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

Signs of Trouble

Sometimes, bakery wreckage isn't just limited to the cakes.

But what is it good for?
(Hooh! Good gah, y'all!)


I'll leave it up to you guys to explain what a "cake derator" does.


Every time a surly employee "apologizes," I picture him/her doing finger quotes kinda like this.
(And yes, this was taken in a bakery - pinky swear!)


"Honey, my mom is coming to stay for a few months. Isn't that great? I told her you wouldn't mind. Anyway, be a dear and go get a cake for us all to celebrate with, mkay?"

"You got it, sweetums! I know just the place..."

(From the blog Engrish)


And speaking of things to celebrate:

Personally, I like to celebrate cake as often as possible - with more cake.


And finally, a few favs from the archives:



Also known as "Bubble and Squeak."

(That's for you English Wreckies. Please, no need to thank me.)


The lawyers insisted.


Note: I've since heard from the owner of that last bakery, who as I recall blamed the sign on an in-law. Heh. At any rate, I think the sign has now been removed. See? Another example of the power of Wreckage, used for good! :D


Many "thanks" to wreckporters Robb & Abby, Allison M., Matt K., Steph, Kristen F., & Bonbon.


Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

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Reader Comments (34)


January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

I think we could all stand to Celebrate Cake a little bit more. Dibs on the corner piece!

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDegera

If you are celebrating cake, with cake, is that akin to cannibalism?

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLydia

I guess someone saw the play doh debacle about the cake decorator....

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Never in my life have I wished an H was a D so much as on that derator package. (Upper left corner)

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFluffy Cow


January 7, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

Comming Soon

Why do I have the feeling the bakery's decorator ordered this sign. Does not bode well.

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTricia L

No, I do not even want to think about what a Cake Derator is for. It looks somewhat. . . . painful.

I would love to celebrate cake with cake! What a great idea! Since wind chills are -10 to -30 today, I'd probably burn off all the calories as soon as I step out the door, just trying to keep warm.

We got my a son a new car yesterday. Signing papers today. I celebrated with a margarita. That works well, too!

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

If the bakery offering mouse-filled party cakes would like to come to where I live and gather up the mice that have invaded for the winter, saving me the trouble of trapping them, i'd let them have them for free. A win-win! We could celebrate. But not with cake.

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMoonrabbit

Do people try to use quotation marks for emphasis because they've never heard of using Bold, Italics, or even making the emphasized word a size larger than the rest? [sigh]

Oh, well. It could've been worse. All of these could've featured Comic Sans. :/

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterms_xeno

Sure; blame everything on an "in-law"...(works for me!) And thanks for sticking "War" in my head! But what is it good for? Anything? (Can you say it again?)
I too would almost like to know what a derator is, but not enough to, well, you know- actually care.
(As for the sign, maybe they actually WEREN'T cakes, and you outed them...hmmm?) =^-.-^= (We love the engrish site, too. So much hilariously.)

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

My mother used to make a cake called war cake. Named that way because that was the kind of cake made in my mother's family during WWII when some of the regular ingredients were difficult to come by -

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I'm sure that mouse filled cake would be a hit at the next party you throw for your cat and his friends. Or maybe its a niche market item for crazy cat ladies.

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGoose

FGTH reference FTW!

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersue

"Great" post, as always, Jen.

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKarla in (dry) CA.

The "War Cake" - are those tank tracks? And cannon balls? If so, Hubby would love it!

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBluebonnet

When you celebrate cake with a cake
No matter which cake that you make
Be it poison or mouse filled
Worry not if you're not skilled
Quotations hide every mistake

Not to mention a Derator. A Derator fixes everything.

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

So what is the intent for the "war cake" ? I get that mouse should be mousse, but what is a war cake?

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPamtha

I googled war cake and came up with the American Red Cross recipe on the website. The ingredient list doesn't include flour, but the assembly directions mention folding in flour and soda. I'm not an avid baker, but it seems to me that having the measurements on the flour would be pretty critical to the success of the cake. Can we add that recipe as an honorable mention wreck?

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterColin M.

(With apologies to my Page-a-Day calendar.)

derator [dee-'reh-ter] n
1*: A person posting usually negative yet side-splitting critiques of seemingly professionally produced baked goods that fall painfully short of standard decorating practices (SDP), a fact of which everyone but the baker seems aware.
2^: A simple device, usually made of cheap-looking plastic and resembling a nineteenth-century medical instrument, used to quickly and effectively create a cake that successfully violates the SDP (see also "cake wreck").

*The derators on commented candidly on baby shower cakes of questionable aesthetic value.
^Thanks to her new derator, Gladis was successfully producing large numbers of chocolate poo pile cupcakes for her much-loathed cousin Gertrude's retirement party.

Since the word "berate" cannot be used to describe the act of making fun of a baker's products, the verb developed into "de-rate," a word meant to connote both the act of down-grading the product's value to the potential customer and berating the baker (usually in absentia).

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGrammar Gracie

My mother has something similar to the derator hoever is is called an icing syringe.

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Anyone got "spelchek" (Spellcheck "?

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBigg3469


January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCat

The Cake Derator appears to be well Hong.

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeepBunny

That's what you get for asking Dr. Evil to make the sign for the restroom.

Don't we celebrate "cake" every day here?

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpikkewyntjie

Oh Peep Bunny! I was about to make a similar comment. It also makes a Happy Family (look closely in the picture)

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMarym

Not knowing a word of Korean, I used Google Translate's hand-drawn input for Korean (which is great fun) to work out what the sign said, and how the first three characters could have been transliterated as 'Poison'. This is what I got:

ppeu i jong
two kinds glad

jeg wa jing
confectionery features

For those who know even less than I do about Korean, the script is alphabetic and very logical. Each thing that looks like a Chinese character is actually a stack of up to three letters, consonant-vowel-consonant; the 0 shape at the beginning of a syllable means approximately 'no consonant', but a final circle (drawn carefully, it has a slight projection on top) stands for -ng.

January 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTachybaptus

Tachybaptus, I tried to post a minute ago but my computer went offline, I apologize for double posts if it did go through...but, was saying that I am currently living in Korea and notice that a lot of Korean words are actually phonetically English or other languages. I think, sounding out the letters in the sign, that they are trying to use the French word poisson to give the bakery a French feel. It sounds more like "po-ah-showng" though it is kinda hard to even Anglicize the sounds...anyway, that's my best guess but it is still very funny!

January 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

Thanks for the UK reference! You do know that Bubble-and-Squeak is made by frying up leftover potatoes and cabbage, don't you? Don't tell the bakers - they might use it for their next cake filling.

In North East England, the word 'our' is pronounced like 'war' (but usually spelled 'wor').

January 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMorag

Sandra, many thanks for your explanation. Clearly they didn't know that _poisson_ means fish -- iced fishcakes, anyone? And having the word for cheesecake in German adds to the sophisticated muddle.

January 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTachybaptus

Lol at the last sign. I too want to celebrate cake with cake. It sounds fun til the wreckerators kill it.

January 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Marie

Modern Japanese contains a lot of phonetically adapted (and often mangled) English words as well-- sometimes even when a perfectly usable native Japanese word exists. Such words are (usually) written in phonetic katakana characters, much like the phonetic hangul characters (as shown in the Poison Bakery sign) in written Korean. Using English words is supposed to be "cool" in Japan; a similar "cool" factor for foreign words is quite possible in South Korea as well. Interestingly, North Korea appears to still use pictographic Chinese hanzi characters for most words, whereas South Korea seems to have pretty much dumped the use of their Chinese-sourced character set and relies instead on the Korean language's native hangul phonetic characters.

Disclaimer: I don't know a word of Korean, but I can read some basic Japanese.

Also, I just realized that this post didn't have anything to do with cake. Sorry!

January 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWhirled One

My daughter, who is a beginning reader, recently ordered "Key Lime Mouse Cake." (The menu had it right.)

January 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I can say (unfortunately) I know about the Giant Eagle sign. My father works for GE as a regional manager. He took a picture of it and brought it home for my family to laugh at.

Stupidity reigns.

January 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCakeGirl

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