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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
Wednesday
Dec262012

A Kwanzaa Tradition

It's time again for everyone's favorite Kwanzaa tradition: making fun of Sandra Lee's Kwanzaa cake!

For those who've somehow managed to miss it in previous years: that is an angel food cake, covered in chocolate cinnamon frosting, filled with canned apple pie filling, and "garnished" with pumpkin seeds and corn nuts.

Yes, CORN NUTS.

The giant taper candles jammed in the cake are presumably there for "culture."

And if you missed any of that, kindly refer to this handy diagram:

(Available as a t-shirt for your next First Fruits Festival!)

This ill-concieved creation has spawned a veritable plethora of ironic baking adventures over the years, as people first recreate it in their own kitchens and then dare each other to eat it. Do a search and you'll find plenty of videos and photos - and the reaction shots of people tasting it are pretty priceless.

Why, Elizabeth in Georgia even made this miniature version for one of our book tour stops:

You must admit, using popcorn kernels in place of corn nuts is pretty inspired.

However, no replica can ever really compete with the original, so gather 'round, my friends, while Aunt Sandra tells us a tale of family, first fruits, and cultural sensitivity:

Also, Corn Nuts are called "acorns." Did you know?

As a side note: I've lost count of how many times I've seen this video over the past four years, but somehow it still unleashes fresh horrors with every viewing. Just looking at that icing makes my teeth hurt, and when you throw in angel food cake - which should never have icing on it to begin with - topped with pumpkins seeds and corn nuts, I'm pretty sure I'd rather gnaw on one of the taper candles.

Oh, and here's an interesting nugget: the person Sandra Lee hired to write this "recipe" later confessed, and her only defense? "The candles were her [Lee's] idea." (I know; I'm still reeling over the fact that Lee paid someone to come up with Corn Nuts and cinnamon icing, too.)

Say, do you think Lee would be in the market for my new St. Patrick's Day recipe? It's a store-bought pie shell filled with frozen orange soda, chopped Circus Peanuts, and Cool Whip. For garnish I have Andes Mints and Doritos crumbs, and for decoration, a can of Guiness jammed "festively" in the middle. I'll be rich, I tell you, RICH!! MWUAH-HA-HAAA!

Feel free to share your own semi-homemade recipes in the comments, since my family's all gone home, John's playing Borderlands 2 again, and I might be a little bored. And....GO.

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Reader Comments (120)

Well, I can't pass up a chance to entertain YOU, after all that, now can I? Although it's going to be hard to rival your new "St. Patrick's Day" pie!

Juicy Labor Day No-Bake Cookies

Ingredients:
4 Cans Dole Fruit Cups (in syrup, any type)
12 Chips Ahoy! Cookies
1 box Yahoo! Prepared Chocolate Milk
2 Packages Flavored oatmeal
A dash of cayenne pepper (for festive color!)

Direction:
1. Blend until no longer recognizable. Spoon onto lined baking sheet, top with crushed peppermint candy and freeze 4-6 hours.

Mmm!!! Yummy, yummy! Is that the soaring stock prices of Tums and Alkaseltzer I hear?

December 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStoich91

Two thoughts late to the party: (sorry, but on 12/26 I celebrate my b-day... or Boxing Day Canada... depends on my mood and whether my dad is making me a cake....)

1. For next year, I respectfully request a Boxing Day (Canada) Cake Wrecks post.

2. New reality show: Sandra Lee (SWMNBN) vs. Gordon Ramsey. I would SO watch this.

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAgent B

Oh, dear Lord. I just don't know what to say, except that I'll be skeddadling over to Youtube to check out awful Sandra Lee videos.

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSue M

Well, I had a look at her Heirloom Noel cake. My family really likes icing (and operate under the assumption that cake is only to keep the icing from sticking to your fork). But even they would be thinking "No. That's too much".

December 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSue M

With the Hannukah cake and the Christmas log and God knows how many other travesties of dessert, Sandra Lee takes store-bought things that were just FINE as they were, and makes them barely edible. It's not as much work as homemade,but much more than just serving the stuff in its store-bought tasty state.

That said, I do the food for my historical dance group's monthly events, and occasionally will bust my butt and spend hours doing homemade from a historic recipe (Regency cooking is MUCH more trouble than it's worth!) and get an occasional "That was good, what's in it?"

The thing that impresses the bejesus out of people? I pretentiously call it "croquembouche," nothing but store-bought cream puffs stuck piled in a pyramid, stuck together with drizzles of chocolate sauce, caramel or honey. Sometimes we go nuts and garnish with fruit. It literally takes less than 5 minutes, the hardest part is getting the tub open, but people ooh and aah like I am the love-child of Martha Stewart and Duff Goldman.

December 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Deep South Charleston Cake

Purchase store bought pound cake. Slice in half, horizontally.
Spread prepared macaroni and cheese over bottom half.
Sprinkle crumbled bacon bits over the macaroni and cheese.
Place top layer over macaroni and bacon.Melt 1/2 stick of butter, cool slightly, and drizzle over cake.
Once butter has congealed, frost entire cake with pimento cheese.
Decorate with chopped pecans. Refrigerate until set. Slice and enjoy!

Best served with whiskey.

December 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSheri

I've been a huge fan of this site since it began but I've never commented before on a wreck, but when out of curiosity I googled "Kwanzaa Cake" and found this treasure trove: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/kwanzaa%20cake I knew I had to share. Kwanzaa Cake has it's own Tumblr, ack!

December 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrandy

Kwanzaa cake: Start by frosting the round fruitcake you got for christmas last year with milk chocolate canned frosting swirls...

December 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergobbler

Wow. I just read parts of the "confession" of Denise Vivaldi, the one-woman wrecking ball who created the "recipe" for Sandra Lee. Not only does she claim that the candles were Lee's idea, but she also grossly insults carnies and circus folk: "She just has terrible taste in food. Think what your taste would be like if you came from carnival or circus people." Hey! I don't come from carnival people, but I bet they don't eat freakin' Kwanzaa cake. This story and "recipe" just keep on giving.

January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJayne

Okay, she could have saved herself a step and actually bought vanilla or chocolate frosting--then she'd only have to add 2 ingredients. Sheesh!

January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTwinMom

I had no idea this cake existed,
I found a Sandra Lee recipe cookbook a while ago, it was a Bake Sale Cook book, the pictures in there were cute, but once I started reading it, everyhting was store bought!!!
What's up with that...

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoxyrks

Oh, I'm late to the party, but I shall recount a delightful treat made for our annual 'last day of summer vacation' party when I was a teenager.

Junk Food Trifle

So, a trifle is a lovely dish, consisting of layers of cake and chilled custard, often with a bit of fruit, ringed with lady fingers, and with a dash of rum.

Our version was as follows:

Cake - plain Hostess donuts.
Custard - butterscotch Jell-o pudding.
Fruit - Hostess Cherry Pie filling (crack 'em open, scoop it out)
Lady Fingers - Twinkies
Rum - Jolt Cola.

It looked pretty good, but I'll be honest, it was apalling. Eating a bit of it probably took five years off my life.

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Bobcat

I'm putting Corn Nut garnish on ALL future cakes! LMTFO!

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoseParrot

Look. I know someone who makes a white cake (follow directions on box, of course). While the cake is cooling, whip up some jello.While the jello is still liquid, you poke some holes in the cake with a fork. Pour your jello (2 flavors/colors are preferable) into the holes. Refrigerate. Cover in Cool Whip. This is for real and people ask for it!

January 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteranon

@Beth-- "love-child of Martha Stewart and Duff Goldman" got me laughing almost as much as Sharyn's song today (I can recall in my university years when we would be freezing in the line-up to one of the downtown bars entertaining ourselves singing the Gilligan's Island, Flintstones and other classic theme songs. And were still completely sober at the time!).

What amazes me the most is that Sandra Lee thinks that taking utterly inedible "food" (store-bought angel food cake, canned icing, canned pie filling) and schmearing it together would result in something appetizing. <shudder> But then again, my mother taught me to cook. And if I do use store-bought, I buy the tasty stuff and then unapologetically display it as-is but slid onto a nice plate.

However, I must give her credit for not including kosher marshmallows in the Hanukkah cake. (Those are more revolting than gefilte fish-- to the point where even those with faulty taste buds who claim to like gefilte fish hate kosher marshmallows). And I'm grateful that she didn't know more about Hanukkah (olive-oil flavoured icing?), but that does imply that the quality of her studies for the conversion followed the same standard as her cooking skills. (Jane, I wouldn't insult chopped liver by including it here... it deserves loving appreciation, not Sandra Lee <grin>).

The St Patrick's, Easter and snowy NYE concoctions are amusing, and I definitely appreciate the Maple Tree (although for Canada Day, it would need some red-and-white). I'm still shuddering over that jello-vegetable concoction (Sharyn, that you ate it (a) says how lovely and considerate you are, and (b) what a good mother you have!).

When I was 7 or 8, I decided to treat my parents to a salad. I included all things yummy that I could reach in the kitchen, including PB&J and sultanas and I don't remember what else. My father teased me about it for a decade (ie until I could unquestionably cook edible fare). It sounds like some of these recipes!

@Kim-- I'm so sorry for what you and your friend are going through. I'm glad that CW can bring you a few moments each day where you can forget that disease.

January 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAliza

I know I'm really late to the party here, but I have a GREAT "semi homemade" recipe... except, it isn't for a holiday (uhh.. let's say it's for Summer Solstice??) And it's actually GOOD. I can't remember where I got it from or what it was properly called, but I'd call it Lemon Cloud Pie.

You need:
1 can lemon pie filling
1 container cool whip (thawed)
8oz marshmallow creme fluff
1 premade graham cracker pie crust
2 tbsp butter, melted

Brush the crust well all over its inner surface with melted butter. Brown the crust in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes to help harden it up. Cool, and set aside. (Ta daa, that's all the baking you need to do for this.)
In a bowl, combine the other three ingredients and mix until smooth and well blended.
Pour the lemon cloud filling into the cooled pie shell until filled evenly. You might have some filling left over (what a tragedy! I guess that means you have to lick the bowl!)
Put the pie in the freezer and leave it til it's solid, then it's ready to cut and serve. If you want to be really fancy about it, garnish with a sprig of mint and/or twisted lemon slice.

Easy peasy. :)

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn Onnimus

@ Craig

Have you been reading this?
http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/index.html

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrocketride

Sandra Lee is HOT! who cares what she makes. She just needs to stand there and be HOT!

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

As someone who doesn't cook, let alone bake, I visit this site with the thought that "I can't do that, so I won't complain so much" (although I do laugh my tail off with my husband daily). But this...I wouldn't fathom...how do you-.. I can't even form a complete sentence about this cake. The tears of laughter are falling. Hard.

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Banana

Anthony Bourdain referred to this cake as a "hate crime" He was spot on.

August 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEben

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