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

First Canned Fruits

Ok, here's the thing: we were totally gonna do an all-new, exciting, hilariously intelligent post on Kwanzaa today. However, it turns out there are no new Kwanzaa wrecks to be found, exciting or otherwise.

Well, except maybe this one:

Which isn't all that exciting. And is probably a Hanukkah wreck anyway.

So, as a "compromise" (read "lazy"), we've decided to take another look at last year's doozie of a Kwanzaa catastrophe made by the one and only Sandra Lee. Think of it as one of those really uncomfortable yearly traditions. Like when Aunt Janet gets drunk on Goldschl├Ąger at "Winterfest" and hits on Father Jenkins. Yeah. Kinda like that.

Now, to refresh your memories, this is the wreck:

As you can see, it really captures the essence of Kwanzaa: family, community, culture, and corn nuts. It's all there.

And in case you want to make your own, here's a handy diagram courtesy of One Horse Shy breaking down the ingredient list for you:


Ok, now that we're fully primed and prepped, let's watch Sandra Lee work her magic:

So... culturally sensitive.

Happy Kwanzaa, all.

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Reader Comments (115)

You're forgetting the best part -- in about one week, this icon of careful preparation and cultural sensitivity will be the First Lady of the State of New York.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjayspec

Why??? Why would they use such a waspy person for Kwanza why??

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Right...I've recovered from the shock that Sandra Lee is a "real" person who has a "real" cooking show and means this "seriously." I'm ready now for the next horror - has anybody ever tried to EAT this monstrosity?

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

Did you see the article about the lady who wrote the recipe for the cake? Classic.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBigMomma

I cannot get through that video without gagging. There was a time in my life when store bought angel food cake and a bag of frozen strawberries constituted dessert. *shudder*
But this Kwanzaa cake really puts me over the edge. It's like she fully created a cake from whatever she found on the shelves at the grungy gas station across town.

Seriously, frosting? And oversweet canned pie crap? AAand corn cuts of all things?

How does this women not get beaten up by a team of chef/baker ninjas on a daily basis??

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWifeOfSeth


The article is awesome. I think there is a link on the cake wrecks FB page. That woman must be stopped.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterModestGirl

I don't know what kwanzaa is (and will look it up in a minute), but I actually went to see who Sandra Lee is. I thought that was a joke - no way does that count as cooking/baking something. "Gluing something together" at best. And it doesn't even look yummy.

One word: Hilarious.

Okay, Wiki, now tell me what kwanzaa is...

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiandra

But...she used acorns instead of corn nuts! How can the cake possibly maintain its cultural integrity with such a terrible substitution?

Gah. I really should have eaten something before I watched this. Now I'm feeling totally queasy. Perhaps that's not the desired reaction, but it's probably the most common!

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura47

So glad we're going to move out of NY State, with her about to become our first Lady!!!
The Hanukah cake isn't any better. I grew up with a Jewish mother, 1) Marshmallows are usually not Kosher and 2) that doesn't look like ANY star of David I've ever seen before!
Seriously, tell me she's not drinking!

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHarley Quinn

That is one wreck of a cake. What's up with all the fillings?

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDinners and Dreams

Urp...bleegggh...ack. Cold. Canned. Pie filling. Blurggghhh!

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstudiorose

OK, store bought angel food cake is gross. Canned frosting is...gross, but honestly it's a few orders of magnitude LESS gross than fondant (which y'all think is fine...something I will never understand. Fondant is far nastier than canned frosting). Apple pie filling from a can is kinda gross. Corn nuts on a cake are, of course, thoroughly horrifying.


Take off the candles, bake your own angel food cake, make your own chocolate cinnamon buttercream frosting and maybe cook down your own Granny Smiths with cinnamon and sugar, and leave off the nasty seeds and nuts (and take away the candles and don't call it a "Kwanzaa Cake") and it would be totally OK.

Better than gross wedding cake made with fondant anyhow.

WV: picat. If someone served me this cake I'd take off the nuts and picat the rest, while drinking bourbon.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I don't think that Sandra Lee and Andrew Cuomo are actually married, so technically speaking, she won't be the "First Lady" of New York. More like the "First Girlfriend." So she won't have any official position or duties, which is good. But I did read the following horrifying quote from the Daily Post:

Lee, a Food Network host and author who boasts a product line, did say last year she'd bring her creative cuisine to the executive mansion.

"I will cook. And do you know what I'm going to bring when I get to the governor's mansion? Great garnishes."


December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarbW

I doubt she actually tasted that cake.

The captcha is "pauti" which is juuuust close enough for me to think that Blogger is saying "patui!" to this canned filling-in-a-hole nonsense.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

Sandra Lee is the worst, check out the rest of her...creations...

Also to note, I read something on a while ago that said that she matches her tv set to her outfit...she changes the set every time!

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaitmill

Can anyone explain to me why this woman is famous and who was smoking crack when they gave her a cooking show?

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I really didn't think it could get any worse than that lovely Star of David... so good to see that I was WRONG!

Ack! Everything in me just cringes and cries as I watch that video. It's just wrong, wrong, wrong to let that woman anywhere near a kitchen!

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

This clip still cracks me up. I can't see Sandra Lee on Food Network and not think of this clip and Cake Wrecks. It's kind of a nice association for me because it always makes me laugh. Then, if someone doesn't know about the Kwanaza cake, I pull up the clip for them.

I sort of like this tradition.

Corn nuts, lol! She keeps calling them acorns? Did somebody just mess with her and tell her they were acorns?

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Lunar Fox

I now understand why, in every episode, she has to make a cocktail. She's perpetually drunk! She needs to keep the blood alcohol content up. It's the only thing that could explain some of her creations. And why she has a TV show is beyond me.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

How could anyone think that cake is appealing in any way, shape or form??? It's enough to make me swear off eating cake for life!

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonkaloosa

That woman is freaky-scary.

And I don't mean that in a FUN way....

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNiteNurse

The home ec teacher at the junior high where I teach has our 12-year-olds doing more sophisticated stuff than this.
I love the "specific" directions: "Take a 'nice' amount of frosting....." Is that opposed to a "rude" amount of icing?

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA Paperback Writer

what is with that woman and angel food cake? I'm surprised she didn't stick a marshmallow in the middle of that one.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkdstentzel

Look at me, I'm Sandra Lee.
"Cooking" things on your TV.
Waxy and plastic,
At least it's not aspic,
Look out, I'm Sandra Lee...

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermimiheart

At first, I thought who would even eat that crap?
Then I thought, whom would I ever serve that crap to?
And the answer came: my ex-husband and his mother.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMomza

is she calling the corn nuts acorns? I can't even imagine this ... I have to scrub my brain..

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


I honestly buy angel food cakes, instead of making them because I have no desire to deal with THAT many egg whites. But to frost it with overly sweet, artificial store bought frosting? Ew.

Not to mention that cake is hideous, she is the whitest white girl EVER and the canned pie filling makes me feel queasy.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Nabers

This reminds me of a discussion about the Food Network I had with some friends about a year ago. We were talking specifically about people who take culinary arts classes that think, "I can cook better than these guys." But, while there's plenty of genuine culinary talent on the Food Network (I assume; I don't have TV to check myself), the people on there are on TV because they're entertaining first and can cook second, if at all. That's just how TV works.

And entertainment-wise, Sandra Lee here is, quite frankly, hilarious. I swear, if this show was conscious of the potential, it would almost be enough to threaten the top of satire involving culinary arts. Which I believe is Swift's A Modest Proposal.

We'll know they've realized that potential once Sandra Lee shows us how to make one of those darling Confederate flag-beer can-bullet shell wedding cakes, so keep me posted on that.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAura

I have the same questions that everyone else has.....WHY IS SHE CALLING CORN NUTS ACCORNS.....please someone explain the difference to her.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Why does she always have to fill in the angel food cake's hole?

I don't get that at all...I like the hole!

WV: extorik--I took a bite of this cake and extoriked it out right away.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

That's disgusting. Really, really, really disgusting.

If that's the kind of thing she serves, it's no wonder she wrote a book of cocktail recipes; get your guests drunk enough and they won't care what you feed them.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Luxuries

You know, there are larger candles; what about some nice four-foot tapers? Or skip the apple glop, fill the center with molten wax and stick a wick in it. Better still, fill the center with cherry bombs.

I like how easily she cuts it at the end. That is either the world's sharpest knife, that cake had been around awhile prior to being defiled or all that frosting stiffened it up enough to cut that way.

I was disappointed to see that she left out the part about spending an hour cleaning excess frosting off the cake plate prior to inflicting this mess on innocent guests. That is as much a part of the Sandra Lee experience as anything else.

First Girlfriend of New York? So we can look forward to 'statescapes'. (Please keep her away from the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.) Someone had better alert the crepe paper manufacturers to go to round-the-clock production immediately. Prepare for a nationwide angel food cake and frosting shortage...

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

O.o Im and why did she get her own show??


December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Horrifying. Absolutely horrifying.
Anyone else who's as amused and scared by Sandra Lee as I am, go read Jordan Baker's reviews of her magazine at It gets worse than this cake. Much, much worse.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTaeraresh

I can't believe she lived past the tasting of that horror-
and you say she will governor's wife???
I hope Gracie Mansion has prison chefs.


December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think infected toenail puss would both taste better and look better than this.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelis

Oh, jayspec, the super best part -- she will not be the official First Lady of the State of New York, she will be the cohabitating, unmarried lover of the Governor of New York.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

OYE...I can't even watch that again. It is too horrible. That and I will get caught laughing at my computer screen at work. ;)

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterleannwoo

Now let me preface this by saying I am a loyal Cake Wrecks fan who reads EVERY day BUT.....

I LOVE SANDRA LEE and I am tired of all the Sandra bashing. I own a cupcake business so I consider myself a cake professional. 99% of the things she makes most closely resemble the way I cook for my family. I work 2 jobs and I have a husband and son. I don't have the time to cook like Ina Garten or Bobby Flay. The way Sandra cooks may be looked down upon by foodies and other snobs but what she does is most applicable to the busy working mom. Watch something of hers other than the holiday cakes or cocktail time and you will find awesome slow cooker recipes, easy one pot meals and other nice recipes to serve your family without abandoning them to slave in the kitchen. Also, her food is relatively affordable. She doesn't make you buy 400 spices when you can buy a seasoning packet that contains what you need for 75 cents. I love you Jenn and John but PLEASE lay off of Sandra.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

This is the first comment I have ever left. Now being an aid cakewrecks lover, I thought I was going to be entertained, not disgusted when I saw today's post. 1. They should have never let someone so clueless about Kwanzaa make a Kwanzaa cake. 2. I think she is possibly one of the most ignorant people on this planet. As a woman of color, and a friend to Jews everywhere, I shudder at this AND the other "holiday" cakes she has made. p.s. One of the great things about Kwanzaa is the focus on things that are homemade. She must have been told an hour before the taping that she was doing this Kwanzaa cake.. And on top of everything else, that sounds like it tastes DISGUSTING! She really knows how to Wreck 'em!!

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My five year old looked at that and said "YUCK!" (then he told me his imaginary mom made a cake just like it but it had ants on it.) I actually think that would improve that monstrosity.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelody

So for people wondering, she had to call them acorns because Corn Nuts is a trademarked name and Food Network didn't want to pay.

I actually want to try the cinnamon chocolate frosting, but using homemade buttercream. Frosting from a can just tastes like chemicals. *shudder*

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPamela

Like most other tv chefs, she has a staff of recipe writers. The story behind this cake is pretty funny. I got this cookbook for Christmas this year, too. Kind of hilarious as a gift. :)

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJillian

Acorns? First of all, who eats acorns? Secondly, does she really think those corn nuts are acorns? And finally, who puts corn nuts on a cake? (Well, besides Sandra Lee I guess.) Hope no one breaks a tooth on that cake.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

I truly did not realize this came out last year.

The article that goes along with the video, from the woman behind the scenes, was precious.

If this is what we have to look forward to as decorating taste in the governor's mansion, I may now have a reason to be happy that I'm going blind.

My husband thinks that with her abilities and the addition of the alcohol, she'll be perfect for Gracie Mansion.

I'm sorry, but even a working mom, with little access to ingredients, has to have a bit more sense than to follow the directions she gives and should be able to make a less monstrous disaster. As one of those mentioned - working, single mom - I put a lot better things on my childen's table even while I worked full time, went to college nights and weekends, and had two children under the age of 4.

If she's on the network for the entertainment value alone -- she succeeds. If we're really supposed to think she's a great cook -- Epic Fail.


December 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermladybright

Since she delivered most of that segment without cracking a smile, I suspect even Ms. Lee didn't really believe that abhorrent mess was a good idea.

WV: meweelys - That cake gives me the weelys.

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoza

Nope. I'm not clicking "play." Just not. I understand folks need quick food, like canned pie filling and frosting, but it's not cooking.

I could see this as "cooking" in one of those magazines that tells poor cooks (like me, not bashing!) how to fake it, but the "girlfriend of the governor's wife" can't do better than this? *shudder*

Ethnically, I'm also horrified, and I'm a Deep South Cherokee-Scot-Irish white girl.

WV: lusnapic... lunatic aspic....?

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterscyllacat

This looks super gross, but! It did remind me that I have some awesome cherry pie leftover from Christmas still in the kitchen! Snack time!

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

I've got a hankering for some corn nuts now...

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnaSpringer

Since others have covered everything I would have said about the Sandra Lee Kwanzaa cake, I just wanted to relay my three-year-old's reaction to your logo. I was showing the kids some of my favorite wrecks, when he looked at the top of the screen and said, "What. The. HECK? Babies in the water floating on huge carrots? That is SO weird!"

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMama2seven

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