Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bride/Baker Communication 101

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Most brides think that bringing in a photo of their dream wedding cake will help clarify for their bakers what it is that they want and expect on their big day.

[shaking head] Those sweet, silly girls.


In reality, these photos are more like "guidelines." A springboard, if you will, from which the baker may or may not spring - and then into heretofore unheard-of realms of artistic "expression."

Perhaps some examples will help.

Bride Laurie S. asked for this cake, only in ivory and with blue flowers instead of white:

(Photo & cake by Martha Stewart)
Instead, she got this:

"It's boxy, and it's blue and white. What more do you want?"

Kirstie also wanted a cascading floral design, like this:


Which her baker recreated pretty well, except for one key detail:

S/he used real flowers instead of sugar ones.

Once the petals shriveled, Kirstie's cake design became less "cascading flowers" and more "attacking butterflies." Which isn't horrible, I suppose, but it is kind of hard to resist the urge to flap your arms and shoo them off.

(Note: The silver thing is their topper, which the baker laid flat instead of standing up. Or maybe the butterflies just knocked it over. :D)

Sharon L. wanted this gorgeous topsy-turvy design:

(Made by Lisa's Creative Cakes - and I totally want one.)

...only in 3 tiers and using her colors of fuchsia, orange, and lime.

Her baker's interpretation?

Remember that springboard I mentioned? Well, some are a LOT springier than others.


And finally, this bride wanted her seashell-themed cake to rise to new heights:


Instead, she got one that was apparently dropped from great heights:

Think it was served with a pancake dinner?

[snicker]


- Related Wreckage: Love is in the Air...
GrumpyBear in Blue said...

These make me SO glad we had an awesome baker and a cake that would take more effort to screw up than get right (White buttercream with black buttercream polka dots - even if it was all fondant [which I HATE] it still would have been sort of what I asked for).
Oy! Sometimes these cakes make my head hurt and my head cock to an odd angle to try to figure out where THAT came from vs. the picture provided of what the customer REALLY wanted!

Miranda said...

Put these bakers with a high percentage of hairstylists: Can't follow directions, even with an explicit photograph.

This is why I decorate my own cakes and cut my own hair. Tired of paying people to screw up!

Heather said...

How sad is it that (until the last one) I thought, "Well, it's not *that* bad?" I mean, we've seen some TERRIBLE wedding cakes, which makes these almost... passable.

CorningNY said...

That last one is truly awful. It definitely left me feeling a bit...deflated. :0

Half Assed Kitchen said...

At least the dead butterflies added some crunch to the cake. Shriveled rose petals are edible, right?

Taylor@MyOlderBrothers said...

1 - Is that from a mooninite wedding?

3 - It's like the plus-sized model of the original cake.

Suzie said...

Holy crap! Really? That last one was atrocious!

Anonymous said...

The top layer on that last cake looks like it's staring at us - kind of like the GEICO stack of cash with the googly eyes. Either that or it's a couple of olives stuck on the side (mmmm, olives and butter cream frosting!)

Anonymous said...

On average, do people get refunds for these sorts of abominations? Or is this fairly standard practice--mutilating cake designs--and couples expect and accept it when it happens? I realize that it may vary from couple to couple, of course, but what is the overall trend, if there is one?

Yikes.

HorribleLicensePlates said...

Man, if I saw those at my wedding, that's when my inner bridzilla would take over

Fluffy Cow said...

hee hee... The flat cake has eyes!!

Gary said...

I don't think these are examples of misunderstandings. I just think the cake-makers lacked the skill (and maybe some pieces of equipment and/or materials?) to make the cakes they undertook. They remind me of the first decorated cake I made, with no experience behind me. I knew how I wanted it to look, but making it was another thing.

Hyacinth said...

I feel so blessed these 20+ years later for having found a baker that did an awesome job. The cake looked just like the picture. Unfortunately, she retired and has gone out of business...

Natasha Wheatley said...

That just makes me sad for those brides. Something always will and DOES go wrong at a wedding, but it shouldn't be the cake! I'm so glad my cake turned out even better than what I could have imagined.

Karenlibrarian said...

Wow, that last one is really sad. I feel really sorry for the bride and groom. The others are probably disappointing, but at least the bakers put in some effort. Well, maybe not the rose petal/attacking butterflies one!

rhonda said...

I had a similar experience with my wedding cake. I designed my own celtic knot for the invites and everything and wanted it on my cake too. We ordered a 3 tier hexagonal cake with the design on every second side of the cakes, all constructed from fondant. Really not hard, it was a simple knot and I could decorate the whole thing in an hour easy. We paid a fair chunk of money because it was a custom design, even more than they charged for their most intricate design which involved a ton of royal icing lace work in a large structure atop the cake.

Instead they used a small tip (I'd guess a tip 3, maybe 4 at the outside) and basically scribbled the design on each side of the cake in royal icing. It wasn't even separated like knot work should be, just doodled on top. You couldn't even see it unless you were right up next to it. Not wrecky enough to be submitted here but enough to make me wish I'd just gone with one of their book designs.

Andy said...

It looks like a lot of these bakers have never heard of fondant. There are just some things you can't do with butter cream.

Of course, it also looks like the customers didn't bother to ask for a portfolio or samples of past work to see if they were up to the task. It's like getting a tattoo. You wouldn't go just anywhere to get The Last Supper tattooed on your back. If the artist messes it up, you can't go back. Likewise with the wedding cake. So make sure you actually got a good baker.

Amy's Stocking Stuffers said...

That last one is really, um, something!

Marianne said...

that last one...you've GOT to be kidding!!

Renee said...

I feel so sorry for all those brides. I know that they were all greatly disappointed with their cakes... but the last cake...ummm wow! I just don't understand how they could get from box layers to sheetcake layers???

On the topsy turvey cake...I think she forgot to change cake pan sizes!

and the others my 11y/o could produce. She's had one cake decorating class. (you've seen her work in Denver)

I think it's so important for brides to check out the bakery's portfolio (and make sure the pictures are really the bakery's products!)

Laura Wynn said...

Those made me want to cry. and not have cake at my wedding. Pie can't be screwed up, right??

togetherforgood said...

I can't imagine any bride just "accepting" something so far off the mark. My mom worked in a bakery for years and the brides were usually pretty evil about getting EXACTLY what they wanted. One swore that the bakery had RUINED HER WEDDING by putting pale green stems on the rosebuds on the mints, instead of the dark green she had ordered.

Erin said...

so...did the last one and the topsy-turvy attempt not know that their baker was apparently incapable of producing a reasonable topsy-turvy and tiered cake???

There is nothing that replaces seeing a LARGE body of your baker's work. Seeing all Jen's examples of missed wedding marks, I was scared even when we'd found a baker with copius examples of absolutely perfect cakes.

There is a popular baker in my town who does decent cakes, but her topsy-turvies were iffy...I kept right on looking and others should too!

also get a sketch. For heaven's sake, make sure, absolutely certain that you're on the same page with your baker!

Tonya Lynn said...

I'm very very very afraid to ever get married... If I do take the plunge I may just opt for a chocolate fountain because seriously I don't know any great decorators in the area and I've seen how horrible birthday cake that I've order have come out... SCARY that a bad cake would ruin what is the most perfect day!

annacakes79 said...

As a semi-professional baker, and the cake lady at my church who does all the wedding cakes for the members, I would totally crap on myself if I had done any of those things to a cake! I would be in tears, and would immediately give back all money, and get out of the business.

Heidi A said...

What are the little pearls made out of on that topsy-turvy masterpiece? All of the originals were so beautiful.... but not all artists are creative in the same ways LOL! I think even when they try to keep it simple, it's still open to some enterpretation. Remind me to get a big plain cake for the guests and one small pretty cake for the photographs!

Sarah said...

I have to agree with everyone who is pointing out that brides who don't ask for an extensive baker portfolio are asking for disaster.

Bringing in a picture of someone else's work and asking them to copy it just won't do--you never know what you'll end up with!

Anonymous said...

LOL wow I'm happy that the lady who did my cake did great and i gave her nothing to go on... these poor brides!!

lisadh said...

Those poor, poor brides! I only hope that removed from the stress of the wedding, they can find the humor in it all, and that they were refunded their money.

CMW said...

I am curious too...is this really the fault of the decorator or the bride? Sure, a decorator shouldn't take a job they know they can't handle, but a bride should also ask for references and proof of artistic ability. Is this a case of hiring cheap labor and expecting to get Michelangelo? Those cakes in the magazines are designed and decorated by artists whose mediums happen to be cake and they get paid a pretty penny to create that art! I wouldn't expect my local mom and pop bakery to be able to reproduce those masterpieces unless they had provided me with portfolio proof that they were equally talented.

Anonymous said...

As much as I can't stand how some Bridezilla's get so worked up over nothing, to the point where the very idea of weddings makes me wish they were never invented, I can't help but feel really bad for the brides here! Whenever you post these wedding cake disasters, I can't help but wonder what actually ended up happening. Especailly some of them, where the original concept is an obviously expensive hard to make cake, and the finished product looks like something a supermarket baker would scoff at, do they at least get a refund? I just don't understand why a baker would want to put their name on some of this crap. Like the first two, okay, more or less just a misunderstanding, and the third its simply a matter of the baker not fully getting the concept (and from certain sides I'm sure it looked fine) but the final one is just a sheet cake with some tiers plopped on, why would anyone want to think they baked that?

The Stringham 4 said...

I feel so sad for those brides! I guess I got lucky. I never met face to face with my cake baker and my cake was exactly what I asked for!

Cyndi said...

The one with real petals - did they have to take all of those off before cutting it???

And the flat one - makes me wonder if the baker/cake decorator has ever seen a wedding cake. They totally missed the layer concept that most wedding cakes have.

Ophelia said...

A friend of mine bakes and decorates event cakes; part of the contract she gives the brides-to-be includes a sketch of the cake (and what she makes is always exactly what she sketches). Through her I've seen some horrific jobs done by other bakers... and I've seen brides get exactly what they wanted and be unhappy with it anyhow. It's such a difficult and often subjective thing.

But with a photo of what's wanted, presumably with swatches of colours, there's little room to claim that pastels might equal orange/fuschia/lime, or that sheet cakes might equal boxes. Many flower petals are edible, yes, but they don't look good after a surprisingly short time if they're not candied first. Can bakers not admit when they don't know how to do something, or don't have the time/equipment? That's a rhetorical question, by the way.

It hurts me. HURTS ME.

Trevor said...

Wait, she put REAL flowers touching the cake? And people ATE it?

WriteCards said...

My husband and I didn't really care about our wedding cake . . . so much so that we had a grocery store make it for us. Instead of a topper, we used real flowers and it turned out great!

I literally scrolled down as slowly as I could so as to drag out the anticipation of how "bad" these could be. The first two . . . well, I didn't think they were *that* bad. They weren't great, but they weren't atrocious either. (Got to admit, the cascading flowers original looked like it used silk flowers rather than sugar.)

BUT, that topsy-turvy cake wasn't topsy-turvy at all! It was just nasty looking! Could the baker have thought that it looked anything like what the customer wanted?

And that poor seashell cake . . . it looked like it had been washed ashore. It was just sad.

karmapearl said...

My jaw literally dropped on some of these.

I was a very low-maintenance bride, but I would have sobbed if my wedding cake had turned out like these disasters! Good grief!

Anonymous said...

I was apparently a very easy to please young bride. All I wanted was a cake, that had three layers and tasted good. I knew my aunt bakes and decorates pretty cakes, and I just told her make it with something pretty like doves, not tacky like little naked "cherub" things (no offense to anyone who likes those, they weren't what I had in mind). I had a lovely cake, and no nasty surprises. Of course, it helped to have a close relative doing the cake, because they *truly* want you to love it, and you truly want to be able to tell them "It looks amazing!"

Terry Lee said...

the last two are especially wrecky.

WTH on that last one?! can't believe a bride would accept a piece of garbage as that.

really really lovin' that topsy turvy (unwrecked) cake! how cool is that?!

Rufus Opus said...

Ok, but let's ask the delicate question: were the brides' fathers, uh, you know... cheap? Trying to save money by having their "professional" baker friends attempt it on the side? I mean, you see a cake like the ones in the pictures with a huge price tag, you take a pic to the what, grocery store? WalMart? BJ's Wholesale? Cost Plus? And expect to get something comparable for a quarter of the price?

Really?

I think there's more to the story, and at least part of that "more" is CHEAP!

Anonymous said...

First of all, except for the last one, these aren't so bad. I blame the brides in these cases. Bringing in a magazine picture of what you want (designed by MARTHA STEWART and her ARMY of food stylists, no less!) is one thing, but if all bakers were Martha Stewart, they'd not need to have little bakeries.

If you want a nice wedding cake, pick something from the BAKER'S portfolio. Then you know they can do it. Otherwise you're just asking for trouble.

Spicy said...

This is why you go the extra mile to get an expensive cake, and you check the work of the baker beforehand.

Not much sympathy, but I wasn't a sympathetic person to begin with.

Diandra said...

Ouch, poor brides (and bridegrooms, although most men seem happy if the cake is edible)!

Guess I'll let my sister prepare the cake if ever I should marry... with her I *know* what I'm getting - exceptional decorating skills and a very dark kind of humor... (^v^)

- Diandra -

Natalie said...

I am so sad for these couples! Shame on these bakers. Shame, shame, shame!

wv: hasun - You like-a deese cake? I hasun ova here you you like even betta, ya.

Anonymous said...

WFT!!!!!! Seriously ppl get it right, this is someones special day, witht the possibility of 100's of ppl seeing your work as a baker...you seriously sent those out?! I made my own cake, it wasn't as lavish as those were supposed to be but it was pretty anyway. Red velvet cake with real homemade whipped cream frosting.mmmm, and it looked like it was draped in satin

Little Lovables said...

yikes... that orange and pink one looks like it is being held on a white fluffy water bed

dessertschick said...

Having just learned to make cake in general and wedding cake in particular this year, the missed marks NEVER get old! Mostly because there's hope for my slowly developing skills. Thanks!

Also, I checked out the Framingham, MA, B&N site, and there you are, Jen!
http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/63490

So there I will be too! Thanks again for putting Boston(ish) on your tour!

Karen said...

Trevor, cakes with real flowers are very edible. Or at least nobody died and everyone loved my cousin's wedding cake in 2000.

Karen

Sandi said...

Go, Pirates of the Caribbean! (At least, the first movie.)

Ally said...

I know my wedding cake turned out kind of differently from the picture because I was adamant that no fondant touch my cake. That might be the problem for these brides too. Sure mine didn't look like the picture, but at least it was good! Which is far more than I can say for all of my friends that have had gross tasting fondant cakes.

urban.exotic said...

I think the takeaway lesson here is that you're taking a big risk if you contract for a cake not specifically listed in a baker's portfolio.

marn said...

ooohhhhhh...wedding wrecks are my favorite wrecks! (I feel terrible about that, but there it is.)

Stephanie said...

That last one really looks squished...
The original looks like the one some friends of mine had for their wedding 2 years ago - and it was most definitely not a wreck!

Casey said...

The wedding cake dream-crushers are by far my favorite of the Cake Wrecks posts. Ugly cakes + hopes slaughtered = AWESOME.

peachfish said...

I really suspect that a lot of what has happened here results from two things:
1. Not asking to see the bakers photos of previous cakes so you can determine if they are even capable of the level of skill you're expecting.
and
2. Taking a picture of a $4/serving cake to someone who is charging $1.50/serving and expecting the same results.

Shannon said...

I particularly enjoyed the spatula/smoother marks on the seashell cake. Maybe they used a sand trap rake for that extra beachy feel...

Deborah in California said...

OK, that did it. The pancake-flat wedding cake "replica" of the box style made me spit tea on my keyboard. Hilarious for us; for the bride... not so much.

Anonymous said...

I can't complain that the baker came in with an ugly cake, but we did check them out ahead of time, and we gave them a picture of exactly what we wanted and double-checked the delivery time with them. It was actually supposed to be similar to the Glamour "Do" version of the cake with pink petals, only pink icing with white flowers. "No problem," they said. "We do this kind of thing all the time." That's a direct quote!

On the big day, the cake didn't show up until an hour into the reception, and it was all white with big sugar calla lilies on top. It was a pretty cake, but we were freaking out because it was definitely not OUR cake-- not pink, obviously, and I knew I wasn't expecting calla lilies. We were afraid that someone else had ours and was having the same experience somewhere else in town. No, that was our cake, they assured us. (To their credit, they had the filling right, but we had to cut it up to find out!)

By the time you're paying $500 for a cake, you ought to get what you want, no big surprises. My new husband went in later to talk to the baker, who would only offer us more cake. Why on earth would we need more cake? It's been five years, and I'm still irritated.

Kristen said...

It's looking at me! Dear God, IT'S LOOKING AT ME!

Eh-hem.

Sorry. All good now. Just...that last cake...

DocRummel said...

We had a simple solution for our wedding cake -- Cheesecake with strawberry topping. Three tiers using the Wilton tier with side support. Mother-in-law made it.

Cheesecake people! The preventative for wedding cake disasters.

Kage said...

Ugh, can we please slap the person who popularized the "topsy-turvy" cakes? I've seen the process of making them, it's a colossal waste of cake and the end result looks silly to boot, especially if you can't be arsed to pay for more than three layers (and they ain't cheap). Please, let's put an end to the madness.

LeftWingLock said...

Is it me or is there no lime-colored anything on that 3rd cake? And the last one...I have no words. Did the baker get in an accident on the way to the venue?

I admit that after seeing the wedding Wreckage here that I was very very scared about what my cake would look like at my wedding 4 months ago. Even more so after we ordered a birthday cake for my stepson from the same baker and they spelled his name wrong! It turned out fine though, since I chose a cake from her portfolio and just asked for color changes. She even told me straight off that lavender was a difficult icing color and that it might not match exactly (I didn't care, we had all different shades of purple).

Future brides need to learn from this site! Thanks Jen and John for educating me to the dangers inherent in ordering wedding cakes!

Haiku Joy said...

(Something nice. Nice, nice . . .)
Well, seashell cake was flat-out -
easier to serve!

BellaLovesPink said...

I would be so ANGRY (insert expletive) if my cake turned out like any one of these. Sure it's a cake and not the focal point of 'the' day, but geez!

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered - do these bakers ever get paid for the work they do? Do they get sued for the work they do? How on earth do they stay in business?

Amanda said...

I have to admit, the first three weren't so bad. They weren't perfect, but really not ugly cakes. The last one, though... whaaaaaaat?

denise said...

It's just Amazing to me what professional bakers will try to pass off as acceptable to their customers! That last one (sea shells) is JUST PATHETIC :-O Poor Bride...

Lil wish here - would it be possible to have the photos larger when they are clicked on? I'd Love to see some of the details closely, but they seem to be the same small size as in the posts... or is it just me? :-(

denise
Surviving breast cancer...
http://TeamDenise.org

Valerie said...

Ditto GrumpyBear. Our cake was inspired by a photo from The Knot, and the baker at our venue captured it exactly! So glad :)

The one with the flat cake topper....well, couldn't someone have *fixed* the topper before the reception?

Angie said...

I agree with Heather... they weren't HORRIBLE until that last one. The attacking butterflies wasn't the best, but it could have been so much worse - as we've seen in the past. I don't think the last one could get any worse, tho. That poor bride.

Summer said...

Oh my! On my special day. I would prefer to a good baker than to sacrifice my happiest day ever. lolz Anyways, these cakes made me smile. Thanks for sharing. =D

Summer
A Writers Den
Brown Mestizo

Judi Hahn said...

Three weddings. Three great cakes (for my daughters). I feel so badly for those poor brides, especially the last one. On my.

Anonymous said...

*jaw dropped to floor*

okay. I understand it's not a great idea to bring a picture to the bakery and ask for a replica.

... but how are these bakeries, especially the shell cake one, pass as a professional? Do they just don't have the skills to create a cake, or worse, do a half-ass job (to lower cost), knowing full well the bride and groom can't say no because they don't have any alternative?

Hungarican Chick said...

What does one do in a situation like that? Do you demand your money back? What?

I brought a mag pic for my cake to the baker and it was exactly as I'd hoped it was.

I can't imagine how crestfallen the brides must have been.

Melissa (& Billy) said...

You would totally ROTFL if you saw my expression of horror right now. They just got worse and worse! *shudder*

Now, I have two bakeries I frequent, and I know that one has a baker who is more talented than the other--it's just the truth. Neither of them do BAD work, it's just one seems more adept than the other. I would NOT ask the less-adept baker for the topsy-turvy fondant cake.

I wonder if people think that if a baker is a 'professional' that they automatically are in the same league as the famous folks at the Food Network? (heck even some of THEM need some help)

If I showed my baker a picture of a Martha Stewart cake and they said "Well, I can try...I haven't done that before" or they start to sweat, maybe I would rethink things a bit.

Anonymous said...

Is the last picture the result of asking the groom’s ex-wife to do the cake?

Unless it was some kind of evil revenge thing I can’t imagine a professional showing up with that monstrosity and thinking everything is OK.

NewsCat said...

Some of those are fair critiques but I do wonder about the tops-turby one. It's clearly made by a baker with a LOT of skill and I question whether its entirely fair to ask a baker to be able to duplicate it?

Like some of those Sunday Sweets pictures are gorgeous but I would shutter to be the bride who takes one of those ideas and brings it to a baker and says "make this."

Most bakers just won't have that kind of skill, eh? Am I wrong? It's almost like "you expected too much."

Lucille Ball Jr. said...

poor things! i love that middle cake! (the correct way!)

lovey-dovey said...

I can't believe professional bakers did this to these poor brides. They look more like attempts made by well meaning amateur cake baking friends.

Twirly McSwirl said...

You know, when I ordered my wedding cake, I ASKED if I could send in a picture, and they said no... how odd. And I DIDN'T get what I wanted... but I wouldn't really call it a wreck, either, per se.

Although, in retrospect, apparently the picture wouldn't have helped.

April Graves said...

These cakes have GOT to be done by friends, they can't be professsional. Ugh! The last one looks like it was made with someone who used pyrex instead of proper cake pans.

And Andy, my wedding cake was done with a stiff delicious cream cheese frosting (Pumkin and carrot cake layers, yum) and actaully looked like fondant. I was surprised myself, but it can be done!

Amy said...

Just goes to show..sometimes the picture is better than reality.;O)

Amy B-H

Sylvia said...

To avoid disappointments, just look at what the baker has already created, and decide whether or not they are the right ones to pull off the look you are looking for. If a baker has never made sugar flowers before, don't expect them to be able to make them now. They are limited in their abilities by lack of experience, training, knowledge...

Metaphorically speaking, don't assign a graduate school paper to an 8th grader and hate them when they fail horribly. It's hard to feel bad for the brides here. They expect the neighborhood baker to bake as well as Martha Stewart, or other high-end bakers famous enough to end up in magazines?

If such a baker is too expensive, well, weddings aren't cheap to do perfectly.

Anna said...

Heh.

Katie said...

I wonder if the brides who brought in these requested photos looked at their baker's portfolios. If these brides had looked at anything else the baker had made, they should have been able to tell whether what they were asking for was too complicated, right? Sure, the bakers should be honest about their skills too, but especially in the case of that Martha Stewart job, I can see that's a complicated design, if the baker doesn't have *anything* like that for me to look at, I'm going to keep looking for a baker or think about another design.

Hobbit said...

Actually, I kind of liked the first wreck. Not sure if that says more about me or about the effect of this blog.
And I'm with you, Laura Wynn. At my wedding I shall have pie. Just pie.

Piece of Cake said...

Omg! That last cake is flat-out pitiful (sorry, I couldn't resist). You have to wonder what the baker was thinking as they stood back to admire their work...

Pieceofcakesa.blogspot.com

Morgan said...

Cakes like these make me glad I made the decorations for my cake and put them on myself! At least if it looked pathetic I knew I hadn't spent a lot of money on it.

Brooke said...

These are my favorite posts that you do. Awesome.

jackie31337 said...

The one question left unanswered is: were those real sea shells on the last cake?

WV: colum - golum's spreadsheet-guru twin.

Anne said...

I agree with Gary, I think that for some IDIOT reason, the bakers just glazed over, and nodded and nodded, "yes, we can do this" without any real clue how they would accomplish this feat...and then well, you see what happens.

Like everyone said, portfolio is key I guess!!

I have seen the cakes my sister makes, and therefore I know I am (lucky) enough that I can go "Hey you, make this" and she will and it will be awesome!!

scrappin{jewlz} said...

I don't think it is fair to say not to expect a great cake if you go for a less expensive source.
I didn't have much money for my wedding. Got my cake from the bakery at the local grocery store, and added my own topper. Not only was the cake beautiful, it tasted fabulous!



hmn, but maybe when the brides went in with the pictures, the bakers misheard and thought the brides were asking for wreckplicas of those cakes, instead of replicas...?

cupcakesandfluff said...

How upset would you be to have those plopped on the cake table. Poor brides.

Dootsie said...

I feel like these people are victims of not doing their research. If a baker makes sub-par cakes, they're not going to suddenly gain Martha-like qualities overnight because you handed them a cool picture.

And remember, folks... buttercream is cheaper for a reason. Most cakes I've seen that are buttercream versions of a fondant cake look crappy. Them's just the breaks.

Amber said...

The first two aren't TOO bad, compared to some others I've seen on this site. I'm glad I picked a design out of my baker's own design book; at least I knew they knew how to do it right because it was their design.

Barbara_in_WA said...

Oh gosh....with the exception of the "butterfly rose petals" one...if any of the others one had showed up at my wedding I would have cried and cried. Those are awful. Especially the last one. Horrible. Seriously, what were they thinking????

Anonymous said...

(Kage said...
Ugh, can we please slap the person who popularized the "topsy-turvy" cakes? )

Agreed. They were cute the first thousand times I saw them.

On another note, don't just ask to see the bakers' portfolio. Other wedding professionals can be a great source for info. My florist turned me onto an award-winning cake maker who advertised mostly by word of mouth. Her stuff tasted great and looked amazing, he said, and he was right. He also warned me about a bakery that was known among other wedding pros for wobbly, sloppy cakes that they charged steeply for.

So, if you can, pump your professionals for info about other services if they seem chatty. They're the ones who see everyone else's work and they would know who the real standouts are. I'm sure there are some out there who would mostly promote their friends, but it still couldn't hurt to get seek the behind-the-scenes perspective.

Jane said...

I agree with Katie (and some others who mentioned this) - did the couple not look at the baker's previous work?

I think the baker on some of these (especially the last two) was just trying to drum up business and knew they didn't have the skill and equipment for the pics brought in. They should have just said no.

The attacking butterflies one isn't that bad at all - I just wonder if the guests had to pick off the real flowers or what.

This is one reason I kept my cake very simple. A family member made it and I knew she didn't have that much experience. Well, she totally blew my mind because my cake was awesome. :)

Terri said...

All I can think of is how expensive wedding cakes are and how pissed off I would be if my wedding cake did not resemble what I requested. It's not like there's time for a "do over".

PerkinsClan said...

Well, the topsy turvy one DOES look like it might fall over!

The Black Dog said...

First "attacking butterflies" and then "dropped from great heights" along with "pancake dinner"

This is how I get an ab workout every day, laughing at the commentary on these cakes.

mudslicker said...

The only way these cakes could have been any more wrecktacular would be if they had been made out of cupcakes. Wedding cupcakes of course.

ummpumpkinseed said...

Jen, I swear, anytime you begin with "This is what they asked for.......and this is what they got" I am scared to scroll down. And that last cake? It REALLY takes the cake! (pun intended)

ummpumpkinseed said...

Natasha Wheatley said...

That just makes me sad for those brides. Something always will and DOES go wrong at a wedding, but it shouldn't be the cake!


Well, it could be worse....I mean, I'd rather my cake look bad than, say, the groom not show....

DC Becca said...

I used to have such a hard time understanding why good chefs charged so much for their wedding cakes. THIS is why...because they are hard to make and if you don't know what you are doing your client will wind up with something completely wrong for their event.

ALWAYS ask for referrals, folks. ALWAYS. If something is too good to be true (ie: the price you are being quoted) it probably IS too good to be true.

I think these are my favorite posts on this site. Love me some cake wrecks.

Buffy said...

"...dropped from great heights..."

*SNORT*

Cindi said...

The last one looks like a white bridal Army tank!LOL

Elizabeth said...

I wonder if the baker on the last one watched that Sandra Lee clip where she's showing Mario Lopez how to make $40 worth of cake & cookies into "a cake that you'd pay $500 for"--does anyone else remember that? That cake resembles Ms. Lee's final project, only with shells instead of cookies and sprinkles.

Amanda said...

As a bride-to-be, I'm officially terrified!

Rebecca Welch said...

There is nothing worse than being the recipient of one of those dropped at great heights cakes.

NO really-there is NOTHING worse.

Anonymous said...

These are sad, but it's an avoidable problem. Brides need to do research on bakers and not expect every baker to do such high-level work. Likewise, bakers should be honest with brides if they know they lack the skill to match what the bride is wanting. It's a wedding cake - it's a big deal. So, take the time to research and thoroughly communicate!

Bree said...

The first one reminds me of three wedding card boxes stacked on top of each other, with flowers glued to them.

The third one looks awfully complicated to create, and if a baker isn't known for doing those types of designs and decorations or has never attempted a cake like that, he or she needs to be honest and upfront. Sure, a sale may be lost, but it's better than making something that isn't what the couple ordered.

I do agree with the others here that the couple should look at a baker's portfolio and not just blindly trust them to do a cake unless you already know they can fill the request. My brother and his fiancee, who are getting married this Saturday, went with a bakery in my town because they do good work and their cakes are always tasty. I have no doubt their cake will be great.

If I ever get married, I'm seriously considering just a sheet cake.

Feisty Irish Wench said...

Once again...SOOO glad we eloped!

Hannah said...

These are the best posts. Freakin' HILARIOUS.

Anonymous said...

I'm just a beginner but I think I could do a better job than most of these. How could a baker let something like these go out the door?

Haiku Joy said...

Topsy's greatest sin
is how the wonkiness looks
unintentional.

Anonymous said...

Seeing these photos gives me serious panic attacks about my own wedding cake. The only reason we are having the wedding is for the cake.

Nami said...

Seeing all these bad wedding cakes makes me kind of freaked out to have mine done by a "professional." I want a creamy/pale gold cake with cherry blossoms on it. I have a picture!...but apparently that doesn't make a difference 0_o.

~Nami

Krista said...

Clearly the brides were getting a steal. No reputable cake designer would make garbage such as these. Brides: you get what you pay for!! Correct me if any of these brides were charged $5+ per serving, which is what would have to be charged to recreate the works of art they asked for...

Lina said...

The blue and white one looks like wads of chewing gum stuck to a freshly painted (for the 573rd time) alley wall.

Sweet Success said...

It's BOGGLING to me that there are people who can be sooo off!! Little things here and there yes, but seriously????

Cake_or_Death said...

Getting married in 3 days - trying hard not to think...

Even with my small, informal, laid-back plans, if my cake looked like any of those abominations, the baker would be wearing it.

I totally love the topsy-turvy cake (the good one that is), too. Hmm, maybe for an anniversary.

Pat

WV - bragge - what I hope to be able to do about my wedding cakke

Berry Girl said...

which just serves to make me all the more thankful that we did not even bother with a wedding cake...

feathergirl said...

Did they not look at pictures of the baker's work?

Hikaru said...

AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! I feel SO sorry for those brides! D:

Soapy Hollow said...

Just out of curiosity, how *does* one accomplish a topsy turvy cake? Is it just a matter of carving the cakes and cutting out divots for the next layer up, or are there specific pans?

But the sheet cake monstrosity...that could only have been done by either a friend, or she ordered a cake from the grocery store where 2.5" is as high as they get per layer. That thing...that's just horrible. I can't imagine that anyone paid for that.

rachelle said...

ah. it does my heart good to see some happily wedded wreckage.

Cath said...

Rose petals, like many other flowers, are edible... but only as long as you buy the culinary grade. Or you get them from your home garden, where you know there's no pesticides on them. Florist flowers should NOT be eaten. I would be worried about this one.

Cyndi said...

Every time there are wedding Wrecks, I feel the need to point out that you don't have to spend a fortune to get a decent wedding cake. My baker worked out of her house and got business mostly by word-of-mouth. $1.50 a serving, custom, beautiful, and tasted so good that my photographer demanded the baker's name for her own patronage.

archersangel said...

if a baker thinks at a cake is too ambitious for him/her to attempt she/he should not atempt it.
or are thes "the eye of the beholder" type things?

janet2buns said...

If they can't make the cake the bride wants, why don't they just say so? They're not going to get paid for the crappy cake they provide anyway so it's not like they are losing anything if they turn down the order.

Pirate Queen said...

I hate to say it, but most especially in the case of the (first) topsy-turvy cake, this is the creation of a real artist and asking someone else to copy it, only in different colors, is a kind of theft. If the bride would have said, we like this topsy-turvy cake, can you create something similar to this? -- OK. But to ask for an outright copy, just changing the colors, is not OK. How soon before a lame-o, deliberate knock-off of one of Duff Goldman's cakes shows up with a sad bridal story?

Heidi Williams said...

The wedding cakes are by far my favorite wrecks.... I would LOVE to hear the stories behind these cakes. What happend on the wedding day? Did these people dispute the cakes? did they pay them? I mean, seriously - its your wedding day! Did they announce to the guests - "uh, please avoid the cake?" Did they at least taste good? So many questions... so little answers.

Anonymous said...

I actually liked the "bad" topsy turvy cake better than the original. (I don't like the topsy turvy look very much - though I appreciate the skill involved. I also prefer lighter colors for something I'm going to eat vs. bright/neon colors.)
The first one - original and copy - was not something I'd personally want, but I didn't think it looked that bad either.

In any case, I can understand why the bride would be disappointed if she was expecting something more like the original.

Sometimes I've seen cases on Judge Judy where a person orders something custom made like a cake or dress and then sues if it comes out very badly. From what I remember, the outcome depends largely on how similar/dissimilar it is to what was asked for and whether or not the person claimed they could do it. What amazes me is that the business owner would feel comfortable going on tv with a case like that!

Ann said...

I don't understand why people are blaming the couple (or just the bride). Of course you should spend a bit of time before you spend a lot of money, but it seems that these orders were accompanied by photos of what was wanted. Looking at a portfolio isn't always the answer, as it could have been the work of someone who no longer works there. As for the allegations that these are cheaper bakers, there are plenty of reasons a baker can be cheaper, such as trying to establish themselves or being located in a less expensive part of town...and that's assuming that you even realize that what you are buying is 'cheap' when it is more money than you've ever spent for a cake in your life.

I would place the blame on the bakeries who said they could do something that they couldn't do. It is a misrepresentation of services, i.e. a lie. It would have been better for them to tell the truth and either discuss a different design or recommend another bakery.

Susannie said...

I can't help to question the brides (and grooms) and why they request such complicated cakes. Most bakers can't make cakes like that topsy turvy one! If the baker hasn't have one like that in her/his window display, then don't ask for it!!

Or it this just common cake wreck sense? :)

Joanna @ The Casa said...

Holy Mother of God that last one is horrible. I'm thinking the brides should do a little more research on their cake makers. Also you can't expect diamonds on a cubic zirconia budget.

Budget Wise Weddings said...

This is horrifying! It makes you realize how important it is to interview the baker just as intensely as you would your photographer. It's so important to see a portfolio, taste samples and express very specific details so that the end result is perfectly clear. Thanks for sharing those photos!

Typo Tat said...

Am I the only one who finds the first two 'original' cakes not all that hot?

The only TRULY bad one though, is the shell cake. Looks like something ran it over.

Miranda said...

Dang. I guess the moral of the story here is that if you are not a. swimming in money, b. prepared to hire a private investigator to learn the baker's life story, or c. willing to take out a bank loan for a cake, you'd best learn how to bake and decorate it yourself!

...which is exactly what I did, never mind that I'm divorced now, lol. At least my cake was good tasting and pretty!

Pam Walter said...

These are too sad for words. It has to be awful to have your wedding cake look like these disasters! http://blog.sweetservices.com/sweetscandyblog/

Anonymous said...

For everyone freaking out that this will happen at their future weddings, there are simple ways to avoid this.

As several people stated, check the baker's previous work and skill level.

If you want a replica of a particularly difficult cake - especially one that you found in wedding magazine or on a highly skilled professional's website - be willing to pay top dollar for it. And this could mean thousands, not hundreds.

If you are not willing to pay the insanely steep prices to go to specialty bakers, be willing to compromise and pick one of the styles that the baker offers and is confident making, not some Martha Stewart cake you just HAVE to have.

And remember, you're getting married to the person you will (hopefully) be spending the rest of your life with. The cake should be the least of your worries. Stressing out about sugar and flour seems quite ridiculous when you should be enjoying the most important day with the one you love.

Bakestuff said...

This is why, as a baker, I don't do wedding cakes. You expect a perfect Replica of a Martha Stewart cake, and anything less will be mocked. I just have to assume that everyone that's mocking an imperfect copy of Martha can make a perfect one themselves and therefore doesn't need me.

Anonymous said...

Ok Everyone, the first cake was mine. And Yes, I did research the baker. I looked at all the books of examples of her work. She helped me pick that one out from a magazine IN HER SHOP. And we paid a lot of money for that cake!

And for the people who said they wouldn't accept that. I didn't!!! But what do I do when I walk in the reception hall & there it is? I was SOOOOO mad & embarrassed. That wasn't what I ordered at all. So I waited to get the photos back & emailed the baker for a refund. She said she couldn't see the difference. ?!?! Seriously!!!???

Rachel said...

okay, I thought my wedding cake turned out horribly. Thanks for the laughs, it wasn't THAT bad afterall

ranzkiedoodles said...

the wedding cake is cried when it saw itself and that happened.- R

Double N said...

The ONLY comment I can make is WTF???

(WV is Munksom..." I'ma hafta munksom un up if the make me a cake like these!)

Shiseiten said...

lol. wow. all of those were bad interpretations. especially that last one. that made me laugh out loud.

Susan said...

I'm planning my wedding right now and have not coordinated the cake yet. These posts definitely make me nervous!! I think we'll have to go with something simple just to make sure we get something nice. I wish I could make it myself (I make weddings cakes), but I don't see how I could make my own cake and deal with the masses of relatives flying into town early.

Ashley said...

If I were that last bride; I would have been irate!!! At least the other cakes looked decent even if they weren't the cakes the girls wanted.

Violet said...

OMG! Those cakes are awful. I would have refused to pay. Especially for the last one.

Angie Jackson said...

It's official - I'm spoiled rotten. My sister's hubby made my wedding cake (cheese cake with sugar glitter and cascading red rose petal) and he made SEVEN practice cakes to be sure it would turn out perfect. (And I got to eat all the practice cakes myself.) Sure the marriage didn't last but it was a damn good cake :)

Anonymous said...

cannot believe people call themselves professionals when this happens. those poor couples who expect it to be right. glad i had my mother bake my cake. i was constantly checking every move she made.

anaceofkidneys said...

Aw, I LIKE the white with blue flowers one. It has sort of a Frank Lloyd Wright look to it.

Anonymous said...

Any bride who doesn't get what she wanted on her wedding day has only to blame but herself--if the baker you hire hasn't ALREADY done exactly what you want, you shouldn't be hiring them. Period.

jennycakesohio said...

As a cake decorator, I know personally that sometimes brides come in with pictures, and don't want to pay the money to get what they want, like with the cascading flowers, I can see a bride hearing the price for the sugar flowers and not wanting to pay. And it also could be that the decorators don't have the skill and are too afraid to turn away customers. Jenny

Jill said...

I actually wonder if the last cake was simply ordered much too big? Like - how big is the first one (it looks tiny, which adds to its appeal) but the one they actualyl got is enormous to feed several hundred hungry wedding guests. Sheet cakes are cheaper to make and voila - pancake beach cake!

Not that it's any excuse. I'm sorry but that is NOT a wedding cake. I woudln't serve that at a backyard barbecue. I really hope that poor bride & groom didn't pay for that cake!!

Zephyr's Mom said...

Hi all, the "topsy turvy" cake was my submission.

The short story is that the bakery came highly recommended by the wedding consultant, we DID look at their portfolio (gorgeous cakes), and we DID tell them we wanted a smaller, simpler version. Basically we wanted bright colors and crazy shapes, with a bit of a tilt to each layer.

The only reason we ordered that style was because it was the one wedding-oriented thing my now-husband had a real opinion on... he LOVED the crazy look of the original cake. As I said, we told the bakery make it much simpler, smaller (only 65 guests), and with only bright fuschia, orange, and lime to match the wedding colors. They SWORE they could do it. I didn't know to ask for a sketch.

Yes, it's true that they did not have any "topsy turvy" / "mad hatter" cakes in their portfolio, but that's not surprising, we live in Central Maine and they haven't caught on here yet... despite the fact that clearly they've been and gone in some of YOUR areas.

Having never ordered a wedding cake before, and not being even remotely close to pastry chefs, we didn't know that you're supposed to order "stock cakes". In fact, they didn't offer any, just showed us pictures of previous cakes. I was all over wedding planning sites and all THOSE brides were bringing photos to their bakers so that's what we did. We thought that based on the beautiful samples in their portfolio, and their assurances, we would get a decent looking cake. WE DID NOT KNOW THAT THIS CAKE IDEA WAS A PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT THING TO DO.

Yes, I was upset when I saw it, but mostly because it was PASTEL, not bright, and because the fondant (YES it was fondant, not buttercream) looked as if it had been cut and applied by a 3rd grader.

We paid for the cake. It was delicious, and once our guests realized it was the cake, most of them actually complimented us on it. They had never seen a topsy turvy / mad hatter cake before so they had no preconception of what it should look like.

I was MORE upset that the florist completely screwed up the flowers for the bouquets... how hard is it to use orange and fuschia for the bride (no white) and orange and white for the bridesmaids (no fuschia)??? We all got fuschia and white, and the fuschia clashed with the bridesmaids' dresses. I think I paid for those too but at least I got a discount. (What can I say, I try not to sweat the small stuff. We got married and all our family was there, that was the big thing.)

In the end, I still got buckets of compliments on everything, even from the reception site. They asked if they could keep some of the decorations for the rest of the summer brides... I was flattered so I said sure.

If you've read this far... the moral of the story is, learn from others' mistakes.

-Sharon L. in Maine

Soapy Hollow said...

Sharon, (Bride o' the Topsy Cake)

Good for you. What a wonderful attitude to have, and how blessed your life must be when you can let the little things go and enjoy the moment. Very uplifting story, thanks for sharing!

dopefaerie said...

These people were just done all kinds of wrong! I would have cried, dropped the cakes on the floor of the bakery, thrown the money in their faces and walked out. How awful for these poor people!

Anonymous said...

What bothers me is peoples/brides expectations. You take a picture of a beautiful, professionally done cake to your friends mother (who used to do cakes) and you want the same cake for 100.00. You truly get what you pay for girls!!

tara said...

There is no way I would pay for some of those wedding cakes. I can't believe someone would even deliver those. I would rather go without a cake than have our pictures taken with those. LOL.

Tara MacLean

Jessica said...

That last one is so very sad.

Cupcakes Lady said...

What wrong with Real flowers on a cake? Seen it done loads of times. xx

Anonymous said...

I simply can't believe the baker's could even DELIVER these "cakes" and I can't believe they were accepted and paid for. I'd rather have no cake than those cakes. What a disaster!