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Carrying a Cake
Okay, now that's just asking for trouble.

Sometimes, a plot involves or is centered around a character needing to carry a cake, pie, or some other food item toward a destination.

This never ends well.

This item never arrives as scheduled, it is usually dropped just before the destination is reached, stolen, or eaten by the characters carrying it. If the food item does arrive at its destination, it is never in the correct state, or it is unwanted in some capacity once there. If it is a cake, expect it to be a big wedding cake or of similar size for extra mess.

Possibly the second most frequent kind of Funny Home Video, after testicular calamity.

See also Endangered Soufflé. Related tropes are Thirty Minutes or It's Free and Dish Dash. Pie in the Face may result. Possibly a subtrope to Chekhov's Gun. Or perhaps Tempting Fate.

Examples:

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     Advertising  

  • A more serious example occurs in an Operation Lifesaver PSA, where a mother arrives back home in a state of shock as, after having bought the cake, she was in a rush to get home and nearly collided with a train at a railroad crossing.

     Anime and Manga  

  • In an episode of School Rumble, Tenma makes two cakes, one for Karasuma for his birthday, and one for Harima's recent promotion. When Tenma leaves them unattended, Harima knocks Karasuma's cake over and ruins most of the inscription with only "ma" left. Harima assumes that he's destroyed his own cake and attempts to fix it before Tenma finds out. Cue some serious confusion when Tenma presents Karasuma's cake to him to find that she now has two cakes inscribed with "Harima".
  • In an episode of Haruhi-chan, Mikuru has to carry a large pot of soup to aid Haruhi's cooking show. Needless to say, she doesn't make it. What makes this even better is that she tries again a few minutes later... and trips over the first pot.
  • The greatest risk of Ranma ½'s Martial Arts Takeout Delivery isn't being late, but having your opponents destroy your delivery. Shampoo in particular has a food-exploding technique that blows up the contents of a takeout box by jabbing at it with a finger.
  • The title character of Ramen Fighter Miki is a bicycle ramen delivery girl ... who gets into fights during every delivery, with predictable results.
  • In an episode of Bleach, Yumichika, Hanatarou and Rin make a cake on behalf of the ghost of a dead baker who's unable to pass on until his mother has tried his cake recipe. After various mishaps during the making of it, it's finally presented to the grieving mother, who promptly rejects it. And then the distressed ghost accidentally knocks the cake onto the floor and a Menos Grande almost fries it with a cero.
  • One episode of Kekkaishi had the Yoshimori help a ghost of a former pastry chef complete his Ghostly Goals of comforting his brother, who was mourning his untimely death, by recreating a cake he once made when he was little to cheer up his brother after their parents died. After many exhaustive attempts trying to create the perfect cake (doubling in difficulty since the ghost's incorporeal nature makes it so he has to direct Yoshimori to making the cake himself), they hurry with Ogata and her butler's help in their car. However the butler's reckless driving damages the cake, which the brother surprisingly accepts as the cake his late sibling baked because he did a shoddy job baking the cake when they were little (regardless it was the act himself that he cherished). His acceptance of the cake is enough to allow the ghost to pass on.

     Comic Books  

  • The main story of the 2007 Marvel Holiday Special ("A Piece Of Cake") features Spider-Man trying to get a cake to Aunt May's Christmas party. Apparently he does this every year, and has never managed to bring the cake intact. The cake is destroyed when he and Wolverine fight a Bad Santa with control of a Sentinel, but Wolvie bakes him a new one.
  • In Ross Campbell's graphic novel series Wet Moon, Malady serves people pie from her bag, which she was presumably carrying around with her all day. This happened on two separate occasions.
  • Archie has had this problem. Any time the cake isn't eaten by his chowhound friend Jughead, Archie ends up walking into someone and spilling it- Like Mr. Lodge, for example.
  • Monica's Gang: Smudge once tried to deliver a cake. Meeting Maggy on the way, he hid it behind him so she wouldn't eat it, which allowed someone else to take a bite. Later on, a fat person sat on the cake. When he finally reached his destination, the woman expecting the cake threw what left of it on his face.
  • A Smurfs one-page gag has Jokey stumbling to keep a pie intact as he carries it over to his recipient so that he could splatter his face with it.

     Fan Works  

  • One Stargate SG-1 fanfic featured the team attempting to transport a cake secretly through the 'gate. (They were going offworld on Daniel's birthday). Although it made it all around the base, through the 'gate, to another planet, and around that planet for quite a while, eventually, it exploded. Which explains Daniel's haircut at the beginning of the third season.

     Film  

  • An early sequence in Easy Money has Rodney Dangerfield and Joe Pesci having to transport a gigantic wedding cake in their van. After laboriously loading it up, they do some other errands before having to brake suddenly, sending the cake smashing into the windshield. Something of a Lampshade Hanging, as the sequence seems to play on the audience's expectations that the cake will be destroyed, and it takes so long to happen that they may start to doubt the film is going to do it.
  • There's a scene in Ice Age where the gang steals melons from some dodos. The scene quickly becomes a parody of a football game. When Sid returns with the last melon, he does a victory dance and spikes it. Oops.
  • In the Nancy Drew movie, Ned brings out the cake at Nancy's birthday party (which has gotten a little out of hand)... only to have one of the wilder partygoers crash into it accidentally.
  • In The Sandlot, during the chase scene with The Beast, two chefs carrying a large layer cake are in the path of the runners. Benny jumps over the cake, the Beast runs under it, and the other kids jostle the chefs as they run around it. When the chefs finally set the cake down safely on the table, a clown on stilts loses balance from all the kids and falls onto the table, flinging the cake into the air.
  • Too many times on The Three Stooges to count. One egregious (but hilarious!) example was in An Ache In Every Stake, when a passerby got his cake destroyed three times.
  • My Favorite Year - at the Stork Club, Alan asks Benjy to create a diversion so he can steal someone's girl, so Benjy plays an inept waiter, stumbling out of the kitchen with a tray piled high with desserts, chaotically weaving and dodging through the anxious crowd.
  • The Party settles into a sit-down dinner - with Bakshi (Peter Sellers) seated on a tiny footstool just in front of the kitchen's swinging door, and an inebriated waiter staggering around the table, it's only inevitable that the cake ends up all over the chef when he brings it out.
  • The Music Box. Laurel and Hardy deliver a piano up a long flight of stairs several times destroying everything around them but miraculously preserving the piano. The surprise gift delivery displeases the owner of the house who hates pianos. He smashes it to pieces.
  • One skit in The Kentucky Fried Movie features a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by Donald Sutherland, who is playing "The Clumsy Waiter" and is carrying a cake. He trips and face-plants in it.

     Literature  

  • In Anne of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery, five-year-old Rilla (youngest daughter of Anne of Green Gables) deliberately dumps the cake she is told to take to a church picnic because she's under the impression that it's disgraceful to be seen carrying a cake. She then feels very foolish when she runs into her much-admired Sunday School teacher bringing her own cake to the church.
  • In the Goosebumps book The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, the main character Michael is carrying his own birthday cake, when his bratty sister Tara trips him, causing him to land face first in it. When he starts going backwards in time, he tries to prevent the tripping, but it still happens anyway.
    • This trope is actually both used and averted in the same story. When Michael relives his birthday a third time at the end of the story (after accidentally erasing Tara from existence) he manages to carry the cake to the table without incident.
  • Snow Crash opens with Hiro Protagonist attempting to deliver a pizza. For the Mafia. Across several international borders. In Ten Minutes. Or else... He winds up in an unfilled swimming pool, but a passing skateboarder decides to do him a favor...
  • Done with a twist in Practical Magic (the book that inspired the film). Younger sister Kylie makes a cake as a peace offering for older sister Antonia, with whom she had a fight. While she's carrying the cake to where she knows she can find her sister, she gets assaulted by a strange man. Though she escapes to safety, she's covered in the cake, which she sort of used as a defensive weapon. It still achieves the desired objective, though; she reaches Antonia, who helps her clean up, and the incident heals the breach between them.
  • Winnie the Pooh has Pooh carry a jar of honey to Eeyore's birthday a long way through the forest.
  • In the Redwall book The Pearls of Lutra, Tansy is carrying a cake that is decorated with seven marchpane orbs wrapped in rose petals on top. Clecky the hare sneaks one, and after being scolded, four gulls attack the cake. They were working for the book's Big Bad, Ublaz, and had been sent to find the titular pearls, which the cake decorations resembled.

     Live Action TV  

  • ER, the Thanksgiving episode where Carol goes into labor, she is carrying two pumpkin pies, one which is dropped before she gets there.
  • Fawlty Towers, "Gourmet Night": Basil spends a good part of the episode trying to get food from a restaurant to his hotel, only to have it destroyed at the last minute. Also "Basil the Rat", in which Basil covers a cut of meat with rat poison in order to poison Manuel's pet rat (also named Basil)...and then has trouble deducing whether or not the poisoned cut was served up to a visiting health inspector.
    • With the first example, the main problem is that the cake isn't even what he ordered (duck). When he goes to pick up the replacement, one of the waiters accidentally switches it with a Bombe Surprise, which he digs through once he finds out in an attempt to somehow find the missing duck.
  • Food Network has turned Carrying a Cake into a series premise, with Food Network Challenge often featuring precarious cake, chocolate, or sugar creations which must be carried from the kitchen to the judging table to prove the construction skill of the chef that made them. This requirement comes from the more established national and international pastry competitions that FN also airs.
    • Also, Ace Of Cakes, being a reality show about a bakery, can get into this sort of trouble. Truly serious disasters are thankfully rare (it helps if the cake isn't shaped like a tall building).
  • A spectacular case of failing to carry a cake happened on Cake Boss: a three-tiered birthday cake with handmade decorations had to be carried down the stairs, but first it had to be lifted over the banister. One of the guys wasn't ready, and in an instant about 30 pounds of cake ended up on the floor. Miraculously, Buddy & Co. were able to recreate the entire cake in one and a half hours.
    • Another example, this time in the "wrong destination" area: Buddy's young delivery boy delivered the wrong cakes twice in one day, prompting Buddy and his cousin to punish him by dousing him with flour and water.
  • In Friends, Rachel is organizing a 1st birthday party for Emma, but when the cake turns up it's an "erotic" cake (never shown but it?s pretty clear it?s a penis,) with the baby's face on it. Joey faces some conflict over finding the cake delicious. In the end, Ross ends up making it look like bunny. "Well, I just made these two things cheeks, and then I split this to make ears."
  • On The Golden Girls, Rose accidentally buys a cake from an erotic cake shop. "I thought it was in the shape of Florida!"
  • On Curb Your Enthusiasm'...a bakery is recommended to Larry, but he isn't told that it's an erotic bakery, and the cake he has ordered is a big chocolate penis.
  • Hannah Montana has this with Jackson trying to get the cake for Miley's birthday and failing in numerous comic ways, once when a door was opened in his face, and most notably, when a pelican came down and ate it.
  • In the Power Rangers Time Force episode "Beware the Knight", Trip was sent to pickup a pizza the Rangers ordered, and on the way back home, he stopped to have a bite out of it (mainly because he was hungry), when he was attacked by the Monster of the Week and the pizza got ruined. When he finally got home, nobody believed that he was attacked and they all though that he just messed up. At the end of the episode they send him again for another one and returns with a destroyed pizza again, but this time he says that he just tripped up.
    • Power Rangers RPM had this at a wedding. Flynn, who supported the wedding on the grounds of "party!", spent the whole fight against the Wedding Smashers protecting the cake - only for the Rich Bitch in attendance to land in it trying to catch a bouquet.
    • Almost any shot that included Bulk and Skull from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and a cake generally resulted in this. Probably the most memorable was the episode 'Peace, Love and Woe' when after destroying a cake, Ernie, the owner of the juice bar banned them until they paid him for it. At the end of the episode, Ernie caught them wearing disguises to violate the ban and Bulk decided to get the money from the 'bank', which happened to be his foot. The money was so smelly, Ernie fell on the replacement cake.
  • In the early years of Sesame Street, there was a series of "Song of _____ " skits, each devoted to a different number from 1-10 and showing various items in groupings of that number. The "Song of Eight", for instance, would show eight blocks, then eight clocks, eight puppets, etc. Each of these vignettes would climax with stuntman Alex Stevens (but often erroneously credited to Jim Henson, who simply voiced him) as a white-hatted baker attempting to descend a staircase with a given number of cakes, pies, puddings, etc., then tripping and falling to the bottom in a messy heap.
    Chorus of Children: And that's/The fall/Of eight
  • Will and Grace, the episode with Will's Father's party, where Karen and Jack bring a large cake and have to walk up many flights of stairs with the cake which arrives after Jack has eaten some of it, but the party has gone to hell in the meantime.
  • In Scrubs, Dan Dorian takes a long bus ride to J.D.'s apartment carrying a cake, which is their family's way of telling someone about a death.
  • In Drake & Josh, they are supposed to drive the wedding cake to their relative's wedding. Hilarity Ensues. To the point that, when the car the cake is in finally bursts into flame, the two main characters just walk away from it.
  • Played with in UK soap Coronation Street, where a family are carrying a homemade wedding cake to the reception, while a scooter weaves its way around them. The cake actually does make it to its intended destination, only to then be destroyed by the drugs squad in search of evidence.
  • In Gene Simmons Family Jewels Nick and Sophie were driving home from the cake shop with Gene's birthday cake and Sophie braked suddenly, causing Nick to squish the cake onto his T-shirt.
  • The Brady Bunch has this in both the pilot of the original series, and the pilot movie of The Brady Brides. It ends badly both times.
  • In Saved by the Bell: The College Years the gang had Screech pick up a cake. When Slater asked what images were invoked with the words "Screech" and "cake", they decided to order another one.
  • Kenan & Kel once went to a bakery to pick the cake Kenan's father ordered. To their surprise, they managed to take it home without any accidents (to the cake, at least - the bakery was another story). After Tempting Fate by commenting on how unusual it was for them to actually succeed, they tripped and dropped the cake. They even tried to bake a new one but lost Kenan's Dad gift to Kenan's Mom in the dough.
  • Top Gear: One event in the Lorry Challenge was for each presenter to carry a fragile or dangerous object in the back of their truck to be delivered safely at the end of an alpine handling course. James May got a massive wedding cake that fared about as well as you would expect. But, at least the cake didn't set his truck on fire...
  • The final episode of WKRP in Cincinnati ends with Herb tripping and smushing the station's ratings-climb celebration cake in Andy's face. Everyone silently leaves in embarrassment, although Johnny swipes a bite as he goes.

     Newspaper Comics  

  • Mary Worth helped out some poor schlub in his big ambition to enter a cake-baking competition - somehow their carrying the cake was shown as high drama.

     Theatre  

  • The stage show of High School Musical has Status Quo end with Zeke trying to give Sharpay a cake, but having Gabriella dance into him, making him trip and spill the cake onto the girl of his dreams instead. Troy even lampshades this, pointing out that this impromptu school singalong is probably not "the time to be giving Sharpay a cake."
  • A key act in Cirque du Soleil's Nouvelle Experience, which later reappeared in La Nouba, is based on averting this trope — the acrobat successfully carries a cake (with lit candles) up with him as he scales a growing tower of chairs.

     Video Games  

  • Taking over the delivery of a cake is a cover in Hitman: Blood Money. On the way to its destination, the cake can be dropped, used to smuggle guns, poisoned, and rigged to explode - depending on how the player wishes to carry out Agent 47's mission.
  • Parappa The Rapper has only the best of intentions when he buys Sunny Funny's birthday cake, so his self-important rival loses no time in tripping him while he carries it home. To add insult to injury, Parappa somehow manages to drop the cake safely face-up...and then land face-down in it.
  • The MMORPG The Lord of the Rings Online has a group of quests that involve carrying a pie through the Shire while avoiding hungry Hobbits.
  • One minigame in Rayman: Raving Rabbids involves trying to carry large towers of food to a patron. Chances are it'll all topple over when the player is steps away from success.
  • One of the bonus games in Yoshi's Story had you carrying/balancing melon crates against the clock.
  • We Love Katamari has a level (the one scored by the price of the items you pick up) where people are carrying a cake to a destination. Ideally, your katamari will steal it before the end of the level.
  • Partial example in Super Mario RPG: Princess Peach was kidnapped (again), and Mario interrupts her forced wedding to her kidnapper just in time. He gets attacked by the angry chef, and moments later, the cake inexplicably comes to life and attacks Mario too.

     Web Original  

  • In Cake Dance, the second episode of the Korean web animation There she is!!, the feline main character endures subway crowds, rabbit street gangs, and stampedes of jungle animals in his attempt to bring a birthday cake to his rabbit ladyfriend's birthday party. In the end he falls through the door and the cake gets smashed, but she enjoys it anyway (and tackleglomps him for his thoughtfulness).
  • Mocked by The Onion: "Jackie Chan attacked while holding World's Most Expensive Wedding Cake."
  • Gruesomely subverted in this Newgrounds animation by Harry Partridge, Chuck's New Tux

     Western Animation  

  • In the Classic Disney Short Mickey's Birthday Party, Goofy is in charge of baking the cake, but it keeps getting ruined. He finally has to buy one, but as he exits the kitchen he trips and the cake ends up all over the birthday boy.
  • In the South Park episode "Hell on Earth 2006", Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy have to deliver a cake shaped like a life-sized Ferrari to Satan for his Halloween Party. They end up accidentally destroying the cake and killing each other whilst they try to bake a new one.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • In "Pizza Delivery", SpongeBob and Squidward have to deliver a Pizza to a customer for the new Krusty Krab pizza delivery service. After a long, grueling journey through nowhere, Spongebob reveals he can ride a rock as if it was an animal, and rides it to the customer, who was right next to the Krusty Krab. The customer rejects the pizza because it didn't come with a drink. Not amused at all, Squidward gives it to him by force.
    • In "Waiting", Patrick successfully delivers a piece of cake to Spongebob but ends up eating it whilst looking for the fork he brought.
  • Averted in the Curious George TV show episode "Special Delivery Monkey." Chef Pisgetti forgets to bring a pie to a meeting with prospective clients. George delivers it in perfect condition, narrowly avoiding disasters along the way. Then subverted when the chef promptly shoves the pie in another man's face. "When you order from Pisgetti's, we guarantee that your pie in the face gag will never fall flat!" He's cheered by the prospective clients, who are clowns.
  • The Simpsons invoked this trope as part of a scam played by Homer and Bart. Bart portrayed a blind kid with a cake for his deaf sister (really just a frosted throw pillow) and stood next to someone so they would knock it over. Then Homer stepped in and threatened the mark to pay them for the "cake".
    • In "500 Keys", Homer buys a cake at a store specializing in wedding cakes from cancelled weddings. He is determined to get it home safely, leading to some reckless driving.
    • In "Chief of Hearts", Homer accidentally puts himself on Red Alert, so he and Chief Wiggum change the warning from a picture of Homer to Moe. Cut to Moe surrounded by angry townspeople while carrying a cake.
    Moe: Not a good time to be carrying this cake.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features this in "The Best Night Ever". When Applejack fails to sell her wares to the fancy upper-class ponies at the Grand Galloping Gala, she tries to impress them with a huge layer cake. Unfortunately, Pinkie Pie has been trying to liven up the festivities, and chooses that moment to do a stage dive onto Applejack's dessert cart. The cake goes flying, and it kinda goes downhill from there.
  • The Flintstone Comedy Show had a skit where Fred and Barney offered to transport a cake that Wilma made for some contest. Hilarity ensues, cake gets destroyed, and they reassemble it with their golf clubs.
  • The Futurama episode The Mutants are Revolting began with the crew needing to deliver a nitroglycerin-laced souffle to Mrs. Astor. Surprisingly, they managed it, and it didn't even explode when eaten... until Mrs. Astor gave the leftovers to her dogs, at which point it promptly exploded.
  • Adventure Time has an entire episode devoted to this in "The Other Tarts".
  • Used as a Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere in the Dennis the Menace (UK) animated series. Dennis is under strict instructions not to get dirty before his school photo is taken. On his way to school, he encounters the Colonel staggering across the road carrying two cakes. The implausibility of the situation is Lampshaded by the Colonel.


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