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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

Sunday Sweets: Projections of the Future?

Everyone's going nuts this week - and rightfully so! - over Disney's latest wedding cake technology.
Have you seen? If not, take a look!

(This one has a longer animation.)



Ahh, but Disney is not the first to use 3D projection mapping on a cake! Check out this vid Lisa C. sent in, taken back in January of 2013:


And for the gamer geeks among us, how about this retro-licious Donkey Kong wedding cake from last August?

(Cake by Christine of Meals for Reals, projection by Posh DJs)


This next one uses plain white boxes as a stand-in for the cake, but Highland Media Work's demo reel of possibilities is STUNNING. I can't pick a favorite; there are too many!

You could just have all these patterns cycling through during the reception!

And hey, if any of these designs ever get wrecked, the bakers can just blame the projector. :D


Of course, there's a more old-school way to put moving pictures on your cake: zoetropes! I featured a couple ages ago, but here are a few newer creations to hit the interwebz since then:

(By The Phillip Island Chocolate Factory)

I'll admit it: I really wish that center tier wasn't yellow.


One more!

(By Julia M Usher)

LOVE those bouncing flowers!

I know this was pretty different for Sweets, but I hope you guys found them all especially moving. ;)
And rest assured we'll be back to non-projected, stationary decorating next week.

Happy Sunday!

Be sure to check out our Sunday Sweets Directory to see which bakers in your area have been featured here on Sweets!


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Reader Comments (54)

I actually like the old school way of making a moving cake. Still the projector cakes were beautiful. Worth it for a wedding since there is less to mess up lol.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKat

Wow! What will they think of next? The projections of flowers and fairies and whatnot are...OK...but the donkey kong/video game cake...AWESOME!! Where was this technology when I got married?

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDrockbox

Holy crap :O

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

the projector cakes are cool and interesting, but the zoetrope cakes take cake making to a diff't dimension and require so much forethought and engineering. the projector cakes require...a projector.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermickeyp415

Spectacu-layer~~Disneyland and Vegas, "cake-a-fied"... I am floored, awed, and bowled-over. The colors glowing from within... the "magicality"...the...the...well, they really are amazing. I wouldn't mind having a VERY TINY replica of something like that first one--like maybe a wee porcelain night light, or something. (All the while, the frugal, coupon-clipping, bargain-hunting,"real" me is thinking: "Yikes!") =^0.0^=

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

What will they think of next? So much work in those zoetropes!

Whilst the technology is 'cool' I much prefer traditional cakes, as I find the skill of an ace cake baker/decorator much more interesting than the plain cake relying on technology.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentervespacat

Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but somehow I see this as a high tech version of edible paper. Sure, the original images might be pretty, but think of how it might go wrong in the hands of an incompetent baker.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLMR

Never seen these before -- with cake! Awesome!

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErica

I actually find that my visceral reaction to the projection cakes is one of disgust. This is just over the top, ridiculous idiocy (in my not-so-humble opinion). As another commenter said - plain white cakes and a projector. Big deal. The zoetrope cakes are wonderful and require real work. The others? I'm sorry but too much in our lives is already digitized, and I draw the line at cakes.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnthrogirl

I cannot wait for these projection cakes to go wrong.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdt

Have you seen the Tim Burton style one that was released Halloween last year? It's amazing!

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeigh

Yeah, I love the zoetrope cakes a LOT, because they take so much thinking and a TON of art to make. The projector ones are just meh. It'd be like paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to go to a movie. Yeah, you get a show for a bit...but in the end, you're paying an awful lot for a blank screen. I'll stick with traditional cakes or those awesome zoetrope ones!

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDenita TwoDragons

Pardon my YAWN.....

but...this type of projection having a long history in theatre and in large scale entertainment venues (like whole buildings, cliff faces, canyon walls, etc.), seeing it scaled down to fit on a cake is really no big deal. Further it is but a take-off of a decades old technique Disney perfected for its Haunted Mansion ride.

After all, this show no real CAKE artistry, the cake having to be as plain and simple as can be, tho' I will grant that getting a perfection "projection screen" finish is a must.

Rather the artistry lies in the hands of the CGI specialist who doesn't need to know diddly about making a true 3-D work of cake art.

Call me a party pooper if you want, but for me it's nothing but a gimmick that I hope will quickly fade away.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

Maybe the projector-wreckers run a film that the couple made just for each other by mistake...woo hoo! Could this technology be used to instantly fix a cake wreck?

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTom

In ten years, I can see these making a reappearance on this site - "Projector Wrecks". That post will feature:
-A projection missing the cake altogether and putting a bunch of pretty swirls on the embarrassed bride's dress
-The bride asked for an animation of "ocean waves". The baker is hard of hearing, writes down "ocean babes", and the end product features some not-okay depictions of mermaids.
-The bride sends a YouTube video showing another cake with the animation she wants. The baker simply projects the YouTube video onto her cake.
-The cake collapses in the middle of the projection.
-The projector breaks down the day before the wedding and the Wreckerator on duty decides to replicate the complicated animation in icing. She sticks the flash drive the footage is saved on into the top of the cake.
-The baker charges an obnoxious price for a huge custom projector cake, then delivers two small, ugly layers which are set in front of an office projector. Of course, you can only see a little bit of the bottom of the footage on the actual cake. The rest is on the venue wall.
-The Wreckerator isn't feeling like booting up the computer. He delivers a sheet cake decorated with an edible paper printout of a still of the TIF the bride wanted. The bride sees it, freaks, and tells him that she wants "the actual video, you (censored) (censored) idiot!" The Wreckerator delivers another sheet cake with this message printed on top. The flower girl and ring bearer learn two new words at the reception!

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEmma P.

Love the ballerina-and-flowers cake!

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAngelaS

Thank you for posting this! While this is not actually "sugar art" it has come to light this week and is highly annoying for cake decorators that work hard at what they do...and people get excited over something like this! It is a very cool technique, I give all of them credit for coming up with this. But when it comes to it going viral it's not neccessary.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterfroggiegal

Well, I think these are AWESOME. Young people are all about technology. Give them what they want. It's not your choice. The most asked question I get from people is "how do you get the icing so smooth". It just takes lots of practice and patience. I'm NOT a fondant fan. Give me real icing any day. You can do anything you set your mind to. Remember...Change is GOOD.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterauntiebaker

I think they're absolutely lovely. Thinking these are amazing doesn't take away from hand-decorated cakes, just like the fondant cakes don't take away from the artistry involved with just frosting.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKim

I am a cake artist, and I actually LOVE the projection cakes, lol. I don't have the skill set to create those types of digital images, but I think they are beautiful and interesting... and as a cake artist, that is what I strive for when creating. I think there is room in the baking world for both traditional cakes, and more innovative designs.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergabroc

At a cost of 15,000 usd minimum (for the disney one), I can't see this being a popular trend for sane people

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiaphoni

How to get geeks to a wedding. Tell them they can play donkey kong on the cake... Cause it would be more awesome if it projected you playing the game rather than just a video. Also perfect for gamers birthday parties. I do love the last cake too

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSam

I didn't even know this was a thing - thanks for 'enlightening' me!

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobyn McIntyre

I have mixed feelings... While on one hand, there's some pretty awesome looking cakes, the idea of electronically decorated cakes is somewhat weird. Looking at that bride and groom who were waiting for the effects to "appear" so they could be photographed seemed so unnatural.

That said, the dancing cookie cake was pretty amazing... I can't imagine the thought (and work) that went into that to get all those effects. I also enjoyed the 3D project on the "boxes", especially when it the color turned a gorgeous shade of green and lovely leafy patterns were projected all over.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAddie

Is the one that spins with the yellow center little blobs of poop jumping? That's what it looks like. I'm confused as to why someone wanted that.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

I'm not really impressed with the perfect white plain cakes either... i know that needs lots of skills for a baker to achieve that finished and polished cakes, but I keep repeating myself.. i would love more this kind of projection... a miniature disney castle cake with an amazing projection show on it...

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica

I thought it was cool! I "Oooooooo"d through the whole thing. The personalization options are basically limitless! I think they're beautiful.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGenevieve

I see them as being, a few years from now, a less expensive option for a nice looking cake that looks fancy but is actually quite plain and requiring less work from the vendor.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristine Sanderson

That one picture makes me think of luminol sprayed crime scenes on tv shows.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter~~mb~~

Is it just me?
Or do the glowing splotches on the second Disney cake look like something the Special Victims Unit might find at a crime scene?

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

Not a fan.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie K

Am I the only one whose first thought is that it just makes cake a less-efficient frosting vector?

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteranon

All the cakes were beautiful and as some have said not easy to wreck unless they don't line up the projector right or all of Emma P.'s post comes to fruition'. I really enjoyed the last cake. It reminded me of watching stop action shows as a kid - Gumby and Pokey, Davey and Goliath and even the California Dancing Raisins.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNetasha

I liked Christie and Mario's cake, but they did start to look pretty awkward after awhile.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpikkewyntjie

I think it is kind of cool. I don't believe it will ever replace a a beautifully decorated cake but I think there is a market for it. Just think of the time it would save on cake decorating.If someone hates it, well that's their prerogative but a lot of people didn't think much of talking pictures when they first came out either.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterspirals9

The projection ones are pretty, but not my personal cup tea (or slice of cake, as the case may be) - except the Donkey Kong one, which gets by on Geek Points. =-) Still, I know there are people who would love them - and it's interesting to know they exist.

The zoetrope cakes, on the other hand, look like lots of fun - I'd never seen that technique before. It must take a lot of work and skill to set that up! Thanks for sharing them! =-)

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSeabird

HAHAHA Linda, I thought it looked like blobs of jumping poop too!

And I hate those animated cakes. While they may be pretty, they are really not artistic and have cheapened the industry. Go put it on a movie screen.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarybeth

I am unimpressed with 3-D cake mapping.

THe Zoetrop cakes are waaay cool.

I still prefer an edible work of art, however, that stands still to be admired.

I really don't need my food to move on it's own once it's dead, Thank you.

October 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaTalullah

What's with the black flashing going on for the chocolate zoetrope? that was really distracting and disconcerting. does it need to be video taped in order to be animated then, or do i just need to spin the cake?
also, i think those blobs of chocolate were supposed to be dolphins. . .

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjessica

The projection cakes are alright, but they look like something one might ask friends to do because they couldn't afford an actual cake decorator who wouldn't make a wreck. Those zoetrope cakes, however, are amazing.

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTifa

Since the Disney cake was shown last week I have already been asked to make these projection cakes. Ive tried to explain to the customers that my part is just making the actual cake not the digital mapping. I am not computer savvy in that way and wouldnt know where to start. Even though it does look spectacular it is basically a plain white cake with projection on. It dosnt involve any sugar art skills and the onus lies with the person creating the mapping. I would also hate to think what the cost to produce one of these digital maps would be for all of 5 mins showtime. Be interesting to find out so if any computer geeks out there can do this then please let me know.

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdible Creations

Jeez, you guys, lighten up already. OK, there's more artistry and skill in the zoetrope cakes, which are awesomely beautiful, but if I was at a wedding featuring one of those projection cakes. I'd be all like 'Oooh! Preeeetttyyyyy!' Takes all sorts to make a world, y'know?

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

I thought the Disney cake looked like someone got a little too excited and didn't wait for the honeymoon. It literally disgusted me, and I wouldn't be able to eat a piece of that.

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlrogers13

Sure...why not?
No one ever wanted to pay me properly for my time in creating amazing sugar paste flowers. So give them a white cake with a projector! LOL.

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I can't be the only one who saw the DK cake and thought it was re-donk-uolous.

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKat Mc

The projector cakes are interesting. It's only a matter of time now until wedding guests will be subjected to a slideshow of the couple's lives up to the wedding. *shudder*

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Some of you are harsh on the digital projected cakes, saying they lack artistry and take no real work. As a multimedia artist I can appreciate the effort that goes into designing the visual presentation. Beautiful animated videos that look appealing and appetizing on a cake don't just create themselves. It's artistry of a different variety, and there's no way it's going to replace traditional cake decorating so no need for cake decorators to feel threatened. Personally, I think it's really cool to look at, and applaud the creation of diverse and interesting techniques for ways for people to customize their event.

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJBee

Oh Jen! As cool as these are, I really wish you hadn't. My daughter is getting married next August. When I saw the post I texted her that she and her fiance were not to look. They are aerospace engineers and I knew they'd want one. I was too late. Not only had they already seen your post, they had already priced the cakes out!
Thankfully they were sensible and realized that this type of cake is way out of the budget.

October 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

Yay. Let's just stand here awkwardly, knife in hand, waiting for the cake to finish doing its thing.

October 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkayk

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