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Apology Cakes refer to confectionery goods that are gifted as a way of apologizing, often for having done something mischievous or trivial in nature. On Tumblr, people often superimpose a custom apologetic message over the cake’s surface in Comic Sans typeface.
In April 2003, an apology cake (shown below, left) appeared as an Easter Egg in a flash animation that was part of the Strong Bad Email series on Homestar Runner. Though the cake was exchanged between the characters Strong Bad and The Poopsmith, the cartoonists created a physical cake that users could then add toppings to in the animation. Photos of apology cakes exchanged offline have appeared online as early as June 2008 when Cake Wrecks posted a picture of a cake with the custom message reading “sorry I’m so stupid” (shown below, right).
Throughout 2009, Cake Wrecks continued to post images of apology cakes and in 2010, a viral image of a cake with the text “Sorry I got semen in your eye” began circulating the web, appearing on several image-sharing sites FunFoll, FoodBeast and FunnyJunk that year. In 2011, Buzzfeed featured 20 photos of apology cakes from across the web, some of which were reposted on FunnyJunk and Pop Hangover. In 2011 and 2012, additional apology cakes appeared on the Examiner, Dorkly, Cake Wrecks and College Humor.
On December 20th, 2012, Tumblr user epictoasters shared a photo (shown below, left) of a professionally decorated cake (shown below) with the phrase “sorry my tree fell on your fence” written in Comic Sans font overlaid over the photo. He explained that a neighbor had left the photo on his Facebook wall the morning after a night of powerful winds knocked over a tree into his backyard. Two days later, user tardistribute posted an image using the same cake (shown below, right), apologizing for not tagging his fandom-related posts. His post gained more than 17,600 notes in a month and a half.
On February 3rd, 2013, that-stupid-tardis-sound posted a photoset of ten apology cakes using a different professionally decorated cake template, apologizing for a range of blogging-related activities. Within fifteen days, this post gained more than 28,000 notes. Additional digitally edited apology cakes, including general sentiments as well as fandom-specific messages of concession, can be found with the Tumblr tags “apology cake” and “apology cakes.”
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