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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

Comb The Dessert!

Like so many brides, Robyn M. found the perfect cake for her wedding on Pinterest:

Now, let's be real, Robyn. That cake? THAT cake? There are like 4 bakers on the planet who can make that cake, with all its tiny, perfectly-pleated ruffles and its flawless ombré fade. Ok? Ok.

Anyway, I'm guessing Robyin already figured that out, because...



(It's like a cheap lingerie shop exploded on it. Can't you almost feel the scratchy nylon? Mmmm.)


Ug, you know what? I can't even with this today. So...






REALLY ugly:


We've gone from suck to blow!

 Which means it's ugly.


Aaaaand... ugly:


You may now eat the cake.

Or... not.


Thanks to Robyn M., Mallory M., Angela B., Anna W., Anony M., & Richard B. for combing the dessert. (Eh? EH?!) Now... check, please.


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Reader Comments (44)

I'm off to watch Spaceballs, and wish I had cake to eat. Only, not these cakes.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDegera

Cake #2 reminds me of Kaylee's fancy dress. Wouldn't it have been cool if that's what they were going for?

Cake #6 is saved from ultimate wreckiness by that topper. I think I would have liked to attend that wedding.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

From ugly to UGMO To Über Ugmo to UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGLLLLLLLLLLY!!!!!!!!😱😨😱😵😲

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBigg3469

I've been wondering how they make ombre like that. I can see how they would do it if the icing was white on the bottom, because that means that as they iced the cake, they kept adding little bits of more coloring to the icing so the icing would be white on the bottom and colored more intensely as you look up the cake, to the darkest color on top.

Anyone know how they do this? Anyone?

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterQue Sara Lee

When will some baker admit their shortcomings and JUST SAY NO!!!! Holly heck! I am no baker and I could probably produce something slightly more edible looking that those.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermiss paper

SaraCVT> (My strange counterpart) My mind was initially Scarlett O'Hara, so Thank You! for saving my initial "Yeech" reaction.

Yes, a miniature Serenity on top of that would be awesome!

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSaraV

The lingerie explosion comment nearly caused yogurt to explode out of my nose. Lol
For me, these compare/contrast posts never never never get old. However, thank you for pointing out the expertise needed for such gorgeous cakes & the reality of the rarity of exsistance of such talented bakers able to create them. Many a wedding wreck could be avoided by acceptance of this fact!

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMovieMom

I think my favorite part is the obvious thumbprint on the side of the last cake. Not only was it poorly made, but it was also mishandled. Ugh.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSarahV

is there any cake at all in the lingerie explosion??? there are parts of it that look like they might be like that frosting fill in you had a few days back!
I'm beginning to feel blessed that my daughter doesn't want a cake for her wedding (not that there's a wedding on the horizon or even a guy...just the fairy tale in the planning. ;) )

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

They have desecrated a Hallowed and Sacred "fill-um"!!! It is one thing to be a fan of Nightmare Before Christmas -which I am...truly...I don't know all the songs by heart, but it's been played in our house so often that my son knows all the songs by heart and he can even play some of the music on his keyboard...but, I digress- but for someone to state "sure I can do a Nightmare Before Christmas wedding cake" and then end up with that monstrosity is absolute sacrilege. Sacrilege I SAY!!! Poor Jack and Sally, they look utterly bereft on the top of that...whatever it is. So very sad, why can't people just say...uuuuhhhh...."NO, I cannot do that...I cannot do green eggs and ham....I cannot do the Nightmare-MAN! I cannot do a cake like that...I can't even do Cat in the Hat"
Well, if bakers were honest about their abilities, we wouldn't have this lovely blog to come to daily and laugh, then point...and then...laugh again.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVaBeach alemaP

I'm making a wedding cake this weekend and have been really nervous. Thank you for making me feel better about my capabilities. As long as it's better than these, I should be ok.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSarah J

Que Sara Lee, I think your description is correct. The ruffles don't overlap much on this cake, so they could have started at the top. Most cakes in this style seem to do the ruffles upside down - probably for this reason.

It's either that or fondant that they separated into pieces and then mixed color in each piece individually. I'm actually leaning this way given the subtle color variations in the mostly-white parts at the top (unless I'm imagining that).

FYI, this is the original baker:

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAli

I'm so glad other people thought of Kaylee immediately. Especially because I'm currently making that dress and we've been calling it the 'cupcake dress'!

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterothy

Thank you, thank you, THANK you fr the Spaceballs quotes! And I have to agree that the Tim Burton-esque topper does really save the cake that went from suck to blow.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMoira

I am still bereft that a wedding cake wreck book has not been made.


May 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterlisadh

What does it say about me that on a couple of those I said to myself, "I've seen worse." Has this site lowered my standards through exposure? ;-)

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGinger

The thing on the Nightmare Before Christmas cake looks like a giant tongue.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRosa

The word SHAPLOWM!!!! + SpaceBalls refs = EPIC. I needed these to make me feel better :)

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAdriane

#2 is clearly the result of a fondant inspiration cake being poorly rendered in buttercream. People, it is so hard to get that level of fondant perfection in a buttercream. The average baker isn't going to cut it. You can't take the lowest bid and then be shocked you don't get the highest quality.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I have a small question about the last cake. (Actually, I have questions about all the cakes, but they are all the same question---WHY?) Anyway, back to the last cake. Is the cake just the thing on the cardboard? Is the base a large wheel of cheese covered by aqua Play Doh? And is the aqua stripey stuff really flannel pajama fabric propped up by those white thingies? And do you want to bet that the larger white rounds are homemade mint patties? And why do the whites not match?
Sorry I've used up all my questions for the rest of the month. My birthday's coming up next week and I'd better not get anything that looks like any of these.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdrgns4vr

Que Sara Lee and Ali, you make up a batch of white buttercream and then remove all but a fraction from the bowl. Colour this the deepest shade you want and pipe away. Then add some more of the white to lighten it and next layer. Then add more white and so on...
Not that I would even try hombré ruffles like those! I've just used this technique on hombré rosettes.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRob

All these Spaceballs refs and so far no one has said: BARF!

(Not in here, mister! This is a Mercedes!)

The difference between the first cake and the second cake is the same difference between a bride in her gown like Princess Vespa and an Old West saloon girl like Lili Von Shtupp (okay, not Spaceballs, but still Mel Brooks and actually Ms. Von Shtupp had a lot more class. It's twue!)

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpikkewyntjie

Ombre in fondant is pretty easy. You make a long cone of the dark shade and a long cone of white. Join them on top of each other so one end has the thin end of color and a thick end of white. Chop the new rope into equal pieces and knead each piece.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterhellaide

Umm... What is the first Pinterest cake even resting on? Because I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be standing upright like that with a foggy bundle of napkins under it and being halfway off the table. Apparently cakes like that only exist in fairytale lands that don't even physics. Jussayin'.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHans Rose

@Rob - Genius! Now I wish I had the excuse to frost something ombre... Oh, who'm I kidding, I mostly just want an excuse for cake! But I'll have to keep that technique in mind.

And in the meantime, I'll keep laughing at the lingerie explosion. =-)

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSeabird

Que Sarah Lee, I'm pretty sure that particular ruffle ombré cake was airbrushed. But even working bottom up (which is the way this would have been done), I would start with a piece of the dark sugar paste, then add a bit of white to it after each layer.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

@SaraCVT: Yes! My first thought was Kaylee's dress!

The third one reminds me of those Jell-O Parfait cups. Also, I'm glad the wedding colors were not red and white. The top of that cake would look like a blood clot.

Fourth reminds me of Flock of Seagulls. "...and I ra-a-an. I ran so far awa-a-ay. I just ra-a-an. I ran all night and da-a-ay. I couldn't get a-wa-ay!"

Seriously, when I got to the last one, I was so desensitized by the ugly, I thought, "What's wrong with that one? I'm not saying I'd like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely".

Le sigh.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJust Andrea

The original (the one found on Pinterest by the bride) is beautiful. The one that goes from suck to blow has me thoroughly confused. I agree with lisadh - need a wedding cake wreck book, please!

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChicago

Spaceballs references always make me happy.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commentertheblackdog

Did they use Mentos in the last one? OMG. Poor people.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

"Combing the dessert"........that's frikken brilliant.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Hans Rose, if you look very closely, you will see the bottom of a cake stand under the first cake. The stand and the tablecloth are both white, so it's hard to see, but it is there.

May 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLady Anne

Oh man I can picture the angry brides looking at these. I am so glad I had a simple cake that was beautiful and not a wreck lol. I feel for the poor brides.

May 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Marie

Omg.. All the Spaceballs references... I am back in my childhood home again (in my mind)... Now I want to watch it again!

May 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLogansMommy

As a professional baker who knows full well that she is no decorator, I was pleased as punch when I was asked to make fancy cakes for friends. Many of my cakes would fit right in as wrecks, but my audience is still appreciative. So, without knowing more about the background stories of these cakes, I find it hard to ridicule the decorator. They are doing the best they can.
And now you know why there are wedding cakes that cost $20.00 a slice.

May 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBeckyH

Whenever I see an ugly cake, my constant hope is that they at least taste good...

May 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

People have no clue how much high end cakes cost, like that pretty ombré square wedding cake.

I was picking up my birthday cake, which was designed, gorgeous and heavenly. It was NOT a $50 sheet cake from the mega store. I paid some good cash, and there was no wreckage.

While I was waiting, a mom showed me a picture she wanted for her kid's 2nd birthday cake. Fondant work, sugar glass (isomalt? Not a baker). Something you would see on Ace of Cakes or one of the other shows on TeeVee. The party was in one day, and she had an $75 budget.

Near fatal eye roll. Seriously? Then mom threw a major tude when she was to that type of cake need more than a 1 day notice, and cost way way more than $75.

Mom left in a blizzard of swear words. Like the shop cares. They are so booked right now, they could just do wedding cakes until the end of summer.

I blame TeeVee. People watch a 30 minute show, and think show cakes can be banged out in a day. Well for the right amount of $$$$$$$, maybe.

So when I see beautiful cake picture then the cake wreckage reality, how many yahoos wanted a $3K cake for $400?

My sympathy gland doesn't twitch for those...

May 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFord_Prefect313

Unless these are completely different from what was ordered, most of these cakes aren't that ugly. Except for the first and last. Those are terrible. The rest aren't that bad by Cake Wrecks standards.

I wonder if this has been the wreckerators' plan all along. Make cakes so awful that even the poor ones start to look decent by comparison. They're diabolical geniuses.

May 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTifa

The robin's egg blue one isn't that bad in comparison to the others. Oh, but the others. My goodness.

May 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNobodee Home

Question. ...

Why do people pick a cake that needs precision like stellar fondant skills, then turn around and have it done in butter cream? Why does the baker/designer/decorator go okay? The bakery I use can do cakes like that, but those are rare around here. And you pay for that skill.

I don't have boat loads of cash, so I scale back my desires. (darn it). That pink explosion cake is burned into my eyes. Wow...

May 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFord_Prefect313


These are not friends doing the best they can. These are professional bakers, looking at inspiration pictures and saying, "Oh, I can ABSOLUTELY make that! I'll take your check for $500 now."

As such, I have no problem ridiculing them. They clearly have no conscience, why should I?

May 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Is it sad I'm impressed at the paper like quality the backer managed in frosting the bottom layer of the last cake?

May 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLes

The third one was my wedding cake. It was supposed to be purple, with little pearls around the base of the THREE layers. Fondant with a white fondant ribbon, not store bought ribbon. It wasn't supposed to be lopsided either. When we tried to put the cake topper on it fell through the cake. The flavor was hazelnut but since the cake was frost burned you really couldn't tell. I wanted to leave it on the side of the road when we picked it up. That particular bakery has since gone out of business. I wonder why?

June 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

It really annoys me how many people search for their cake ideas on Pinterest. Any amazing cake posted on Pinterest is made by a very experienced and talented baker. You can't just print off a picture and take it to the old lady down the street who makes cakes and expect the same result. And for GOD'S SAKE please STOP bringing pictures of these cakes to Walmart! You are not going to get a Pinterest cake decked out in fondant by a Walmart cake decorator for a Walmart price. I know that a lot of these wrecks are the result of customers wanting to have their cake and eat it too (pun intended).

July 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

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