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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

Flows Like The Wrinkly, Tied-Together Bed Sheets Of A Tower Escapee

Bride-to-be Melissa spent a total of 8 hours before her wedding consulting with her baker, literally painting a picture of her dream garden cake with its cascading sugar waterfalls:

Melissa supplied all the miniature accessories: benches, bird baths, etc - so the baker only had to make the garden and waterfall parts on the multi-tiered cake.

On the Big Day Melissa was aghast to discover that:

A) there was no garden - not a stitch of green icing anywhere

B) in fact, the ONLY decorations were the miniatures Melissa herself had provided, with the exception of

C) the waterfall, which looked... like this:

[wincing] Ooh. There's a slight wrinkle.

Melissa would also like me to point out the "pond" on the bottom, which the baker converted into an above-ground pool. An above ground pool with a giant flannel scarf dangling in it. Dangle dangle dangle. Yeah. Like that.


Thanks and sympathies to Melissa, who says this STILL isn't water under the bridge. It's more like dirty laundry under the bridge, which someone brought to her wedding, and then charged her several hundred dollars for.


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Reader Comments (44)

Saddest CW story ever. The moral: Never spend eight hours talking to a baker. And beware when you order an expensive cake, because the price is no guarantee of artistic quality.

In truth, the cake still looks presentable to me, as often happens with missed marks. But I have to wonder where the wreckerator's mind was. "Blah blah blah will this beeyotch ever shut up?"

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClassic Steve

I also like how it appears that the water fall also empties into the fountain that is around back

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered Commentert.e.

I'm not trying to blame the victim, but I want to know if the bride had any evidence that the baker was capable of making the cake she envisioned. The finished product doesn't indicate that there was.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered Commentererin

Terrible cake. Decorative icing would have been perfect for the waterfalls, yet the wreckerator chose a sloppy piece of cloth. At least the tiers aren't slumping? I love Melissa's original concept and sketch.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarola

I assume bakeries make you pay in advance, but for several hundred dollars I'd take them to court if I didn't get my money back!

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy

She should have just slapped the picture on a sheet cake and called it a day.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

They CHARGED her for this baking butchery? Several HUNDRED dollars???

I have three words for Melissa.

1. Small

2. Claims

3. Court

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBea

Sorry for the bride, but eight hours? At some point you have to figure the baker isn't catching on or just isn't capable and you move on. Or maybe the bride was being a bit of a pest? For a small business, that kind of time translates to a lot of money. Still, no excuse for the final product given the drawing. Also, notice how those are 'miniature accessories' and not 'flotsam'?

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

The baker didn't even get the size or placement of the tiers correct!

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBin

OK you spend eight hours consulting a bakery and get nowhere? Yeesh...

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNathan R.

It’s a cake without a garden
On a wedding afternoon
As the sun shines through the bridal lace
And horror fills the room.

And the dangling flannel river
And the superficial tries,
The borders of noncompliance.

Sad. But makes for a funny wedding story, I guess. Hard to believe this was a "professional" baker. Heck, even I could do that wreck and I have no cake decorating experience at all!

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMaryO1230

So... she wanted a three tier cake and got a five tier. WHY? I mean, you start with the basics, yes? How many tiers? You want three? Arranged just so? Okay, here's five and not like that at all.

You want cascading water with lily pads and greenery? Nope.

A cute little gazebo? Here, have a couple kissing. Same thing.

A little stairway with a brick path? Um, I'll slap some brick work on the side of one of the extraneous tiers and call that good, okay?

Wildflowers around the edges? Three palm trees with coconuts in archways (which probably have some kind of significance in your relationship)? Um... nope. Plain white is so much better, amirite?

Howhowhowhow do some bakers miss details on such a scale? I mean - if you can't get the number of tiers right, it's pretty much downhill from there. I really would like to see some kind of MRI scans or CT or something of different bakers getting instructions on wedding cakes. Because some must not be processing information properly...

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCasey

Am I wrong to prefer this cake to what the bride had in mind? OK, the wrinkly water and above-ground swimming pool are a problem, but I kind of like this cake's minimalism and clean lines. It is more elegant than what she drew, and it kind of reminds me of the sets of some plays that suggest the environment rather than reproducing it in detail. But then I find some wedding cakes to be like baroque rococo architecture, so dense with decoration that it becomes tacky.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterlmr

*bang head on desk*

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChicago

Gah!!! Wedding wrecks make me so paranoid about my own Big Day cake! I mean, she drew a picture and everything.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterErica

Is that a bathtub? 'Cause it sure looks like a bathtub.

The bride seems to have had more artistic sense than the wreckerator.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNotABaker

This is so sad - wedding wrecks always are, but especially because the cake she had planned was so beautiful and truly personalized.

And while I know it's pointless to fixate on little details when the whole thing is such a mess, but why is the top of the waterfall coming out of the lower section of the fountain on the top tier? I mean, it shouldn't be coming out of the fountain at all, but if it's going to anyway, it should at least be coming out of the *top* of the fountain - the part where water comes out. Why does that detail bother me more than everything else? I don't know, but it does. :(

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMerida Ann

This makes me SO sad! As a cake artist, her drawing makes me want to go to town with frosting and food coloring! Was the baker on drugs? I agree- small claims court!!

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJean D

She paid for this and supplied all decor except codpiece of cloth???!!!!

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPatRomayor

The baker probably put this in her portfolio! (Shaking my head and backing away.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered Commentergloriar

@ Casey - I second the peek at the MRI and CT scans.

@ Merida Ann - at first glance I thought it was a giant SPIGOT next to the couple... then realized, 'Oh! it's an overflowing fountain'... Got it! (I still think it looks like a metal spigot). :-P

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMaryO1230

I agree with those who say this is revenge for wasting 8 hours of the baker's time. But still very unprofessional for a professional.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAwesomeAud

Sooooo, the customer's drawing appears to be 12", 10" and 6" layers. Removing the top 6" for the first anniversary, she would be able to serve about 60. The cake she got looks like 12", 10", 8" and two 6" layers which would serve about 92, after removing the top six. Of course, that is if the baker boarded the layers. I'm giving the benefit of the doubt and guessing that the bride needed to serve about 90-100 and the designer had to creatively come up with another 30+ servings, ergo five tiers vs three. Orrrrrrrrr, the baker had no concept of cake serving sizes, didn't board and figured "that ought to do it...". Though she missed the mark of her blueprint, her stacking capability is great!

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Not to be a spoilsport, but a cake that detailed where I live would be several thousand, not several hundred. My wedding cake was $400, only 3 tiers and it just had sugared grapes on top of it. Pretty yes, but nowhere near this amount of work... so you get what you pay for?

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSandmerk

The wreck is awful, but, I'll be honest - that's one busy cake design that Melissa came up with.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCakeCritic

Oh my.

While Melissa has my sympathies, her first red flag was the 8 hour total consult - really unnecessary for a relatively simple-design wedding cake such as this. I still maintain that you get what you pay for - "several hundred dollars" is what I paid for my standard design wedding cake back in 93. Custom designs always cost more, regardless of what miniature accessories are supplied.

The cake itself really isn't all that bad, IMO.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNutmeg

That's a powerful lot of water to be coming out of that one little birdbath.
But I love the idea of jazzing up the festivities with a rummage sale! Something for everyone, and MAN, it looks like they needed some newer stuff.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

I love the original design... I hope some day she can find a worthy baker to make it! Maybe for an anniversary someday?

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSeabird

I'm with Sandmerk on this one. 8 hours of consultation??? If I was the baker I would have backed out before she reached 8 hours.
If she only paid a few hundred then that was a bargain.
This is an interesting site

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCaryl

The original design was complicated, but it would have been really beautiful if it had been done well. Are there any fans out there who would like to make this for a Sunday Sweet?

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Let's not blame it all on the baker here. The baker certainly hasn't made the cake in the drawing that Melissa provided (possibly using some of that 8 hours to draw it). But neither has Melissa shown, on her drawing, the placement of ANY of the miniature flotsam she provided and wanted the baker to use. Had she started drawing it in, she would have realised pretty quickly that she had way too much stuff for three tiers of cake along side her already busy details. Sometimes the adage, "less is more", holds true. I believe that if the baker had produced Melissa's design and had then tried to incorporate the miniature flotsam as well, it would have been a much worse outcome. The baker is certainly at fault for not talking Melissa through the placement of all the stuff and showing that it couldn't all be included on a three tier cake without it looking like a white elephant stall. Some commenters also seem to be under the impression that the waterfall is a piece of real blue cloth. It is only fondant, looking remarkably like real blue cloth rather than a waterfall, but at least it's edible.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterElla McDonald

In clarification, I read the post as: she spent 8 hours drawing/painting her preferred cake PRIOR to meeting with the baker. Just my perspective...

Doesn't change the outcome, but I feel some people are criticizing Melissa unfairly.

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Who the hell puts miniatures on a cake? That thing was destined for failurei

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnita

This makes me so sad. I don't decorate anymore due to the needs of my disabled child, but even I, with significantly limited time, would have been able to do so much more for this bride. Flowers can be made in advance, with the greens and other flowers added in buttercream. The water could have been made out of piping gel, and would have looked marvelous. I'm sorry, Melissa. :(

May 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Wow that is just horrifying. I hope it at least tasted good..

May 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Marie

I think wedding wrecks are the ones I feel the most sorry for. Like you can always have another birthday, but a wedding is usually a one shot deal. :(

May 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAddy von DenToten

As much as I love wedding wrecks and missed marks, I am secretly hoping my son's wedding cake is perfect. If not, I will submit it with no shame! One month from today, for those keeping score at home. ;-)

May 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMoira

Michelle, I'm with you. She spent eight hours creating the drawing, not eight hours with her wedding consultant. Doesn't change the resulting icky thing, but the wreckerator was definitely not taking anything out on Melissa, other than her really, really busy drawing. Painting. Whatever it was. And just passing through, thanks for the earworm.

May 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterZeldabird

Many thanks to "just passing through" for the fittingly melancholy song for this cake. Glad I'm not the only person with Simon & Garfunkel in her head (which sounds dirty, but isn't).

May 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFrosting First

Sorry, I'm team no one on this one.

The actual cake Melissa wanted would be at least couple thousand where I live. My this year double layer birthday cake with fondant work was $70. 10 inch two layer cake with raspberry whip layer between the two cakes. The fondant work was pretty simple. Worth every penny spent.

The amount of cake ALONE would be $500 at the bakery I used. That's cake plus the topper. No pretty poured sugar water fall. No pretty trees piped by hand. Bonus round she brought all this junk to stick on the cake.

Melissa wanted Sunday Sweet cake (which usually comes in at thousands of dollars/cake) for "several hundred dollars" (guessing $300-$600 range).

When you want a Pinterest/Ace of Cakes/fondant+multilayers+extra design work wedding and the final costs comes in at several hundred dollars, your Spidey senses should be pinging off the hook. Don't hand over money. Don't sign that invoice. A wreck is in the making.

The water fall is fug, You'd need a fairly large cake to handle all the stuff Melissa wanted on the cake. Enough stupidity to blame on both parties.

The baker was idiot for not being honest, and Melissa is unrealistic.

Considering it's a wreck, *shrug*. No dead fly topper, dirty icing/fondant or sliding layers/tilting.


May 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFordPrefect313

Agree that though this is a missed mark, it's not a horrible cake (above ground pool aside - I wouldn've gotten a spoon from the kitchen and fixed that before the reception started!). The flowing fondant waterfall is creative and actually quite difficult to do - though again, missing the intended mark. But I'm pretty impressed that out of 5 fondant covered tiers (if only it was pale green) only one isn't perfect and the baker obviously isn't a complete novice because those cantilevered tiers are amazing! All in all, it could've been much worse ..... just a sad situation.

May 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarccrand

One last bit....

Went to a wedding this weekend. Cake was 4 tiers, simple buttercream frosting, with different filling in between the layers.

It was delicious!

That cake was $500.

It was a "wreck" because the Pinterest picture I was shown was the same cake with sugar work flowers. (I don't know what you call that type of hot sugar worked until glass like). The flowers cascade all along the cake.

The bride and MOTB thought that is what they were getting.

The cake showed up sans flowers. MOTB showed me the invoice. There was a picture stapled of the cake with the sugar flowerd. No mention of the flowers to be on the cake.

There was no way that original cake would come in at $500.

What goes on between a baker and the client, who used a wedding planner? I know the cake shop. It wasn't a big box store. It isn't a bush league place.

I don't get how contracts aren't meticulously spelled out.

Anyhoo...someone arranged silk flowers and it was pretty. If you wouldn't had known the original, you wouldn't have thought it was lacking.

And MOTB is going to small claims court....

May 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFordPrefect313

Ford, I think your assessment of being "team nobody" is spot on!

Ella, she absolutely DID include the pieces she provided in her drawing. Did you even look at it? I can see them CLEARLY and MS is taking my eyesight.

March 26, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJo

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