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

Sunday Sweets Kicks It Old School

Let's talk piping, peeps.

Because nothing shows off a baker's talent - or makes our jaws drop - quite like this business right here:

(By Finespun Cakes)

That's a style known as Lambeth, named for Joseph Lambeth, who popularized it back in the 1930s.


You'll know a Lambeth cake by its over-the-top frills and use of overpiping, which creates all that fabulous detail and depth:

(By Rosebud Cakes)


Of course Lambeth cakes are a bit old-fashioned now, but never fear, piping purists! Some bakers are doing their darndest to bring Lambeth to the next generation, with STUNNING results:

(By Aniko Vargane Orban)

No words. Only grabby hands.


Or how about this one?

(By Cakeium)

Check out those crisp clean lines! And still all hand-piped. AH-mazing.


While we're throwing back to classic cake skills, let's talk Oriental Stringwork.

(By David Cakes)

This gravity-defying sorcery is achieved with Royal icing, which hardens to a porcelain-like consistency. Believe it or not, that net is handpiped icing, y'all. HAND-PIPED ICING.


Bakers are using string work in modern designs now, too, which makes me so, so happy:

(By Pauline Bakes The Cake)

See how the filigree section stands out from the cake?


And note the hanging borders on this black and white number:

(By KupKake Tree)

I'm all about that middle tier with the flower, though. Soooo pretty.


Oh! And these colors!

(By Cake Decor India)

I never knew how much I needed this color combo in my life, you guys. SO GOOD.

(Btw, to achieve those upward loops? The baker has to turn the cake upside down. Mad skillz, my friends.)


Here's one so perfect you'll swear it can't be cake:

(By SifBeth)

See those tiny, TINY lines all around the border? HAND-PIPED.


Jumping back to a Lambeth style for this oh-so-sweet number:

(By Craftsy member FlourSugarButtr)

Another fantastic color palette, and don't be fooled by how smooth those ropes are; the base may be fondant, but all the piping is, well, PIPING.


And one final Sweet for now:

(By Beyond Buttercream)

Bakers, you are KILLING it with the color choices today. Rock on with your bad selves.

And the rest of you, look closely at those chained string borders. HAND. PIPED.

Hope you guys enjoyed our little glimpse into modern cake mastery! If you're interested, I highly recommend Googling both "Lambeth" and "Oriental Stringwork", because there's so, SO much more than I could show you here today.

Happy Sunday, and happy browsing!


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Reader Comments (40)

Jen!!! I'm so honored to be included in your Sunday round-up of cakes! I was shocked to see my own cake as I scrolled through my blog feed! You write one of my favorite blogs, and I'm so happy that something I made was featured (and not as a wreck)!

How do they do that?! 😮 And how do the crappy Baker's even call themselves professionals after seeing that?!

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMindy1

I would be hesitant to order one of these cakes, because the thought of ruining such perfection makes me want to cry.

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterElisabeth

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous . . . !!!

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Thank you for restoring my faith in bakers and decorators!
The first two? They are the wedding cakes in my dreams. I spent many hours, usually in church or geometry class, drawing the cake I would have when I married J****. I never did marry him but 35 years ago I did slice into my all-white(ish) buttercream frosted wedding cake. Ahh-sweet memory. Thank you, Jen. (Mr. Wonderful just reminded me that we have 2 of the roses from our cake packed in the freezer! That's from four houses and 1500 miles ago! Maybe they, like us, will make it to the 50th anniversary cake.)

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSmarie

I was trying not to look too hard at the most delicate, filigreed designs, and also felt an urge to type a bit more lightly....The details are insane. I would want not only photos, but a perfect, miniature replica of the cake, in bisque, if any one of them were mine! =^-.-^=

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

That's what I've always been saying about cakes such as these. How can anyone cut such perfection?

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered Commenteryou know who

I can only wonder what inept wreckers would do while attempting such monumental works of grandeur.

As for the third to last one, the one "so perfect you'll swear it can't be cake," google Louis Wain. And then look up some of his later works... 888888-o

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBea

Oh, so beautiful. I love line art/filigree/scrollwork, so these are perfection.

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChiaroScuro

By the way, royal icing can be piped onto another surface, allowed to harden, then placed on the cake. No cake acrobatics required. (That net, tho!)

Source: Many royal icing roses and violets made as a kid

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

I can do this. I just don't want to...

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

Skills, y'all! Wow, I start sweating just thinking about what a steady hand you need to have to make these. What would kill my attempts is how to get the perfect consistency of icing so that it dries fast enough and not fall apart!

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterErica

How beautiful these cakes are! I would not know where to begin to cut them and I would be overwhelmed to do so...They are too beautiful to be consumed, though I am sure they taste great, too. What mastery.

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterkatie

I just love these cakes, especially the blue cake with the green loops or circles and yellow flowers. Just amazing!

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLaura


July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLuLu

All beautiful! Adored the final sweet....the black background just POPS that design!

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

Have you seen the favorite Christmas movie "Elf?" There is a scene in the back room where the manager tells Zoey Dechanel the ribbons have to be cut six inches. She balks, saying "that's impossible!"
He quickly retorts, "SIX! INCHES!"
I pictured him saying, "HAND! PIPED!"

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBauniculla

I've never seen anything like those cakes before. Old fashioned?!? I guess, since we don't see cakes like these nowadays, like ever. I really don't think I could cut into them.... ESPECIALLY that 2nd one. I'd want a full video of it, professional pictures of it, and a miniature version to boot. I mean, really. I think I need a lie-down now.

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

These are probably the most spectacular you've ever featured on Sunday Sweets. I am partial to the one with the cranberry frosting and the white piping. I love that color. But they are all BEAUTIFUL... no holds barred.

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAddie

My mom took a Wilton class in the very early 1950's, but her book was from the 1940's. It is FULL of the amazing, over-the-top piping skills like that. I just had a very interesting discussion with my daughter about why Lambeth would be so popular in the 1930's, especially in light of the Depression. From my mom's explanation, sugar was in dreadfully short supply, post WW1, then into the Depression, then on into WW2. Only the very rich had enough money to buy that much sugar. She said that many women wanted to learn Lambeth piping, but couldn't afford the sugar. However, she went to the dime store and bought the cheapest, thickest hand cream she could find. She used that to practice, scraping and reusing it after each practice session. It wasn't a perfect texture or stiffness, but it was smooth, relatively inexpensive, and completely re-usable. She would have really liked this post. (She died right before Christmas, 7 months ago, so this post totally made me think about her. Thanks for the happy tears!)

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnni

I used to pipe like that.. in my youth.. Beautiful cakes, thanks for sharing.

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

Amazing artistry!!!! But "turn the cake upside down".... ahem... I'd like to see a video of that!

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjune7

Finally some Real decorating... Not sculpture...

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterpatricia

Cutting into one of these beautiful works of art would be a sin - and should be a crime!

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJudyBeth

Very steam punk! Love these.

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

I learned to decorate with Wilton in the 1980s. Always loved piping and those subtle dots that just add elegance, IMO.

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersue

I can't imagine how someone can hold their hand and arm steady enough to do all that intricate piping work. I guess the old adage of practice, practice, practice is at work here!

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKyle

OMG!!! This is why I ever wanted to learn how to cake decorate. Pipingggg!!

You weren't kidding, jaw dropping . . .

I seriously had to hand-to-chin to close my mouth. In-3ffing-credible!!!

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterWickedtuff

I think I actually have tears in my eyes, these are so beautiful. I clicked on the link for that third from the bottom (SifBeth) and looked at the gallery photos. I was reminded of porcelain jewelry boxes. Stunning.

Royal icing is a wondrous thing -- I made mini cookie houses one year to take to a family Christmas dinner. My cousin's wife took one with her, so she could copy it. She set it on the roof of the cr for a minute, it slid off, hit the pavement … and remained intact.

July 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDee

They are beautiful color combinations, but all I can think of is what weird colors your poop would be. Have children makes you think about poop more than you would believe.

July 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCathie

Love your story, Anni!

July 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNobodee Home

I think the only problem with these cakes is that you would have to hold the reception in the bakery. How can you possibly move such perfection more than a few inches?

I think my favorite is the 2nd one. The Lambeth piping looks like tiny, inverted baskets and the color scheme makes me think of Miss Haversham. :)

July 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJane

Wheeeeeeeee! PipingPipingPiping!!! I think that this may be my favorite Sunday Sweets of all time. You've made my day!

July 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterZippy

Beautiful, just beautiful

July 25, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermary


July 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKathyW

Srsly, how in the fresh hell do you pipe an upside down cake without messing up the fondant or fear of losing the cake to, you know......gravity?!

July 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKristi


That first cake took a bit of recovery...I found my cake soulmate....

July 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Paper

Okay... NOW I want to see all of these cakes re-created in buttercream. :)

July 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnise

Was just looking through your awesome blog for a good laugh... Then my cake popped up! Wow! Thank you so much for sharing, I love your blog!! 😃

August 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterFinespun Cakes

I looked at all the cake fails first....and just howled! These are stunning. I am absolutely amazed. Skill meets craft meets art. WOW!

August 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

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