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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

Bride/Baker Communication 101

Most brides think that bringing in a photo of their dream wedding cake will help clarify for their bakers what it is that they want and expect on their big day.

[shaking head] Those sweet, silly girls.

In reality, these photos are more like "guidelines." A springboard, if you will, from which the baker may or may not spring - and then into heretofore unheard-of realms of artistic "expression."

Perhaps some examples will help.


Bride Laurie S. asked for this cake, only in ivory and with blue flowers instead of white:

(Photo & cake by Martha Stewart)


Instead, she got this:

"It's boxy, and it's blue and white. What more do you want?"


Kirstie also wanted a cascading floral design, like this:

Which her baker recreated pretty well, except for one key detail:

S/he used real flowers instead of sugar ones.

Once the petals shriveled, Kirstie's cake design became less "cascading flowers" and more "attacking butterflies." Which isn't horrible, I suppose, but it is kind of hard to resist the urge to flap your arms and shoo them off.

(Note: The silver thing is their topper, which the baker laid flat instead of standing up. Or maybe the butterflies just knocked it over. :D)


Sharon L. wanted this gorgeous topsy-turvy design:

(Made by Lisa's Creative Cakes - and I totally want one.)

...only in 3 tiers and using her colors of fuchsia, orange, and lime.

Her baker's interpretation?

Remember that springboard I mentioned? Well, some are a LOT springier than others.


And finally, this bride wanted her seashell-themed cake to rise to new heights:


Instead, she got one that was apparently dropped from great heights:

Think it was served with a pancake dinner?


« Something Wrecky This Way Comes | Main | The Future's So Bright... »

Reader Comments (42)

Is it really so wrong that my little cold heart skips a beat of joyand I practically squeal with glee at the "inspriation vs perspiration" wrecks? (Totally want the "inspiration" seashell cake, though...can just taste the yummy chocolate shells now....)

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermiss_paper

Maybe it's just me, but if you want the cake in the photo, you should hire the baker who made it. I don't know what copyright infringement is like for bakers, but for fiber artists, you do not copy another artist's work. Also, wouldn't it be easier to pick a cake from a list of photos that the baker has actually created themselves? At least you'd know they could make it.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBW

BW is correct.These bakers were simply avoiding any chance of copying another artist's work. Good job, Bakers!

On a personal note, we were hit by a wee little tornado last night. Our trees look like that last cake...

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

SuBee, bummer! I'm glad you're okay though. Poor trees.

Maybe I've been looking at this site too much every day, because I didn't think that first one was too bad of an interpretation, except for the rough icing.

On the seashell wreck, love how the bottom layer is so out of proportion. And rectangular instead of square. Yikes!

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

Photograph (with apologies to the Beatles and Ringo Starr)

I came into your bakery place
I thought that it was just the place I wanted to go
And I even had this photograph
To show you what I wanted for my special day

I thought you’d make it after I went away
But you couldn’t make it, no matter what you had to say

I can’t get used to seeing this
While my heart is broke, my tears I cry, I’m blue
Your word is worthless, just fool’s gold
I’ll never forget this mess as I grow old and gray

Now you’re expecting me to take and like this
But that’s not something that I’m looking forward to

I can’t get used to seeing this
While my heart is broke, my tears I cry, I’m blue
Your word is worthless, just fool’s gold
I’ll never forget this mess as I grow old and gray

Every time I see this place
It reminds me of the wreck you made for me
I even showed you a photograph
Of what I wanted and how I wanted it to be

Every time I see this place
It reminds me of the wreck you made for me
I even showed you a photograph
Of what I wanted and how I wanted it to be

* * * * * * * * * * *

@SuBee: I'm glad you and yours are OK...sorry about the trees, and hope your cupcakes are unscathed.....

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermel

That last one reminds me of my mother's wedding cake in 1938. A friend of hers had recently got married and she liked their cake so she asked for the exact same design for her own wedding. All the baker had to do was look up what they had already produced and do it again.

She got a plain sheet cake. The only decoration was two figures made of pipe cleaners, with wooden beads for heads. Scraps of fabric and paper made them into a "bride" and "groom." She told me in a shaking voice that it was all she could do to not kick the table over and dump the whole thing on the floor.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy

To be fair, I hate the first cake so I don't think the bride got too bad of a deal considering what she was wanting. The last cake is definitely the saddest. They might as well have just had sheet cakes like all my small town cousins did at their weddings.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Hope you are ok suebee. As for this post ahhh a classic :D love the what they wanted vs what they got posts :D

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

Judging from the comments from above it might be just me, but... I've already seen all of these wishes/wrecks combos. Maybe not in the same post, but it was within the past year. The 'dropped from great height' joke is identical, that much I'm sure of.

[Editor's note- Yup. This is a post from 2009. On Wednesdays, I give Jen a break and we run a classic. We have a lot of readers who've never seen some of our really, really old stuff so it works out well. New post tomorrow. -john (thoJ)]

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDebris K.

Oh, Dorothy, your poor mother! It must have broken her heart, that even after so many years it brought her to tears.

Note to idiot bakers: While we are laughing, some poor bride is sobbing.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLady Anne

The way my screen was showing, I could see the topsy-turvy inspiration cake, as well as the top tier of the recreation. Didn't look too bad. Then I scrolled down. o_O

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeachkins

Wedding wrecks are my favorite ones. Those poor brides!
@TLC ~ Prayers for you and your friend in this difficult time. Hugs to you my friend!
@mel ~ Again, you're simply amazing, sir!
@SuBee ~ So glad you and yours are safe! I'm really grateful for where I live. Yeah, we have rain, but we don't have tornados, golf ball size hail (@Sharyn!!!), 10 feet of snow or major earthquakes. Yeah, I'm totally OK with rain!

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJodee

I don't know... I think #1 looks like a pretty good attempt by a baker who just doesn't have the skill of the original baker. As for #3, though, lack of skill is one thing, but pink, seafoam, and peach are not fuchsia, orange, and lime. (Now I'm envisioning a pastel version of, say, the American flag... Fourth of July baby shower, anyone? ;-D ) And as for the last, the sheet cake might be excusable if the bride said, "Yes, we know we want to feed 50 more people than the original did, but we don't want to add another layer." But the lack of seashells, and the lack of pearly bits, and the lack of use of anything resembling a cake leveler (though it must be admitted, those layers look like they've been leveled in at least one sense!), umm.... *shakes head, considers facepalm*

Glad it was just your trees, SuBee!

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie J

Ah yes! The ol' quandary that continuely leaves bakers & brides scratching their heads: Tiers ~vs~ Layers. So many of these cake creations fail because bakers can't seem to understand that a tier is usually made up of several layers of cake, covered in icing/fondant, & stacked with other such tiers. Not that a layer of cake is a tier! How one can look at a square block of a cake & not understand this I don't know, but we see it time & again. Are they just cheap (he he, 4 teirs eh? You'll get 4 layers & I'll keep the difference! Oh the dollars I'll reap!)? Are they just stupid (uh...1 + 1 equals...uh, just put some icing on it, it'll be fine!)? Are they just lazy (I ain't doin' all that baking? Is this bride crazy? She ain't the freakin' queen!)? Or perhaps we should be more sympathetic to the obvious plight we are witnessing...bakers who have gone nearly blind with near-sightedness from years & years of piping! They are shown a picture but sadly can only make out a fuzzy blur of geometric shapes. They reproduce them as they see them & here we have the tragic results. Perhaps we should show pity on these poor ocularly challenged souls, & brides should start bringing eye charts to their bakers.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMovieMom

SuBee, I am so glad you are ok. Having lived in tornado alley my whole life, I sometimes forget how scary they can be to people unaccostumed to them. The joke in Kansas is the tornado sirens are a signal to go outside and talk with the neighbors.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermiss_paper

@TLC: I was confused by Jodee's comment to you above, didn't see a post from you today, so I went back to yesterday's comments and saw your note. I am too well acquainted with the life stealing effects of cancer, and know that this time is incredibly sad and difficult and challenging. At times, the feeling of helplessness is unbearable. So, as you continue to walk with your friend as she finishes her cancer journey, know that silently I, and your other Cake Wrecks friends walk next to you, surrounding you with our support and love, and thinking of the friend you hold dear. As long as you need us, we will always be there.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermel

My favorite posts, replays, or not! And, yes, I hope that time will bring the brides peace. And refunds.

@SuBee - So sorry for your trees - may they regrow quickly! Did the tornado rip the paper off the Starbursts?
@mel - You are my literary idol.
@miss_paper - Ha! That made me laugh. Living in Texas, I can empathize.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlisadh


July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I bet these brides got what they paid for too. Haha. You want a cake that looks like the photo? Be prepared to spend the $$$ on a cake that looks like the photo! There IS a reason the photo is in a magazine. That's because the cake maker that made it is extremely talented and makes perfect cake. Translation = expensive. I love these posts, even if it was from 2009.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSnarkyBaker

I wish that when bakers are shown these photos of elaborate cakes that they would just be honest and say, that is a bit out of my comfort zone but let me show you the beautiful cakes I can make. it would save a lot of frustration and embarrassment on the baker's part and set the expectation for the brides. It's the same as when a hairdresser is shown a picture of a model's hair and are asked to make them look like that... only ends in disaster.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterahmarie8

@lisadh-Thank you for asking. The wrappers were, sadly, ripped from the starbursts. I will be sending the rest of the day rewrapping them. no one wants to see a naked starburst on their cupcake...

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

@TLC; Like mel, I was confused by your post until I read the comments from yesterday. And yes,
mel is right, we are here if you need us and even though we come together daily in laughter, we also share in your sorrow. We may not see your face, but this virtual community IS a community and we all have shoulders to help support you and ears to listen. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope your friend has had a life of few regrets and that she is ready for transition to the next step in her existence. In Love and Light. Namaste.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVaBeach Alemap

Cake no. 2: Please, oh please tell me that the wreckerator did NOT smush those flower petals into the frosting to make them stick to the cake. Plllleeeeease.

Cake no. 3: I am always surprised in these situations that the cake photo still shows the bride and groom holding the knife normally, like they're really going to cut and serve the cake. I would think a Psycho-like shower scene stance would be more appropriate.

@Jodee and @mel: Now crying happy tears. Thank you for your support. I'm going over to the hospice center today to show my friend the slide show I made for her memorial service.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

OR that's what they got when they said their budget was $150.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercassie

Fourteen months ago you guys showed amazing amounts of support to me and my family at the passing of my mother and my oldest being hospitalized for a week. I will forever be grateful to @Sharyn and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Fire Swamp post because it came at a time I really needed to laugh. Even though I've never met any of you in person, you are the real people who live on the other side of my computer screen. @mel is absolutely right @TLC, you are surrounded by support and love from all over the world thanks to this amazing place Jen and john (fok thoJ) have created.

Today, I announce, with a combination of joy and fear. that I'm going to be a grandma!!! This news hasn't hit social media yet but I know you guys can keep my secret. ;-)

[Editor's note- Congratumatationed, Jodee! You are an awesome part of our little site here and you are going to make an amazing grandma! Wreck On! -john (fok thoJ) & Jen]

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJodee

Yes TLC, we are here and there and everywhere in the 'verse, thinking thoughts of happiness, love, peace and strength.

I hope your friend had a fantastic ride - something we can all strive towards.


July 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkrunchifrog

@VaBeach Alemap: sorry, didn't see your comments earlier. Thanks also for the kind words.

My friend loved the photo show and is very happy with it!

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

There's a reason why some cakes cost a fortune. Not every baker can do them. Yeah, bakers need to be honest about what they can and cannot do, but couples also need to be realistic.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTM

@Jodee: thank you…but most would say amazingly simple….AND…congratulations on your impending grandmotherhood! You’ll have fun! Also…we don’t live on the other side of your computer screen – we live in it…so please stop turning it off at night…it’s too dark in here, we can’t read, and we keep bumping into sleeping programs and applications….
@lisadh: Awwww, shucks…thank you for your kind comment…I just love to play here!
@TLC: I am so glad your friend is happy with the photo show. That is truly a gift of love. You are an incredible friend.

July 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermel

Oh man lol. I can't even imagine the poor groom who has to watch his bride turn various colors when she sees what her cake looks like. Embarrassing for her and those wreckerators better run lol.

July 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Marie

I have never posted here until now. I didn't even realize there was a comments board. I just came to say that some of these people (or bakers, if they are) probably got roped into making a cake for their poor (or just cheap) family members or friends. Can't blame them too much for these disasters.

July 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Congrats, Jodee. Hope you're ready for a lot of babysitting (if they're nearby, and I hope they are.) And TLC, sorry you're going through a tough time. The support you are providing is so valuable. I've been in poor health since last fall (and beyond, but really bad since fall.) I so appreciate all the help I get from friends, and my partner most of all. Going through this alone would be unthinkable awful. There is still hope this will prove to be minor, but it doesn't feel that way (and I have too much experience with both major and minor problems. Keep your fingers crossed all. I expect to finally get some answers in the next few weeks. Tests to date have been contradictory.

Mark in SF

July 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarkInSF

I know how a lot of these happen. I recently switched from doing specialty cakes to working at a bakery department of a grocery store. We do a few simple wedding cakes but people will bring in photos of cakes needing more experience than more decorators in a grocery store have. These brides do not want to take no for an answer. I've told them that it's not possible with the tools we have in our store to do the cake they want but they keep insisting and saying whatever you can do is 'fine'. I'm not sure if they're trying to get their cake onto your website or what the deal is but I don't understand it. If I tell you that the cake you're wanting isn't possible from our store why would you want me to try to make it?

July 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKas

I becomes dangerously hungry for cake when I see all the good cakes

July 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

@MarkinSF ~ My daughter is currently living with me, so yeah, she's close. :-) Prayers to you and yours as you figure out what's going on and it's not as bad as you think!

July 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJodee

BW, I definitely agree that you should hire the original baker… if you live anywhere near them. But if you fall in love with a picture of a cake and the baker is in Chicago and your wedding is in Maine, there might be a problem with the logistics.

So you find the baker in your area with the best reputation. You make an appointment, look at their book and discuss the cake you want. If they give you a quote that's less than $9 or $10 a serving, thank them for their time and find another baker.

And pray. A lot.

July 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJane

Aha! Been reading through these posts and spotted John's note in response. I thought I'd been spotting a few 'classics' in recent times. All good, and perfectly happy to see some of these posts recycled (and indeed think it only fair that people have a day off!). But I have a respectful suggestion please. Could you consider popping a note at the top to let us know it's a re-post? There have been a few that I've looked at recently, and in my pre-caffeinated state wasn't sure if I was going mad or something. Pretty please? With sugar and icing and a great big cherry on top please?

July 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterObesaCantavit

I'm with you, Dorothy. I feel bad for your mother. Things like this happening to people, on what should be the happiest day of their lives when they want a nice cake to celebrate with. are just sad.

July 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

Seems to me that these brides are expecting a heck of a lot from a neighborhood baker. Normally I laugh at CakeWrecks, but this is ridiculous.

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercyna

I'd sue!

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCakepidgen

I had to laugh when I saw the very first photo of what the bride wanted. Oh my goodness, it said it was from Martha Stewart! To expect any but the most experienced and fussy professional bakers to replicate Martha Stewart is something next to insanity. She got what she deserved. Just sayin'.

But one quick question--what does one use for the spacers between layers? Not that I'm planning on replicating that one... LOL.

May 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMary Kay

I don't understand how people can get away with this. I would be soo disappointed if I ordered a cake and I didn't get what I wanted.

I don't understand how the baker can even present something like this to their client. They're not setting a very good image for themselves. I mean, if you can't make it, then don't agree to it.

September 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSam

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