunting task of my own wedding cake, and hired the local bakery, who yes, did MANY DONUTS, and my cake was beautiful, gorgeous, and what I'd asked for. Please don't assume things. It's not like most small town bakers can survive on wedding cakes alone.

That said, it all depends on who is making the donuts. Dunkin probably would not be really well advised.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDi F

What I lacked in time
I made up with brazeness
and packing peanuts.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

Embiggen!!! LOVE that! Word of the day! •_•

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMicki

On that last cake, is it covered in a white, flowered funeral veil? If not, it should be. Seriously, is that a NAPKIN on top of the cake? I realize there is much wreckiness on which to concentrate, but I can't get past the little cake bonnet on the upside down flower pot.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAngelaS

My wedding cake DID come from a doughnut shop. But mine was amazing and way better than we expected. Of course, I live in a very rural area and the doughnut shop was the only bakery in a 40 mile radius, so they had plenty of wedding cake experience.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAuntmommie

I thought #1 and #2, collapsing lumpkin cakes were bad, but number three? WOW.

The way the MBE monogram overlaps that sad little random piping line around each of the tiers... the beige colour... the massive scale... the gross-looking flowers... the bizarro topper. I can't even, with that cake. And styrofoam?! I hope the couple got a full refund. How could someone do this? How could a "baker" promise to provide the photo and then come up with this cakestrosity?! If I were the bride I would have been tempted to throw a chair cover over it.

Mind = blown.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

My son likes to look at this site with me. I am a cake decorator for a *gasp* grocery store bakery. I have yet to turn out a cake as bad as the ones shown here (thankfully). When the picture of the last wreck came up, my son exclaimed, "Look at the letters on that... what is that, fruit roll up?" LOL

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen VG

@Julie: I saw the documentary about Carhenge a while back ("Carhenge: Genius or Junk?")! What a fascinating job of replicating the design of the other/original "-henge"...or not. (?)
Oh, yeah...CAKES (duh). Well....these are lemons. And the fourth one down looks like it's trying to say something. =^0.o^=

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

The first two have absolutely no excuse except that they didn't know what the heck they were doing! The hear was horrible to begin with!

The third cake is technically not a wreck. That is a tradition with Italian/Tuscan wedding cakes. Most of the time they are as big as a car. Frosted styrofoam, stacked on top of each other in really weird configurations. Sponge cake on top. Whipped cream frosting. Fruit and flowers decorating the cake. It's a cultural thing. Will be something the bride never forgets! :)

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMandy

There was no way I wasn't commenting on this one. I know Elydia. I am a cake designer in Florence, Italy. Nope. I did NOT make her cake. I got to know her because we met at a party after her wedding. She showed me her cake and asked what I thought. She asked me what is in a cake, because here cake was a teeny tiny piece of cake with foam. The knife hit the foam after about an inch. The very sad thing is, I've seen worse. Much worse. I've seen worse in the last month. No one, and especially not Elydia, who is so sweet, ever deserves a cake like that.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMel

Adding to that. When Elydia explained the structure of her cake, I didn't quite understand what she was talking about. As a cake decorator, I know about using dummy tiers to make a cake look larger. But I had never heard of a cake where the actual cake was placed on top of a dummy and then decorated. A few days later, I noticed a supplier had sent me a catalog that had a plastic cake tier that advertised that you could put a thin layer or cake on top of it, and then decorate the plastic/layer of cake for an easy wedding cake.
I must be misunderstanding? I kept the photo. Can't post it here,
but Jen I featured Elydias cake on my site a few months ago and included the example the decorating company sent. I can send it to you if you want.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMel

Mandy. I promise you, that is not how cakes are made in Tuscany. That is not how a cake should be made EVER. Millefoglie (similar to a napoleon) is the traditional Tuscan wedding cake. Nothing like a tiered wedding cake. It is huge in diameter and about 7 cm (2-3 inches) tall, and covered in fresh fruit. Tiered wedding cakes have about as much in common with Millefoglie, as British christmas pudding and chocolate pudding have with each other. Elydias cake was not a cultural thing, it was just a wreck.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMel

I can't believe that money was actually exchanged for these bonafide disasters. If anything, the married couple should get extra money BACK for having to deal with subpar cakes.

Just wow.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMzTeaze

Hydrangeas, if ingested, cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea - amomg other symptoms. But I guess since they were just put on top of a styrofoam cake, it's not that big of a deal. :-/

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersmeade

@Haiku Joy ~ Yay!!! You're back!
@mel ~ You just put my favorite pastime to song. Bravo, sir!

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJodee

I was going to comment on the third cake. In Greece, they don't make traditional style cakes (as we know them). Even here, in Canada, they make things that are more like tortes rather than cakes. They are multi-layered with whip cream frosting in between. Something like this: οr even this:

I often think if I want to go there and work, I would open a bakery and make "western" cakes and muffins.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarym

I believe you mean former roommate :-) Way to work in a Spaceballs reference! I'd like the think these brides are then completely free to pay with Monopoly money; it sort of looks like real money...just like the real cakes sort of look like what they actually wanted (and by sort of I mean the basic shape is the same and that's really about as nice as you can be).

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJulie A

I'm having an asthma attack from laughing so hard! Hubby's ready to call 911.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Between the styrofoam mixed with edible layers and the hydrangea garnish, I have to wonder if the third decorator wasn't actually trying to posion a member of the wedding party.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTifa

I am absolutely speechless for the last cake. Do the bakers have some centuries long feud with the bride's family and she just doesn't know?

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAddy

Embiggen! That's from The Simpsons from years and years ago. I love that word. Thanks for reminding me of it. :)

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTaffy Cake

So, um, at least they had the letters for the monogram in the right order....

Styrofoam, really? You can't even claim that has extra fiber, can you?

July 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

Oh I really hope that no one paid for the styrofoam cake. Oh heck no. I would have gone bridezilla on that bakery. Poor brides I mean really..

July 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Marie

I liked Inspiration cake number two, actually. Heart shaped, lots of icing (I hope it was the tasty kind) and splashes of color with the flowers. I started thinking when I could have a cake like this myself.

July 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who wasn't that impressed with the "inspiration" for #2. Although to be fair, it was nicer than the wreck. But not much.

August 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCdnGinger

To be completely fair to the Italians, they don't do cake like we do. In fact they hardly do cake at all and never American style wedding cakes. The cool whip type icing was whipped cream, there is no such thing as butter cream or fondant icing.

September 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterItalian by marriage

The only thing that would make this perfect is if they used real plants on their wreck....and they turned out to be poisonous.

October 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAsillem4

So I love Cake Wrecks, when I'm having a bad day-these hot messes of frosting cause me to laugh really loud...I can almost beat the styrofoam story...

A friend got married in Canada at a posh hotel-she was having NO CAKE and appropriately posh served desserts instead.

Her mother didn't want to be deprived of the "cutting the cake" picture so she called the hotel and they offered to "provide a cake" for about $500.

My friend went along with it, she's the only girl blah, blah.

This was a $500 cake, lovely, pretty and to "serve" the 100 guests or so.

If the bride wasn't slightly tipsy, she would have screamed when she realized the ENTIRE CAKE was styrofoam excepting the frosting. Yes $500 worth of styrofoam....for one cheesy picture?

January 6, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpastry impaired chef

Hi! I work in and bakery in Italy and I want to explain something about the wedding cake and the styrofoam. Yes, in some cake we use styrofoam, but only because our sponge cake and our fillings are completely different from the cakes you can find in the USA. For example we don't use butter cream, we use chantilly (at least in the bakery where I work), a really soft cream that can't hold the weight of a four tiered cake, that's why we use styrofoam. We use it as a way to relieve the weight directly on the table, instead of the tiers. I would love tho show you how you are supposed to make a cake with styrofoam, because this one is a real nightmare and even a blind squirrel on drugs could do a better work! That's a shame for all the italian bakers who love their work and their customers!

December 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFederica from Italy

@Federica & @Mandy: I am with you. My sister has been living in Brescia for a few years now, and at her wedding a while back we "Murcans" learned about styrofoam in Italian wedding cakes. The bride was not surprised, thank goodness, as she'd been to several weddings by then, but we certainly were!

July 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKari

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