Thursday, August 6, 2009

Old Time Wreck 'n Roll

Thursday, August 6, 2009

For decades now mankind has been left to wonder: Just where did the first Cake Wreck come from? We may never have the definitive answer (outside of "42", of course) but an historic find has recently been unearthed in the area of Gilbert, Arizona, that may shed some light on this weighty issue.

I give you, Magic in Frosting!

Breathtaking, isn't it? This artifact, discovered by Luz G. of Beautiful Impermanence, is believed to date back to the "free love" era of the 1960s, when the word "magic" was interchangeable with the names of many and varied forms of hallucinogenic drugs. Coincidence?

I think not.

Especially when you consider that the author claims to be the original creator of the Smashed Pink Elephant cake here. [arching eyebrow] Highly suspicious.

Regardless, this priceless find demonstrates some truly remarkable feats that our ancestors were able to achieve using nothing more than buttercream, a few simple tools, and the belief that any woman who plays tennis is a low-browed neanderthal with a thyroid problem.




Further evidence of the decade's inebriation includes this lovely (not to mention leggy) specimen:

The "Merry-Go-Round of Bisected Ballerinas" was a popular party motif during the summer of '67.

And lastly, here's a delightful reminder of simpler times - when the hair was long, the skirts were short, and first-degree murder was a "groovy" party theme:

(Note the smoking gun and perfectly-piped pool of blood. Such accuracy! Such talent!)

So, where do modern-day Wrecks come from? Well, in light of these examples I believe there can be only one conclusion: they're made by the people who got these cakes as children.


- Related Wreckage: LIFE Wrecks
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Taylor (My Older Brothers) said...

I went on a "Merry-Go-Round of Bisected Ballerinas" once. Truly horrifying experience. I wouldn't recommend it.


myolderbrothers.blogspot.com

Wide Awake Wife said...

I love the pink elephants cake! Totally reminds me of the pink elephant scene from Dumbo!

mysleepinghusband.blogspot.com

aufdeutsch said...

I want that book now! It'd go great with my American Woman cookbook from 1944. Splendid recipes for calf brains and tongue sandwiches!

Sara said...

I seriously remember seeing drunky pink elephant cakes in the sample case at our local town bakery when I was a kid. Guess they bought the book!

Jenny said...

I really need to remember to not be drinking my coffee when reading your blog. Off to find some paper towels...

Tiffani said...

Love the Hitchhiker's reference! That ballerina cake is most disturbing! How was that ever a good idea???

Anonymous said...

42!! :-)
I love these historic wrecks. Soooo tacky.

Anonymous said...

WOW -- those elephants, makes my teeth hurt to think of biting into one of those (assuming they are solid frosting)
It also looks like that last pirate cake was decorated with a beige telephone cord around the edge....

Anonymous said...

so people have paid for that book?

Anonymous said...

*shudder*

Rosakala said...

I personally think that last cake is hystercial.

Auntie Meme said...

Groom's cake?

Claire said...

I love this. Absolutely hilarious... and so shiny. So very shiny...

Bet said...

I absolutely love old recpie cards and books like this, they crack me up. I think I might use some Play Doh and try the instructions for the tennis player.

Jedi Knight Ivyan said...

Pink elephants, you say? Ah yes, I see it now and I rather wish I hadn't.

By the way have you seen this wreck that was Obama's b-day cake?

http://www.nbcwashington.com/around-town/food-drink/Stylish-Prez-Hideous-Birthday-Cake-52458537.html

Julie said...

I had to look at the Pink Elephants on Parage cake FAAARR too long to figure out what it was.

Stephanie said...

I think you may be on to something here, Jen... kind of sad, though, to think that 40 years later things haven't gotten any better.
But then again, if things had improved we'd have one less source of entertainment. ;)

Katcal said...

Amazing book-wreck! This should also go on http://awfullibrarybooks.wordpress.com/

Lola R said...

O. M. G.

drgns4vr said...

We all need all frosting all the time! I was doing pretty well until I got to Betty's Bisected Ballerinas. That made my palms start tingling and the fingers twitching toward the icing bag. (Well, I'm lying a little here for the sake of literature.) Actually, it made me avert my eyes and weep. I did many things during the 60's but I can truthfully say Assault by Frosting was not one of them.

Judy said...

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! John McNamara and Roland Winbecklar were pioneers in the field. Back away slowly Jen!

Anonymous said...

I love the pirate cake - complete with all the cliches - eye patch, peg leg, treasure chest, skeleton. Wow! What an eye for detail.

Anonymous said...

I love those cakes, the poodle cake reminds me of those knitted poodle decorations my mom used to have. Smashed pink elephants, i want one! All that and a Douglas Adams reference too!

mhays said...

Jen, so nice to wake up early to such a wrecky wreckrospective. You made my day - thanks!

Karen said...

That poor pink elephant cake. Most of the elephants look like pigs. I don't drink, but even I know that that cake is a waste of a good bottle of champagne.

Christina M. said...

Kudos for the Hitchhiker's reference. ;-) I must forward this to my family who lives in Gilbert, AZ!

Gothknits said...

I'm going to have to find this one and add it to my collection of wacky cookbooks.

Overlooking the homicide, the water on the pirate cake is quite fabulous.

Oklahoma Granny said...

Memories from the past - Now that you've posted that picture, I remember seeing that book years ago.

frigglesnitz said...

I for one, would love a dead pirate cake. Or a live Johnny Depp to come popping out of one, not fussy.

diddleymaz said...

it looks more early sixties/fifties to me.Note the frillyness and poodle, definatly pre-mini skirt.

Linnea said...

AWESOME. it's like cakewreck archaeology!

Richard said...

I think that the blood is my favorite element, because you can see that he very carefully used a slightly different color than the other "red" that was used for the pirate's pants. And the treasure chest. And her belt. I mean, when one color has such versatility, it takes true dedication to use a different one just to get the blood "right."

The elephant cake is, I fear, easier to understand once you realize that he started out with 6 bottles.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will about these 1960's wrecks, but no effort was spared to make them look good. Call them odd, call them scary. But don 't call them lazy!!! That's the problem with decorators these days...no appreciation for time-consuming hard work. Just get it done quick, doesn't matter if it's right or even pretty. Those older cakes showed that if you just take it step by step, you too can learn to be a scary cake decorator!!!

Stephanie said...

So sad that it wasn't a leggy blonde...

Suetois said...

I like the chest hair on the pirate. Tasty!

Angie said...

Yikes!

I have to say that I think the squashed elephants are pretty danged cute, tho.

ImagineMel said...

But the rope piping on that cake is AMAZING!

Melody

Anonymous said...

And to think they did it the "ole" fashion way... no rice crispys, no fondant, no specialized add ons!!!

Loved the ballerina and pirate, would love to see a cake with the two of them...

From a CrAzY PeRsOn said...

Um, those are so wrong. On so many levels. Were people blind back in the day as well? *Shivers*
Scary.....

StephW said...

awesome post, jen! hilarious! that bisected ballerina cake cost someone a lot of money for future therapy sessions.

Joan said...

I think the object of the bisected ballerina-go-round is that, viewed from the side at the right height, the legs line up with the body that's in the center of the cake. I'm just relieved to know that my Friendly Neighborhood Public Library has had the sense to weed the offending instruction manual (if it ever had the poor taste to buy it in the first place).

Miss Outlier said...

Laugh!

I would have thought the pink elephants cake was inspired by Disney's "Dumbo" - there is a scene where Dumbo drinks a bottle just like the one on the cake, and sees visions of pink elephants everywhere...

Gilsner said...

I think little Miss Kournikova has a tad more to be concerned about then just her thyroid. Like, perhaps, her disjointed arm. Her misconstreued sexy-pouty face. Her disproportioned thigh-leg ratio and the general sheen of her complection.

Good thing her cheekbones make up for all her faults. Girl needs some blush!

That girl who sits at the other desk said...

I so want the pirate cake for my birthday!

Anonymous said...

I'm loving the vintage wrecks. Kind of reminds me of the hideous weight watchers recipe pictures from the 60's that I've seen floating around the internet.

Lindsey said...

Ha, I actually find the elephant cake cute, if confusing. It reminds me of Dumbo.

However, the rest is a stunning display of wreckage throughout the ages.

WV: frahypht
If you ask me, the pirate cake ought to be left on a deserted isle without a lifrahypht.

Anonymous said...

WOW.
That last cake would almost be kind of nice, without the murderer and dead victim on it!

Colleen said...

Wow, those look like the examples in my old Wilton cake decorating practice book, you know, with the interchangeable pages and the milky clear cover flap that you actually were supposed to pipe your frosting on. My aunt gave it to me to use, she went to culinary school in the late 60's and specialized in pastry. I wish I still had it, I would scan and send them to you...lol@

Fanboy Wife said...

This is a scary archaeological find!

Jeanne said...

Pink elephant cake=60's hipster hotness. I seriously love that one. The others, not so much.

Nichole Loves Cakes said...

The water and the mast ship of the last cake looks soo good, but everything else is crap. I love the half-ballerinas! Haha.

Anonymous said...

I would never have known those were elephants had you not told me!
Very scary!!!

betsy said...

Oh my - my mother had this book during my childhood. The ballerina is still frightening after all these years...

Yota Armai said...

The last is actually pretty well rendered considiering it is buttercream, (I was really impressed by the palm trees) but the subject matter is definitely what makes it a wreck.

On the merry-go-round ballerina cake, is it just me or is her foot upside down and backwards? I think the only reason she's sitting down with that odd expression is because she just dislocated her hip.

Ms Avery said...

OMFG. What?

What?

Samantha Suzuki Photography said...

LOL. Nothing like some ole time wrecks! Thanks for starting my day with a laugh!

Dea said...

You rock - love the Hitchhiker's Guide reference! :D

These are the grooviest wrecks ever. And I totally agree that this is where modern day wrecks come from.

Kath said...

I like the phone-cord piping on the pirate one...makes me reminiscent for old dial-phones!

Michelle said...

*dies laughing*

Trevor said...

Seriously, did you check out the waist line on the pirate? I don't think he has any internal organs below his rib cage.

StylishHeather said...

Wow....it took me 5 minutes of staring at the 2nd one to even start to have a clue what it was....and I'm still not sure.

Even carrot jockeys couldn't help these ones :)

Valerie said...

Those pink elephants look like the "Pink Elephants on Parade" from the Dumbo movie. Those things always freaked me out!! lol

Tigerwolf said...

Yaaaaaaaa, that pirate cake! With the olde tyme beige coiled telephone cord border and the R-rated scenario featuring Quentin Tarantino and Dennis Hopper’s love child as the pirate! And…wait, what? THERE’S NO PARROT!!! Shiver me timbers, but this be some kinda wreck, I says! Walk the plank, ye scurvy swab! Arrr!

^..^

Alix said...

Coincidence? I think not. brought the LOLs.

And is it just me, or is the evolution of the top tennis player suggestive of our adored phallic symbols?

Those hippies were a horny bunch, weren't they?

JoMama said...

Ah yes, the 1960s, where even a simple cake can become a mind-boggling acid-trip like experience.

Ms. Snark Pants said...

This is easily one of the best posts yet. What an insightful glimpse into the history of Wreckology. I love it.

WV: colonixi - a colonectomy performed by stripper named Tiffani

Perchik said...

For the ballerina cake-I'm pretty sure if it was displayed on a turn table, from the side, it would appear that she's dancing. It's actually a rather ingenious idea, that only looks like a wreck from the top. From the side the legs will match up with her torso.

Tamaran said...

Huh. I had no idea pink elephants had tusks. The things you can learn from cake.

Half Assed Kitchen said...

I thought the elephant cake was a bunch of pink cats climbing a pole. Or something?

Anonymous said...

I just took a class where the instructor (v. old school) HAD this book and showed it to the entire class as a great resource on figure piping! When I saw the book, I decided I wanted nothing to do with figure piping. Ever.

Halley said...

I have a modern day version of the elephants on the champagne.

FoodieCrystal said...

I think the one with the legs disturbs me because those legs don't have an upper body! And the poodle, that one is just wrong. It scares me.

Elizabeth said...

I'm about to gag thinking of all that icing on the elephant cake.

agirlinherkitchen.blogspot.com

Terry said...

Ha! I found this book at the massi Powell's Bookstore in Portland! and it was 50 bucks...way too much for me :/ Thanks so much for a great reminder!

spyderqueen said...

I know it's a wreck, but I LOVE that Pirate cake. I need someone to make that for my next birthday.... Or better yet, September 19th!

:::b r a n d i::: said...

Are the pink blobs that are melting all over the wine bottle elephants? I've stared at it for 10 minutes or so and that's all I can come up with.

Leah McNally said...

Poodle cake- awesome

Disembodied Ballerina legs- horrifying

Tennins player- puzzling? Scopes Trial?

Pink Elephants- psudo- sophisticated. All that buttercream with champagne is guaranteed to give you a hangover :)

I gotta agree that this is more of a 50's book. The pink elephant reference was from the 1940's- Fantasia (1940) and I think it was the movie Lost Weekend(1945)that associated it with drinking.

Edith Weezie said...

So an (older) co-worker just walked up to my desk, saw the frosted poodle and said, "OOH, that's pretty!" Classic.

utaduta said...

i want the pirate cake, i think for my birthday this year i'll have my friends make me that! ha!

BlondeShot Creative said...

one of my favorite posts yet!

cakedout said...

Hey! I ACTUALLY HAVE THAT BOOK!! LOL And yes, John McNamara and Roland Winbeckler were my figure-piping 'heros' back when I first started decorating 30 years ago!

Jena the yarn harpy said...

That.
Is.
Awesome.

There are no words that accurately capture how awesome...
I can recall plenty of friends and cousins having Barbie cakes as a child... scary clowns... but my mother had some serious cake skills for an amateur and I am grateful that my birthday cakes were never this scary!

aufdeutsch - I have a Crock-Pot cookbook with a recipe for some sort of cream and rabbit (or substitute two squirrels) recipe.

My word verification might just be the logical explanation for these cakes: shagrum.

Kelley said...

Here's another ode to wrecks past-

http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/partycake/4.html

I love your site, it gives me a laugh every day!

Odie said...

I'm sorry, the pirate cake isn't wreck-y at all, it's AWESOME. Very detailed.

I can see where it'd be squicky for a kid's birthday or something... but dude. FULL OF WIN!

Carrie

Lucia said...

WOW!
I want that book!
*Lucia

terri s said...

these are pretty wreck-tacky-ular...however, I am stumped as to what "42" means?????

Melinda said...

Oh WOW! My mother-in-law gave me some old cake decorating books. I should look through them again and see if there's anything to send your way. The vintage wrecks are awesome!

Ms.Cewsh said...

Oh my God, I have this book! Er, my mom does anyway.

Yeah, the torso-less ballerinas have always and will always be creepy.

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Oh my! I remember both of the first two from my mother's old Wilton Cake Decorating Books! What a back in time experience!!!!

Anonymous said...

OMG! My mom taught cake decorating lessons to make ends meet while we were growing up. We used to think it was so cool looking through these books, but now that I'm older I realize how weird they were.

Kay said...

My grandmother had that book, and now I am it's proud owner! She actually did the pink elephant cake for New Years many, many times at the bakery we had when I was a little girl. Now that I'm the chief cake decorator at my bakery, I'm thinking of bringin' sexy back. Thanks for the memories!

Cakey Goodness said...

As deranged as these all are, I am very impressed with the buttercream skill. Let's see Duff make blobs of pink icing stay on a champagne bottle!

For those who want more, the book is available in 49 US libraries. http://tinyurl.com/frostingmagic

Taylor (My Older Brothers) said...

@terri s...

The "42" reference belongs to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything" is apparently "42". We're not allowed to know the question, so we just know 42. So people use that as an answer to unanswerable questions. Does that make sense?

Chasing The Dog said...

best integration of a hitchhiker's guide reference ever.

sophanne said...

It's now a combination of my two favorite sites- Cakewrecks and Awful Library Books!

Kelly said...

I LOVE this book!!!! If I had any talent I would recreate each of therse beauties as an homage to the birth of the cakewreck!


wv: solightl These cakes look solightl try to make one and see if it floats.

jedijson said...

Must. Find. This. Book.

Have my towel, will travel to find it.

Halesbales said...

That pirate cake was spectacular! The detail on the water and the boat! I haven't seen an ocean depicted so well, not to mention the look of murderous glee!

hjester.blogspot.com

Melissa (& Billy) said...

Man. Those are decidedly wrecky! I think the best one is the poodle, to tell you the truth...although the pink elephants are kind of clever.

Sariah said...

42. HA!!! :) (Your variety of geek-speak continues to amaze me.)

Christina said...

I was going to mention awful library books but Katcal beat me to it.
I'm really tempted to make the pirate cake, but substitute a ninja for the dead pirate.
And Spyderqueen, I'm so happy you mentioned September 19th! I celebrate Talk like a Pirate Day every year!
WV: extersh: that is an extershiating amount of icing!

Rachael said...

Ahem... those two elephants on the wine bottle look like they're.... *cough* too much fun with the bottle, if you know what I mean.

Nikki said...

These are hilarious!!!

I am a little lost on the "42" reference, but I see from other comments that it's a Hitchhiker's Guide reference. Which explains why I'm lost.

Dee said...

The poodle cake reminds me of the knitted booze bottle toppers my mom used to have in the 60's.

Anonymous said...

Where can I buy this book???

It will have to do as a cakewrecks book substitute until the real one comes out

lisadh said...

See, now I didn't see a ballerina - I saw synchronized swimmers and this was the pool view.

I guess I've seen too many Ethel Merman movies.

Love the pink elephants - very triptastic, but well done.


wv: wrisepro
It is a wrisepro who can handle that much buttercream on one cake.

Anonymous said...

oh.my.gawd

it actually exists

http://www.amazon.com/Magic-frosting-John-McNamara/dp/B0006C4I0K

mimi said...

omg these are just frikkin awesome!! i'm not the nostalgic type but i've got to say these oldies are just the best!!

Bead Up said...

That ballerina looks like she is about to vomit.

Mandy said...

They still have a pink elephant cake exactly like that at the Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax in Los Angeles! I live right next to it, and every time I pass the cake, I think about sending it into Cake Wrecks. Too late I guess!

Here is a picture by someone who actually thought to take one:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotomom/357939343/

Anonymous said...

Hurray for the reference to Hitchhiker's!
The pink elephant cake is distubring.

Anonymous said...

Today we acknowledge alcohol abuse and its accompanying brain and liver damage with interventions and counseling. We used to celebrate it with cake! How did we lose our way?

As for the pirate cake, the first thing that popped into my head was a quote from Jack Nicholson as the joker in Batman: "Ah! Now that's good work! The skulls... the bodies... you give it all such a glow! I don't know if it's art, but I like it!"

JustAGirl said...

Gods of teh interwebz, they do smileth upon me! It's as if two of my big lurves on the net--Cake Wrecks and The Gallery of Regrettable Food--had a love child made of pixels...

Anonymous said...

I must retract my previous statement in the face of photographic evidence that we still celebrate the DTs with cake. Yea!

Anonymous said...

"So, where do modern-day Wrecks come from? Well, in light of these examples I believe there can be only one conclusion: they're made by the people who got these cakes as children."

As someone who once received a Pilgrim Barbie Doll Cake (gray frosting and little paper cap) for her birthday, I think you have a point.

MJS said...

According to the WorldCat database, 49 libraries still own this precious volume, including the Anchorage, LA, San Diego, Louisville, Cleveland and Seattle Public Libraries. Jen, have you been reading http://awfullibrarybooks.wordpress.com/ ?

baby jane said...

Important to note (both in this scenario, in which the pink elephants are atop a bottle of booze, and in the Disney film in which Dumbo has a drunken freak-out after accidentally consuming champagne) that pink elephants are associated with Delerium Tremens, an acute delirium that is usually caused by severe withdrawal from alcohol.

Christa said...

pink elephants made me think of "heffalumps"
"They're in they're out, they're up they're down, they're all around.....Beware Beware."

Bec said...

I think this is my most favorite post you've ever done. Ever. I totally want that book!

Bree said...

I think the pirate cake is cool but I would never give it to a kid unless that's what he or she asked for.

Betty the Ballerina looks terrified to be on top of her cake.

The other ones are something out of nightmares.

Heart2Heart said...

I have to admit that somewhere in my past, my mom has purchased said Pink Elephant cake. It was odd that that memory came back clear as day when I saw your picture posted here.

Ours were all hanging out of plastic wine glasses and over mini bottles of champagne.

Now I have to call my mom and ask for what occasion did we purchase those cakes for?

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

twocans1 said...

Wilton, how far you've come! Ha ha!

Just Me,Pilgrim said...

there are just no words to describe these atrocities.

Jules said...

...the water looks amazing in that last cake. Shame about.. y'know.. the rest of it.

Actually I would still be pretty excited to get that cake for my birthday. there's a dead dude on it! and a pirate ship! what! AWESOME.

Val said...

omg that pink elephant cake has been "wrecklicated" soooo many times lol.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3006/3051587529_6cebbec036_b.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/43/104913063_92d255236a.jpg

Jules said...

OH MAN the pirate cake also has a SKELLINGTON

It is my favourite forever and ever amen. if I don't have that for my birthday next year I will be deeply disappointed.

Reg said...

I actually like the pirate cake. The detail is very good. You can get a sense of the movement of the surf and the water and the ship is great too. WHat's a little spilled blood when the picture is so great!

Little Lovables said...

wow, so funny! the pirate ship is mighty fine though

StaceyM said...

OMG--I love the pink elephants! I think I might try something like that for my friend's b-day next year. Don't forget--even if no one wants to eat the cake there is a bonus bottle of champagne under there!

ashleyalvina said...

i'm not sure if it's just because i'm incredibly tired today, but it took me a full 8 minutes of staring at that pink pile of goo to pick out the "elephants" (i know i know...you said right below the picture that they were elephants. unfortunately, all that did was tell me what to look for, not distinguish how the crap there were elephants on that cake).

To my delight, I noticed a bottle of alcohol underneath them in about minute 7. Empty, perhaps? Consumed in one short sitting by the decorator perhaps? I think so.

Kimberly said...

My mom had this book when I was a kid. Probably still does! I remember how crazy it all looked then - especially the cut in half ballerina!

Marion's Mom said...

Some of the old "cook books" are a source of wreckage all their own - http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/partycake/index.html

Kira said...

I actually think that the poodle is really cute. :D

Amy said...

Yuck. I can't imagine eating a butter-creme poodle!

And that ballerina cake, I really kind of like..in a groovy sort of way. LOL

~Amy B.

Anonymous said...

I totally remember this book as a child. My mom had it in her book collection. I remember how cool I though it all was when I was little. What magic icing could create....
Now I look at it and wonder what Adults were thinking when putting together the book.

Jenna said...

Oh. my. Word.

For the record, that book is copyright 1972.

It is available near me at the Los Angeles Public Library Central Library RARE BOOKS COLLECTION, and I have to make an APPOINTMENT to see it. Wow. I wonder why they call it rare... they have 2 copies!

That being said, the themes are wrecktastic, but the details are frequently good. The color choices are unfortunate. Some of them would still be good for kids, like the poodle. I've never seen figure piping done well, but these come close to good.

Take about 90 of those elephants off the cake, it'd be better. That pirate cake is awesome!!! The detail on the water, the ship, and the palm tree can give me something to work with! The rest, well... but rework with the pirate standing over a treasure chest and minus the corpse, it could be workable!

I love the HGttG reference! 42, indeed!

WV: dignesse - "What, you ain't dignesse?" (digging these?)

Cake Destroyer said...

I made Pink Elephant cakes when I worked at Thees Bakery at Farmer's Market in LA in the 80's...I was super hung over one day, used old icing & made drippy hardly recognizable Pink Elephants with the Boiled Icing, for John Ritter. I still feel bad about that....

Jenna said...

Love the HHG reference!! I actually think the pink elephants are kind of cute too. But wow, the Obama cake that Jedi Knight Ivyan gave the link for....wrecktastic.

Lauren said...

42! :D

This reminds me of a 1950s-era Betty Crocker kids' cookbook my mom shared with me. In the baking section was a particularly psychedelic zoo animal cake (the colors, the colors!). The animals were constructed from cookies and crackers painted with RAW EGG tinted with food coloring.

Some salmonella with your slice, anyone?

P.S. Now that you've got me geeking...Sunday Sweet idea! Surely there are Cthulhu/Elder God/Lovecraftian cakes out there, waiting, dreaming to be posted?

Donna B. said...

I love the step-by-step instructions for the neanderthal tennis players:
(top row) 1. Start with a white blob for left leg; 2. Add a white blob for the right leg; 3. Add a bigger white blob for torso; 4. Make little white blobs for sleeves and collar; 5. Add a little pink blob for left bicep; 6. Add the rest of the left arm, the right arm, both legs, shoes, neck, head, hair, face (remember the eyebrows), ears, and a tennis racket.
Voila! Six easy steps to a perfect tennis playing neanderthal!

redraven said...

For those who enjoyed Jen's post today, please also take a look at The Institute of Official Cheer site. Love their Meat! Meat! Meat! section, but the cake link is funny too: http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/partycake/index.html

As always today's wreckage has given me much to chuckle about. I especially love the pink elephants!

Just A Midwife said...

Gotta say, the coiled rope border on the pirate cake is awesome!

Anonymous said...

Is the Bisected Ballerina Cake supposed to provide an optical illusion if you view it from the side? With the one top in the center and the legs all around the sides, maybe you're supposed to see an entire dancer from anywhere at the table--if you're short.

The Deformed Poodle Cake is really a shame. As a confirmed buttercream lover, I immediately thought of cutting a chunk from a well-done poodle cake and dragging my finger through those luscious buttercream curls before plunging my fork into the center. MMMM. The one on the book cover is just sad.

Word Verification: undsh--the noise made by somebody who is desperately trying to stifle their initial reaction when they discover that one of the horrors featured in this post is the centerpiece of their surprise party.

Anonymous said...

I own this book! I love it. It really is a great reference for all kinds of figure piping. Back in the day, it was all buttercream, baby, all the time. (Which is not to say that bisected ballerinas were ever a good idea.)

G.H. said...

Wow, Really?

Just awful..



http://confessions-of-a-waitress.blogspot.com/

Lynn said...

The commentary on these cakes made me laugh so hard...in spite of the gruesome theme, that Pirate cake is pretty well done !

freisss said...

Awww...these are sweet and old-school. I saw Roland Winbeckler on Food Network Challenge the other day and it made me kind of sad because you can't judge this stuff next to the perfect, fondant-smothered cakes of today. Fondant work is beautiful but I have never found it to be tasty. Frosting, on the other hand....yum.

Linnee said...

OMG! My grandmother got me an elephant cake like that for my 21st birthday in 19mumblegrumble.

diddleymaz said...

NB taylors older brother the question is just" whats the answer to life the universe and everything?"
after millenia they find out 42 and get a computer (earth) built and just as a girl in a cafe realises the answer to life the universe and everything .The earth is blasted to make way for the space highway.....

Secrett K said...

I think you may be on to something with the "wrecks recieved as children lead to wrecks created as adults". I'm pretty sure that the lucky child who recieved the pink elephant cake on that fateful birthday went on, in their esteemed adulthood, to create this cake.

It must be true what they say, a Wreckerator never forgets!

Rebecca Welch said...

Fabulous!
The pink elephant cake would be perfect for the 'day after'.

sendingtheclowns said...

I'm really disappointed in that pirate (the one who's not lying down).
This was supposed to be an even match--sword against sword.
But Nooooo...we find out too late that he's packing --not one, but TWO-- pistols! The dead guy never had a chance.(They seldom do.)
Nevertheless, I'd like to give the other guy the opportunity to explain himself. After all, here he is with only ONE leg --and a peg leg to boot (or not to boot)-- and ONE eye, and both things are missing on the SAME side. Probably gave him a different perspective on things...why, anyone's depth perception can be skewed if you have one eye covered.
Aside from the really lovely, sparkly, and actually watery-looking sea, this is a very emotionally confusing case--I mean, CAKE.

=^-.-^=

js said...

Nice "42" comment! Impressive that you know the answer to life, the universe, and everything! :)

Potential Serendipity said...

Those are supposed to be elephants? I thought they were pink slugs...

Scritzy said...

Hoo-boy. I feel like I just had a major sugar rush.

And again, I show my age: In the late 60s-early 70s, there was a cereal called Crispy Critters. As a special promotion, for a while the critters included pink elephants. And I'm now hearing that "Little pink elephants!" jingle running through my head.

I wonder who thought pink elephants in a cereal geared to kids was such a good idea.

But then, there are people who thought these cakes were a good idea.

I must confess I rather like the pirate cake, though.

Anonymous said...

As a 13-year-old dancer, I have had at least one bad ballet cake in my time (all is forgiven, the bakery still makes the best brownies EVER), but nothing like the "my other half thought this cake was so ridiculous that it went somewhere else to find a better pastry to decorate" disaster. Ballet-loving little kids (and bakers who make cakes for them)- Just Say No! ;-)

P.S. Love the hitchhiker reference! I may be a frood who knows where her towel is, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to throw it over these cakes.

WV: barle- these cakes are so bizarre I can barle believe that the laws of the universe allow them to exist.

aufdeutsch said...

jena the yarn harpy -

That is all sorts of awesome. I wonder if that would fit in with my cookbook section on "Cooking for Invalids".

We could have a delicious spread, with the tongue sandwiches and crock pot squirrel/rabbit and a disastrous CCC or any other wreck.

Anonymous said...

Betty has a new pair of legs everyday!

just me said...

WV: ressess... I finishedes the bottle *hick* and saw the ressess of the elephantses on parades of pirates....

Debbie Culpepper said...

My grandmother had that book. I remeber us making some of the designs from it when I was small. Thanks for the memories of her.

bodoba said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the pirate who needed to equip himself with 2 pistols and a rapier to unbury treasure with ONE crewmate.

So many choices....

Karen said...

I laughed so hard at these vintage wrecks that I snorted and subsequently hurt myself.

Double N said...

I wonder if they serve these cakes at the restaurant at the end of the universe? I hear the food there is pretty good........just remember your towel.

unmatched_fabulous said...

just sent in some new photos of a pink elephant cake.... truly awful! i think an even worse example than that one...

sendingtheclowns said...

What's sad here--and I think that Betty Ballerina would concur--is that, while there are new tutus and sets of legs to afford Ms. Topper a change for every blessed day of the week--they all look the SAME.
Wouldn't a little VARIETY have been nice? Come on!
Look at her face! That expression says only ONE thing, and it's this:
*SIGH* "I coulda BEEN somebody...I coulda been a CONTENDER...I coulda been a BARBIE!"

Red Wolf said...

What's the pirate cake celebrating? "Congratulations on Murdering your Shipmates!" ?

I have to say though that the poodle is actually kinda cute.

Those photos remind me of a great book with old Weight Watchers recipe card photos. It's called "The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan"

pambamboo said...

OMG, Jen! You said:

'but an historic find......'

No wait, it should read:

'but AN historic find.......'

You and I are the only literate people left in the literate world who understand that 'h' is a vowel and thus takes an 'an' not an 'a'!

I am pleased all out of proportion by this joyous discovery!

And to think - I'm going to actually MEET YOU next month in Orlando! I can't wait.

Cheri said...

These remind me of some examples from when my Mom took a cake decorating class in the 80's.
Thank you so much for your blog! I get an ab workout each time I tune in from laughing so much. Keep up the good work.

Summer said...

Love the second one. So cute. =d

Summer
A Writers Den
The Brown Mestizo

Jen said...

42!!! My favorite books! As if I didn't love you already...

Jewelielyn said...

when i was about 5 (which would have been early 60's) my mom took a cake decorating class, and i remember those fat, pink frosting elephants! it must have been the trend then. they may look scary now, but as a 5 year old,i loved EATING the frosting creations she brought home on paper plates . . .

peewee said...

Oh man, these were all so good I can't even pick a favorite!

theladyjess said...

Wow, not one but TWO libraries in Seattle have this book? I think I need to request an interlibrary loan...

I, too, thought of Hefalumps from Whinnie the Pooh, not Dumbo, when I saw the pink elephants.

Love, love, love the pirate cake. True talent went into that one.

Anonymous said...

The poodle matches the crochet covers for toilet paper of the same era.

And did anyone else think "orgy" when they saw the pink elephant cake?

Anyone?
Anyone?
Bueller?

Rebecca F. said...

Well, just when I think you've already done the perfect post, you do another.

Loved this.

Rebecca.

Donkaloosa said...

OK, so I think the poodle cake is actually kinda' cute, but then,I'm a dog person. And I love icing. :-) It would be a great cake to take to one of the dog club meetings.

Etiquette Bitch said...

omg, effing, effing hilarious. even in the 60s, who could think murdering a harem girl was a good idea for a cake decoration? yikes.

and call me weird, but I want a bisected ballerina cake! there's something cool about it.

Jennifer said...

That was delivered perfectly: you started with the poodle cover, which is totally breathtaking. I assumed it would be the pinnacle of the post...but no. Sweet holy moses, that pirate cake is wrong in any era.

mizz peachez said...

roflse thiz 4 a cliente don worie~

Anonymous said...

not 1960s...copyright 1972. wow.

wv: samar, as in, "show me samar of these hideous wrecks!"

MetalNoir said...

I don't consider these to be proto-wrecks at all. Seriously. This is retro-chic I can live with and appreciate. Mullets and recycled 70s fashions (including mutton-chops and porn-star 'staches) I cannot tolerate. This kinda retro is just-plain cool.

Anonymous said...

Not wrecks.

kingmonkey said...

If you like this blog post, you may enjoy the Gallery of Regrettable Foods over at www.lileks.com.

All food from the 40s-70s was slighty suspect, I think.

(wv: hypess-- like Jen, regarding her book?)

Angela said...

Pambamboo wrote: You and I are the only literate people left in the literate world who understand that 'h' is a vowel and thus takes an 'an' not an 'a'!

Sorry Pam, but "h" is NOT a vowel. The rules for using "a" or "an" are based on the SOUND of the first letter of the word (vowel or consonant) not the actually written word.

So some words could go either way - "an honorable man" and "a horse in the field" are both correct.

And based on that I think it should be "a historic event".

Let's ask the pink elephants, okay?

Dea said...

I think the pink elephants refer back to Dumbo, not Fantasia - seeing as the title of the cake is "Smashed Pink Elephant cake." Smashed meaning drunk, no?

Dawn said...

Hm, I never noticed how phallic a champagne bottle top looked until i saw that picture and the first thing that popped into my head was "what are those things hanging on that... its that a... no, it can't be... wtf? Ohhhhh its a BOTTLE...ok..."

So confused. I don't know if thats really a criticism of the cake or my own dirty, confused mind.

Katy said...

ROFL! A cake with a dead pirate on it! How perfectly awful!

*sigh* After I saw the Pink Elephant cake, the Pink Elephant song is now stuck in my head...

aprilbree said...

Aside from the elephant one, i'm actually impressed with them. i think for that time, he did some awesome stuff. someone posted earlier that they were pioneers, and they did stuff with buttercream that most people didn't know they could do. they encouraged others to take on cake decorating, and now look at cake decorating today. yes, there's lots of wrecks, but there's lots of greats too.

MJS said...

Thanks so much. I will now be forced to replicate the bleeding murdered pirate cake for my son!

darkshines said...

I want the poodle cake for my next birthday, its totally 1950s kitsch!

Angie Jackson said...

That pink elephant cake - it's like Dumbo meets Dali. It's Dumbali.

Margaret said...

Maybe it's covered elsewhere in the book, but it cracks me up that the step by step instructions go through body-arm-leg in detail, but lumps head-face-hair-hands-feet in one easy step at the end.

One of my old Wilton yearbooks has a pink elephant cake. I made it when my younger brother turned 18 (the wilton version was a new years cake). I love pink elephant cakes.

Melissa said...

My mom went to cake decorating school in the 70's and decorated cakes as a side job. I know she had this book. If I dig up more from this era, I'll pass them along. She actually made the pink elephant cake for a friend's party and I loved it. I begged to have it for my own birthday but she refused. Can't imagine why.

My mom... an original wrecky. Go figure..

Liana Engie said...

I actually like the pirate cake a lot. Aside from the pirate figures, the buttercream work is good, and I was impressed with the boat, water, skeleton, and palm trees. I'm also a fan of the border, personally - it matches the cake well.

Zoinks said...

OMG! I used to have this book as a kid! I found it at the dump I think and liked it because I used to play with modeling clay and could emulate the figures. Wow, nostalgia can really knock you on your butt sometimes.

Breeanna "Ducky" Menendez said...

Um, is that 2nd cake pink elephants? I cant tell what their are because I cant tell their heads from their bums!

Stephenson! said...

You know what's really funny? Those chubby pink elephants look just like the chubby blue elephants that were on my cake for my first birthday in 1979... I had no idea they were originally drunk. :D

Amy said...

Wow! I think I just found out where the inspiration for my New Year's cake came from! Haha!

Anonymous said...

My mom had that book! She had a cake decorating business in the 70s and 80s and, while she never committed any of the horrors seen here, I remember distinctly looking through it. I never saw anything wrong with any of those cakes. It explains a lot now...

Wendy said...

My mom was a home ec teacher and I remember this book so well from when I was a kid.. I thought all the cakes were just the coolest thing since ... oh I don't know royal icing?? Funny how I thoughts change with age and time..

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