Monday, February 22, 2010

Wrecking By the Book

Monday, February 22, 2010

When ordering a cake at your local bakery, you may be given a big picture book to choose from. This could cause you some concern: will your cake look as nice as the one in the photo?

Well, never fear, cake consumer! I'm here to help. Now, will your cake look exactly like the one in the book? YES. Absolutely.

Er, with a few caveats, of course.


Caveat #1: Perspective is all relative.
(scroll down)


And to think: you were worried!




Caveat #2: Designs are open to interpretation.

I could be wrong, but I think this translates roughly to, "I hate my job, and you by association."





Caveat #3: The toy is all that matters.

Just look at that icing sky. Perfection!




Caveat #4: No, seriously. THE TOY IS ALL THAT MATTERS.


[sound of head hitting desk repeatedly]

Caveat # 5: On Wild Card Wednesdays, anything goes.


Really? Seriously? This can't be real...[flipping through proof file] Here it is. Hmm. Ahuh. Ahuh. Yeah. Really? No way. Seriously? They told her the Tinkerbell figurine didn't come with the cake?!? Haven't they seen caveats 3 and 4? I mean, C'MON!

Ahem.

Paige, I am so sorry for you.


Thanks to Wreckporters Aimee S., A.E., Cecily C., Kelli R., and, of course, Paige T.

- Related Wreckage: The Joker's Revenge
Jenniffer said...

YIKES! Seriously, grocery stores are where you buy bread and ground beef, not birthday cakes.

-Jenniffer
http://cupadeecakes.blogspot.com

iknow_iknow_iknow said...

If the train goes off the track, do you want your money back?

Why, yes I do.

Bakingdom said...

I love that Mr. Krabs isn't even facing forward on the Spongebob cake.

In defense of grocery store cake decorators (and as a former grocery store cake decorator myself), we aren't all bad. Really.

Gary said...

Sigh.

This is sort of like showing potential buyers paintings by Renoir, and saying I'll make the same thing for them. No, it's like saying my dog will make the same thing for them. Or my paint-throwing monkey.

By the way, is there some way to get an enlarged view of the "Men at Work" cake picture? I'm curious about what it was orginally supposed to look like.

The Boob Nazi said...

The cake with the glove reminds me of the Chappelle's Show with Rick James. "What did the five fingers say to the face? SLAP." I'm not sure why.

Leserlee said...

Some of the cakes from the book are pretty bad by themselves. The Men at Work cake...what are the vehicles driving on? Tree branches? And what is that in the middle of the cake? A volcano? A mountain? What?

Jasry said...

I detest grocery store bakeries. Due to stupid school rules, I must by treats there if my children want to celebrate their special day at school. My son's bday is 4 days before Valentine's Day, so guess what kind of cupcakes he had to pass out? Yup, pink and red and purple-sprinkled albino poo-topped cupcakes, half of them with sliding poo. Blech. I even asked for bday-related picks, and the lady said they didn't have any! *facepalm*
I repeat: I detest grocery store bakeries!

Vanessa said...

Actually, since starting to read this blog, I've been cruising the bakeries of my local grocery stores just HOPING to find a cake wreck I can photograph and send in as a submission. But nooo....the bakeries here are all staffed with talented decorators that seem to be able to spell and have decent artistic sense. The cakes either look like the books or are even more gorgeous and creative than the stock photos.

I've never been so disappointed in quality and excellence in my whole life.

Elizabeth said...

Poor kid. She would have been happy with it if she just got to have Tinkerbell.

agirlinherkitchen.blogspot.com

Stacie said...

Um...what is the point of the book?

You say: "I want this cake."

They hear: "Throw a couple-a stuffs on there and make sure there's a cake underneat that."

crownring said...

To iknow_iknow_iknow.........

Seriously... we must have read the same poem back in the early 70s! I thought the very same thing when I saw the Thomas & Friends cake wreck!

That Thomas and Friends cake wreck is seriously derailed.

Stacey said...

Bulldozing huge piles of crap - isn't this a metaphor for most people's jobs?

Lauren Borquez said...

Ok thats it I'm never going to order a grocery store cake EVER!

Anonymous said...

Um - if you enlarge the SpongeBob cake, what is coming out of the bottom of Mr. Crabs? Just a bit obscene :)

shikishinobi said...

When I find it, and believe me I will, I am going to send in the Thomas the Tank Engine cake mum made at home for my 4th birthday and put these cakes to shame in a good way. Who needs to put toys on a cake when you can just make the damned thing yourself? Cheaters!

Tiffany said...

awwww.... these seriously make me want to cry. Especially Paige's cake. That poor little girl who thought she was getting a Tinkerbell birthday cake. How disappointed must she have been???

Cyndi said...

Like some of you,I too,eye the grocery store cakes in search of wreck-worthy examples,but the bakery girls always offer me help with a suspicious tone [like they know!].It scares me and I scurry away hoping to discover my wreck another day.

The last cake-craptastic.

wv)sidethwo-These cakes were created using the sidethwo technique.
That explains everything!

the_exile said...

These wrecks are great as ever - but sadly I'm consumed with wondering if Paige's last name is Turner.

Anonymous said...

*sigh* Just another day at work, pushing crap around at the sewer treatment plant. Men at work, indeed.

Anonymous said...

To Vanessa:

I have been doing the same thing!! And they are all perfectly lovely around here. It's such a let down!!

Dora said...

OK, I'm probably not in the right mood for this but these cakes just make me really sad. Think about the little kids getting them... It's like being the kid that gets a crappy cheapie knock-off when all their friends get a Barbie or a Tickle Me Elmo or whatever.

Though, to be sensible for a moment, I suppose the parents don't just go home and present the cake as "Here's what was supposed to be your Tinker Bell birthday cake, kid. Eat up."

Purple misty cow said...

Vanessa said...I've never been so disappointed in quality and excellence in my whole life.
_______________
Vanessa, thanks for a much needed laugh today!!!

Kimberly said...

That last one isn't even the same cake at all in any way. That should be a money-refunded situation.

Shame on any bakery who pulls that kind of crap, especially on little kids.

But it's why I started making my own. I'm too cheap and too fussy to pay someone else to screw things up.

Paige T. said...

"Paige T" here (and no, last name isn't Turner, but that would be awesome)

That Tinkerbelle cake actually made our day. My mom was in her last days in hospice so when I picked the cake up, I didn't even look at it, having other things on my mind. When I got home and took a peek, I laughed out loud for 10 minutes solid. Still laugh to this day - it was the highlight of that week.

My daughter Sarah was 5 and all she cared about was yummy icing and the toy - which I DID get from them - it IS all about the toy. She didn't even notice the wreckiness, except that it looked like how she writes her name! However, the pink flower globs were so full of dye that you could taste it, so I wouldn't let her eat those for fear of her growing a third eye or something.

That particular store has always made cakes that look exactly like the book version. And when we went to have another cake made for my other daughter, my husband mentioned this one and they offered to give us the new one for free (even though it was 7 months later). He declined, citing that Sarah's cake has provided so much laughter for us that we weren't mad. But they better get all the others right from now on.

AE said...

Omigosh! You're showing my cake! Er, well the cake I ordered for my husband. I wanted something "manly" instead of the normal balloons and flowers so I went with the one with power tools - the Men at Work cake.

I was left speechless when I went to pick it up, which is no mean feat. Even the cashier was like "A cake! Yum! (looks at design)Ohhhh...Er...." when she rang it up. My sister-in-law took one look at it, laughed and said "You didn't pay for that, right?" When I admitted that I had been struck dumb and had, she ran back up to the grocery store, showed the manager and got my money back.

For the record, it looked like shi...well you know, but tasted delicious. It also inspired several mocking cakes ever since.

dsgnGrl7576 said...

That last one is a disgrace! I ordered a Princess cake from my grocery store and it came out great, with all the many pieces of plastic and figures where they belonged. I can't believe they didn't at least toss the flotsam on top! My four year old would have been heartbroken to not have Tinkerbell up there.

Lori said...

OK, the Thomas cake I made my son this year was better than the one shown here. And I took the lazy way out: colored can frosting green to ice the entire cake & border. Used tubed black icing for tracks & stuck a toy train on it. Seriously, looked far better than the one on here!

Mikewind Dale said...

Re: Spongebob

I think you've misunderstood. They knew the kid was a nerd (come on - Spongebob for crying out loud!), so they incorporated draw distance! If you slam your head into the cake instead of into the desk, your vision might come within the drawing distance, and the extra objects will be added. Unfortunately, the result is nasty pop-up; one second there's no background, and the next second, the background springs into existence, seemingly ex nihilo.

The cake designers would have been better served with adaptive level-of-detail methods, in which extra vertices will be progressively added as your head draws closer to the cake.

Alternatively, they could just fill the room with fog. Hey, it worked for Lex Luthor! (As one of my computer science teachers once told me, "A good architecht can make any mistake look intentional.")

Mikewind Dale said...

I think I forgot to ask for email updates. Please reject this comment; I just wanted to check the "Email follow-up comments ..." box. There really ought to be a way to do that without having to submit a comment. Maybe more kryptonite fog...

vmdesign said...

There are few times I balk at what I receive from anyone in a service industry--these people generally work very hard and for very little reward. These cakes, however, would not go home with me and would not be paid for. Sheesh.

wv: ovesses

She's taking a ship ovesses next week to Paris!

Anonymous said...

Not for nothing, but having purchased character cakes a few times, they never look anything like the nice picture in the book. They only have the same figurines, but other than that there is no resemblance to the picture whatsoever. In the books are stock photos of cakes made by professional cake designers, those are not the same people working in the grocery store and the corner bakery.

Aurora said...

Ha, ha, Vanessa, I agree with you completely! I also searched high and low for wrecks, only to be disappointed by decorators who took their job seriously. Then I got married and moved onto an Army base in Hawaii, and suddenly life was full again. Air-brushed atrocities ABOUND in military commissaries.

Sugablaster said...

All else aside imagine how sad it would make the recipient/ celebrant who ordered this cake.....I have had this happen to my son on 2 separate occasions and that too from prominet bakeries/ cake shops...not just a grocery store kinda place. I have now started making my own cakes and selling them too...and one of the things i am very particular about is getting the spelling of the name/ message and age written to me via email. I double check these before i go fix these elements on my cakes!

Katie Bug said...

Oh these are terrible! I hope the birthday boys and girls didn't cry.

Gloom Raider said...

I had something similar as a kid--Mom ordered a cake to be decorated like Garfield's head, and showed up to find a sort of tiger-striped sheet cake with a rubber Garfield on top. The latter may still be around somewhere. I guess the toy IS all that matters!

Strange Girl said...

Seeing cakes like this makes me realize what a lucky little girl I've been. For my 9th birthday, I wanted a cake with the Pokemon Mewtwo on it. He's kind of gray and purple and he's not that simple. (Yes, I was a strange little girl.) We ordered the cake from our local grocery store, and my mother provided the decorator with a very large sticker of him. When we got the cake it was *perfect*. It was without a shadow of doubt Mewtwo, lovingly airbrushed onto the surface of an otherwise plain white cake. I was the happiest 9-year-old in the world. I also see I was a very lucky 9-year-old.

Binky @ Cakeb0t - Cake Decorating Tutorials said...

Hahaha another hilarious post. It's really cheating to put a toy on top of a cake! ...and yet, it can still go so wrong! :-D

Patty Modine said...

Last year I actually ordered #4. Luckily, it looked just like the picture. Tasted horrendous and I think it may have stained the insides of the kids who ate it.

Melissa (& Billy) said...

Now, I know that what one sees is not always what one gets, but SURELY there should be as similar a facsimile therof as possible.

Scaaaaary.

Stephanie said...

Who hires these people? *headdesk*

Lela said...

Does the last cake even have a border? What a mess!!

Little Lovables said...

What a crying shame.

I'd rather make my own wreck, than pay someone to do make a cake for me and be dissapointed by the results.

Fanboy Wife said...

Can the decorators honestly not be able to tell the difference between their "creations" and the originals? Or, do they just hope their customers are blind idiots?

Linda said...

I feel bad for those people who got those awful cakes! But seriously ...some of the "professional" decorators at DecoPac and Bakery Crafts need to find better ways to make cute designs using those toys,with less globs of icing. Most kids just see the toy, anyway.
I am a grocery store decorator, and I change designs all the time with the customers CONSENT, because some of those premade designs are just horrendous!
BTW I love that Spongebob cake! It's my favorite one to do, and I DO take pride in my work.

Anonymous said...

I ordered a ELMO cake from a designer bakery ($55.00) for a two layered round cake. I took pictures in of the 3-D ELMO (wanted it to look like a stuffed ELMO,) I wanted on the top, and how I wanted it decorated. No problem said the girl I requested it from. Went to pick it up. Flat sugar ELMO just his torso sticking up from the cake. I was trying not to get upset so I left with it,trying not to let my daughter know that I was upset--too late to change the cake. Calls to the store were never returned to us. I ended up taking the Wilton classes after that, lessons were cheaper than the cake.

Randomly G-Licious said...

I've ordered soooo many cakes from local grocery store bakeries and I am so thankful they've never ended up anything like these. I am now seriously considering having them make me a wreck. The more lumpy brown frosting and random trinkets the better!

wv: pupsio - What Spanish puppies drink when they're out of Coca Cola.

Wildroses said...

Wow. At least the kids were probably happy with the toys but I hope to god whoever got that last cake got their money back. No toy and it doesn't look anything like the picture? Epic fail!

Tay said...

....Really? I don't understand how bakeries can continually just ignore how they advertise their cakes to look like.
I'm probably getting too passionate about this, haha.
Well, more wreckage for us I guess!

-www.irrationalnostalgia.blogspot.com

greeblygreebly said...

Oh my goodness..that last one just. Oh man. Cause you may have been in jest but to little kids the toy really is 90% of the cake. I'm sure whatever poor little tyke got that one would have forgiven all for that snazzy Tinker Bell. Some people just have no soul.

Jules said...

Hahaha. I just love sponge bobs. lol ;D


Jules
Soloden.Com
The Brown Mestizo

Marie said...

Oh my.. I really can't believe anyone would want to actually pay for those..scary

ksaldria said...

I hope Caveat #5 got their money back.

BADKarma! said...

Hey, maybe Wesley is on a farm-league team; as in they literally play on a farm, in a cow pasture; and that cake is, in fact, an acccurate representation of a situation which might arise during the course of any given game... (blinkblink)...

Anonymous said...

If you want to describe "growling" to a deaf person pick the baseball wreck.

Fl├╝ge said...

Oh, the cakes are too cute! :) really awesome. especially the spongebob cake is great!

EhMoLee said...

These are my favourite kind of posts. I love seeing the picture of what it's supposed to look like, and then trying to guess how bad it is.

But not all grocery store decorators are this bad. I got the Barbie Fairytopia cake out of the book before and it looked awesome. Just like the one in the picture. Plus I love the frosting they use. It's just the right amount of sweetness. I always get my cakes from the grocery store and (so far) they've all been great.

thesacredandtheprofane said...

@ Vanessa- I know, right? We've been having the same issue with our grocery store bakery. My daughter and I scour the cakes and have yet to find something Wrecklicious. Damn. We're ordering girly girl's birthday cake though, with a specific design on it. She's not worried, because if it turns out crappy she can submit it. So much for high standards.

Brandon & Aimee said...

Sadly, that Baseball cake was mine...looked so cute in the picture...Wesley didn't mind at all, but the adults at the party probably wondered why I picked such a horrible design...and I asked them if they could fit the message on there which they obviously could not but still said yes...oh well I didn't have time to fight them on it :)
Thanks for posting it though, it sure made my day!

Shelley said...

I've made the Tinkerbell Dangler at my store, it's always come with the toy and as a personal note I hate making those big icing flowers with a passion.

Hendy said...

My kid specifically requested the Spongebob cake from our local grocery store after seeing it on display. Our cake was a great match. But we realize our grocery is probably the exception. I keep looking for wrecks in their display case and am happily disappointed.

Heidi D said...

Back in the day when my kids were very little, I saw a super cute Tinkerbell cake. Lindsay was turning three and Tinkerbell was her most favorite of all. Back before it was cool to like Tinkerbell, princesses were all the rage then. So, I ordered the cake and my naivety left me believing that it would look like the lovely display picture. It was instead an airbrushed mess of dark purple, blue, and forest green with the Tinkerbell toy plopped in the center. Sad. Lindsay didn't care much though. We were at Chuck E Cheese after all.

On a separate note, I've seen the Spongebob cake around. I want to order it just to get the toys. I wish they had a Pee Wee's Playhouse cake too.

The Black Dog said...

I hope the one who ordered the last cake doesn't have a daughter who was obsessed with Tinkerbell or else that was not going to be a fun birthday.

Anonymous said...

The Spongebob one reminds me of the old cake-out-of-the-box cakes for my birthday - she would get our little toys, like from McDonald's or my brother's action figures, wash 'em up and stick 'em in (she however, was not a professional) - we loved them! Thank you for bringing back wonderful memories!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I ordered that exact Thomas cake two years ago for my son, and it turned out exactly like the picture. AND, I ordered that same Tinker Bell cake 2 years ago for my daughter! It was beautifully done and we still have the toy, but the cake and frosting were stale so we got our money back.

Overall, I've been happy with my "grocery store cakes." They've always looked just like the ones in the book. Thank goodness because we can't all afford trendy bakeries.

Bree said...

I always look for wrecks at my local grocery stores, but I never find any. The cakes always look great, with no spelling errors, no poo icing and nice penmanship.

I ordered a book cake one time for my grandfather's birthday, a cake decorated like a hill with a man falling over it (over the hill, hardy har har). They did a pretty good job and the cake tasted delicious.

My grocery stores just aren't trying hard enough, hah! But those are some awful cakes. You have to wonder why bakers deliberately choose sometimes not to fulfill the customer's order.

Anonymous said...

While these cakes are hideous, I don't know why people expect better from a grocery store decorater. True I've had many beautiful cakes from talented people who happen to work at a groc. store bakery, but it's the exception not the rule. The job itself isn't exactly high paying. What do you expect? That a talented person would work in a grocery store rather than at an actual bakery? You get what you pay for.

Heather said...

Oh that Tinkerbell cake does comes with the Tinkerbell. LOL We got that one for my 3 year old's first birthday - http://digiscrapping.net/blog/2007/12/03/birthday-pics/

I was just coming here to ask if my cake from my boys' birthday was Wreck worthy. LOL

http://digiscrapping.net/blog/2010/02/25/the-birthday/

The bakery is giving me a free one to make up for it.

When I first saw it I immediately thought of Cake Wrecks.

For Loving Me said...

i know it's wrong but i freaking DIED laughing when I saw the sponge bob cake...poor kid

Meg said...

I have to say that i honestly don't know how some people can stay employed with these cakes. I work in a bakery, and i don't think i've EVER written some of the crackhead stuff that some have put on there. Nor, have i made something that has looked like a turd, or something that is on a human body...

Brittany@twocrazycupcakes said...

All I'm saying is...do people actually pay for those?? I would be so pissed if I went to the bakery and that was my cake. LOL! Guess that is why I make my own. Love this blog! Great idea!

Arlene said...

Hey my niece got caveat#5 a couple of years ago. I thought the cake was cute, but the flavor... so from birthday #8 and so on I have been baking her birthday cakes. But then, looking at the picture of the cake, I realized something was *not* quite all right. The flowers were off. But hey, at least we got the toy of Tinkerbell!

Anonymous said...

The tink figurine should come with the cake..i used to have to make that cake all the dang time..i hate that cake,it's stupid..but the toy does come with it

Sahri said...

Did anyone else notice that on the Spongebob cake the figurines of the characters weren't even the same ones as in the picture?

J. R. W. said...

Also, the pineapple-thing in the catalog picture of the Spongebob cake is missing what I assume is a chimney.

Novoline said...

I'm seriously getting hungry by watching these genuine cakes <3

Raquel said...

i've never had a problem with our local Walmart. they've always made our cakes to look just like the pictures...very well done. these cakes are just sad! lol

~raquel

girlwiththemostcake said...

I've met many talented decorators who work in grocery stores, and I like to think I'm one of them. In this economy, we have to take work where we can find it.
"Real" bakeries don't necessarily pay well either, and
they often don't do things above board. Grocery stores at least pay above the counter, offer health insurance,
401ks, and a human resource dept you can go to if you have problems. Plus, those of you looking for wrecks in your local stores need a different hobby. I don't go to your offices with a red pen and circle all your typos and grammatical errors.