Cake Rights
September 4, 2011 9:19 AM   Subscribe

We've previously visited Cake Wrecks, but only for the "professional cakes gone horribly, hilariously wrong." But on Sundays, Cake Wrecks presents Sunday Sweets — cakes done incredibly well. Including: Castles, Peacocks, Steampunk, More Steampunk, Dr. Seuss, Sports, Crafty cakes, Harry Potter, Undead Wedding cakes

Explore more Sunday Sweets via the Sunday Sweets index.
posted by beagle (33 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
A mass of fondant, no matter how artfully sculpted (or edible), isn't a cake. How much of this cake is actually, you know, cake?
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:29 AM on September 4, 2011 [14 favorites]

In the same way that we are cabon-based lifeforms, these are cake-based sculptures.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:31 AM on September 4, 2011 [5 favorites]

I like to eat cake. Those cakes are too pretty to eat.
posted by jonmc at 9:37 AM on September 4, 2011

They are amazing to look at, but fondant=disgusting. Cake is only worthwhile if you can eat it.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:43 AM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Some of these look like they took days to make.

Mmm... days-old cake.

Yeah, I totally don't get this.
posted by MrVisible at 9:57 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Um... you all realize that there is honest to goodness cake underneath that fondant right? That cake is often really tasty too!

(Also not all of those are necessarily fondant. You can do some great stuff with chocolate, royal icing and even butter cream, if you know what you're doing.)

Mr. Visible, for a lot of these the decorative details (e.g. the gears for the steam punk cakes) would have been made ahead of time. The actual cake assembly doesn't have to take more than a few hours. Furthermore, if stored properly (refrigerated, etc) even days old cake does not taste bad in any noticeable way.
posted by oddman at 10:02 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I used to watch Ace of Cakes, and it always seemed like the elaborate cakes took so long to make, the cake was like a week old by the time you got it. You just can't turn out a cake made to look like R2D2 to feed 200 in a day, but to pay $$$ for a baked good so many days old (even "sealed" by all that sweet icing) seems strange.
posted by pinky at 10:16 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

The obvious solution is for the base cake to be fruit cake. After all a decent fruit cake has to age for months.
posted by Mitheral at 10:28 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lovely! I'm not much of a cake fan, but these look very nice. And I agree with Mitheral, fruit cake can age very well.
posted by mekko at 10:37 AM on September 4, 2011

Fruit cake is what you give your son's math teacher as a gift right before you run over him with your station wagon.
posted by hermitosis at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

That squid one - I think only the mantle is edible. The rest is fondant-covered PVC pipe.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 10:39 AM on September 4, 2011

Cake Wrecks does make an effort to include fondant-free cakes on Sunday Sweets, too.
posted by galadriel at 11:01 AM on September 4, 2011

Jeez, I'll eat them.
posted by carter at 11:13 AM on September 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best wedding I ever attended, the bride- and groom-to-be used the money they would have spent on one fancy wedding cake and bought 20-odd assorted normal cakes. Amazing.
posted by HeroZero at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2011

Fruit cake is what you give your son's math teacher as a gift right before you run over him with your station wagon.

You are obviously not Italian, sir. Pannettone is very big in my family.
posted by jonmc at 11:31 AM on September 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've never had the opportunity to eat a piece of be-fondanted cake, and I'd like to try it. Everyone seems to hate licorice, which I love, so maybe I'd care for the fondant.

Oddly enough, elaborate cake and candy constructions that were intended for show and not consumption were the big thing to have at a banquet in the European Middle Ages [pdf]. I've always found this hard to reconcile with the general griminess of medieval times, but there you are.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:53 AM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I forgot: the truly anti-fondant wedding cake would be an Appalachian wedding cake. I think it would be a very tasty statement for a small autumn wedding (if crumbly and difficult to plate).
posted by Countess Elena at 11:56 AM on September 4, 2011

As blue_beetle suggests, I estimate that the amount of cake in those cakes is roughly proportional to the amount of carbon in the human body.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:58 AM on September 4, 2011

I thought the Dr. Seuss wobbly cakes were clever, but on the whole I found the others off-putting. They don't look like food so I don't expect them to taste good. They look impossible to cut neatly so I feel bad for whoever tries to do the cutting and serving, and I wince at the inevitable mangled mess the cake will rapidly turn into. I find that unpleasantly symbolic - so many marriages start off with a "dream wedding" and rapidly turn ugly, or at least messy. It's like the cake sets an impossibly high standard and it's all downhill from there.
posted by Quietgal at 12:12 PM on September 4, 2011

I have had fondant that tastes like playdoh, and I've had fondant that actually had flavor and texture more comparable to mochi (which I actually like). So it's possible to have edible fondant.

That being said, yes, some of those cakes are really fondant sculptures (which some of the bakers acknowledge), but others are definitely not. I am terribly impressed by some of the very delicate icing work on some of the tiered cakes (the stained glass cakes in particular).
posted by devinemissk at 12:14 PM on September 4, 2011

how many of them are Horrible Omens?
posted by The Whelk at 12:16 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

A dragon on a supposedly edible cake? No, just no. Many of the peacock cakes were works of art but a couple looked like the birds were having a bad case of peacock diarrhea. The Dr Seuss cakes were delightful to look at but all that food coloring is scary to contemplate eating and made me wonder if they're still within GRAS limits.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:17 PM on September 4, 2011

There is cake under the fondant, but fondant does not taste good. You can do lovely stuff with chocolate and royal icing and marzipan, but mostly cakes are covered in fondant, which is easier to work with. I do not really understand why one would want to pay for cake where half of it is decoration that will be left on the plate.

I also have tasted a lot of these beautiful cakes and, as a whole, they don't taste very good even excluding the fondant parts.
posted by jeather at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2011

Man, what a cranky lot you all are! Yummy or not, many of these are gorgeous, and all took a great deal of creativity and skill. I got bored with Cake Wrecks long ago-their snarky comments are remarkably unfunny-but appreciate the Sunday Sweets.
posted by purenitrous at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2011

My husband and I considered a gorgeous, cockamamie, brightly-colored wedding cake from Mike's Amazing Cakes. If we'd had twice the wedding budget we had, we probably would have gone for it. As it was, we had the local Dutch bakery make our wedding cake, just yellow cake and vanilla buttercream and basic icing flowers, and it was super-delicious and less than a fourth the cost that Mike's would have been. But I love super-fancy cakes, even if they are mostly fondant and don't taste as good. The taste isn't the only point, or else we wouldn't decorate wedding cakes to begin with.
posted by KathrynT at 1:14 PM on September 4, 2011

I love Cake Wrecks precisely because it's not All Snark All The Time.
posted by tommasz at 1:46 PM on September 4, 2011

Beautiful, chocolate. Buttercream.
posted by misha at 1:50 PM on September 4, 2011

A complete page of nothing but delcioius Buttercream Wedding Cakes. nom nom nom
posted by misha at 1:54 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm waiting hopefully for the downed bird photo site, Crake Wrecks.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:30 PM on September 4, 2011

Oh, and I forgot: the truly anti-fondant wedding cake would be an Appalachian wedding cake.

I have never in my life heard or seen anything like that at a wedding in Appalachia.

I'm going to have to send that link to my family and see if any of them had ever heard of it.
posted by winna at 6:30 PM on September 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

epic cake ask
posted by bq at 11:23 PM on September 4, 2011

I like the Mondrian cake.

I bet it tastes of rectangles.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:42 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'll let you in on a secret...most of the giant, towering Bridezilla Cakes of Doom that you've ever seen...not even vaguely food. One cakes like that, about half the layers will be cake forms, which are like styrofoam blocks than can be carved.

Because most caterers aren't showpiece artists, and most bakeries can't transport an 800 pound cake. Cake is heavy. Cake for carving is especially heavy. You need things like PVC pipes and dowel rods and steel supports to create a cake taller than about 3 feet. (Like you might see in competition cakes.) Because the weight of the top layers will start to sink the bottom layers.

Also; rice krispy treats. Huge, huge, huge component in competition cake sculpture. It's moldable, it covers well, it holds together, and it's technically "edible" for competition rules.

Fondant: commercial fondant universally tastes icky. What do you expect from a shelf stable food product that never goes bad? It's cornstarch and sugar, for all intents and purposes. It's not gonna taste good. It is however, the fastest way to cover a cake smoothly...assuming you know how to work with fondant. There are recipes for fondant that taste pretty good. But, it's time consuming and a pain to make, so most commercial bakeries have such razor thin margins that it doesn't make sense to make it most of the time.

All that said; I think the people that create some of these cakes are Artists with a capital A. They've chosen an impermanent media, but because it is ephemeral doesn't make it less of an art. Anyone can whip up a grenache, or a buttercream icing and a cake...but some of these folks have sculpting skills that rival things seen in museums, and they're doing it with a medium that changes when you touch it. I'm always astounded by the people who do things like this, and I think that when one buys a cake like that, one is doing it more to buy a temporary piece of art more than one is buying it to have something to snack upon. It's art patronage. It's yummy. Two great things together.
posted by dejah420 at 7:06 PM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

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