People who decorate cakes for a living make mistakes. It's inevitable: They misspell the occasional "birthday," run out of room in the middle of an inscription, craft swirly brown blobs of icing into barely recognizable dogs. The best of this work winds up on Cake Wrecks. The blog, started in 2008 by Florida's Jen Yates, showcases professionally made cakes that are "unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate -- you name it." That can mean anything from a lopsided wedding cake to a perfectly rendered pregnant belly cake (filled with custard and a tiny plastic baby). Her recent book, Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong, includes a mix of old and new disasters alongside stories and snarky captions.
Tomorrow, Saturday, June 26th, Yates and her husband, John, will be at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena for a slideshow presentation of their favorites. Considering that readers send in about 50 photos a day, they've got no shortage of sweet stuff.
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"Most folks have a cake story of their own to tell, which makes Cake Wrecks almost a communal experience. A kind of 'me, too!' moment," says Yates. Some take a moment to process. Others, like the severely gassy-looking baby wearing black toenail polish (below), are instantly disturbing. Yates' personal pet peeve? Any sort of "cupcake cake," in which a massive amount of frosting holds together a bunch of cupcakes, which may or may not have their wrappers removed.
Her intention is not to publicly shame anybody, but rather to gently poke fun. An amateur cake decorator herself, she knows how difficult the process can be. "It's a fun hobby," she says, "but for perfectionists like me, it's more like a torturous obsession." Makes sense that this weekend she's leaving the baking to others. Attendees should enter the cupcake contest (bring a cupcake version of your favorite wreck), while Linda Darck of Sweet Art Cupcakes will provide free treats for the crowd. "She made sure to tell us that the one thing she never makes are cupcake cakes," says Yates, "so I think that we're safe."
Cake Wrecks, Sat., June 26, 4 p.m., free, Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 449-5320.