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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

Bridal Tears

It's time again to see why the brides are crying - or, as I like to call it, "Reminders that your day could always be worse."

Yep, it's everyone's favorite, "What They Ordered vs What They Got!"


Kimberly P. asked her baker for this scrolly beauty, only in red and with icing flowers instead of real ones:


Instead, she got...this:

Or, as I like to call it, "The Dance of the Earth Worms. With Fresh Beets."


Katie Leigh asked for this classic black and white number:


But ended up with all sixes and sevens*:

 (*That's a little British slang for you English folk. You're welcome, guv'na!)


Olivia G. wanted her cake to be black and white all over, too, in this pretty damask pattern:

And in case you were wondering if it's possible to pipe a damask pattern by hand...


It's not.

 (I literally stared at these two photos for five minutes, trying to figure out where those shapes came from. I'm still at a loss. Do you think they flashed the pink picture at the baker for thirty seconds, and then told her to go recreate it from memory?)


Let's take a break from all that black and white and take a walk on the wild side:

Awesome, right? Mary M. ordered this fun mad hatter style for her wedding. 


 Unfortunately, I suspect what she GOT just made her mad-as-a-hatter

Only not in the "Wheedle-a-doo! Lemme dip my watch in my tea!" kind of mad. More like the, "Lemme go, so I can whoop someone's ASCOT," kind of mad. I guess this might pass for a three-year-old's birthday, but c'mon: a wedding?

(Side tangent: Don't you wish people would yell ridiculous things like "Wheedle-a-doo!" when they're ticked off? That would be sooo cool. If anything would make me watch reality TV, it'd be Gordan Ramsey yelling, "Boopin' Flibberty Gibbets, you Stronkin' Honk-Nobbit!" Right? Right?? I can't be the only one.)


This next couple wanted something simple and understated for their wedding, so they ordered this:

What they got, however, reduced our poor blushing bride to tears - and I'm pretty sure the groom is preparing to vent some frustration, going by the way he's brandishing that serving knife:


Holy plastic meltdown, Batman! Swans and cherubs and pillars, oh my! Looks like the only thing this couple and their baker had in common was they both ended up seeing red. Yeesh.


And finally, it's time to get back in black (and white) with this sweet little creation Kelly L. ordered for her big day:

Now, as pretty as this is, there's nothing terribly complicated here, so I can see why Kelly thought her baker could manage it.


[shaking head]

Kelly, Kelly, Kelly....


Er....Is your cake erupting? 

 Oh! That's just the topper at an odd angle. Sorry. Anyway, that cake is just...sad. Really, I can't think of any other word for it. Like it's shuffling dejectedly down the sidewalk and sighing a lot, and you just want to give it a hug. Or throw a towel over it.


Thanks again to all of today's brides for letting us laugh along with them - assuming, of course, that you're laughing by now, ladies. If not, then thanks for letting us gasp in horror and yell things like  "Doofin' FINKEL Shmirtz!!" at the screen.

(Why, yes, I have started watching Phineas and Ferb recently. Why do you ask?)


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Reader Comments (61)

OMG. I am totally going to start using the phrase "honk nobbit." That's awesome.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTee Bee

No, you aren't the only one. I would watch Top Chef and Master Chef again if good 'ole Gordon would talk like that. And the contestants. I could enjoy those shows again.
My favorite is the reverse one -- the B & G ordered something simple and understated and got..... that multi-tiered monstrosity. Ha!

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen S


April 6, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermindy1

I believe the shapes on the third wreck are meant to symbolize the most memorable moments of the couple's relationship. Starting from the bottom tier: 1.One day Olivia decided to go to the local dude ranch and take a little trail ride. 2. Upon dismounting her mount (that's correct horse-talk, right?) she was horrified to find that she had stepped in a pile of "filly fertilizer." 3. Her future husband ran over to help and immediately demonstrated his worth as a husband by cleaning Olivia's horse riding sandals AND sharing his sperm with her. So romantic. Sigh...

Olivia will assure you that I nailed it. Just as these cake decorators nailed these cakes. It think the last nail punctured an artery...

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

The "topper" on the last one looks like a tangled clump of red licorice whips. And what the fuzzdangle is the sixth one displayed in? It looks like a recycled cardboard box that has lost some of its outer decoration, probably due to being used previously about 12 times.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterShirley

P.S. When my grandkids were small, we told them it was much better to make up their own "swear words" instead of using real ones. "Dirty-brackenfracken-odouramic-packaloomer" was a very good one.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterShirley

WELL, now! This post gave me a idea! A brilliant one, too.....thanks to Jen! I think I'll open up a business...a very-much-NEEDED one, too, if the status quo is any indication. It will be a commercial enterprise targeted toward weddings, especially those that may not be quite what one would think of as being "high end"...if you get my drift. SO, here's the pitch: an actual towel service that GOES to weddings, manned (or womened) with people who are "at-the-ready" with towels of all sizes and colors, just custom-made for throwing over"mess de resistance"... ? Yah? =^~.-^=

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

Look on the bright side: the cakes look like cakes (well, maybe not the crayon colored one) and structural integrity holds, captain! So, as long as they also taste good, have a good lough, eat your cake and definitely have a word with the bakery afterwards.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKeks

Is that printed paper in the second tier of the second cake? It looks too good compared to the rest of the cake to have been done by hand.
And for that 4th cake, are they sure that's the picture they showed to the baker? 'Cause if yes, then WOW!!! Just... wow!!!

Ps. I loved this asked/received posts. They're among my fave ones. Until I see a different kind, hahaha.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNonny


April 6, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterme

Oops, I meanth 5th cake not the 4th.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNonny

Hmm, mention of specifically a three-year-old's birthday party in a post about wedding cakes... coincidence... or inspiration...?

"To be 'at sixes and sevens' is a British English idiom used to describe a condition of confusion or disarray." Yeah, that works.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNyperold

The last one isn't too bad (you can tell I've been following this site for too long when I can type that line with a straight face) but it would have worked better if the baker had flattened the layers before she (?) iced it.

As for the rest - words fail me. Who on God's green earth would have thought that Technicolour mess was supposed to be a wedding cake? And it doesn't even vaguely resemble the picture! My ten year old granddaughter cold have done better than the first one, and I can't quite get over the kissing earth worms on the third one. (Well, so much for words failing me, right?)

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLady Anne

Are they ordering from the baker's own catalog, or bring in a picture from elsewhere and expect the same?
The saddest thing is, the last one was at least close to target… except the red thingamajig.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAthena

ARGH, Flibberty-Flobberworms!

This ticks me off to no end, bakers get paid in advance enormous sums to bake a cake that doesn't even come close to what the bride ordered. If there was any recourse bakers like these would all go bankrupt, but because there is nothing you can do the day of your wedding when it is finally unveiled brides keep getting bobble-toppled.

When your once in a lifetime (hopefully) day is ruined by unethical people there is no way to go back and get compensated without lengthy legal battles. Who wants to spend their honeymoon filing claims in court? Sure you might get your money back and a bit for mental anguish, but really you never get that day back.

I lucked out, the baker that did my wedding cake only messed one thing up - the flavour of the cake. I had asked for WHITE chocolate cake and got just chocolate cake. It was still outwardly beautiful and fabulously delish, so no real angst here.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoelle

Even though I recognized this as a wrecky replay (that botched damask pattern is unforgettable) I still had a good laugh over this one. Dance of the Earthworms with Fresh Beets - I will laugh over that all day!

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGingerSnap

I was especially gobsmacked (another English term) by the 'damask' replica. Auck! After following Cake Wrecks religiously - almost since the beginning - I agree that "What the Bride ordered and What the Bride got" is
ab-so-lute-ly my fave! I'm always amazed at the chutzpah (Yiddish term) of the bakers! Do they think the bride won't notice their faux pas (French term)? Do they really expect payment for their.... cakes (wrecks) ??? Do they not worry that their little wreck WON'T show up on Cake Wrecks? Unbelievable! Thanks for the belly laughs!


April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMaryO1230

In defense of "Days of Beets and Hoses", at least the cake itself is competently-made, and the tiers are level and stacked symmetrically.

...Wait... Hang on... What's that? (whisperwhisperwhisper)...

The voices say I'm flailing again...

Oh, well...

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma

Can we all agree that the last cake should be named Eeyore?

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterColin M.

I knew these were going to be pathetic; so much so that I hesitated before charging onward and viewing the "wrecks". I, too, love the "Ordered/Received" blogs. How can bakers justify letting some of those monstrosities out? They should be ashamed!

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Love that the 5th cake is the opposite of how these usually go--ask for a very complicated design, get a simple "I give up, can't do it" version instead. These people ASKED for something plain and simple, and their bakery said "no way, we can't let them have their special day without the fanciest cake we can make; it would be beneath us to do anything less. They just don't know what they want, or what we are capable of."

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTwinMom

Oh my GOSH! I know exactly what those "damask" shapes are! It's a filigree/scroll press set - used in a very very bad way! SO WRONG!!!

It's even made by your new "sponsor" hahaha

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

How can anyone who claims to be a professional baker not know how to level th top of a cake and produce a reasonably distinct edge?! All the other wrecks at least got that part right

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSuziQ

Man, with that brocade one the baker should have just told the bride that was really quite complicated and that she couldn't replicate it as it is in the picture. That request was awfully ambitious.

Is ti just that bakers are scared to say something is too hard?? Are they afraid of saying no and losing the sale?Do they really think they can make it happen and then get halfway in and go "Hm... wow, uh here we go!"

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBeth C.

I think we could name that last one Eeyesore, Colin!

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Why is it the desired cakes look like they are decorated in fondant but what they get is buttercream? Especially the rose and the mad hatter ones.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTina

Bakers and/or bakeries really need to stop accepting work that they know they can't do. Like, I get that it sucks to turn down business, but like, those wrecks are probably more damaging to the business than saying no.

Then again, considering that this blog is still going strong years later, I could be wrong about this haha.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Those shapes are from the Wilton scroll shapes kit. It has these scroll template icing stamps that you can use as sort of a base to make things from. This person just stamped the pieces on with no embellishment and no connection whatsoever, and colored over them. Uff da!

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergothchiq

BWAHAHAHHAHA... my 4 yr old just happened to look at the last pic and asked "Are they eating a chicken cake?" I don't even know what that is, or where she came up with it but it is still better than what the baker did!

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJen L

I used to use "fahrvergnugen" (pronounced "far-fig-new-gen" by me!) as an exclamation. You can't stay mad when you're exclaiming ridiculous things!

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterrushingtoread

Amateur baker here- I once spent hours baking a cake for my mom's wedding. Decided I couldn't serve it and threw the entire thing in the garbage, then stayed up all night re-doing it. Totally worth it. I don't know how any of these bakers can look at their work and think that's okay to present to a paying customer. There's a difference between "not perfect" and "complete disaster".

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany

@Shirley: "Fuzzdangle" is an awesome word. So thanks for that giggle today!

@Colin M: Yes, Eeyore it is. Unless you look at the cake with the cake stand from a distance, and blur your vision a little (like when you're looking at a Magic Eye picture), and then... "Exterminate! Exterminate!"

Jen as someone who has been subjected to "The Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy" one too many times, let me say that I await with great anticipation the musical score for "The Dance of the Earthworms with Fresh Beets."

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJMixx

Well, dust my knickknacks! Those are some disappointing substitute cake.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterstaying anon

I should NOT have read this post a week before my wedding. I'm absolutely terrified the grocery store is going to screw up our cake! (In which case, I'll send photos, of course :)

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterElizW

More proof that claiming to be a cake DECORATOR should require a license.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHairfish

I sometimes think that the baker's names should be attached. There is plenty of reason for baker shaming here. They deserve it for ruining these cakes on such a big and important day. If you can't do it - admit it.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle L.

Amateur/hobby baker here too, Brittany. I'm such a perfectionist with my cakes that I've frosted, unfrosted and refrosted a cake with a simple design 3 times before I was happy with it. I guess some of us take great pride in what leaves our kitchen....while others, well........not so much.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Crap on a crutch. How the heck does someone go from "simple white tiers, red ribbon, and roses", literally the easiest wedding cake on Earth to make, to that swantastic pillar of blarf? I mean come on. COME ON.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterFallon Brumback

The first one is so random. The second one that middle layer is so much a sugar sheet - edible paper. The third one is those scroll patterns used without context. I own a set of them, but wouldn't use them on a cake that had it's own pattern. The fourth one, when the bride orders a topsy turrvy cake, they don't want flat layers. The fifth one, WTF? They want 21st century simplicity, not 80s plastic chic. This is seriously someone not paying attention. The last one could have come closer to the mark if the baker had heard of levelling a cake before decorating.

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I love these posts because they always make me feel so much better about my own wedding cake.
Mine was decorated by my mother in law who is apparently a cake decorator who has retired from that profession.

Our wedding was instructive. I learned just how much stress could be caused by a passive aggressive mother in law who had control over a major element of the wedding. She did not like, or even approve of the design we chose. It was too modern.
The cake was a complete wreck.

I would submit it but I don't have a picture of what we requested.
Also, I suspect that if she ever found out I would pay for it.

😂😂😂😂😂 I don't think I've laughed that hard in a long time!

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGeeksmeamy

Seeing my cake on here makes it worth it LOL

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly P.

When I got married, *mumblemumble* years ago, my sister, who was raising three kids and not drowning in cash, offered to make my wedding cake for me as her gift to us (me and the S.O.) With no knowledge of what a "cake wreck" might be, and with stars in my eyes, I accepted. When she asked me how I wanted it decorated, I naively asked, "Can you make stargazer lilies out of frosting?" This post inspired me to go back and look at those wedding photos. My sister was not, is not, and has never been a professional cake decorator. Not for a bakery, not for a grocery store. The cake she made for me, three tiers with clusters of tiny, perfect stargazers, was GORGEOUS. And each of those tiny lilies was sugary delicious. And that might have been the hottest June in Williamsburg EVER. For years I didn't appreciate exactly how valuable her gift was. (I wish the Significant Obstacle had been as high-quality...)

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJMixx

Re: the first wreck: This cake is a reproduction of an old cave drawing. Just the other day I was reading “The International Journal of Peculiar Prehistoric Petroglyphs, Frosting and Beets” and saw a picture of that cake. It was found in a cave in a rural area of Iowa near a large lake, and like today’s cake, it had red squiggly lines on it, topped with red disks. The article went on to say that research revealed that it had made almost 10,000 years ago by a bands of stationery wandering nomads from England who had become lost after being separated from their tribe due to a communications mishap. The Chief of the tribe had said “Meet at the bison,” referring, of course, to the large heard of buffalo that roamed the area. Unfortunately, the small band of sojourners had become so Americanized by this time that they thought the Chief meant meet at the basin, or washbowl, which they interpreted as the edge of the lake. Left stranded due to that language faux pas, they established a small community near the water.

They lived there for many generations, recording their history on the walls of the nearby cave (which they also used for shelter). Because of the rich soil, they lived off of the land as farmers, but, unfortunately had to plow the land with their fingers. At first they did not understand farming and just threw the seeds everywhere, but when an elder saw that and wrinkled his brow, they shouted “Eureka!” and put the seeds in a series of furrows. Their primary crop was corn, and they grew several varieties, which they freely shared among themselves. It was not uncommon to hear one family, if it needed more seed, say to another, “Lend me your ear.”

A by-product of all this hand plowing was the discovery of earthworms. At first the settlers thought they were a form of underground noodles, but eating a few showed that not to be the case. In disgust, they threw them in the lake. That was a real serendipity, because when they did that the fish leaped up and grabbed them. Now the people were able to supplement their diet with fish, which they caught by hand as the fish leapt for the worms. That lead the phrase still used today that suggests someone is smart: “using your noodle.” [Note: the discovery of earthworms actually played a role in the development of English spelling rules. When the worms were first discovered, people heard a shout. It was not known whether the shout came from someone who felt the worms and then saw them, or from someone who saw the worms and then shouted. The village Chief finally decreed that it was from someone who saw them first, thus giving us the well-known rule, eye before eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!]

Now having both fish and corn (which they found a-maize-ing) the stationary nomads decided to celebrate and made a large cake of cornbread, and, using beet juice to dye some corn silk red, placed these ersatz worms on it as both decorations and as a representation of the symbiotic nature of their interdependence on corn and fish. After partaking of this joyous cake, the people held an evening dance. This ritualist dance became known, as Jen points out, as “The Dance of the Earth Worms. With Fresh Beets." The dancing was very free-style and the steps were dictated by the tribe’s drummer, who was known far and wide for his new and innovative rhythmic skills, his, as they say…fresh beats….

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterThe Midnight Writer

Holy crap dipped in breadcrumbs on a stick...

It's posts like these that make me nervous for my sister's wedding this summer. Although, she may want all the plastic flotsam and jetsam. (I hope not)

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSaraV

Those aren't just any Earth Worms on #1, those are Red Wigglers.....the Cadillac of Worms!

April 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNerfbomb

What does it say about me that wreck No. 1 wasn't as bad as I thought it would be?

April 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNobodee Home

I actually do say flibberty gibbets (among other weird and random things) when I get annoyed. I don't even know it means.

April 7, 2016 | Unregistered Commenteramanda*p

These, like most wedding wrecks, are the result of wanting one type of cake but not wanting to pay a good decorator to do it. to Walmart or Aunt Edith's you go with your cake picture in hand absolutely sure that you can get the same cake for far less money. NOPE, NOPE, and NOPE.

April 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterShelley

Midnight Writer - I laughed, I cried, I ate a whole tub of cream cheese frosting by myself... The voices say they liked it, too.

April 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma

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