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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

The 5-Word Phrase Every Baker Should Know

Bakers, we need to talk. Please, have a seat.
[waits while 15,000 bakers find chairs]

I thought we might try something new today. It's called "refusing an order," and it's made up of 5 simple words: "Sorry, I can't make that." Easy, right?

Let's practice. I'll be the customer.


Hi there! I'd like you to make this peppermint candy cake, please! I'm VERY enthusiastic, and I have money!

Now you say, "Sorry, I can't make that."


Frank: "I could TOTALLY make that! Look!"

Aaaand stop. Can anyone tell me where Frank went wrong?

Judy: "Frank accepted the job?"

EXACTLY. Let's try again.

Excuse me, I'd like you to hand pipe this picture of Madonna on a cake. How much?

Now YOU say...

[whole room murmuring] "Sorry, I can't make tha..."

Judy: "On it!"

Oh, Judy.

Judy, Judy, Judy.

Who knows what Judy should have said?

[all murmuring together]: "Sorry, I can't make that."

Right! Let's try a lightning round.

Barb! Quick! You can't make me this Spider-Man cake, can you?


Barb: "Dang right I can! WATCH THIS!"

[rubbing temples] Come on, bakers, remember your five words!

How 'bout you, Phil? Think you can make this flaming skull cake?

Phil: "Gosh, I don't know, that's pretty hard..."

Good, good! Recognize your limitations! Now you say, "Sorry, I can't..."


Phil: [interrupting] "Oh, what the heck! Gimme ten minutes!"

You're monsters, all of you.


Well, that's our time. Let's meet back here again tomorrow for a new installment of Don't Fear The Dictionary. You monsters.


And thanks to Gena M., Christine T., Lea T. & Marisol L. for today's object lessons.


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Reader Comments (39)

Those inspiration cakes/pictures are setting the bar quite high. Those wrecks, though . . . Who knew rock bottom had a basement?

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMoira

Bwahahahahaha thanks for the needed laughs. And you are right, people SHOULD refuse to do what they are unable to do.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

I like Judy's version of Madonna better! It has big boobs sticking out, which is pretty much all that's needed for a guy, right? If the buyer seriously wanted that whole image, they should have requested paper. Which of course doesn't guarantee anything...

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Can you teach a class called "Buttercream is not fondant"?

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCelest

How - just HOW?? - can they not see that their cakes are not anywhere near what was requested??? I really don't understand. The first one would actually be easy to copy. How can you mess that up so badly? HOW???? HOW????

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCairona

Oh, Frank.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

Oh Moira, Thank You! I'm going to start using Rock Bottom Has a Basement as my new online screenname. Maybe in a Latin translation. How subversive will that be! It can just be my next facebook post. What a social commentary.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterColin

It's even sadder when you see said Spiderman cake baker perfect a much more difficult (they break easily) spiderweb but not the cake...

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMelmac

About the only thing I know how to do with a piping bag is draw a line and pipe a star with a star tip. I could've done that peppermint cake and I don't work in a bakery. Yes, piping that many stars is time consuming but I'm guessing they paid you for your time.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermoebaby

Last cake: Vodka obviously finished the job. :)

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEselle

Does anyone see Lord Voldemort in the Madonna wreck? Please tell me it's not just me!

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

OH my! The first cake reminds me of a badly drawn womb and tubes diagram...

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

I don't think that's looks like Voldemort in drag! Seriously, what happened to her nose???

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I wonder how many of these are home bakery made.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

I use to do cakes for a grocery store bakery. Nothing terribly fancy, I knew my limitations as a decorator. I can easily do the peppermint cake, but none of the others. Sadly the manger of the grocery store would take orders for cakes after the bakery had closed and he would promise these cakes that were way out of my league, and take payment for them. Half the time they were for tiered cakes which our bakery could not produced or for designs that needed fondant--which were were not supplied with.
I would have to call the person and tell them it was impossible and give them a refund. But then the powers at cooperate would get upset and tell me to make them to the best of my ability. So sadly a lot of people got cakes that were not what they were expecting.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMayQueen

Actuallt, the soiderman wasnt as bad as it could have been. You recognize it as Spidy dont you? LOL!
I like the background of the flaming skull. If you just had the black with the gray and roses it would work for me.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMoonflwr912

In all fairness, you might be amazed to find out how many customers refuse to take no for an answer. It's also amazing how many people argue about the price. Most of these cakes look like decorators in over their heads, but that first one? That's exactly what happens when the decorator says covering a cake with star tip has a substantial fee, and the customer says, "BUT IT'S SUCH A SIMPLE DESIGN. So make it look like a peppermint but do whatever is free."

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChloe B

Is it just me or does "madonna" look exactly like sreven tyler?

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

Sorry, I will never trust a bakery again. I asked for Teletubbies, waaaay back when they were big. No joke, a hour before I was to pick it up, the baker called and told me should could not find any Teletubby decor and instead gave me a cake with clown heads on it. My son's FIRST birthday. I was livid! From then on I make my own cakes with simple decorations or personalized preprinted sheets.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTanya

I think the cake of Madonna looks better than the real thing. :P

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterkafenervosa

Wow. That first one is actually fairly easy; BUT YET...

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterErica

The madonna cake actually isn't completely horrible, the ink didn't run like on the skull cake and the coloring was within the lines which is a million times better than the other wrecks normally seen on this page.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNathan R.

Close. Oh, so very close...

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAdri

The inspiration for the Madonna cake can't be the Vogue cover. They were clearly looking at the True Blue cover, as seen here:

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBob

That Madonna cake just made me laugh. I don't know what it looks like, but it's not Madonna.

Oh, wait. I DO know what it looks like. Crap. But I'll give the baker an E for effort. I wouldn't be able to draw Madonna on cake, which is why I don't try cake decorating for a living.

If a customer tried arguing or insisting that a bakery produce a design that it couldn't do, I'd suggest they tell the customer flat-out, "Look, if we make this cake for you, it's going to look like a wad of sadness covered in frosting. Do you still want us to make it?" See what the response is then.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMSTeacher3K

Oh my dearest Cake Wrecks! Thank you, thank you, thank you! A MUCH needed laugh today; you always deliver when I need it. I am so grateful I found this site (& Epbit too!). Whenever I have a bad day, & today has ended up being a doosy, I can rely on you to lift my spirits. This made me laugh so hard!

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMovieMom

Jen, please tell me "you monsters" is a Portal reference. :)

December 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

Oh man lol laughing so hard on that poor peppermint cake. They had one job and apparently they never dealt with peppermints before.

December 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Marie

...and I knew exactly which five words they were just from the title. :p

Any customers who won't take the magic phrase as an answer deserve what they get...but whether or not that was the case here, the "what they got" cakes are still wrecks. That last one looks like it might be the spider that bit Peter Parker.

December 14, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterhyphen8

I come to gasp in horror at the bad cakes, I stay for the commentary!

And as someone who knows nothing about baking, can barely hold a piping bag without getting icing all over the floor, and barely can stop from licking the bowl before I'm done... even I could do better than these. And by "better" I mean "Sorry, I can't make that."

December 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKit

"Sorry, I can't make that," is what they should have said, right?

December 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

"Sorry, I can't make that," is what they should have said, right?

December 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

The worst part is, the Peppermint cake is not actually difficult, it's just technical and time-consuming, and requires a basic knowledge of geometry... Which, I guess, actually makes it nearly impossible for the average Wreckerator...

December 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma

As a cake decorator myself I HAVE refused cake requests before (it is possible!). I remember a particular request when the person wanted a grandfather clock, fully standing, with a bunch of other things for a retirement party...I told the person, I do not feel comfortable attempting this cake. I've never tried anything quite like it before. They thanked me for my honesty and we moved on! I do not understand people that accept orders that they know they can't do.

December 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDayle

I can't tell you how many times I've told a customer, "Sorry, I can't make that," only to be met with "Really? It's such a simple design." Or... "Oh, it doesn't have to look exactly like he picture. Just do your best. It'll be fine." Okay, lady. And then they come to pick it up and complain because it looks like crap when I literally told them that it was going to look like crap.

December 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSarahSarah

If only man knew his limits.

Btw, I rewatched the episode of 30 Rock with the Carvel scam in it and thought of Cake Wrecks. Xo

December 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHeather M.

At least Judy knew enough to squirt a pearl necklace onto Madonna.

December 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJay

I wish people would take more lessons before being way too confident on their decorating skills.

December 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris

@ MSTeacher3K "wad of sadness covered by frosting" is awesome!

@ Jay, think those are pearl (or silver) dragees embedded in a line of frosting.. Initially, I admired the "decorator" figuring out to do that but, of course, it's not in the picture (LOL)

@ Jen -- Your seminar here was a hoot! The only thing that annoys me is that it makes me want to try to replicate the peppermint candy cake.

February 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMary Kay

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