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

A Kwanzaa Tradition*

*Is it still a tradition if we've forgotten to talk about it for the past four years?

I tell you what, let's just go with it.

[clearing throat]

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.


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!


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Reader Comments (49)

Posting that is a hate crime. Be prepared for the FBI to come knocking. 😏

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMindy1

I must say something about Mindy1's post. Hate crimes are NOT something to joke about! Too many people already take them too lightly or don't think most are real, since they don't happen to them.

As for the cake... has it really been four years! "Acorns?"

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

The "confession" was the best part - but I'm not going to waste good alcohol to make a dreadful caketini!

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjuice

I've always been horrified at this--what do you call it?--"recipe"? Kitchen nightmare (should Gordon Ramsay be informed)? Hate crime? But it gained special horror Christmas Eve, when my sister-in-law made an angel food cake for (one of the) dessert(s), which I don't eat that often, so hadn't realized just how very sweet the unadorned cake is. We all ate it by itself, & it was almost too sweet as-is! Putting frosting on it would render it inedible! Why would you do that to an innocent cake?!?

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSaraCVT

She did a Hanukkah cake too! It's just as terrible.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterClint

Is that the "2 shots of vodka *glug glug glug glug*" lady?

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKelli

Back when Television Without Pity was active, this inspired some of the most incredible reactions. Sadly it appears that the archives have gone offline.

There was a reason why Aunt Sandy had an entire TWOP subforum dedicated to her, the only non-recapped shoe so honored. I am proud to have been a contributor.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterzarchasmpgmr

How on earth did the food network authorize this??

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHeather A

I wouldn't have believed this was true if I hadn't just watched the video!How did she do that without gagging of laughing hysterically? Canned frosting and pie filling??? What the heck???? So wrong

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKaren C

I wouldn't worry; Kwanzaa is a holiday celebrated by communists (I'm being serious), so if the FBI is on the lookout for anyone, it's going to be people that *celebrate* Kwanzaa, not people that criticize its cakes.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJustSayin

Is anyone taking bets on how long it will be before someone sends in a picture of your "new St' Patrick's Day recipe" all made up?

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

I'm surprised that you would post something like this. Kwanzaa is a African-American tradition and it seems as though you are making fun of it.

[Editor's note- Not at all. Simply laughing at a poorly done cake. If you read the post, you'll see we
make no comment on Kwanzaa at all. -john]

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLyson Still

Fun fact: Lee pays people to write ALL of her recipes. She's a hack.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChristina L.

"Be generous with the icing! You can always make more". Recipe: Run back to store to buy more crappy canned frosting. Pay for crappy canned frosting. Go home with crappy canned frosting. Open can of crappy canned frosting. Add cocoa powder to crappy canned frosting to make it gritty and more craptastic! Measure 1 tsp cinnamon in small size measuring spoon and over-fill (or guess and don't dirty measuring spoon). Add cinnamon to crappy canned (now called crappy canned chocolate grit) frosting but don't mix in all the way. A dark brown streak in crappy canned chocolate grit frosting is always appetizing! Schlep on cake. Finish cake with crappy canned applet pie filling & random, crappy accoutrement (candles the size of flairs are a nice touch!). Taste your AMAZING store bought "crap cake" touted as semi-homemade....and don't let the mini, mutant acorns break your teeth! You're still the reigning "Queen of Craptastic Crap" Sandra Lee!

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I have never seen this, and am horrified it even exists! I have so many things to say about this, but my edit button has been firmly stuck since being with family last night, and my politeness filter is clogged, so I'll have to let this one pass. I'm pretty sure everything that needs to be said about this on every level has already been said anyway, or at least thought.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBlisschick

Why oh why did we not get to see her reaction to eating that mess? I think it would have shown just how good her acting skills were! And I'm with you, my favorite part was where the corn nuts were acorns! The only thing that could have been better is if they'd actually been acorns. Nothing says Happy Kwanza like inedible garnishes. And I just couldn't get over how proud she was of canned apples and store bought icing. This was certainly a head/desk treat this December 26th. Thank you!

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCBushLite

Sandra Lee is the perfect example of how beautiful blondes with big boobs can get paid to do anything. That thing had no business being aired on Food Network.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoJo6627

I remember seeing a show of hers once where she was making some type of chicken dish in which the chicken was marinated and cooked in batches. I watched her move some raw chicken pieces around in the marinade and then turn and use the same tongs to take a batch of cooked chicken out of the pan and put it on a serving platter. It's possible that this cake is even more disgusting than that.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKerry

I NEED to see that St. Patrick's cake. Please???

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Is there something psychologically amiss with this woman?

Did she throw darts at an ingredients list, while blindfolded or ... altered?

Was this run on April 1?

Why The Face?

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterzeph

Nothing like a white woman to show us the magic of Kwanzaa. I only wish we got to see her eat the cake.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSherri

Okay - so when you said "chopped Circus Peanuts", I had visions of Linus and Lucy in clown outfits, then deliberately dismembered...

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I watched her make "truffles" out balls of canned frosting once. Horrifying!

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

I think I figured out where this recipe is coming from.

As Kwanzaa is always on December 26th (Boxing Day), presumably you only have the day before to prepare for it. Since 7-11 or similar convenience stores are the only place available for your shopping on December 25th, the ingredients make a whole lot more sense now, don't they?? In fact, I'm surprised she didn't have road flares in there rather than "colored" candles.

This is why stuck-up, anorexic white women should stay away from Kwanzaa.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNow I get it!!

I was describing what went into this cake to my mother and she said the description alone was enough to make her sick and I could forget about her watching the video.

Personally, I don't know what's worse: the fact that she actually paid for this recipe and produced it or the fact that a so-called professional came up with it in the first place.

I also recall her Hanukkah cake, btw, and how it wasn't even kosher. Must have been made up by the same "professional" who probably moonlights as a wreckorator!

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLady Kal

Lyson, not to be really, really fussy, but Kawnza originated in California in the mid-1960s by a fellow named Rodney Everett. It is not African; we have friends from Tanzania and Uganda, and they have never heard of it. (They've never heard of Kinta cloth, either, but that's another story.)

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLady Anne

I cringed at the motion she used to mix the icing and remembered why Sandra Lee was my most hated TV "chef" before Rachael Ray stole the throne.

Also, this should be submitted to The Kitsch Bitsch.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterIsaacsLaughing

Hate crimes are nothing to joke about.
Except when the hate crime involves joking about Kwanzaa.
Which is no joking matter unless the joke is really aimed at a bizarre dessert consisting of a melange of vaguely inedible ingredients concocted by someone hired by an anorexic, beautiful, big boobed blonde.
Who happens to be fighting breast cancer, so we shouldn't joke about her.
Or her cake
Or Kwanzaa
Or cross contamination
Or canned frosting
Or 7-11
Or St. Patrick's Day
Not to mention hate crimes

It's the circle of life...

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSuBee

The cake is as awesomely fake as the holiday is.

BRILLIANT if you think of it all, really...

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAdri

If I see Doritos Crunch St. Paddy's Day Cake at Taco Bell, I'll know who to blame.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLuLu

@ SuBee -- Now I truly know why I love you (in a completely non-creepy way) ;-) .

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMary Kay

As a person from Australia, I have no idea what 'corn nuts' are. Or an Angel-food cake. And I'm horrified that you can buy frosting in a tin!
I also have no idea what Kwanzaa is, but I'm just about to rectify that via Google.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the island that is down under Downunder, Tasmania.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJudanne

I'll go clear out the bunker. It's been a while. Has anyone been feeding Theardare?

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterZippy

Judanne - The only one of those you really, truly need to know about is angel food cake.

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNobodee Home

Well I am going to sit here in stunned silence as I watch this "cake" being made. Then I am going to promptly fall to the ground laughing. Sorry but this cannot be edible lol and if it is I fear the person that eats it.

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Marie

Sandra Lee is a joke of a cook! We all gather recipes from others. I don't hold it against her that she hired help. I do hold it against her that she did not actually TASTE the horrid recipes before putting them on TV. What was she thinking?!? Totally Sandra Lee's failure!

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

Acorns are not inedible. They are/were used around the world, from Europe, via USA to Asia, for example Korea, which uses acorn flour starch as a regular part of the cuisine.
Yes, Kwanzaa is an invented holiday. Most holidays were invented at one time or another. The Christmas Tree was invented, "Santa Claus" bringing presents was invented (and is not universal, in other cultures the Christ Child or the three Wise Men bring the gifts), the Easter Egg hunt was invented, Hanukah as celebrated in the US was invented - in Ohio. As with all these invented holidays, Kwanzaa is designed to teach lessons for a good and valuable life. This cake is the opposite of that :->

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlison in Indiana

Okay, I feel the need to speak up and sort out a few things:

Lady Anne: Not to be really, really fussy, but Lyson Still never said Kwanzaa was an "African" holiday, as you seem to imply--pretty much everyone is aware that it originated in the USA. That's why Lyson Still called it an "African-AMERICAN tradition" (emphasis added). This means Kwanzaa is a cultural tradition distinct from African cultures, a fact that should not de-legitimize the holiday, needless to say.

And while Adri calls Kwanzaa a "fake holiday," we would do well to remember that many holidays invented in America may have been at one time perceived as fake in other parts of the world. Like US Thanksgiving, for example. The latter just happened to catch on.

Lyson Still: the original post here does not poke fun at Kwanzaa. Rather, it exposes the hypocrisy by Ms. Lee, who actually seems to think this gross concoction festive enough (and actually edible) for folks who celebrate Kwanzaa. Now what does that say about her respect for the holiday or the people who may celebrate it? We should critique that attitude, and Cake Wrecks does a good job at it.

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterThe sorter outer

Here is another video of people making the cake..

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRoss

How the heck did she do that with a straight face??? She didn't even crack a smile once. One would think she was serious about this atrocity.

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJancie

Yes, the Hanukkah cake is always lost in this discussion, but may we always remember that she shoved MARSHMALLOWS into an angel food cake, then frosted it with dyed blue canned frosting, then topped it with a pearl Star of David. This has to be the most anglicized idea of a Jewish treat since the Hanukkah Ham.

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

@ SuBee -

You ARE my hero (or heroine - for the politically correct) ;-) A wink w/a smile!

Luv (in a totally PC/non-creeptastic way)


December 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMaryO1230

Ok. So I just spent like an hour or so on youtube watching her other cakes... and the thing that is killing me about her kwanza cake... it's about the same as all the other ones she does... only this one she used LESS icing. What is wrong with this lady? She' insane. Not only is she skill-less but she can't pay someone to make recipes that make sense??? Even if she is going for the "too busy to do any real work" kind of recipe- at least make it not gag-tastic and nasty.

crazy town.

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterwhat??!?!?!

You lost me at Corn Nuts.

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

I had to google Corn Nuts and was then quite mystified as to why you would put them on cake? I feel so sorry for the poor cake, it's deflated and squashed under all that rubbish. Won't someone think of the cake! It was the only edible ingredient apparently!

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterpenguin tummy

Just to have fun with everyone: Sandra Lee is married to Andrew Cuomo. Yes, she is the first lady of New York. Now imagine her correcting the caterers.

I can't recall which news show it was (Today? Good Morning America?) where she came on to show how to decorate a cake just like in the professional stores...she ended up just putting store bought cookies on a store bought cake and claimed it looked the same.

December 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterIsabella

I ate Corn Nuts one time. Felt like I was going to break my teeth on them. In fact, they basically are what your teeth will look like after eating them.

December 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLora

This actually sounds like it could taste good, if you removed the chocolate frosting. Like apple crisp, but with cake. Or if you didn't use the filling- then it would be like a coffee cake.

But I would also remove the candles and any reference to Kwanzaa.

January 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMargalit

She thinks those are acorns!!!!!

January 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel

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