My Other Blog

What's a Wreck?

A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate - you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it's simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I'm not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.

Now, don't you have a photo you want to send me? ;)

- Jen

Kwanzaa Will Not Be Spared

I made an exception before to include a Sandra Lee creation here on Wrecks, and I'm afraid I have to do so again. How could I not share this bit of holiday cheer with you all?

Yes, those are corn nuts on the edges, although Lee calls them "acorns". There's also canned apple pie filling, cinnamon chocolate icing, pumpkin seeds, and of course the giant taper candles. Here's a handy diagram courtesy of One Horse Shy (which offers it as a poster or on t-shirts) in case you didn't catch all that:
If you want to watch Sandra work her magic you'll find the official video (with commercials) here, or watch a low-quality Youtube version here.

But wait, there's more! While I was digging around looking for more Kwanzaa Wreckage online (note: there is none) I uncovered a hilarious photo-documentary by Flickr user Kitty LaRoux of her and a friend (aided by an indeterminate amount of bourbon) attempting to recreate the cake. (Her blog post on it is hilarious, too.) The official recipe online includes popcorn in addition to the corn nuts and pumpkin seeds, so the end result - sans candles - ends up looking something like this:

The title of this photo is "We have to eat it?", and the reaction shot after she tries it is pretty priceless. I'm guessing it tastes as bad as it looks, Kitty?

Now, before you guys start complaining that this is not technically a Wreck, let me just say I can only work with what I'm given, alright? I haven't found ANY other Kwanzaa wreckage out there. In fact, I'm starting to think that this African festival of First Fruits is somehow anti-cake; that, or they're being made extremely well and kept in strict seclusion. Here's hoping that next year wreckerators will step it up. ;)

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Reader Comments (121)

This cake is embarrassing, darn near insulting. How was she allowed to name this after Kwanzaa? Have I missed something? Shame Cake is better. And I really liked Sandra Lee with all her shortcomings, I mean, short cutting recipes.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I thought of this blog when I saw that awful cake on TV.
Makes me wonder if Sandra Lee huffs gas in between takes.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTori

I watched that video and it has to be one of the most vile taste combinations I can think of.


Why the heck is she still on the air???

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPrincess Poochie

thank you, thank you, thank you for including this!!! i saw that awful cake a few years ago when she debuted it and i could not believe my eyes!!!

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrebekah

Of course, when I think of harvest festivals, I think of wealthy white women.

To be fair, I liked the idea with the sheetcake on the sheetcake only for having children at a party decorate a cake (Certainly not to substitute for a wedding cake or for anything other then having kids help decorate).

But this is horrendous. It's like she wanted to combine the ingredients with the least amount of effort possible.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

That is just gross-ness-ning!
Sandra Lee prolly said that it was a llllovely, delllicious, cake. She holds onto those l's too much when commenting on her foodstuffs.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterasillylittlegirl

The absolute best part of that cake is reading the reviews of the recipe on the Food Network site. Seriously, go there now and sample a few because: hilarity.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

I think this monstrosity is appropriately wrecktastic! Who said a wreck had to "look" wreck-y? The combos thrown together for this doozy make me think she took darts into her pantry and just started throwing randomly. "Hm, Corn Nuts on a cake? Well, if the darts say so..."

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

It looks like a fat old bald guy wearing a Technicolor St. Lucia's Day crown as seen from behind.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCharlene

Cinnamon and chocolate are good together. Cinnamon and apples are good together. Vanilla and chocolate are good together.

The trouble arises when the corn nuts arrive at the party, and it's exacerbated by the fact that neither canned frosting nor canned apple-pie filling are really edible.

And whatever possessed her to put it on an ANGEL food cake? (Not that corn nuts and pepitas are going to go over like anything but a lead balloon as cake decor, no matter what kind of cake/frosting you sprinkle them over.)

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermarveen

I had an uncle who used to fill his plate with food, slop mayonnaise on top, stir it all together and eat it.

I thought of him when I saw this cake.

I cry for those corn nuts.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterScritzy

AC: It should be...but intent may be difficult to prove w/ her "altered" state of alcohol and valium...

I could do better w/ a show *actually* called "leftovers and pantry scraps" and my stuff would be edible! Oh wait, b/c I'd do actual cooking w/ the leftovers and pantry scraps.

Josh: what's also extra-special about this "semi-homemade" cake is that it will taste WORSE than the individual ingredients on their own. Talk about an endorsement for the *cooking* shows on FN.

Thanks, Jen, for posting this! I've been waiting for this ever since the "watch SL decorate w/ Mario!" post.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterblade girl

Oh yes, that was from the episode where she made a festive angel food cake for each of the three major December holidays - Kwanzaa, Hannukah and winter. (She left out Christmas.)
The Hannukah cake was frosted with blue icing and she made a star of David out of a wire strung with pearls. The winter cake was just coated with canned frosting and coconut.
It was a seriously painful episode - I can remember watching it with my old roommate and the two of us screaming in disbelief at the screen at what she was going to do next... and then being sadly correct.

That woman needs to be kicked. Hard.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJena the yarn harpy

What, exactly does this have to do with Kwanzaa? I'm pretty sure canned apple pie filling, angel food cake and store bought frosting are not traditional foods anywhere in Africa.

Wait a minute. Kwanzaa is a uniquely American holiday, although it's founder would suggest it has African roots. These foods are pretty typically used in the U.S. But not just by black people.

Why am I trying to make sense out of something Sandra Lee does?

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

The grandkids made something like this last year in school. Then they hung it on a tree for the birds.

nadoine: Sister planet to Tatooine


December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Sandra Lee scares me! She is like some sort of "everything must be the same color scheme"Stepford Wife drone. NO offense, but GEEZ, would it hurt to NOT blend into your background. LOL

I always wondered how much they spend to redecorate/color- coordinate that set for every episode.

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commentervixen

Corn nuts were the ammunition of choice in food fights when I was in high school because they stuck in your hair. I've never been convinced they were actually meant to be edible.

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjamoche

The last one reminded me of Rachel's "English Triffle" on Friends.... bwaaahahahaha!

Blessings, Carolynn

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWillow Tree

I think they've deleted the recipe from the Food Network Website because I kept trying to search it and got several links to it but it's been taken down...


December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Justin N, you are awesome! This wreck is reminiscent of the cake in Firefly. I'm sure Kaylee's cake tasted better though. ;-)

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Terrifying. I can't decide whether to be more put off by the weird fruits and seeds, or by the enormous, rocket-booster-like candles.

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commentershoppista

Yeah, because there are SO many angel food cakes in Africa....and Corn Nuts, too...

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDea

That cake is vile. As for Sandra Lee, I keep waiting for her to catch on fire, because she never pushes back her billowing sleeves in the kitchen. (Mind you, I won't WATCH for her to catch on fire, but I wait for the news report.) I figure she's pickled in enough ETOH she should go up like a Roman Candle. THAT will be punishment enough for all the travesties she's inflicted on the culinary world...

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSpecial Sauce

Is that for real?

I also like how the skinny blonde WASP chick is making the Kwanzaa cake.

might as well just continue the stereotypes and add some fried chicken and watermelon on top of that "harvest cake."

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I just have to say that the only time I've ever eaten corn nuts was when they were served with ceviche (raw fish or other seafood "cooked" in lemon, for those of you who don't know). So their presence on this cake is uber confusing - and even more icky - to me...

Word verification: fulfpe, the sound of the bile at the back of my throat upon reading the ingredients list for this Kwanzaa treasure

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Sandra Lee stands against everything good and right about food. She doesn't cook food so much as she assembles it!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJules Noctambule

My SO looked and said, "Looks like a horseshoe crab shell with candles stuck on."

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

OH. MY. HELL. I watched the little video. I thought certainly it couldn't be true. But there you have it. First off, I'm appalled she had the audacity to call it "gorgeous." It really is an eye sore, isn't it? And "DELICIOUS"? Really? With all those flavors together, I'd think it'd taste more like...umm...vomit? Honestly, corn nuts with cinnamon-chocolate icing and apple pie filling?! HOY! (That's my dry-heaving sound.)

The ONLY positive thing about this cake is that it's easy to decorate. Although I'd be embarrassed to show it to anybody.

Kudos to Sandra Lee, wait. Somebody actually PRODUCES this show. I think that's the real crime.

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDangGina

Okay, do you know how horrifying this was to me? I didn't even -know- you could buy canned apple pie filling. Ugh, my teeth hurt just thinking about the amount of sugar they dump in with them. This is obviously a "food device" created by the same fiends who concocted canned "frosting".

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Dear...God. This is disgusting. As an African American I'm offended that this woman thinks that this is what passes for traditional cooking. Corn nuts?! On a cake?! Really?!?

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjoeshida

Ummm... and something tells me that she hasn't been invited to too many actual Kwazaa celebreations

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjoeshida

This has got to be the biggest wreck yet. And ahe is a professional, since she gets paid to assemble ingredients to make "food" and "desserts."

Emily, you should pitch that celery recipe to Food Network!

Besides all the comments already said...

My husband eats corn nuts, they are nearly inedible to me. They seriously hurt my teeth they are so hard. It makes my teeth hurt imagining biting into one amidst cake!!!
And what Idiot would call them acorns!?!?!? Acorns???
Who doesn't know what an acorn is? Acorns are too bitter to eat without some major processing efforts, and you would sprinkle whole acorns on a cake!

WHY is she calling them acorns? This is really bothering me. Does anyone have the video of the press conference she (should have) had to apologize for this travesty and to explain why she doesn't know the difference in an inedible squirrel treat and a convenience store husband treat??


December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I've long held the belief that Sandra Lee has pictures of Food Network execs in compromising positions. It's the only thing that explains how long this madness been perpetrated upon the public.

The recipe is just plain gone from Food Network's site.

Oh, I really dislike her.

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterM'Lynn

Good Golly Sandra!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPassion Fruit

Dude, that is disgusting. Worse than the christmas tree cake. She makes me want to CRY.

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbakatulip

Eew. Just eew.

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFluffy Cow

someone else made the cake and has a pretty funny post on it. seriously, sandra lee NEEDS to be stopped.

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDB

On the actual Food Network episodes, she uses real acorns--I believe they're hard enough to come by that corn nuts were thought of as sufficient substitute.

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKitty

I see Cornnuts, I can't help but think of Heathers. This cake makes me want to kill myself!

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKate

In my quest to find a non-wrecky Kwanzaa cake, I found this:

Thank you google image search! You made my day...

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

THAT woman (not said in a sexist way) has a television show?! Was there nobody else involved with the show kind enough to say this cake is a bad idea, let's try something else. OR were they all as crazy as her?

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJim

She.. she...
she.. .....


This cannot be forgiven!

December 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love this site. There are so many ways to screw something up by accident. But what is really amazing is when a person makes something like the Kwanzaa cake which is just so wrong on so many levels and does not realize how bad it is.

December 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjudi
December 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterXavier

"Kwanzaa is supposed to celebrate the harvest, so I never really understood why the hell it's in December and not October(this is only one reason why I don't celebrate it). I mean, WTF?"

I remember reading (back in the 80's or early 90's) that Kwanzaa was placed after Christmas when created, to encourage black children (and adults) to stop focusing on the **materialism** of Christmas as celebrated by the white majority of that time--to lead them to develop a strong sense of ethnic identity as being part of a community, and understanding how they contribute to community. If you know the history of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's you know that many black people were poor in the 1960s, and the kids were getting the idea that it was better to be white than black (see "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison) because, on TV and in the press, white people had beautiful homes and got all these great gifts at Christmas and so on, and could buy anything they wanted, and black people got little or nothing because that is what they could afford. So Kwanzaa focuses attention on community and ability.

Anyway, you could technically be harvesting till November, so this would be the time you rest from labors and make those homemade gifts and so on.

December 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I despise this woman, but am compelled to watch her show...

December 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

After showing the vid to my husband, I foolishly asked him what flavor combination could be worse - he suggested "What if she glazed it with maple syrup?" Never ask a husband a question you don't want to hear an answer to!

That woman is a menace, how did she get a show on FN? Cable access is probably too much exposure for her "recipes."

December 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

oh my god! i actually updated my status on facebook while i was watching that episode to say "(I am)... horrified by what sandra lee is making right now." so glad to see that i wasn't the only one!

seriously, i only tune in to that woman's show to witness the ultimate in tackiness.

i hope to see more of her wrecks here in the future as she certainly supplies some good material.

December 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteremmylou

Disgusting! that's the only word for that.

December 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie
December 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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