Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy National Cake Decorating Day!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ok, yes, there really is a holiday for everything - but that's not the point.

The point, my fellow cake lovers, is that today is an excellent day to consider taking up a new hobby.

I'm talking, of course, about miniature railroad building.

Or, failing that, I suppose you could try cake decorating:

Now, I know what you're thinking. "John," you're thinking - although you're mistaken, because this is actually Jen typing - "John, how can I, a mere mortal, achieve the unspeakable grace and beauty displayed on this delectable-looking delight?"

(Admit it: that's what you were thinking, wasn't it? Dang, I'm good.)

Well, have no fear! When it comes to cake decorating, there's really nothing to it.

What, you don't believe me? Bwa. Aha. Hah. [<-- cheerful chortling] Perhaps some illustrations of paid-for, professional examples might help?

First, the basics. All you need is 1) some icing, and 2) a large plastic toy.

Feeling more confident now?

Or, if you really want to have some fun, get yourself a food grade airbrush. Oh, the fun you can have with that!

As an added bonus: no piping needed! Just spray on some random patterns, and you'll have a cakey creation to rival any "professional" in no time!


Of course, if you really want to break out the piping bags, don't feel like a recognizable pattern is necessary:

'Cuz it's not.
(Also, changing tips is for sissies. Just sayin'.)

Once you've mastered these few simple skills, you'll be able to create cakes guaranteed to make your friends sit up and take notice. Like this:

(Centering is also for sissies.)

Or this:

Drink it in; this could be your work someday.

That's right, aspiring artists: work hard, dream big, and some day you might achieve the ultimate of cake decorating feats: the wedding cake.

Dare to dream big.


Thanks to Wreckporters Michael, Melissa, Casey R., Kate R., Trisha W., Kenny K., Lydia D., & Jessica E. for today's "inspirations."

- Related Wreckage: Love is in the Air
Katie said...

Done CORRECTLY, that wedding cake could have been gorgeous.

Kristy said...

I think my fave is the non-diary icing tag on the round airbrushed one. Butterless buttercreme? *shudder*

Jeff said...

Jen,

I see you've already started on your next book: "The Seven Secrets They Don't Want You To Know About Cake Decorating."

Long time lurker here. Best wishes on the rest of the tour and thanks for all the chuckles.

Terry Lee said...

sign me up for the next cake decorating class! i'm thinking i could do no worse than these.

the wedding cake actually looks almost ok. maybe it's all that chocolate dripping down the sides that entices me.

are those fried eggs floating in a sea of icing (next to last cake)?! geez. these are too difficult to figure out so early in the morning.

hope y'all have lotsa fun in austin today. am going to miss being there!

Kait said...

Actually, the writing on the first one is kinda nice.

Karen said...

I love the bride and groom on the wedding cake done in dipped strawberries!

Take it easy the next few days, y'hear? You're real troupers to get back in the tour saddle, but don't push it and end up back in the hospital.

WV: crywova - Don't crywova spilt milk or wrecked cakes, for that matter.

WriteCards said...

Somebody failed their Wilton Cake Decorating classes! A LOT of somebodies failed! (However, the wedding cake isn't *that* bad . . . I just think a non-paid-non-professional could have done just as well!)

Hope the rest of the Texas "Hold 'Em in the Hospital (NOT)" Tour goes well!

Jessica H said...

My reactions to these cakes kept getting worse (or better if you are a glass half full kinda person). They started out as a mild groan, advanced to a quiet, "Oh dear," and finished with a tight squeezing shut of my eyelids while pinching the bridge of my nose.

I keep scanning the bakery departments of my local grocers hoping to find a wreck worthy of emailing you. So far the only things I have found are a few lovely apple turnovers that wanted to go to the party in my tummy. The search continues.

Enzzo said...

I can't decide if the second-to-last one looks more like Martian breasts or bisected avocados.

hostels barcelona said...

i would eat all them!!

Alia said...

Wow... my favorite would have to be the stripey-ish one. The wedding cake isn't so bad, although maybe a little sloppy.

Thanks for cheering me up!

Typo Tat said...

That first black-and-white cake, SO disgusting. Looks like it was decorated with coal dust.

Whoever thought black was a good cake color?

Ryan said...

I'm pretty sure the red one is Tomato soup with Mozzarella on top and a little cilantro garnish.

Melanie B. said...

The second-to-last one looks like a faux moldy pineapple upside-down cake. "We're out of pineapple rings, just airbrush some on!"

Anonymous said...

I think the little groom strawberries are adorable. Sadly they look like they landed in a pile of snow somebody unsuccessfully tried to defrost with windshield-wiper fluid that a dog later did it's business on.

Susan said...

The one in the middle with orange-y/pink blobs looked like a shrimp salad with wasabi on the side. Could be tasty, but on a cake?

Lucille Ball Jr. said...

ohhhhhh my! that made me sick! :(

Half Assed Kitchen said...

You mean I could get good enough one day to make that green poo border??? Swoon.

Evie said...

NON-DAIRY WHIPPED TOPPING? That is the worst offence against cakes ever.

Rima said...

Mmm, grey food.

Christine said...

The little strawberries in dinner jackets are adorable, shame about the rest of the cake

Janella said...

Apparently, along with "some icing" and "a large plastic toy", you will also need some very funky cake pans!!

Janella said...

...on second thought, "wonky" cake pans sounds better, doesn't it??

Lauren said...

i actually really like the first cake... if it had been done in different colors. the script is actually pretty. it's just barely legible since the whole cake is basically all in the same color.

oh, and i love the bride and groom done in chocolate dipped strawberries. but that's the only positive thing i can say about that cake.

for the rest of them... there's just nothing positive to say at all... in fact, i'm feeling sort of dizzy from all the crazy rainbow colors and the off centered designs. oh, and all the crazy messed up stars all over that one cake. i guess five year olds can take wilton classes too?

Barbara_in_WA said...

Well.....if you squint your eyes while looking at the wedding cake....it still looks like crap.....never mind....

Deray said...

The 5th cake reminds me of my microbial pathogenesis class, the STD's chapter to be precise, ewwww.

Elizabeth said...

The Wedding Cake, I'd laugh at it, but I'd still eat it. Chocolate...yum!

Courtney C. said...

The completely random bits of tulle in between the wedding cake layers have truly made me question life, the universe and everything... (tehehehe)

WV: whillai: Whillai recover after seeing that cake?

deromanticize said...

The wedding cake is a really cute idea in theory. It's a shame it looks like a kindergartener had a lot of fun throwing melted chocolate on it.

Also, I need to defend non-dairy frosting. I make vegan baked goods and I've made some vegan buttercream that is so delicious you would have no clue it's vegan. I mean, it's eat straight out of the bowl until you feel sick delicious. I use earth balance, which tastes and acts exactly like butter. Don't diss it until you try it!

Natalie said...

The first crappy non-centered cake with the comic book (?) scene is really set off by the long green poo.

I would smile and laugh, of course, but I've got all this tulle stuck in my teeth from a wedding cake from last night.

SN said...

I took the intro Wilton course many years ago and everyone there did way better cakes than these - even on their first day! Even the children! I would encourage people to try a cake decorating class though (Wilton or otherwise) - it turned out to be a lot easier than I thought, and I learned some great little tricks. (For instance, if your cake is lumpy and uneven, just cut the top off so it's level. The car cake above might have been helped with that one!) The great thing about cake decorating, which the professional wreckers don't seem to realize, is you can just eat your mistakes and then no one will know...

Sheri said...

It never fails to amaze me, the wrecks in that show up in bakery display windows. But even more amazing is that people actually BUY THEM!

Diagnose Rachel said...

John and Jen,
You guys are responsible for many couch snuggling moments in our house. I'll sit on the couch with my laptop, yell, "CAKEWRECKS!"
and my 4 children come running. My ten year old really tries to figure it out. My 3 year old has the best things to say, since she can't read.
First cake today, she said,
"Oh, look, can we get that cake for Halloween?" Yes, yes dear. When you graduated from college during Halloween.

And the car birthday cake, she tried to do her normal "name the shape of the cake" game.

"Its a...its a sort of circle?"

The wedding cake was met by confusion by my husband, who also wanders in. "That's a pretty good wedding cake! Why did it make cake wrecks?"
Why indeed. Don't worry, he's from a small farming town that creates many treasures that would be wreackable in big cities.

Haha, you can have a selection of cakes "you might be a redneck if you think this cake is pur-dy"

Love you guys!
Rachel

Mandy said...

The 2nd-to-last cake looks like a prepared slide of stained cells in a biology lab. (Yes, yes, I am a geek)

WV: zoodissp

No idea, just thought it was a really cool word! :-)

Diagnose Rachel said...

Enzzo,
Ryan, Melanie B
Thanks for the extra laughs!
Avocados, pineapples and soup, oh my :)
They gave us much to ponder about the thought processes of under-educated decorators

Natalie said...

My 2 year old just asked to see some "beautiful cakes." Sadly, this was all I had to offer. When we got to the green pseudo-pineapple upside down cake concoction, she said, "Ew. That cake's yucky."

*tear*

The apple doesn't fall far.

Digital Daguerreotypist said...

Thank you Janella - I also didn't realize that a cake could be a square/circle hybrid. Maybe they were going for a Leaning Tower of Pisa look??

I also agree with Lauren that while the first cake is the least wreck-y, it's too monochromatic to see the quality.

and couldn't "non dairy whipped topping" just be Cool Whip?

okay, I'm done with the randomness - Jen and John, I'm glad you both are feeling better, and hope that you continue to stay that!

wv - eyshoot, there's a shoot my eyes out pun in there but I can't figure out how to make it...

Anonymous said...

Can someone help me out here? Does the writing on the first (gray lady down!) cake say "CONGRANLATUNS"? Sounds a bit like medieval Latin: Congran latuns? Or Spanish! "Con gran latuns!" With great/large ... whatever latuns are when they're at home. Just wondering....

All the best on the rest of the Cakes Tour - and, as others have said, Take it Easy there, big fella'
:-)

hugs from Deborah in California

Thanny said...

It seems probable to me that eating the first cake could result in heavy metal poisoning.

Ele said...

I'm almost positive that the red cake with the white and green decorations (all with the same tip) is ....

a STEAK!

It's got a fat ring around the base of the cake. The white decorations go in the center where a bone would be. The green decoration is parsley

Joan said...

That next-to-last one would make the PERFECT substitute for a pineapple-upside-down cake for somebody allergic to pineapple. Really - take another look. See?

Beth said...

I tried to send this to you but the contact page doesn't have any usable emails on it!

http://www.gearfuse.com/steampunk-wedding-cake/

A completely edible (if you call fondant that) steampunk cake!

NYCGirl said...

I believe the fifth one may be brain on a plate. Garnished with parsley, of course.

janet2buns said...

It's possible the first photo is black and white, and the actual cake has nice colours.

It's not IMpossible, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so it's a quiet Saturday and there was an inexplicable PULL on my psyche ... Does anyone else see - in that ersatz pineapple upside down cake - a resemblance to some of Van Gogh's works? Could there be a cake-wreckerator somewhere contemplating sending a "gift" to a lost love? Will it show up on a cake someday soon? These questions and more....

Deborah in California who is now going to STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER....

Lucille Ball Jr. said...

that would have been a pretty wedding cake!

Anonymous said...

YES! YES! Deborah in California, I did indeed think of van Gogh on that second to last one!!! Then I thought, that's stupid, no it's not. HOWEVER, upon seeing your comment I was encouraged to review it and let my Van Goghian side out to play! It's uh, v.g.'s long lost painting of eggs sunny-side up in the grass! Or an homage to the breast, on a pool table. :-) I dunno if pool tables were all green felted back in v.g.'s day, but yep,, they've got his style, no question! Lily

Anonymous said...

oops, ok, I juist got the "gift" part. oh goodness, I hope nobody is mailing around any spare parts.

I'm gonna stick with the s.s.u. eggs of the HOMAGE, no actual parts.

Anonymous said...

Wedding cake? Maybe a divorce cake. As you go down the cake, or through the years see how the bride and groom get farther and farther apart

linguafranca said...

That wedding cake looks tasty! I can't eat pretty cakes.

Foxen said...

That wedding cake is sad because they obviously actually tried pretty hard. The strawberries in chocolate tuxes are kinda cute, at least.

Tía Hillary said...

I definitely see alien breasts on the next to last cake. The green background (?) looks like it's moving, like sunshine reflecting through a pool on a sunny day.


WV: nelli - whoa nelli! That's an ugly cake!

denestria said...

The next to last, green, one is kind of amazing and not in a good way. It could be a game of Carcassonne, a germ slide under a microscope or the breasts of an alien woman that Captain Kirk would seduce.

Kitty Finch said...

My favourite was the weird blobby mess (yeah, THAT one) until I got to the wedding cake. This is the first time I've ever felt disgusted by the sight of chocolate.

My SO baked my birthday cake this year and decorated it with the Star Trek insignia. It was a mirror image, but other than that it was perfect. I was so proud!

BillyD said...

I like the black and white Marketing U cake - hope it's licorice!

Wildroses said...

At first I almost liked that wedding cake, but then I squinted at it and asked "is that FABRIC on it?" It looks like tulle to me but I hope I'm mistaken.

Trishka said...

I know what the second to last cake is!!!! It is a chalice coral http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=597+321+468&pcatid=468 I'm not sure about the color but it's a pretty good match look wise. Ok, it probably isn't supposed to look like coral but that was what I saw when I looked at it.

Irma said...

What is the Five Nipple Cske supposed to mean???? This is going to keep me up for days.

WATERBABY CHRISTINE said...

I don't know why the fifth cake isn't clear to people. Obviously, it's for St. Patrick's Day! See the pretty green shamrocks? See the orange to keep those northern Irish feeling included? And that white fuzzy thing in the middle? Why it's the blessed beard of St. Patrick of course, known to cure all manner of plague.

WV: terid
That wedding cake is a teridble waste of perfectly good chocolate.

Jynxed said...

I actually like that wedding cake, it could have been done better, but it's not TOO bad.

Stacy said...

I actually think that the bride/groom dipped strawberries were cute. But not for a wedding cake. Perhaps a shower cake?

kadyb said...

I agree with others who've posted that the next-to-last cake looks like a faux pineapple-upside-down cake. It doesn't look appealing enough to eat, though.

wv: dodarr - Dodarr eat any of these wrecks?

Anonymous said...

That last cake made me snot with laughter. :D

Nick said...

Question about the green, yellow, and orange cake . . . are those supposed to be flowers, or, uh, disembodied human mammary glands?

Anonymous said...

Since there seems to be some confusion, I will add that the first cake today is actually green and purple not black and white, but they were loaded into the same icing bag, per the 1982 Wilton Yearbook, and the result was.. well.. exactly as the colorwheel might have predicted.

The addition of silver luster dust, of course, added to the general greyishgrossish tone. Piling silver dragees, colorful (?) rock sugar, and whatever else was at hand (metal shavings?) completed the look. The best way I've come up with to describe it was an unfortunate accident at a pixie mining facility. It was, truly, a sight to behold.

The Litwillers said...

Wow. Is that Magic Shell on the wedding cake??? I can do that :)

Kachine said...

Hmm. The wedding cake could be very pretty if you get rid of the ruffles and if they had heated that chocolate fudge just a few degrees more! And kept it warm until they got to the bottom...the bottom layer looks the worse. I used to do cakes like that and when done well, they are beautiful!

The rest of those wrecks....I don't think there is any help for them! lol

WV: Nerbafi - organized crime by Nerds with allergies

Cathe Holden said...

Centering is for Sissies has always been my motto, LOL! I'm off to look for a cake decorating correspondence course...

Anonymous said...

On cake three the tag says non-dairy topping and has a little pile of poop

Fahnette said...

Looking at these makes me quite grateful I had a non-wrecky, perfectly lovely and absolutely nummy sheet cake with matching individual, non-CCC cupcakes at my wedding last night.

Although the Van Gogh boobie cake would be awesome for my sister's welcome home party when she moves back from New York.

J&J, this site kept us going and laughing through some really crazy wedding preparations. Thank you so much, and we hope you continue on your path to good health and happiness!

Wendy K said...

I kind of like the dreamy "Monet" vibes the penultimate one has.

S said...

oh god. That wedding cake is just TRULY wrecked.

Bethany said...

It was SO awesome to meet you both in Austin! Thanks for coming down!!

Anonymous said...

That wedding cake...What were they thinking?

Anonymous said...

I actually like the last two. They're cute, if a little odd. And the last definitely looks tasty.

Melissa (& Billy) said...

My expressions while reading through this post:

=(

D=

=0

80

Yeah. Hooodoggie.

Anonymous said...

... Okay, I'll admit while that wedding cake isn't exactly BEAUTIFUL, I sure want to eat it.

... Maybe I just need a piece of chocolate.

Nicole said...

Yes, I must say, the little tuxberries are awfully cute.

Mary said...

Wow, if I paid for that for my wedding cake, I would be seriously mad.

John said...

The green "pineapple ring" cake reminds me of a petri dish. Different antibiotics leave different 'clear zones', depending on how effective they are against the infectious agent.

I fear there will never be a Wreck vaccine.

Sharon said...

It has to be said, I'd actually want to eat that last one. Pretty, it is not, but it looks kinda tasty...

Anonymous said...

Um One of the cakes looks like the plant cells I taught my kids about today.

Anne said...

I think the green and yellow one wants to be a gelatin salad when it grows up.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad people informed me that those were strawberries in tuxes on the wedding cake. I thought they were eyes slit in half Cocteau-style, which made it much, much worse.

Shaina said...

The non dairy whipped topping sticker is the whipped cream icing. Like cool whip. It's not "butterless buttercreme." It's not supposed to be.

Also, people in grocery stores are not necessarily trained or even required to have any talent. I know I don't, but I still have to churn out dozens of generic cakes on a daily basis. They are professional only in the fact that they are paid to make cakes. And of course you can make this crap yourself. Nothing is difficult about cake decorating.

Anonymous said...

Wow, everyone here came up with great names for that pineapple cake. "microbial pathogenesis" "plant cells" "stained cells from biology lab." I was thinking of biology, but not at a cellular level. Two pairs of boobs encircled in uh.. green plastic leis?

I just went straight for "BREASTS - two pairs!" when I saw that picture.

Haiku Joy said...

People of vision
are what we need. And sometimes,
that vision is blurred.

Rachel Leastlikely said...

that wedding cake just made me feel sad. they thought they could do it. they put blue flowers on and everything. they went out on a limb. and failed.

this isn't a particularly witty comment.

i am genuinely depressed by that cake.

Cat. said...

I actually quite like the last cake. Hm... Perhaps my groom shall wear a chocolate tuxedo. >;)

sudaki said...

"Non-dairy whipped topping" does, in fact, refer to something like Cool Whip. It is also not at all non-dairy (i.e. it contains milk products), so I have no idea how it has gotten that label.

(I have a milk allergy; I agree with the vegan baker that you can make very good non-dairy frosting, but THAT is neither dairy-free nor frosting.)

Craig said...

#1 looks like it was rescued from a fire. Or maybe the 'Marketing U Class of 2007' was for guys looking to get out of the coal mines.

#3 As noted elsewhere, the tag warns of 'non-dairy whipped topping' backed up with a picture of a poo pile. At least they recognize the equivalence...

#4 What's more festive than an airbrush test pattern?

#5 The flowers on the border are not half bad, but the rest makes up the balance. 'Pepto Pink' is not a color for anything that is to be eaten, agreed?

#6 Not sure about 'sissy' here -- it's so...aggressive! The background is aggressively random, the 'Big Cat Clown'(?) graphic is aggressively off-center, the poo border is aggressively fluorescent green. Whatever this thing is sitting on is aggressively disorienting as well.

#7 could be a cake tribute to the Moonglobe from The Outer Limits. They didn't get the eyes quite right, though, and the tentacles aren't clearly defined.

#8 comes from a wreckery located at the intersection of Aspirations and Reality. Concept: adorable. Execution? Er, did I mention the concept was adorable?

Rio Calma Fuerteventura said...

I agree that