We love the hugely popular cakes-gone-wrong blog Cake Wrecks, which we've posted about before. Blogger Jen from Cake Wrecks shared this guest blog post with us:
When Rachel first asked me about guest blogging here, we both thought it best that I go straight to the ugly underbelly of the world of cupcakes, and expose all the horrors found therein. After all, part of celebrating the goodness of cupcakes is weeding out the unspeakable perversions: the malformed, the misguided, and the just plain ugly. I’m talking, of course, about cupcake cakes (CCCs for short). For you uninitiated in these culinary catastrophes, allow me to explain the basic concept of the CCC:
Step 1: Glue cupcakes (in their wrappers) to a cake board using icing.
Step 2: Slop on a layer of icing approximately 1.5-2 inches in thickness, smoothing over the gaps between cupcakes like drywall mud over, er… drywall. (See reference photo below)
Step 3: “Decorate”
When done, you end up with something like this:
My readers tell me this says “Ojai, It’s worth the drive”, but let’s ignore the random quotation marking for the moment and instead focus on all that baked poo soufflé goodness, shall we? I mean, it takes an uncommon skill to achieve that kind of texture. In fact, this CCC visually sums up my feelings on CCCs in general, but of course I know you’re going to want more examples. (Picky, picky!) So, here goes.
Generally speaking, CCCs fall into one of three categories, depending on the baker’s personality.
First, there’s the Steamrolled CCC, characterized by its lumpy edges and general “run over by a cement truck” appearance:
This type of CCC is less malevolent and more misguided. Its limping sadness speaks of squashed frustration and defeat. The decorator didn’t intend for it to be this ugly: he or she just couldn’t help it.
Here’s another example, and my readers’ favorite Steamrolled CCC so far:
Betcha can’t guess who that’s supposed to be! (Click here for the answer.)
Next is the Lazy and/or Stingy Decorator’s CCC. Some bakeries recognize that no one wants the mess of the more traditional- i.e. spackled together - CCC. Others realize that using five pounds of frosting per CCC is more expensive than only using two pounds of frosting. So to compromise (and save money), they place individually iced cupcakes together and then decorate them as a whole, like so:
The result is what large chain bakeries call a “win-win”: the CCC’s intended design is now completely unrecognizable, AND they’re saving money on frosting. (They do, however, make sure there’s still enough icing around the bottom edges of the wrappers to ensure no one will escape with clean hands. Rules are rules.)
Next is the affectionately titled “WTF” category. This is for all those passive-aggressive bakers out there. It says, “I value this job only as far as my next paycheck, and confounding customers with my inept and nonsensical creations is the best perk I get this side of free day-old doughnuts.”
When asked to explain these creations, decorators will often respond with a carefully practiced “Huh?”, apathetic shrug, or “I dunno; that was [insert other employee’s name]’s job.” As soon as the customer leaves, said baker will then cackle maniacally and place another ‘x’ on his or her “Irate Customer” score card. (The employee with the highest score at the end of the week gets to work the customer service counter.)
Well, I’ve made my point the best way I know how: with sweeping generalizations. (And for those of you who don't know me: I do realize that most decorators are wonderful, hard-working individuals. It's just a select few who wreck it up for the rest of us.) So remember: CCCs are wrong, cupcakes - and cakes! - should be treated with proper respect, and mean customer service people had to earn their way there. I hope that you will join with me and your fellow baked-goods-lovers over at Cake Wrecks in just saying “no” to CCCs, so that in time these wrecktastic creations will be relegated to the “what were we thinking?” past, right along with mullets, low-carb diets, and pretty much the entire decade of the 70s. (Except ABBA; I'm a sucker for those singing Swedes.)
Many thanks to Allison, Rachel and Nichelle for allowing me to share with y'all today. Wreck on!
Thanks to CW readers Sarah, Mei L., Kim D., Shara, Mandi B., Beril K., Beth, Julia H., and Rachel J. for the photos.