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

The Bride and Groan

In case you missed it yesterday, something HUGE happened here on CW: we had our very first Sunday Sweets proposal!! (And even better, she said yes!)

So today's post is dedicated to the happy couple, Zach and Savannah. That's right, you two: while you're basking in the bliss of the newly engaged, I figured we should take this opportunity to consider the next most important cake in your lives: your weddding cake.

Now, I know I feature a lot of wedding wrecks, and I know a lot of folks will point out that asking for a fondant design recreated in buttercream is asking for disaster, but don't you worry. I'm here to help. After all, this is what Leah D. ordered for HER wedding cake:



And look what she got!

It's the tinfoil-covered cookie sheet that really sells it.

Ok, yes, it's a wreck. BUT - did you notice how the inspiration cake was all buttercream, and the wreck itself is fondant? I'm just sayin'. It works both ways.

Now, don't you feel better?


Ok, then how about what Susan A. ordered for her wedding? 


 Not a great picture (you don't see mimeographs much these days), but I think you get the general idea.

 And here's what Susan got:

Granted, I'm not sure how this is supposed to make you feel better, but trust me, guys: the REST of us are feeling grrrrr-REAT. (John! Go make some popcorn! These are gettin' GOOD.)


Sara M. wanted her wedding cake to be a hunk a' hunk a' burnin' love:


The cake! The cake! The cake is on FI-YUR!


But instead, her cake just suffered from a mild burning sensation and performance issues:



(That was my attempt at a slide-rule trombone effect. I know: I'm a veritable foley artist with words.)


And finally, Elizabeth P. dreamed a dream of ribbon-wrapped sweetness for her big day:


...but ended up with something only a mummy could love:

 Ouch. Uh...that's a wrap!


Thanks to all of today's brides, and congrats again to Zach and Savannah! Just remember, guys: wreck or Sweet, we're gonna need to see your wedding cake! (Oh, and we're all invited, right? RIGHT?!)

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Reader Comments (59)

Congradulationes with sprinkles!

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMy goodness

eye burn from a couple of these monstosities, but if the cakes had been sized better a couple of these might have stood a chance, proportions and size DO matter!

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdiddleymaz

Sung to "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" from My Fair Lady

All I want is a cake, I swear
That won't give all my guests a scare
Is that tinfoil there?
The red cake's just not loverly.

A well-made cake would be a treat
That flame cake's taking lots of heat
Who wants Charmin to eat?
All these cakes just... aren't... loverly.

Congrats again to Zach and Savannah!

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn

Let's be fair...if that's the photo that Elizabeth P. gave her baker, the poor guy/girl didn't have a whole lot to go on.....

....the baker couldn't even live up to the photo, but still....mimeographs and blurry pictures don't do much to keep your cake from being a wreck!

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Nimous

The question that the birds on the last cake are answering is "Do you hate this cake?"

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlaxmom

Why yes, my bouquet
is an Admiral Ackbar.
Family tradition.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

I figured out what the the floral-gone-wrong cake reminds me of: students who use size 18 font, 2 inch margins, and triple space with extra spaces between paragraphs.

But everything seems to remind me of that these days.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Mal

Was this the sound effect you were trying to emulate?

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEric Gjovaag

Ahehehe sharyn and haiku joy XD
The cakes... O_o

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

Did the fail baker on the burning love one use Fruit Roll-ups for the flames?

After looking at these cakes, I knew there was a reason I never remarried. I guess you're still married even if you serve pie at the reception, right?

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdrgns4vr

This HAS to be the first time I've seen roses with arms and hands.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Former CB

"...only a mummy could love..." BwHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

@Haiku Joy - Ok, as a Star Wars fan, I know what Admiral Ackbar looks like & still don't get it. (sorry)

@Haiku Mal - reminds me of student lab reports I've seen over the years...

And I'm *so* glad I "tuned in" to Sunday Sweets yesterday! :-) Congrats again, Zach & Savannah! Hey, Savannah, here's my gift: free karate lessons to teach you how to keep your man in line! :-0 (Not that you'll need 'em for that...great for taking down muggers too, though. :-)

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarateLady

The worst part about the "Ribbon Wreck" cake is, it would actually have been easier to do correctly... O_o

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma

The mummy cake seems to have two big mummy teeth on top. Icch.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy in Nashville

I hereby vow to purchase my wedding cake from a Sunday Sweets baker.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWreckophile #1

OK, look. I just want to get this out of the way before the inevitable 'people try to recreate high-budget cakes on low-budget... uh... budgets' and other like excuses. Here's the thing, bakers: if you don't think you can do it for the budget, say NO. If you DO think you can do it for the budget, but it quickly becomes evident (as it must surely do) that in fact you can't, cut your losses and let the bride know. And for the rest of you, who say you can but can't see that in fact you can't (still with me?) - dudes. Srsly. You need to get some help.

PS: the image quality might be poor, but that black and white mimeograph STILL looks better than the cake that came after it.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

A "slide-rule trombone?" And I thought I was nerdy for studying the violin in high school.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob

"a mild burning sensation and performance issues"

I don't believe I have ever read a more perfect (and hilarious) description of a cake decoration fail! Time to clean off the computer screen--again.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Why is this my favorite feature? I have nothing against weddings, or brides, or people eating cake. Yet, every time there's a 'missed marks - wedding edition' post, I do a little cheer.

I fear I am a bad person :(

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

It's okay, Karate Lady. Sometimes I see dead people or various saints on toast . . .

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHaiku Joy

It never ceases to amaze me how these wreckerators can look at the "before" picture, then their cake, and believe they have accomplished something. Yikes, indeed!

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTLC

Congratulations to the happy couple!

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlisonH

Haiku Joy: Is Various Saints on Toast similar to Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast?

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma

I have to admit that I thought the original "hunk a' burnin' love" cake was supposed to be decorated in seaweed - silvery, red, and orange seaweed.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLDM

Oh, dear -- @Haiku Joy seems to have developed an altar-ego.

W1: Fondant?! Fondue, maybe, but I wouldn't have guessed fondant.

W2: This takes to a whole new level the concept of expecting Ed's Bakery & Office Supply to reproduce (get it?) a cake seen in the pages of...some print publication that features fancy cakes. To be fair, the wreckorator didn't have a lot to go on here -- the customer could be glad that the resulting color scheme wasn't gray-on-gray, for instance -- but even I can make out four layers in the original.

W3: Now the wreckorator here did try. Correct number of layers, and the original also has the elegant, foil-wrapped cardboard cake board. (Why?) I'm sure the 'flames' in the original were made using some proprietary technique involving lasers or some such, and the wreckorator couldn't possibly be expected to know about...I'm over-selling it, am I not.

Still, while it is clearly a wreck (I must hasten to add), I could be OK with this. Especially if it was free, and/or done by someone related. Of course, I'm not a hyperventilating bride, so...Ow! Hey! Don't make me use my height advantage and my wrestling moves!

#4: I see here a stack of cotton wipes in various sizes, 'K? That's just what I see. Not saying it's a wreck; maybe that was the intended impression. I can't help what I see, can I?! If you hold up four fingers in front of me, I have to see four! Two plus two always equals four!

...Sorry. Durned flashbacks...

W4: Two teeth from a shark bigger than any I'd care to encounter, thank you very much, atop a stack of wreck, all sitting on the de rigueur foil-covered cardboard. Classy.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

At first glance on the last one, I thought those were glazed fortune cookies on top with the words "I do" piped on them and I said to myself, "Well, at least they did a good job with the piping."

Now I realize they are doves (or maybe clay pigeons?). Since when did doves begin to look like fortune cookies?

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGinger

Even if your cake is a decor fail, the baker should at least be able to provide you a cake that does not sag or lean so perilously. The first one seems about to collapse under the fondant weight.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal331

Ugh that last one looks like it's covered in bathroom tile grout! And what are those, two huge teeth on the top!?

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

I'm pretty darn sure that Wreck #1 was iced with cream cheese icing. You NEVER ice a cake with cream cheese icing. Fill it, yes. Ice it, no.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Welch

Poor birdies on the last cake; looks like their cousins, the pigeons, got to perch on it first. MANY pigeons.

Sharyn's poetry never fails to amuse and delight.

I too love the wedding cake fails. It's kind of like the cake is trying to WARN them: "You thought your marriage was gonna be perfect and admired by all. Guess what?"

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly Diehl

I am Susan A., just to clear up a few things. This cake was for my daughters wedding. The black & white copy was just for us. The cake decorator had the original and it was her that suggested it to us (to match the flowers on daughters dress). We told her we just wanted 3 layers, so the layers thing is not the reason I sent it in. I sent this because the flower design is nothing like the picture.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

I think I was at the wedding with the first cake. If not it's a really good copy. I remember thinking this cake was going to fall over, sink or go up in flames. It had the fake purple flowers and all.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

The flames in the original were obviously pulled sugar... a very specialized and difficult technique done by experienced candy chefs... unless somebody is going to use gum paste and let it dry for about 3-4 weeks, use some kind of pearl paint and/or glitter, there is no way those flames can ever look even close.... I would never have tried it.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCherryse

That first one doesn't even look like fondant. It looks like they poured cinnamon roll icing over it!

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

the wrecked flame cake gave me shivers, it reminds me of childhood nightmares of creepy sea creatures.......

also, congrats to Zach and Savannah!

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermlt

Fire cake made with cutouts from Fruit by the Foot? And are those little birds made of fortune cookies covered with fondant? At first glance I thought they were molars. Hope the happy couple get a better wedding cake!

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarnieb

My apologies if I caused any offense, @Susan. It's just that we've had a lot of wedding wrecks that are rightly filed under Great(ly exaggerated) Expectations and a good many Epcots on that subject; I assumed that such was the case with this cake as well.

W4 update: My first thought was 'fortune cookies', but I decided that 'teeth' was funnier. But since @Ginger mentioned doves, I see those as well. So the topper is fortune cookies / teeth of a big shark / doves. Gotta like multi-level symbolism.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

No offense @Craig, Just wanted to clarify. I was not meaning to sound rude, after re-reading, I can see where you thought there might be some offense taken but it wasn't. We can laugh now, but my daughter was heartbroken when her cake showed up, too late to do anything else about it. I did get some of my money back on it though. ;)

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Are those molars on that last cake??

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRita

Yay for Susan getting some of her money back!! :D
TY for telling us how that went down, too. Some bakers have delusions of grandeur. (And possibly time-management issues since the vaguely floral pattern they created was waaaaaay to big.)

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Anne

Well, I still can't find Haiku Joy's Admiral Ackbar, but I did find a profile of a girl/lady with a big headband/earphones on her head on the bottom layer of the 2nd wreck, almost dead center. She's facing toward the right, if that helps...

And I think Cherryse got it right on the nose with the pulled sugar! I was trying to figure out what they used and as I soon as I read Cherryse's comment, I knew she was right. I remember seeing a "sugar creation" challenge on the Food Network one time & they did some pretty incredible stuff.

Would love to know where that Admiral Ackbar is, Haiku Joy. It's gonna haunt me in my dreams tonight now... :-/

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarateLady

"But instead, her cake just suffered from a mild burning sensation and performance issues:"

Way to make me cackle out loud at work!!!!!!!!!!

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteranony mouse

@ Craig - "Two teeth from a shark bigger than any I'd care to encounter, thank you very much, atop a stack of wreck, all sitting on the de rigueur foil-covered cardboard. Classy." thanks for that, I snorted my drink all over my keyboard

February 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDegera

Oh my goodness. All I can see is a bunch of crying brides as I look at these..I hope most of them got the money back. Scary especially that last cake. Wow. Lol I can't help but look at the flaming cake and wonder just what on earth they were thinking as they attempted it..

February 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

Ok, Haiku 'Joy' -- please tell us where we may find the Admiral Ackbar reference, before a inverse Epcot* results. I'm guessing what the bride is holding on W1, which I assumed was just the albino koala bear that brides always hold when dancing with the groom.

But perhaps it is the Admiral, though it escapes me why anyone would want even an oblique reference to a character best known for saying, "It's a trap!" on their wedding cake. By the way, it appears that the tilt is an illusion caused by the layers not being centered.

*A inverse Epcot is multiple people with the same question, rather than multiple people with the same statement.

February 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

That first cake isn't fondant,I don't looks like buttercream that someone has tried to flatten out to look like fondant, because the cake wouldn't show through that way if it was fondant. Or maybe it would, it seems like people can come up with lots of ways to ruin things that I never thought of. Good Lord...

February 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKara Buntin

For so many years (29 to be exact) I thought my horrible, ugly wedding cake was my secret shame. I feel a little better knowing other people share the nightmare. (Which isn't very nice of me, but misery is setting out the appetizer tray, 'cause we got company!)

I bought a beginner's cake decorating book and gave it to the bakery so they could see the simple design I wanted. The book had step by step instructions, which I was sure they didn't need. *snort* Instead of wistera blooms draped artfully over the side of ivory cake, what I got were clusters of purple dots like an overhead shot of bowling pins, with little green wiggly lines along the side (we think those were the leaves) on anemic yellow frosting. They wouldn't even give back the book.

February 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkathleen

A-ha! Thanks, Craig! I see it now. Though the resemblance is a bit vague, it is definitely there. What sharp little eyes you & Haiku Joy have! :-)

February 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarateLady

Haiku Joy LIED. LIED, I TELL YOU... L I E D!!!!


February 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma

So... wait... the mimeograph cake WAS THE BAKER'S OWN IDEA??? That is taking a step beyond the usual 'Sure, I can do that for $30' and going all the way into 'I have the barefaced audacity to suggest a cake design that I know I have no chance whatsoever of actually achieving and I will thoroughly deserve to have the wreck I'm planning to deliver smooshed into my face with extreme prejudice at the reception.'

And that's the cleaned-up version for family consumption. Susan, I'm glad you and your daughter found the funny in this eventually. I, however, am OUTRAGED on your behalf.


February 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

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