'1,500 People Died': Titanic Birthday Cake for 5-Year-Old Sparks Debate

A woman sharing a picture of a cake designed to look like the famous Titanic tragedy has sparked debate online.

Posting the picture on the popular discussion site Mumsnet on Friday, the user wrote: "I don't understand, in what world, it's appropriate to make a cake (for a child's birthday!) showing the death of over 1,500 people." Alongside the picture of the cake they had taken from a local Facebook group that morning.

She explained that the image was posted on Facebook by someone asking for a cake like the one pictured for their child's birthday.

Luxury British steamship Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, after striking an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic. Traveling from Southampton, U.K., to New York City, the tragedy killed more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

At the time of the passenger liner's design and build, it was a state-of-the-art ship that some even described as 'unsinkable,' a claim that reportedly kept many passengers calm even when the ship did begin to sink.

The story of the tragic sinking of the passenger ship was popularized by the 1997 blockbuster Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Written and directed by James Cameron, it was the highest-grossing film of all time until it was knocked off its top spot by another Cameron film, Avatar, in 2010.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic
Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Titanic (1997) directed by James Cameron. A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. Paramount Pictures

The cake sparked discussion on Mumsnet where users shared their thoughts. One commenter wrote: "How bizarre," while another said: "Really bad taste. Doesn't matter that it's 100 plus years ago."

Later in her post, the Mumsnet user who started the discussion compared the cake to a more recent tragedy, asking: "In 100 years' time will we be making cakes of Grenfell Tower?"

In 2017, 72 people died in Grenfell Tower in West London, U.K., after a fire broke out in the 24-story residential block in the early hours of June 14. The tragedy sparked police investigations, a public inquiry, coroner's inquests, and an independent review of building regulations and fire safety.

Other Mumsnet users were less concerned about the Titanic cake. One user wrote: "It's a bit weird but [I] don't think it's that shocking. I can understand why a kid would be interested in the Titanic. I don't think it's comparable to Grenfell. The Titanic sunk a long time ago and there is no one surviving affected by it."

"I think it is weird and not in good taste but for a lot of people, it is ancient history," said another commenter: "I once went to a fairground that had a bouncy castle in the form of a sinking Titanic."

Another commenter even agreed that they would have enjoyed the unusual cake: "I got obsessed by the Titanic as a child, I'd have loved this cake."

One Mumsnet user said that they couldn't see any issue with the design: "I wouldn't even raise an eyebrow at this cake. There's a lot of romance and glamor associated with the Titanic, and its story. The fact that so many people died tragically has almost become a side issue."

It's not the first time a Titanic birthday has sparked debate online. In 2021, a viral TikTok video was criticized after showing a Titanic-themed pool party including guests dressing up and a re-enacted ship sinking in the pool.

UPDATE 05/17/2022 05:05 a.m.: This article was updated with a new image and headline.