Wednesday, August 27, 2008
cakelava Interviews: Jen from Cake Wrecks, Pt. 1
From the first time Rick and I saw the Cake Wrecks site, we were instantly hooked. Finally, a site that speaks to not only us cakesters, but cubicle-dwellers, stay-at-home moms, students, anybody with a pulse with a sense of humor. The concept of Cake Wrecks is to showcase cakes that have gone awry in some manner, deviating from what was originally intended, with hilarious results.
During the past week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jen, the creator of the Cake Wrecks site. Jen is interesting, intelligent, and has a great sense of humor as to expected from someone who’s site has been nominated for “Best Humor Blog” in the Blogger’s Choice Awards. Big thanks to Jen for letting us in to her wrecktastic cake world. We’re even bigger fans of hers now than before!
Sasha Reichart: Let’s start with the simple stuff. When did you develop the idea of Cake Wrecks and what was your inspiration for creating the site?
Jen: The idea hit me quite suddenly on the day I was e-mailed the now infamous Wal-Mart cake. I already had a few other cake pictures saved that I thought were funny, and I thought, hey, I should put these on a blog! A few hours later, Cake Wrecks was born.
Sasha Reichart: What is your definition of a cake wreck, or as you say, a “wrecktastic design”?
Jen: A Wreck is any cake that is odd, inappropriate, goofy, quirky, tragic – you name it. It’s not necessarily an ugly cake, or even a poorly-made cake. It’s just something that I think is funny, for any of a number of reasons.
Sometimes I have readers complain that I’m posting cakes that are too nice to be called Wrecks, but it just comes down to what I think is entertaining, not what the worst-looking cake is.
SR: Do you have any previous cake decorating experience, and if so, can you tell us about it?
JEN: Does taking all of the Wilton classes count? [wink] Because that’s about it.
SR: Rick and I have noticed that many of the cakes are beautifully done, and wouldn’t necessarily constitute in our minds, a wreck, if they were evaluated on the craftsmanship of the work. Some of the baby shower cakes come to mind. Is it the realism of the subject that you feel is in bad taste, like maybe it is too self-referential, or are there subjects that are taboo in your mind and what would those be?
JEN: Again, this goes back to how you define a “Wreck”. I feel like anyone could find and post pictures of poorly-done cakes, so I like the challenge of taking a relatively nice-looking cake that has an odd quirk to it – Drew’s Birthday Wish comes to mind – and writing commentary that makes it funny. On their own, sure, these cakes aren’t Wrecks at all: but make up a story about a spoiled kid saying he wished his parents were dead on his birthday, and suddenly it’s downright wrecktacular. (Hopefully, anyway!)
The only taboo cake subjects on Wrecks are gory and naughty/porno cakes. That’s just personal preference on my part: I’m kind of squeamish and more of a Cute Overload kind of girl, so I stick to posting what I like.
SR: The Cake Wrecks site has been widely circulated and the photo submissions are pouring in, but in its humble beginnings, where did you obtain your photos before people started sending them?
JEN: My first dozen or so I found while looking for inspirational cake designs online. Once I started the blog, I got a little more intentional with my searches, but I really thought I’d only have enough material to last maybe a few months. Now, of course, I don’t have those worries!
SR: So level with us, how many of those Wal-Mart “under neat that…” cakes have you received from readers, despite having it at the very top of your Submission “Guidelines”?
JEN: LOL – well, not as often now as I get the giant toilet cake, but still at least 3 or 4 times a week.
SR: Have you ever offended the creator of a cake wreck by posting their photo and how was it resolved?
JEN: Aw, you’re killing me here. Can’t you stick to my favorite color? Favorite movie quote, that kind of thing? No?
Ok, since you asked, yes - though thankfully only 2 bakers have been offended that I know of. The first one was actually really sweet about it, considering it was my fault for posting her cake when she’s not a pro baker. (This was early on, before I was as strict with my posting standards.) The second baker was, shall we say, less than amused. I was extremely apologetic to both, and I immediately removed the offending photos. I’m not out to hurt feelings, so if any baker wants something they made removed, I’ll remove it.
Thabo's Belly Cake, by Kate E.
I’d like to mention, though, that the creator of the original pregnant torso cake (“It’s Rude to Stare”) thought it was hilarious that her cake was posted on Wrecks. It’s always my hope and intention to write in such a way that everyone – even the people who make the cakes – can laugh about it. After all, anyone who’s ever attempted cake decorating has made a Wreck or two, myself included! It’s part of what makes us human, so why can’t we all laugh about it?
SR: Is there a category of a wreck that you prefer over others?
JEN: As a writer, I like the challenge of making people laugh with my commentary when the cake on its own isn’t funny. But for just the initial laugh factor? I like the literal-minded mistakes, like the Wal-Mart cake or the “Olympic Rings” cake.
SR: What about your readers, is there a category of a wreck that seems to be most popular?
JEN: Two hands-down favorites are the fireman cake (which isn’t even mine: Scott of Basic Instructions posted it on his site) and the Naked Mohawk-Baby Carrot Jockeys. I think the readers either like a great story (ala the fireman cake) or something so completely bizarre that you have no choice but to laugh (Carrot Jockeys).
SR: What is your favorite cake wreck photo you have received, and why?
JEN: Ooh, that’s a tough one; I get so many crazy-good cakes submitted. I guess due to reader responses, though, I’d have to pick the Carrot Jockeys. Those little guys are going to take over the world someday, you know.
SR: That’s our favorite too!
END, pt. 1
And tomorrow, Jen wrecks on! Part 2 of our interview. In the meantime, check out her fantastic blog, Cake Wrecks!
Labels: cake mistakes, Cake Wrecks, cakelava Interviews Jen from Cake Wrecks