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

Bridal Terrors

A lot of brides like to give their bakers a photo of their dream wedding cake, in the hopes that they might, in fact, get a cake that looks at least vaguely similar.

However, as you long-time readers know, this can be a lot like asking Francois the painting ferret** to whip you up a quick Mona Lisa. Some of the colors might be right, but in the end it's probably gonna be covered in fur and little poo nuggets. (The painting, that is, not the cake.) (We hope.)

For example:

Amanda C. asked for this, only in white and with a C:


And, in the baker's defense...

...that is most definitely a C.


Jei gave this picture to the head "chef" at a "luxury" beach "resort":


And she got...this:

I can't decide which is classier: the oozing cake or those water bottles.

Do you think the bride had to spring for those? [chortle]


Candice F. wanted this mushroom cake:


And her baker's interpretation?

Aw, those bakers: such fun guys.


Joanne and Elena wanted this stunner for their wedding:


And, to be fair, what they got did leave them stunned:

I would ask what happened to the flowers, but those squiggles have left me speechless.


And finally, Christie D. wanted her cake to look just like this, only with silver ribbon:

Pretty simple, right?


Well, here's an interesting factoid: did you know that "silver ribbon" can be translated as "duct tape"* in some bakeries? It's true. Here's proof:

That's "35 years of experience" right there.

So I'd hate to see what only two decades' worth would look like.


Thanks to brides Amanda C., Jei, Candice F., Joanne & Elena C., and Christie D. for making me feel better about my $80 Publix wedding cake.

*Note: Not actual duct tape. Duct tape is prettier.


**Loyal Wrecky Henchperson Shannon S. sent in this helpful illustration:

Quick! Somebody give me a clever ferret pun!
(I love my job)



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Reader Comments (56)

A pun? How about a pun as cunning as a ferret without it's tail....

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterOlga

Hope in reality is the worst of all evils
becauseit prolongs the torments of man*.
Friedrich Nietzsche

*and brides

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

To be fair-it is what you asked for.
After all, the artist is a Ro-dent, not Rodan :)

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercookiemama

I swear if anyone gave me a wedding cake like any of those they would be WEARING it.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAisha

I don't understand why, if a bride wants a cake to look like the expensive cake, she doesn't just pay the money for the expensive cake. After shelling out for the dress, booze, etc. maybe they run out of money? But at least it keeps us amused here! ;)

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbassgirl

Since, I, Shannon S., submitted Francois, I have now become Shannon G. I had cookies instead of cake at my wedding, just to be on the safe side. ;)

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

That mushroom & acorn cake's interpretation? I HAD to check the credit, and THAT reads: "..lw.mushroomsgrassresultdfgbdfgbdfgb." I "heard" this in my head as "fuggettaboutitfuggettaboutit..." The green stuff looks more like faded parsley than ferns... and why IS that renegade branch photo-bombing the entire scene?
Now, the duct tape event is something I'm SURE I've seen on "The Price Is Right". The thing is, the contestant has to pick layer #1, #2, or #3. The greedy contestant picks #3 because it's big enough to hold a cute foreign job, but he/she is in for a big disappointment when it turns out to be A YEARS'S SUPPLY OF DUCT TAPE!!! Yay!!! *confetti blizzard*
Okay, guys; here's my ferret pun: "I HAD a really good one in mind, but I think you should pay me ferret."
(Just trying to weasel a grin out of ya!) =^~.-^=

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

Sometimes i wonder if you better off just getting a store bakery cake...

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

These make me feel better about my cake too. It was from a bakery, but I was afraid to have them do anything fancy (and couldn't afford it), so it was just a sheet cake with our names on it. And they did give us exactly what we ordered, so I can't really complain. Oh and it was delicious (white cake with banana filling).

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterlazykerri

I don't want to weasel out of any puns, but I otter be careful with this group. However, I stoatly defend the artistry of these cakes, and can ferret out which of these were done by Francois and which were done by bakers.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFM

"Only with silver ribbons"… literally!

And Google just told me there really was a Swiss painter called François Furet ("ferret" in French). Yeah!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAthena

"Only with silver ribbons"… literally!

And Google just told me there really was a Swiss painter called François Furet ("ferret" in French). Yeah!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAthena

Jen, make a post on Epbot with pics from your wedding. Your fans demand to hear more about your wonderful love story with jon.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteranon

Oh Shannon S, your the victim of a Credit Wreck.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Hope for perfection
Disappointment will follow
With tiny mushrooms

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNotJoy

I said I wanted an EASEL for my painting!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCBushLite

The mushroom cake was an attempt to do fondant in buttercream. Are we sure that's duct tape? Could be poor fondant skills. And don't any of these folks look at sample cakes made by the bakery they are buying the cake from? I have one client who thinks I should be able to produce anything she finds on Pinterest. That I am not a wedding cake decorator and have loads of other responsibilities never crosses her mind. She never seems to be willing to order from the catering menu we have, which is full of tasty items I can make look spectacular.
That the decorated cake doesn't look just like the picture is sad, but some of these don't deserve our vituperation. I bet some of the pics are of styrofoam rounds decorated with royal icing. No worries about the temperature the cake was displayed at, or slumping, etc. I had one cake look fantastic when delivered, but when it stood in 90F sunshine for two hours the buttercream did soften. That was the last wedding cake I did to date.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBeckyH

Bwah! I'm still laughing at "little poo nuggets." (Because apparently, today I have the mind of a twelve-year-old boy!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

That mushroom cake. They didn't even make the mushrooms! :

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNathan

Thanks for ferreting out these wrecks.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

I'm pretty sure those are chocorooms on that mushroom cake!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermajime.koala

I can't unsee tiny little penises all over the mushroom cake.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Are there lawyers specializing in pastry breach of promise? Compensation for emotional distress due to layer slip and fall? Can bakers have errors and omissions insurance to cover lack of skill or omitting the fact that, " Why,no, I can't really do THAT!" Wow.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenters.marie

How - *HOW* - can a person have 35 years' experience and not know how to smoothly frost the sides of a cake??? For gawd's sake, I only frost a couple of times a year and I still can do it - with or without a turntable!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa L.

The mushroom wreck is using kinoko no yama (chocolate mushrooms with a cookie stem; very yummy!) for the mushrooms! I'd say something about cheating but they obviously weren't up to the challenge of the original cake anyway.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGingerelle

Wreck confession: I have a smidge more compassion for wrecked wedding cakes, after a friend changed her venue to an outdoor option at the last minute and didn't want to change anything about the cake she ordered. Some of these bakers have no excuse, but no one can salvage buttercream in southern July heat. She loved her cake, but it was (literally) a hot mess that I don't include in my portfolio.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHolly P.

@s.marie what a good idea! I'm a government lawyer, but perhaps I should quit and specialize in cake wreck suits! I like all of your listed torts, plus I would argue that there is a contract concept called "fitness for a particular purpose." I would allege that these wrecks did NOT fit the particular purpose of NOT SUCKING! (Only I'll think of some Latin term to use, so it sounds more official.)

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

Pretty sure the "silver ribbon" is just really crappy butter cream.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTina

We might need to retain Siouxby, Doobie and Deux LLP. Where's mel?

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Awww, the poor oozing cake looks like it was masterfully made and then left in high temperatures for long... But (and sorry for asking)... haven't I seen this exact post before???

[Editor's note- Hi Phoebe. On Wednesdays, I give Jen the day off and we run a post from four or five years ago. john (the hubby of Jen)]

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPhoebe

I'm going to give the "luxury" beach "resort" person a bit of help here -- fondant and beach humidity do NOT go well together.

The rest... eek.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLarissa

@FM - Great job! Unlike these bakers, you really went ferret! =-)

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSeabird

I am a semi-professional baker (the Health Department says I can only bake for my friends, but I make friends easily.) and I would NEVER hand somebody a cake that resembled the first one. Even The Squire, who was reading from the sidelines, says he could do better. The poor man nearly choked to death over the Duct Tape business.

Thanks for a wonderful, unfailingly entertaining site!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLady Anne

That's not FAIR-IT isn't all that bad ... sort of ... (evil chuckle)

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterElsi Dodge

Vincent van Gopher?

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMillie P

"Oh, that cake is lovely - I think I prefer-ret to the photo!"

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Sadly these are not as horrible as I've come to expect.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

After working for a World Class baker and decorator for years and then catering for a wedding planner and working with a wonderful decorator, these always make my teeth itch! Nice Haiku, NotJoy!!

May 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterValarie

Jen, ferrets are not rabbits. They do not leave "poo-nuggets" wherever they happen to be sitting. Rather they are litter-trained by nature and always use the same places like cats do. Please don't spread misinformation about these adorable little creatures.

[Editor's note- You caught us. For years, we've been waging a silent war on ferrets, besmirching their good name at every opportunity. It all started for Jen with the traumatic mac and cheese incident of 96. But alas as they say, the jig is up. And so I say unto thee good readers, BEWARE THE FERRET!!! THEY'RE EVIL LITTLE MAC AND CHEESE EATERS AND THEY MUST BE STOPPED!!! Or, ya know, we could have been kidding. -john thoJ)]

May 28, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterthe dark ferret

I am loathe to defend a wedding cake wreck. But I have to say the mushroom cake wasn't THAT bad. It was definitely done in fondant (not buttercream look at the edges). The seams and boarders were a mess. And the work is not particularly clean. But the tiers are level, and centered. Some kind of mushrooms are on it. And it has a green plantlike decoration. The example cake looks fairly intricate and I'd estimate about 10 -12 hours work for an experienced decorated/ baker start to finish. And I'd bet it cost the original owner somewhere in the area of 2,000 - 2,500 dollars. The wreck looks like it was done by someone who had at best basic skills and the couple probably paid a quarter of the price. If that is the case then I would suggest less a wreck and more they got what they paid for.

All the other ones, inexcusable. My 8 year old can literally make a better cake than any of those.

May 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMel

Wow. If I were any of these brides the wreckerator would have been wearing those cakes lol. So so glad I bought my cake at Thriftway and it was perfect. Though these are just killing me here with laughter I am sure the brides thought of killing the bakers lol.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Marie

Rikki-Tikki-Ta Vinci (with apologies to Rudyard Kipling :-)

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterP.

I'll admit it... I kind of prefer the mushroom wreck to the desired mushroom cake. NO offense intended to the bride at all; it's just that the first one is so realistic and I wouldn't want to feel like I was eating fungi and moss right off the forest floor. The second would be more palatable, I believe.

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

The "luxury" beach "resort" cake - it is from a Mexican resort, which is why there are the bottles of water and why the cake is melting. I excuse both of those things, but I do not excuse that it is missing a ribbon on the top layer, and that they should not have attempted it or brought it out so early in the heat, when clearly no one is seated. The resort should know better and should bring out the cake only at the very last minute because they know it will melt or let the bride know that cakes made with certain ingredients will not work in the heat and humidity of the region.

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJenna P

Joanne and Elena's cake looks like it is inspired by my favorite manga and anime, Mushi-shi. It is absolutely nothing like what they wanted, but it is a great representation of the obscure, fictional, supernatural life forms called mushi. I can't recommend the wreckerator, but I very heartily recommend this series!

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMary

I just realized what creeped me out about the first wreck (white with what was supposed to be "Swiss dots"). Each of those white blobs reminds me of what our smallpox vaccinations looked like at their worst. Appetizing indeed.

Also, I'm pretty sure that the pale green décor on the sides of the mushroom cake are lichen. Ick. I hate lichen as they grow on my redwood patio furniture while my back is turned. I still think it looks kind of pretty and rather authentic, however, the rolled fondant borders are pretty pitiful. I've been trying to figure out if they tried strategic mushroom placement to hide the worst of it or if the mushroom placement caused some of the border mess.

June 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMary Kay

I have two wedding cakes coming up in the next year and am hoping neither bride goes on Pinterest to find their wedding cake! Because I know perfectly well I do not have the skills and they don't have the money to actually get one of those cakes! I think everyone who takes an interest in becoming a baker for hire(professionally or pro-am) should be required to look at the wrecks on this blog. But then we wouldn't have this blog and all the laughter that comes with it!

June 14, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterwildduck

As a professional bakery owner & cake designer, I can almost guarantee the majority of these wedding cake wrecks were caused by brides not wanting to pay the price that the beautiful original cakes were worth. I've seen it numerous times, they find the cake of their dreams, only to be appalled to discover they are worth top dollar. It never fails that they search until they find someone who tells them what they want to hear, "I can make that ($2000.) cake for $75." The end result ends up here. If they would just remember the old saying, "If it sounds to good to be true...."

July 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPamela

While I understand some really ornate cakes take a lot of skill to pull off. If you cant manage basic level stacked cylinders and cubes with clean edges and sides, you should,'t be doing wedding cakes.

July 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCrim

OMG....I absolutely can't believe that those cakes came from professional bakers. I am a home baker and made my son's wedding cake for them as a gift. I taught myself how to make gumpaste roses and calla lilys from watching YouTube for 2 months.....and how to cover a cake in fondant. My cake was AWESOME compared to any of those. I feel terrible that those brides day was ruined by having cakes that looked like a kindergartener made them. I hope they got their money back .....and those bakeries are out of business.

August 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDebbi

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