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. ;)

« Goy Gaffes | Main | In So Many Words... »

Reader Comments (121)

oh gosh, i saw that episode and wondered what the heck the acorns were ... thanks for the enlightenment?

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstewbert

That looks like something Snoopy would whip up.

Angie (from over at

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAll Adither

Really seriously??? This woman has her own show??? I know children who can "bake" better than that!!!

And those candles are pretty much a crime against ... well, everything.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertigerleo

Oh god, the horror! Sandra Lee should never have been allowed in the kitchen!

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlittlebirdbigcity

Sandra Lee is the scourge of all things baking and cooking!

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmie

Is it weird of me to think that the first cake kind of looks like it's made of processed meat. O_o I mean, meat isn't usually paired with apples and corn nuts... but you never know.

And the Photostream... I sincerely hope that I am never served a cake with corn nuts. Especially not corn nuts that are green. X_X

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCube

Haha, I think pretty much anything Sandra Lee makes can be included here. She's completely insane. And drunk.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKimmy

Wow, I'm actually the 1st! This is just awesomely wrecktastic. Sandra Lee is a joke to the culinary world, imo. Who ever would even think to put CORN NUTS on a cake needs to be whomped upside the head.. lol.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAthy

She can't be sane. She got a mining stake through the head at some point in her life, right? I mean...right?

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterApril

Those look and sound, horrible. Why bother? Bake a pie or something already.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdelaney55

The first one looks like a cake from the TV show Firefly. Though the cake on the show was made by a spaceship mechanic using protein. Here is the best picture I could find.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJustin N

Sandra Lee isn't a professional by any stretch of anyone's imagination (except hers, perhaps) so I think she's perfectly admissible for a CakeWreck.

By the way, it's rumored that FN no longer is calling it a Kwanzaa Cake, it's now an Autumn Cake or some such nonsense.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSpooneroonie

What IS it about winter holidays and the gross fruity cakes they bring us? Christmas has fruitcake (just Ew), Chanukah has sufganiyot (otherwise known as jelly-filled donuts fried in oil. Bleh.) Now there is Kwanzaa, new to many of us, and with it comes a new taste treat: slimy apple-filled pumpkinseed-popcorn-cornnut abomination. I vote we start a new holiday (Winter Cakefest, maybe?) and designate an appropriately delicious (and hard to wreck) cake to go with it. NO FRUIT! NONE!

word verification: rerspr: the involuntary noise you make while trying not to vomit on your keyboard while viewing the Kwanzaa cake.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersingdown

popcorn, corn nuts and pumpkin seeds on a cake? That's just anti-cake.

And the Lee woman is a menace.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterwrittenwyrdd

Oh, that is HORRIFYING. Cinnamon? Apple-pie filling? CORN NUTS??? It boggles the mind. It's way too early to read a recipe like this. I'm dry-heaving.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

That thing looks like a mud hut. Probably tastes like one too.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I don't know too much about Kwanzaa, but maybe the meal before the cake is so large, plentiful and delicious there's no room for cake?

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBibi

O.K. I like Sandra Lee, but that has got to be one of the worst things she's ever made! The candles alone are enough to be a wreck...

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Maybe it's all on purpose. Maybe Semi-Homemade is a kind of propaganda engine that is intended to convince people that if you want good food you'll have to do some real work and not just cobble together things you got at the supermarket. In that way it acts as a kind of advertising for other Food Network shows, which all advocate actually putting some effort into cooking.

It's like when you're mom tells you that, sure, you can go out in the snow with no coat on if you want to catch pneumonia and freeze to death. Sandra Lee just wants everyone to know that it's perfectly okay to buy a bunch of ready-made stuff at the last second and slap it together in an attempt to look like something homemade, as long as you don't care that it won't taste any better than store-bought and everybody will know what you did anyway.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

First of all, canned apple pie filling should be made illegal.
Second of all, what, exactly, IS that slab of crap on the top, anchoring the candles in place so that they don't topple over? The diagram points this out to be the pie filling, and yet it looks like some weird colored Play-Doh, and is completely unappetizing.
Corn nuts are not acorns (acorns are way cuter). Might as well have used actual acorns; no one's going to want to actually eat that abomination, anyway.
Last, but not least, Lee is a bad joke; I have a suggestion as to what she can do with those candles, but I won't say it in polite company.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersendingtheclowns

Corn nuts are cake decoration of '09. She's just ahead of the game a little bit.

That's what I hear anyways.


December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJessie

I actually got to watch this episode when I was home sick last week. I have been talking about this cake to my friends for days. If this woman can have a cooking show on TV, then certainly I could have one. Please... using canned icing on a store-bought cake? Genius.

In the spirit of laziness, let me delight you with one of my favorite recipes:

Wash and trim 5 stalks of celery
Cut celery into 3 inch-long pieces.
Arrange celery on a plate
Pour ranch dressing into small bowl
Put bowl of dressing on plate with celery

Dip celery into ranch dressing and enjoy!

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Holy Smokes. That thing looked disgusting! How on earth do canned frosting, cocoa, cinnamon, angelfood cake, friggin' corn nuts, and canned apple pie filling end up on the same plate? There is no way this "cake" could have passed muster in any kind of recipe testing. And don't get me started on canned frosting. No excuse for it whatsoever! People--frosting is the easiest thing to make in the kitchen, with the exception of boiled water!

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne

How Sandra Lee even got on TV is a question in and of itself. That woman should not be allowed to do anything.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKerry

Eeww! Gross! (And she doesn't know the difference between frosting and icing.) We've got two apple cake recipes we make every Fall. They have real ingredients and people actually EAT them.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLulubelle B

Its actually painful to watch

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLily

i just looked her up, and turns out she's from my hometown! good old sumner, washington... whoops

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersara

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 the first time I saw this cake on Semi-Homemade. I think I wanted to go thru the screen and strangle her! It was(and still is) such a travesty that I considered her the bane of Food Network's existence.

Then I made her gingerbread cookies this year and I had to shut up. *lol*

But I think this totally counts as a wreck. It's wrong to the nth degree!

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSherri

They look like one of those balls covered in seeds that you hang out for the birds!

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMari

It's the Kwanzaa Kake of Kultural Insensitivity!

Every time I describe this cake to people, their jaws drop. Its horror needs to spread as far and wide as possible. (By the way, it's no longer a Kwanzaa Cake on the Food Network website; it's now a "Harvest Cake" so it can nauseate everyone all autumn long!)

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

How is it this woman, who I'm assuming (and most likely correctly) doesn't now SQUAT about Kwanzaa be allowed to make a "cake" commemorating it?? This woman needs to keep the frack out of the kitchen. I've seen her show a total of twice and the only thing she does semi-correctly was the cocktails. She seems to have left out the Valium that usually accompanies it though...What a douche

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterblckbtch

Is it possible to classify this cake as a hate crime?

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAC

When you said that you were making an "exception" to include the cake, at first I thought you were referring to the Sunday exception where you feature non-wreck cakes, so I scrolled down to see the non-Wreck Kwanzaa cake.

I blinked at it, thinking as charitably as I could, "Well, it doesn't have the ... style, and uh, smooth perfection that the non-wreck cakes usually do, but I don't know anything about Kwanzaa nor much about cake decorating. Maybe I'm missing something that makes this cake great." I carefully examined the anatomical diagram, the trimming and the list of ingredients before it dawned on me that you weren't trying desperately to be culturally sensitive, and that when you said that you couldn't find any Kwanzaa wrecks, you meant by commercial bakeries.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAviatrix

oh i saw this episode, too. my husband was gagging at thought of apple pie filling/chocolate-cinnamon frosting...all on top of angel food cake. UGH!

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdebbiearnn

OH. MY. GOD. (yes I used the Big G Word so shoot me okay!)

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSport's Mom

They both look like they'd taste horrible! Sandra had to have come up with that idea when she was a bit too tipsy, right? Right? I can't imagine that anyone who celebrates Kwanzaa would think it was a good idea.

wv: podere - misspelling of "poder"

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCalantha

Seriously, the title of the show might as well be.... "Leftovers and pantry scraps".... whoever watches that for good ideas needs more help than the Food Network can offer.... just stop and buy a dozen donuts... your guests would appreciate them more! :)


December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfour little blessings

Gag me! I think Sandra was hitting the cocktails too hard when she came up with this one. Gross!


December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

That is the worst thing I have ever heard of. That makes me want to cry.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermaggie

No Kwanza Wreckage? Oh, I think not. In fact, that Sandra Lee monstrosity is about as wrecky as it gets. Now, I must disclaim because I think she does fine with her niche area (sorry, but there IS an audience out there for shortcut meal ideas), but her desserts are almost entirely gag-worthy. Case-in-point this Kwanza thing. Does mud pie come to anyone else's mind here? Gross.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlix

I'm still trying to "taste" that chocolate/cinnamon thing in my head...and WHY would you add vanilla to vanilla frosting? Isn't that a given? I can't imagine where she came up the idea of yukky canned apple filling. The candles alone are horrific!!! This is an unimaginable and totally disgusting(urp)WRECK.

Thanks for this. You are my new favorite blogspot.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterwolfmom

Oh my tummy hurts just looking at it! If you serve this cake at a gathering of friends or family, be sure to check all your flower pots and wastebaskets after - people didn't really gobble it up that fast. Oh, and keep the number of the vet handy, too.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Godin

What about Hanukkah? We must have loads of wrecked cakes yet... It's still not over!

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKira Petersson-Martin

I watched the video and the sight of her dumping that pie filling into the - uh - gorge actually triggered my gag reflex. Day-um. I thought I was made of sterner stuff.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Happiest Girl Alive

ok, even though other cakes have looked truly hideous with their spelling, choice of colors, and lack of decorating talent...THIS cake actually made my nauseous. the idea of eating popcorn and corn nuts on a cake...*shiver* just wrong. it's right up there with the meat "cake"!!

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjen bryner

How about a picture of the cake someone actually MADE ?

flickr link to album:

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterwedschilde

D: How is that even remotely edible?

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterksaldria

That looks effing disgusting. I cannot believe someone would even try to eat that.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercadylee

Sad.......soo soo sad....... ( *sniffle*)

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSweetyPie!

Cocoa, sweet spices, and grated apples combine nicely in one of the only cakes I bother to make entirely from scratch. (I think combining may be the concept this cake is missing.) Maybe there would be more Kwanzaa wrecks if it were a festival of First Cakes rather than First Fruits.

December 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthisbagisnotatoy

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>