Monday, January 24, 2011

D-Scripted

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's National Handwriting Day! That's right, it's time again to take a moment to appreciate the handcrafted artistry that is personal penmanship.

Or...not.

Hey, three 'P's for effort!

Hmmm. Ok, so maybe you Wreckerators could use a few tips. Nothing major, of course; just a few simple techniques that even a trained possum could perform to make your piped penmanship a ptad prettier. (Of course, pastry possums are hard to come by these days, so you'll just have to do.)


- Try, try again.

If your first attempt is less than stellar, just go over it again with a darker color.

Of course, only go over those areas that really need it.

- Turn it around.

Everything looks neater upside down.


- Hide it.

Using an identical background color will effectively camouflage any snafoo.


- Keep 'em guessing.

Is that thing a butterfly, a flower, a shamrock, or something else entirely? Who knows? The important thing is your clients will be too preoccupied guessing to notice your wrecked up writing.


- Move to an earthquake-prone region.

This provides handy excuses in a pinch.


And finally,

- Quit while you're ahead.

Or just quit, as the case may be.


Thanks to Andrea B., Raymond P., Megan R., Tanya R., Jessica, Westly W., Kelley B., Zachary S., and Julie B., who know that quitting is the better part of valor. Or something.
Anonymous said...

Well, the Happy birthday Daddy one looks like a young child did it. But seriously, what are they teaching in schools these days? Obviously not penmanship!

Tori said...

Here's your answer: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/23/sunday/main7274525.shtml

They don't teach it in schools anymore because "writing may be a lost art soon". Sad though that is.

We, and all our handwritten confections, are doomed.

Mjx said...

Somehow, these seem appropriate, given that a number of states seem to have chosen to eliminate the instruction of cursive handwriting from their elementary school curricula(e.g. http://www.parentdish.com/2011/01/21/cursive-handwriting/). Yay. Go, progress.

Colleen said...

Why use gel to write on a cake? That's just dumb since it will run... lack of common sense sometimes.

My handwriting on cakes isn't that great but those show that mine is pretty good...

Stella said...

The last one is probably the best. Just 'Happy'.

Heather, Neilson, Grace & Creighton said...

Ack these are terrible. But I have to point out snafoo is actually an acronym spelled SNAFU and since this is a family website I won't write it out :)

The Writing Goddess said...

The only excuse I can think of is multi-tasking - maybe they had a mixer in one hand, beating some cake batter, and wreckerating with the other. Sad, just sad.

tarichuck said...

I believe even my handwriting at it's worst is better than these. And please...Why does it look like there are teeth on that second cake?

Caroline B said...

If they are writing with those shop-bought icing-in-a-tube things, I can understand that - my last attempt with those was just as bad. But if they are professional bakers using the proper equipment, that's just sad.........

Miss Mindy said...

Language is alive and constantly changing - for example, I'll bet that you googled "snafu". Who's to say that this isn't the cutting edge of the next wave in language development? Nappy blob blob, everyone!

Anonymous said...

These are from professional decorators? Really?

Reverend Ref + said...

On the positive side:

At least the first wreckerator actually spelled everything correctly.

And the fourth cake really does look like it was done by a young child. If that's the case, then Daddy should be very proud.

Speaking of penmanship and stuff -- here in Oregon, the state school board recently decided that students could use spell check on their exams. Eye think they half maid a big mistake; because spell check dose knot all ways work.

Anonymous said...

This makes me feel better about my cake writing when I worked at Baskin Robbins. There was nothing more crushing than showing the customer my wobbly, ill-proportioned, squished-to-the-right-side writing and having him or her say "oh that's....that's fine...thanks"

Loo-E Loo-I said...

wv: brumenth: I think wreckerators brumenth or sniff way too much icing.

Are each and every one of these bakery-written? Really????? Sometimes I wonder if people buy a blank cake, blunder it themselves and then send it in to you guys. These are sad, just really, really sad!

teri said...

wow. just wow.

and yes, western hemisphere marsupials are HIGHLY intelligent! ;)

BADKarma! said...

The thought that unsuspecting customers actually paid a deposit for any of these just saddens me.

Lue said...

I don't think these are from professinol decorators. Can't Be!

Aliza said...

My handwriting's been described as "the death throws of a headless epileptic chicken" and as "worse than a doctor's"-- and yet even *I* can do better on cakes (and have recent photographic proof to back that up!!)

These just scream "I don't care" about the wreckerator's continued employment or the recipient's happy day. How can the business be willing to let a cake go out looking like that?!

At least Daddy's cake did look like a 4 year old wrote that.

And the earthquake cake: that person needs to see a doctor. Shakiness that bad can't be good!

But yes, I think it's important to teach penmanship in schools. In my case, Australian grade schools did, Canadian schools didn't-- so I can write well when I want to.

Ruthie said...

I like the "Happy" cake. He's just happy sitting there.

artdecodiamonds said...

Hey.. their giving it their best shot!

JamesterCK said...

I read CW religiously every day and love it, but this post just isn't working for me. I suspect most if not all of these were written by little kids. If you've ever written with an icing tube you know it's a little harder than writing with a pen or pencil, especially for a child. All I'm saying is that you always say you won't put amateur cake decorators creations on here, but that's kinda what you did here. If the people who submitted these claim they were written by a pro I don't believe it. I still love CW and EPBOT though, and no disrespect intended.

SuBee said...

JamesterCk,
Most of these cakes are still in their boxes. I wouldn't say they're professionally done, but I think people actually got paid to do these.
Depressing isn't it.

john (the hubby of Jen) said...

JamesterCK,

These are all professional cakes. Now, could they have been written by the night manager or Jim from the deli? Maybe. But they were picked up from the store like that.

Just so you all know what Jen and I see in the emails that accompany submissions, here's the one for the Daddy cake:

"After the silly teenage girl at Baskin Robbins insisted that she write on my husband's birthday cake (I didn't ask for this kind of violation), this is what happened. After 20 minutes, she was too embarrassed to bring it out herself, so she had the manager bring it. When he showed it to me, I promptly said "how much of a discount do I get for this mess?" To which he said nothing, but opened the cash register and gave me my money back for the cake."

This is what we get and, after seeing over 14,000 of these cakes, we're ready to believe you.

Wreck On!

john

mladybright said...

Thank you for making me happy about my less than stellar handwriting with icing. When all else fails, I use imprints made for specific occasions. How can a 'professional' not?

I think the one for daddy is cute, since a 4 yr old did do it. (I hope and pray I'm right)

BTW - we had penmanship as a class of it's own, and even the spelling teacher marked a word wrong if you had to cross out and start again. It was 'messy'.

Too bad these people didn't have my teacher with her lovely ruler.

I think today's post inspired tears, and not from laughter this time. :-(

~~Di

No Cake Fo YOU! said...

The only cake that gets a pass is the one to Daddy... and hopefully it really was the kid that did the lettering for it. *hoping and praying* The rest of these people need to keep their day jobs cuz this is awful!!! LOL

Laura P. said...

You know, I'm amazed at how many of these cakes look like DQ ice cream cakes. I guess they don't take penmanship into account when hiring staff. Sad. Very sad.


w.v. sterne: I'd give the wreckerator a very sterne look if I got a cake like one of these!

Ellen said...

Those are quite . . .wiggly.

wv: unlersch

The drunk Wreckerator said, "It'sh time to unlersch thish beeeeautiful mersssssage, and let it run wiiiild!"

Anonymous said...

I do suspect that many of these cakes were inscribed by folks other than the "pro"-cake decorator. I've worked in places where I offered to teach the charming teenage staff how to pipe properly so they wouldn't feel scared when there was no decorator around to inscribe the generic cakes, but most were too frightened. Truth is, you can have rotten handwriting and still write perfectly on cakes - it isn't just the medium that's different - you have to forget that you're "writing" and instead approach it as an exercise in piping shapes. My cursive handwriting doesn't translate well to piping, but the printing I've done on cakes has always been beautiful and takes advantage of the properties of the frosting/chocolate or whatever I'm piping with.

Anonymous said...

if they weren't all in store bought boxes/containers i wouldn't have believed these were real! sooooo bad.
oh and maybe they will start teaching "texting lingo" instead of hand writing. Or how to draw emoticons?

Loo-E Loo-I said...

John (hubby of Jen),

Wow. I would have bet the farm that cakes 1, 4, 7 and 8 were blank and then wrecked at home. I agree that someone from the deli (or other department) did these if the bakery staff wasn't there. Sometimes it would be nice to see the email/story about the cake - even if they were at the end or there were links (I bet a lot of those emails are hilarious!).

Wreck on! :-D

lol, my wv is redomsh - I see "redo", which is what these cakes need!

Craig said...

Ok, someone was paid to do these (wreck on, John hoJ!). That doesn't preclude the possibility that child labor laws either a.) have been violated multiple times or b.) have been repealed.

Certainly places known for cold eats do seem to hire 'em awfully young, and the experience needed isn't going to be anywhere near even the minimal standards set by your average supermarket bakery. If you spell your name correctly on the application, you're in -- what person capable of doing anything else would schlep ice cream for minimum.

That said, there is no excuse for these. If worked at such an establishment, insisted (*against* the customer's wishes, no less) on 'decorating' a cake and was too embarrassed to present my work myself, it might occur to me either to do it over (using one of those 'knife' thingies as a scraper) or literally eat it and tell the customer I changed my mind, while pulling a fresh cake from stock.

Call me an observer of human nature, but I'm thinking the wreckerator in question is related to the manager. Only someone with a lot more job security than is typical in the field would have dared to do such a thing -- unless she just wanted out and knew that quitting means no unemployment check.

Are wreckerators stuck in a time warp, perhaps? First there was all those horrid staircase / fountain cakes (about the only thing from the 80's other than the resolution of video game graphics that completely sucked fondant), then the penultimate -- next to last -- wreck today looks to have been written with one of those vibrating pens. [Managers: keep an eye on coffee consumption -- that'll save two ways.]

The last one: 'Happy' what, trip to the ER? It looks to have been frosted with poo.

Anonymous said...

Three P's for effort, wow lol.

wv: Hey, nookere at my beautiful handwriting on this cake.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Happy Poo!!!!

Anonymous said...

LMAO. with that last one I keep wondering why they didn't add 'Now' and "?!".

Anonymous said...

I thought it was an 88. I hope Natalie gets a better cake when she does turn 88.

Katie said...

:s I'm not too fond of national handwriting day, being dysgraphic and all.
It may not have to do with improper instruction in school at all that so many students and even adults show up with poor fine motor (handwriting) skills.
Dysgraphia is all too often left undiagnosed, and students with dysgraphia can get held back only for their sometimes completely illegible penmanship.

Piping letters onto a cake, though, can be done well even by a dysgraphic. So, in this case, yes, there is no excuse.

Anonymous said...

I think most of these cakes were bought without writing and decorated by children. My son decorated his own cake when he was 7. Wrote happy birthday on it himself. It looked like alot of these cakes and he was very proud of it. I though this site was to find humor in professionally decorated cakes.

Michelle said...

lol drunkerators

Micalah said...

I am 11 years old and I bet I could do better than that! Kids at my schools don't know how to write very good.

Karen Valinda said...

If this wasn't on a site I trust, I would NEVER believe these cakes were written on by anyone but a 3rd grader,(kindergarten-er?) blindfolded after staying up all night eating sugar! And then I am still thinking the 3rd grader would do a better job.
WHO would BUY those???
Oh, maybe if they were in the 90% off case and you just felt like cake for dessert, MAYBE

Kimberly Chapman said...

I get that piping nice, neat, all-lined-up text is tricky, but come on...this is madness!

I even get that underpaid workers who have to churn out a gazillion cakes a day will occasionally make errors or not be ready-for-the-judging-table neat, but wtf?

My five year old will be making her cake for the Austin show in a few weeks. I'm going to encourage her to try piping-writing even though she can barely hand-write, so we'll have a good benchmark for comparison. I'm betting she can do better than any of these!

Kimberly said...

While working at Food Lion, I was asked once to write something on a cake. After I told them that I don't work in the deli, have never written on a cake before, and that they would do a better job themselves, they still insisted.

To this day, I remember that clear green gel. And shudder.

wv: ratersti - the ancient art of handwriting in such a way that only you can read it.

Sara said...

Wow! I worked in a bakery for about a month and fortunately for the customers I only ended up having to write on two cakes.

I failed cursive in elementary school and had never picked up a piping bag, yet I was never that bad.

Adorably Dead said...

That's wow...just....no words.

ladycrim said...

I can vouch for the authenticity of the "Happy" cake. It was sitting sadly in the bakery case, looking like it had been written on with a leaf tip instead of a writing tip. It caught my eye to begin with because it's a Boston Cream Pie, which usually is sold with no writing or decoration. I have no idea why this one was scribbled upon and placed out for sale ... but at least it's happy.

Buffy said...

I hope this doesn't turn into another Epcot, but... to echo what @heather, neilsen et al said, it's "SNAFU":
Situation
Normal,
All
F___d
Up

Anonymous said...

When my five year old's homework looks like these cakes (and it frequently does!) I help him go back and fix it.

Maybe these wreckerators need a good Mommy on hand!

Lindsey said...

I love this blog! Even on the worst days it always makes me smile = ). Thanks!

Tauney said...

My lord. That makes me feel MUCH better about my poor cake penmanship. The first three weeks I worked at my bakery, I refused to write on a cake for fear of ending up on Cakewrecks. But now, my cake-penmanship is better than my everyday handwriting! (Thank the Universe for small miracles)

Suzette said...

Writing in icing is HARD, y'all!

Well, maybe not THAT hard, but still....

Anonymous said...

I can easily believe many of these came from the bakery that way, because I've bought 2 that weren't much better, and yeah, both times it was because I bought Pre-decorated cakes instead of pre-ordering, & had to trust whoever I could find to come behind the counter & write on the cake--NOT the regular decorators. It's a gamble, but sadly, I felt I could trust them more than my own poor ability to write with icing!

In one case, it was so bad (just VERY shaky-looking), I was mortified to think of taking it to my son's birthday celebration, even though only 2 other kids were coming...but I couldn't justify buying a new cake. But overnight, the night before the party, all the frosting on the sides of the cake (round cake) fell off! I found the cake in a weird puddle of frosting... and I was so happy, because then I could justify buying a new cake from another bakery!

Lisa said...

Wow! No wonder my friends and co-workers are in awe when they see my cakes! You can actually READ what is properly spelled!

archersangel said...

i have crappy handwriting. which why i could never be a cake decorator.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't believe it when an American friend of mine lamented that kids aren't being taught cursive writing anymore. That's appalling! About as appalling as the cakes, really.

As for the cakes, I think it was best summed up by my 7 yr old ... and I quote:
"The blue butterflies are pretty ... but they shouldn't have licked it. You get in trouble for doing that" (regarding cake number 6)

(regarding cake number 8)
"They forgot the Y in birthday."
See guys? Even a 7 yr old can pick your spelling mistakes!!!!

Elizabeth
Sydney, Australia

PS: To Reverend Ref+, I totally agree. Perhaps they should read "Ode to the Spell check" before they set that rule in concrete.

Chere Nordstrand said...

I'm thinking the last one was done so that they could add whatever occasion it was at a later time. Saves SO much time!

So I am curious. Do any of these wrecktators threaten to sue you for putting their cakes on the blog, thereby mortifying them? Like the gal who was caught on tape texting and fell into a fountain - you can't tell it's her but she's mortified that it's all over the internet and wants to sue for her own stupidity. Or maybe they consider it a form of flattery. I'm just constantly appalled at stupid.

Anonymous said...

As a former cake decorator, there is no correlation between your handwriting or penmanship & your ability to write on a cake. It's more like lettering a poster and has to do with patience, a little practice and an eye for spacing.

Later, as an ice cream cake decorator, I learned they are much harder! Regular icing won't stick to the cold ice cream the same as to sticky frosting and letters become misshapen and even will slide around on the surface! LOL I cursed a lot writing on ice cream cakes.

-Barbara Anne

P.S. as a non-parent I'm fine with dropping penmanship in school. Let's teach them spelling & math instead! :(

Anonymous said...

Snafu is spelled with a u, not oo.

Jessica said...

Wow! My mom ordered a cake once that was so ugly she started laughing when they brought it out to her (not like my people pleaser mom at all). If it hadn't been a true "Cake Wreck" she would have bit her lip and brought it home anyways. The bakery lady literally threw the cake on the floor and told her to pick another one from the case for them to write Happy Birthday on.

Kimberley said...

Obviously I'm too hungry to be looking at Cake Wrecks, because the only thing I thought when I saw all of these was "Mmmmm, cake...."

Ferralyn said...

Not that it's any excuse, but I think I know how SOME of the handwriting ended up all shaky. Any decorator will tell you that if your frosting is too stiff, or your tip too small, the frosting will come out squiggly. A simple fix is to put a larger tip on the bag or knead the frosting in the bag to "loosen it up". Clearly, finding a solution was not part of these peoples' jobs. Ugh. When in doubt - PRINT people!! Print!!

DanInNZ said...

Yay, entertaining Birthday scrawl for my Birthday! Any of these cakes would be an improvement on my birthday cake, though, since I didn't get one at all. :( That's the problem with being the baker amongst my friends/family: if I want one, I have to make it myself!

Craig said...

So the Happy poo cake is actually a Boston cream pie. I'm no fan of fussy regulation, but 'decorating' those ought to be illegal, especially when it is done with a caulking gun. BCP, like cheesecake, needs nothing after it is made except to be eaten. By me.

What amazes me is how many of these get completed. Is it not obvious from the first letter that wreckage is underway? Is there really a 'thought' that "if I keep going, it will magically turn out ok"? Remember what Einstein said about expecting different results from doing the same thing.

John, I hear you, especially about Yahoo. I like the 'snafoo' spelling; I never cared much for the original acronym, although one can mentally substitute 'Fouled'.

john (the hubby of Jen) said...

To whom it may concern:

We spell it snafoo. We know it's wrong but it's far more innocent so it's staying. I know. It hurts to look at. I'm sorry. This too shall pass. As a remedy, go to the comment section of any Yahoo article and you'll feel better about our little spelling idiosyncrasies.

Wreck On!

john

Anonymous said...

People PAID for these? Good grief.

Aliza said...

Ah, but John (the hubby of Jen)-- regardless of how you spell it, what the acronym stands for does apply rather well to mis-spelled, badly-lettered writing on cakes!

And anonymous at 1:18PM reminded me of the summer I worked at Baskin Robbins (as one of those very young teens, I might add!). Our outlet didn't sell many cakes, but there was the occasional decorating job. Fortunately, the franchise owner and managers actually had standards and self respect: all staff had to practice writing on wax paper before we were allowed anywhere near the cakes. So while my writing wasn't beautiful, no cake of mine ever qualified for CW back then. @Barbara Anne's right-- it's all practice.

And @DanInNZ... yup. Me too

Anonymous said...

You spelled snafu wrong!

Angela said...

Oh thank goodness for these professional cake decorators! Without them, I wouldn't have as many side splitting laughs!

plastiqueponi said...

Chances are these are NOT writing from the store decorators themselves, but rather the evening clerks who get the bare necessities of training in anything other than answering phones and putting up bread stock.

Seriously guys some of us store decorators are quite good. Maybe it's time that store decorators got some recognition and not be made to be the brunt of the joke every day?

john (the hubby of Jen) said...

plastiqueponi,

Actually, some of you store decorators are amazing! Seriously. There's a reason why Jen and I never post pictures that we took at one of our local bakeries: the bakers there are phenomenal. The fact is, 90% of the bakers out there are fantastic. And that's what Sundays are for.

The rest of the week, however, is for the other 10%. I didn't think I'd spend this much time on comments today but you have to know that we check back story on everything and these cakes are real. Sorry if some of you didn't like the post today. We've got some great helmet cakes tomorrow.

Peace out, yo.

john

mladybright said...

Considering the fact that 'snafu' is originally a military term - I learned it from my father, who served in WWII in the Army Air Corps - I believe that tomorrow's post on helmets is going to be awesome.

Thanks, Jen and John!
~~Di

john (the hubby of Jen) said...

Thanks mladybright,

But it's spelled snafoo.

;)

john

Arlene said...

I don't know whether to laugh, cry or just stare at these wrecks. Lol what were they drinking when they tried to write on these cakes?? Unless of course they hired kids to write on these then they wouldn't have to take any blame but still.. scary penmanship if you can even call it that.

Anonymous said...

The sad part is I have writing like that :/, people with crap writing should never be hired as decorators

Lynn said...

I don't doubt these were done professionally -- I actually submitted a handwriting wreck done at my local grocery store bakery, but it apparently didn't make the cut. In my family, the cake has become known as Awesome Cake. The poor wreckerator who did the writing did warn me he wasn't very good at it, but insisted he practiced every day. I thought he was being modest, but I know better now. :-)

Anonymous said...

"Professional" cake decorators? - No - I might go so far as to say they get paid to work in a bakery. That is the extent of their professional credential! OUCH! My kid has better writing than that and I actually DO mean WITH ICING!

Danielle said...

It's a widely known fact that I write like a 5 year old boy; not a 30 year old woman. I'm a lefty and the nuns I had in school refused to work on anything with me since I didn't use the right hand. That said, I am a great baker, and a great cake decorator BUT I will never, ever, write words on a cake.

My sister even has awesome penmanship and she told everyone at our last shindig that her 6 year old decorated the cake.

Icing isn't as easy to work with as the good decorators make it look. Just because you work in a bakery doesn't mean you know how to write on cakes...

Anonymous said...

i thought the happy birthday cake said 'happy birthday goat' at first (im dyslexic)

Maybe block lettering would be easier

FCMomofaBunch said...

Someone who works in a bakery said to themselves, "Why not show up drunk for work today??

Charlene said...

snafoo or snafu?

barby said...

very,very nice....

Anonymous said...

Although I have seen paid decorators write like these examples, those are mostly grocery store cakes and that means you risk having an 17, 18 year old clerk writing on your cake. Have you seen how they spell while texting...no wonder.

sara said...

I myself have made the mistake of using "gel" icing. Everything just melts together in a slimy oooze. I just hid the cake and started to cut it the moment we brought it out. HE CAN BLOW OUT THE CANDLE ON HIS OWN PIECE, DONT LOOK AT IT!

Vicky G said...

The one with the ribbons is from the same bakery than this one without a doubt http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2009/05/lesson-in-proper-penmanship.html

Greatings from Argentina! Vicky G.