Cake Wrecks

Decorating By kstevens Updated 12 Jul 2016 , 10:58am by 810whitechoc

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kstevens Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 2:23pm
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This is my attempt to give us all a little laugh (or gasp in sheer horror) and maybe also learn what not to do.  

I think we've all been there, the dreaded cake wreck (or cookie, cupcake, sugar piece.....) that in the moment brings us to tears but after the fact we can laugh about it.  My hope is that people are willing to share their wrecks so we can all have a little chuckle, somehow take comfort in knowing it happens not just to ourselves and along the way maybe learn what not to do.

My nephew likes to hunt and he likes camo clothing.  Four years ago when he turned 13 I wanted to make him a special cake so started searching for ideas.  I found the perfect cake online.  It was covered in camo fondant with a set of deer antlers on it.  That was the cake I had to do!  I had used fondant a whopping two times prior to this and had never tried coloring it.  I had also never used gumpaste before and I really struggled with it.  I did manage to make a set of (mutant) antlers though.  In an effort to save time I bought a can of chocolate icing rather than making it myself.  I never do that by the way.  It was super soft compared to what I make but I still used it.  The process of doing the camo fondant did not go well but looked OK.  So I loaded the cake in to the back of my truck for the hour long drive.  I was nervous about the antlers staying in place so I pulled over and moved the cake to the pasenger side seat so I could keep an eye on it (I had it in a clear top cake container).  It was a sunny September day and the sun was shining directly on the cake.  Already soft icing + sun, you see where this is going.  By the time I got to my mom's house with the cake one of the antlers had slid down the side of the cake along with the bulk of the icing and a good portion of the fondant.  I was in tears, frantically trying to repair it but there was no fix.  My mom kept saying "it doesn't look that bad" but I was devastated.  My sweet little nephew took it all in stride saying it didn't matter how it looked, that it would still taste good :-)  

What did I learn?  Don't cheat and use store bought icing for a fondant covered cake and don't sit a clear top cake container in direct sun!  

I wish I had a picture to show you of what it looked liked upon arrival but it was too traumatic at the time to take one. Lol

So what's your wreck?

34 replies
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SweetShop5 Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 2:32pm
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My cake wreck was during one of the Wilton classes I took. I believe it was the buttercream class. I never took a picture of my cake because I remember being so frustrated and sad that I had the ugliest cake of the class lol. It was so awful, it didn't even look like a fish and my buttercream wasn't smooth at all. This is the cake we had to recreate:

My other Wilton class cakes turned out *okay* for a beginner, but it seemed like that day, the world was against me haha!

I wish I had taken a picture of it just to compare with my recent cakes to see how much I've improved since then.

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kstevens Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 2:45pm
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@SweetShop5 ‍ I agree with you. I think we need to force ourselves to take pictures of all our creations, not just those that we are happy with.  That way we can go back to them, learn from them and as you said, see how much we have improved.  

I have the ugliest little creamer on a shelf in my kitchen.  It's my first wheel thrown creation from pottery class (quite a few years ago now).  The lady that teaches makes us keep our first piece no matter what it looks like and how much we hate it.  At the time I thought she was crazy but now I get it.  Today I can look at it, laugh, and see my progression.

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jselle Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 3:16pm
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[postimage id="4561" thumb="900"]

Bake cupcakes in ice cream cones, they said. It will be easy, they said...

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kakeladi Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 4:08pm
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......need to force ourselves to take pictures of all our creations, not just those that we are happy with.  That way we can go back to them, learn from them and as you said, see how much we have improved.  ..........

That's what I said to all my students.  You WILL be glad a yr from now to see how much you have improved.

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mattyeatscakes Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 5:00pm
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omg @jselle!! i almost choked on my broccoli! hahahahah that is too funny! thanks for sharing satisfied.png

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carolinecakes Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 5:10pm
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This is is mine. This year I am learning how to pipe buttercream, fondant is my friend lol.

Pipin the fur took longer than I thought, but it looked pretty good once I was finished. I always keep my cakes in the fridge, but there was no room, and I had read that some people never put their cakes in the fridge after its decorated. So I figured I would have no problem. Left my baby on the counter, not in a box......yes no box.......what was I thinking !! 

This is was for my GD birthday celebration in school. By the time we got there, a 15 min drive, fur was falling. With every  step from the car to the classroom, fur kept falling, and I was trying not to freak out.  Well the kids we so excited to see the cake, it gave me courage, and the cake was eaten up and enjoyed by everyone.

Lesson learned.........from my CC your cake, use ice packs to keep it cool. Moisten the buttercream covered cake. I use a crusting BC and took long to complete the fur so the crumb coat may have dried out in some places. What can I say, I knew about boxing up my cake, but it was 2 am and my  brain was shutting

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carolinecakes Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 5:13pm
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Oops where's my pic..will try again .....on my iPad 

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carolinecakes Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 5:44pm
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Seems I can't post pics from iPad so here's the link........

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kstevens Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 6:28pm
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@jselle ‍ thanks for sharing that picture!  That was a good laugh.  With you, not at you, of course!

@carolinecakes ‍ what a shame that his fur started falling off after all that work but isn't it great how forgiving children are?  They aren't overly focussed on the details.  All they care is that they're getting cake.

I did some searching and found a picture of my cake before the sun got at it. In retrospect I think it was a wreck before the sun! My antlers look like horns off of some breed of mutant cow! Lol

[postimage id="4562" thumb="900"]

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carolinecakes Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 6:57pm
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@kstevens ‍ As adults we take ourselves too seriously sometimes. The kids reminded me why I do it in the first place......but seriously their eyes glazed over at the mere sight of all the sugar. 

Oh jselle, blame it on Pinterest and those darn photoshopped cakes.....

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rjcakes Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 8:03pm
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My worst cake wreck was so traumatic it took me a while to get over it! It was a cake for my brother's MIL's 75th birthday party and it was on Cape Cod - a little over an hour from my house and in the middle of July. It was supposed to be two tiers with RLB's neoclassic meringue buttercream and white chocolate seashells for the Cape theme. The night before it was 100 % humidity and I had no a/c in my house. As I was icing the cakes, huge holes kept on blowing out the sides and the filling was oozing out. I was so distraught, I was seriously planning on stopping at Costco for a sheet cake the next morning to take!

I finally got the cakes done and in the fridge and did not have the strength or heart to stack them so brought them as separate layers. My sister had an SUV at the time so she drove the cakes to the party with my mom in her car with her a/c on so high that my mom had to wear a coat in the car in July! I was afraid to look at it when we arrived but it arrived in one piece and was a success but the stress almost killed me and I decided there and then I would never sell cakes or go into business! I don't know how you all do it and give you all the kudos!! smiley.png


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Webake2gether Posted 8 Jul 2016 , 10:16pm
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First of all I love this thread!! The monster was cute even if he was losing his hair poor guy!! I only have the picture of the "saved" cake. I guess in my state of panic I didn't even think about taking one lol. This was probably the first of many stressful moments in cake decorating. We did a 5 layer gender reveal cake that could be smooth or have rustic sides it didn't matter to the client. There was a cute banner topper to put on the cake which we didn't have so no pics of that :( 

Anyways so my husband does his thing and gets the cake assembled and iced we box it up and call it a night. The next morning I go down and look at the cake I'm not even kidding when I say this it looked like something exploded from the side of the cake!!! I panic holler at my husband to get down there now. He of course calmly comes down and says I'll scrape it and ice it again and we'll texture the sides. So that's exactly what he did and you couldn't even tell anything happened!! The client loved the cake and was thrilled so mission accomplished. We've never had that happen before and it's not happened since. This was our first textured cake and I swear it's like every other cake we do is a textured cake so I guess it was a happy accident although I probably can't gain the years back it shaved off my life :p

I'm going to look through all of our pictures and see if I can't find one failure I took a picture of :) 

[postimage id="4563" thumb="900"]
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hep275 Posted 9 Jul 2016 , 7:07am
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i'm a hobby baker who has been decorating cakes for around 2 years now - I keep a photo album of everything I have made because I wanted to be able to see my own progression and it does work.  Of course I am still learning and as a hobbyist only do a cake every couple of months so have limited opportunties to practice, but I like to look back through my album from time to time because I can really see how I have improved. My biggest disasters have been flood filled cookies - I never bake cookies and never use royal icing - so 2 disasters in one really! 

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Pastrybaglady Posted 9 Jul 2016 , 8:20am
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I really do need to get over myself and take pictures of the wrecks, but I'm so horrified in the moment I can't even. The worst one was just a slap together cake for the family. It was a banana cake with cream cheese frosting. The frosting was just so runny I thought I better refrigerate it to firm it up . I was in such a rush and I didn't really care so I stashed it in the fridge on top of other stuff AT AN ANGLE. When I opened the fridge after dinner to take it out I found the top half had slid off and fell to the bottom of the fridge leaving an icing trail all the way down. What a mess! It still tasted good though. I cut up what remained and no one complained.

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jselle Posted 9 Jul 2016 , 12:05pm
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I found another one. I warmed buttercream in the hopes that I could pour it on for a smooth finish. This isn't exactly the look I was going for.

[postimage id="4573" thumb="900"]

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Laetia Posted 9 Jul 2016 , 1:05pm
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I had my worst cake wreck last summer.

My friend asks me to to the cake for her son 3rd birthday. Since he loves everything about fireman so much, this was the theme of the party.  I started a few weeks ahead of time, making all my fondant cupcake topper. I had so much fun making those little fire hose, boots and helmets. At that time I had no clue about the upcoming mess...

The week before the party was all about sun, high heat, high humidity... and no a/c. It was 30'C (I would guess arount 92'F) in the house the day I had to make the cake. Nightmare. The icing was so thin because of the heat. I kept putting the cake and my icing in the fridge every 5 minutes, hoping for it not to melt on me. I finally filled (with stawberry jam... I know now, I did'nt help my self with this),  ice and decorate the cake. It was far from perfect to my likink, but it was in an accectable shape at that time. I put the cake in the fridge overnight. Since there is a/c in my friend's house, I tought eveything was under control...

When the time to take the cake out of the box came, it was a disaster. Huge air bubbles under the fondant, the layers appears to be sliding ans the icing was oozing from everywhere. I was so ashamed and devastated. Good things are: the birthday boy was so happy so about his fireman cake and everyone rave about the taste!

Live and learn...

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Laetia Posted 9 Jul 2016 , 1:08pm
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[postimage id="4574" thumb="900"][postimage id="4575" thumb="900"]

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kakeladi Posted 9 Jul 2016 , 5:04pm
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jsalle said:     ...........This isn't exactly the look I was going for.........

Oh my, I remember something like that happening to me.  Isn't it great that we can look back and laugh at ourselves?

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jgifford Posted 9 Jul 2016 , 5:57pm
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I was so embarrassed about mine there was no way I was going to take a picture of the evidence. It wasn't my first ~or last~  but definitely the worst.

I had seen the neatest cake on someone's blog and we had a dinner coming up at church so I thought it would be perfect.

It was 4-6" layers. The way it was cut, stacked and stuffed (basically a cake pop in the middle) it would have a cross in the middle when it was cut. And it did. But after the first piece was cut, it exploded! I don't know what I did to it but it ended up a pile of cake pieces.

So everybody got a bowl of cake and a spoon.

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810whitechoc Posted 11 Jul 2016 , 10:23am
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You are cracking me up Jselle!

Ohhhkay, deep breath, I will not cry.  Heat was the culprit, in my wreck.  My bride and groom were the sweetest couple, we had a week of brutal heat, humidity and relentless rain, the absolute worse weather to be making a topsy turvey - and the venue had no aircon.  The top layer has stripes and the cake started tear along the top edge and the stripes started to pull apart, the bottom edge started to soften and collapse.  I'm still traumatised.[postimage id="4584" thumb="900"]

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Nana52 Posted 11 Jul 2016 , 12:12pm
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810whitechoc  You are you're own worst critic.  I'll be everyone looked beyond the stripes and focused on the rest of the decorations.  It's very pretty. 

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carolinecakes Posted 11 Jul 2016 , 2:20pm
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@810whitechoc ‍ really..........your cake does NOT qualify as a cake wreck. Sorry you have been rejected from this

I can only imagine what your other cakes look like......bowtie.png

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BarbieK17 Posted 11 Jul 2016 , 3:02pm
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Okay so these are not my worse but here goes:

The Minnie Mouse cake was for my daughter's 2nd birthday. The middle tier is lopsided and she ate the originally white border that was on so I ended up making it in black and the ears were so heavy they kept sliding down. 

The Fondant on the corona cake was literally sliding of the cake on the right side so I decided to save it by drawing another tree. 

[postimage id="4585" thumb="900"][postimage id="4586" thumb="900"]

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Pastrybaglady Posted 11 Jul 2016 , 3:18pm
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Okay, so maybe it needs to be clarified, an imperfect cake is not a WRECK! A WRECK is visibly sliding, melting, broken, misspelled , on the floor or your child and/or the dog ate it!

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kstevens Posted 11 Jul 2016 , 4:31pm
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@Webake2gether ‍what tool are you using to get that texture? 

@hep275 ‍I've had my share of failed attempts with sugar cookies and royal icing.  My first attempt at wet on wet piping resulted in a puddle of icing surrounding my cookies.  Thankfully for me I almost always make extra cookies and/or I can save the ones that don't look so great so that I've never had to give anyone a cookie wreck.  Practice, practice and more practice!

@Pastrybaglady ‍I think we've all been there with the sliding layers due to soft icing but you certainly helped yours along by sitting it on an angle.  If that were me I definitely would have said lots of bad words when I opened my fridge!  I have to agree with your clarification of a wreck.  Thank you :-) 

@jselle ‍that's another good one!  I haven't tried warming my buttercream to get a smooth finish and now I may never. Lol

@Laetia ‍ your cake is really cute and from the photos it looks like your decorations hide most of the flaws.

@jgifford ‍your cake exploded?!  I've never heard of that happening to anyone (not on purpose) before.

@810whitechoc ‍Sorry but I have to agree with @carolinecakes ‍on this one and say that is not a wreck! Lol. I had to really look at your photo to see what was wrong with the cake.

@BarbieK17 ‍great fix on the Corona cake.  I'd say you saved it from being a wreck :-) 

Thanks everyone for sharing.

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Webake2gether Posted 11 Jul 2016 , 4:34pm
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@Pastrybaglady ‍ do ganache toupees count as wreck?!?!? 

@810whitechoc ‍ those blue flowers are beautiful!! If there was anything going on with the rest of the cake I missed it bc I was busy loving the flowers :)

@jgifford ‍ I lol'd with the bowl and spoon for cake!!! It totally reminded me of my thanksgiving fail. It's not baking but I made candied yams one year  and it was more like candied yam soup so embarrassing you couldn't use a fork to eat them crazy thing is they tasted fantastic. Have no idea what I did wrong lol. 

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Webake2gether Posted 11 Jul 2016 , 4:38pm
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@kstevens ‍ it's the Wilton triangle. I actually bought it probably 2 years ago before we really started doing cakes often and never used it until this cake happened. We didn't know how to use it very well which I'm sure you can tell lol.  I was never so glad that I bought it on a impulse saved that cake. 

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jselle Posted 11 Jul 2016 , 4:47pm
post #29 of 35

I am loving this thread. However, some of the cakes you are posting as "wrecks" aren't wrecks in my book. I always take pictures of my cakes and projects, especially the ones that don't turn out quite like I had hoped, because it's such a learning experience and it's humbling. 

I saw these cute cake pops on Pinterest and thought, " hard can that be?"

[postimage id="4589" thumb="900"]

Well...mine turned out so badly that the women at church (I made them for a women's social) still crack up every time someone brings a watermelon. They were awful.

[postimage id="4590" thumb="900"]

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carolinecakes Posted 11 Jul 2016 , 4:49pm
post #30 of 35

@Laetia ‍ your fire truck cake is really cute, I like the fire truck and the cup cake toppers.........we are only ones who see our flaws, "cake muggles" don't have a clue.....

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