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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

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.


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 (30)

Your pie recipe sounds like something a stoner would come up with :P but in all seriousness, this cake is an abomination. I will admit to liking the combo of chocolate and cinnamon.

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMindy1

OH DEAR!!! That dear. So, Kwanzaa is supposed to be part of African Heritage right? So why would anyone put NEW WORLD FOODS as part of a tradition from the alleged birthplace of mankind? Pumpkins and corn are native to the AMERICAS, not part of the old just adds another layer of WHAAAA????? to this entire...WOOOOOWWW...

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVa Beach alemaP

Okay...WHY would she call corn nuts acorns? I shudder to think somebody sees this and figures...hey, maybe I'll save money on the acorns...instead of buying some, I will just scrape some off the sidewalk under the giant oak tree in the front yard...will wonders never cease?

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVa Beach alemaP

I wonder how many readers realize why the St. Patrick's pie would have orange soda and circus peanuts. #NotCatholic

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBill Wilson

You have to wonder what this woman thinks Kwanzaa is celebrating...
The only good thing I can say is that the Hanukkah and Christmas cakes (at least I'm assuming that's what the blue and green cakes are supposed to be) look equally disgusting and, in the case of the Hanukkah one, inappropriate. So at least she's equally clueless and insensitive to everyone.
Seriously, how did this video air on any network? Wouldn't some executive have noped out on it? And why cornuts? For that matter, why angel food cake? Why does she feel the need to fill the hole in the cake with seemingly random foods? So many questions...

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTifa

Ah, another year of wonderful wrecked cakes and beautiful Sunday Sweets has passed. Now time to enjoy Sandra Lee's (First Lady of New York!) take on a treat for Kwanzaa. That video proves cluelessness knows no bounds. One would think that after several viewings I would be numb, but no, every time I see that cake I want to upchuck.
Jen, are you going with so much orange in you "St. Patrick's Day" cake because that is "anti" the usual green? Nice.

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJuin

My husband loves Corn Nuts. They're his favorite road-trip snack. Next time we go for a long drive, I'm going to tell him I bought him acorns instead of corn nuts, just to see the expression on his face.
Seriously, should we all be putting Corn Nuts out for the squirrels?

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKathy J

It is truly a horrendous thing to behold. I think what bothers me most is - why add cocoa to the frosting? If you remove it from the equation, the "flavors" work "better." I shudder to think the cocoa acts as "coloring agent" since it's a Kwanzaa cake. Then again, who puts filling in a bundt cake anyway?

This has re-traumatized me, almost as much as the dumplings episode of "Chopped" when the guy put no food on the plate did.

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMaria G

Ummm, isn't this the "two shots of vodka" chick?


December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKimS

Don't forget her Hanukkah cake abomination! 😱

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMudmusher

The person she hired either was a prankster, someone who couldn’t stand her, or she offerd such a tiny fee the writer was insulted. This can’t be a serious recipe!

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKaren C

That pie sounds like a great ipecac recipe. I think Joel Hodgson would approve.

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterThe One who remains nameless

Awww... the video cuts out before we see her face when shr tastes the cake!

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

Your cake sounds better, Jen. Much better.

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBADKarma

How did you miss her Hanukkah cake? It's even better.

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMoonflwr912

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterhng23

How did you miss her Hanukkah cake? It's even better.

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMoonflwr912

I have to ask, because I'm sure others are wondering, too: what the heck are "corn nuts"?

December 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChris PV

Please tell me this didn’t make it to air on the Food Network. It needs to become a Saturday Night Live sketch! Yikes!

December 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChicago

I cannot believe she actually did this on air. Lol I am still dying of laughter every time I see it.

December 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Marie

I'm from Australia, where we do not have corn nuts. We have corn, and we have nuts of various kinds, but not corn nuts, or even nut corns (which, quite frankly, sounds like a medical condition which would be both painful and embarrassing, but possibly worthy of mention in some of the larger teaching hospitals.) I have no idea what corn nuts are, so I have two questions:

1. What are corn nuts? and/or

2. Do I want to know what corn nuts are?

Thanks in advance for taking pity on a foreigner's ignorance of the joys of your American cuisine.

December 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGrumpyGhostOwl

Grumpy Ghost Owl: Corn nuts were my mother's favorite snack. Do you know what hominy is? If you do, great, if you don't then wow, you are very lucky...because it is grainy and disgusting. Hominy is corn processed in some ungodly and forsaken way until it blows up to 4 times it's size. Think a kernel of rice and a rice puff...only hominy isn't airy and light and fluffy, NOPE, it's starchy, flavorless, and almost sandy in your mouth. Eeeew gross, I KNOW!!! So they take the hominy and let it dry out a bit, then slather it with salt and put in the oven to a normal nut...only they end up hard as paving gravel, or aquarium rocks, to the point you COULD conceivably break a tooth if you bite down. My mom had full on dentures, so she never worried about that. Yes, I am totally 100% serious about all of this! If I offended anyone who likes hominy or corn nuts, I am terribly sorry, but personally...can't stand either one, although if forced to make a choice I would definitely take the corn nuts over the hominy.

December 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVa Beach alemaP

Like Maria G, I don’t understand why cocoa? I mean, the whole cake is one big head scratcher WTF? But why put cocoa in the frosting? You can buy chocolate frosting. If you are going to buy a can of frosting, why not just get chocolate? And it just kills me when Sandra says “this is something that everyone has this time of year because we’re making hot chocolate.” Seriously? We are supposed to believe the woman extolling the virtues of a store bought cake and canned frosting is actually MAKING her own hot chocolate mix? We know you have a box of Swiss Miss packets in the back.

December 27, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterkellyg

I am the only one who thinks this doesn't look that bad. It's like a cake version of a Mrs. Prindable's Apple. I just don't understand why she didn't just mix cinnamon into a can of chocolate icing.

December 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAA

two black women making the cake.
love the comment at minute six

December 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGrrly Girl

So I just got sucked into watching two hours of Sandra Lee cake videos. I think I understand the wedding wrecks a little better now. People are watching these and thinking that's what cake decorating is.

December 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

Thank you, oh thank you, for reminding me about Sandra Lee. I just got to witness the horror on my mother-in-law's face as I showed her a few of Sandra Lee's "recipes."

December 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoy T

Thank you, oh thank you, for reminding me about Sandra Lee. I just got to witness the horror on my mother-in-law's face as I showed her a few of Sandra Lee's "recipes."

December 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoy T

The general consensus on the TelevisionWithoutPity forum was that Sandra Lee has no functioning taste buds. Every one of her "recipes" focuses more on the appearance than the taste, and every tasting scene went the same way, with no indication that anything might not be anything less than "sodalicious". So if the color scheme calls for brown icing, add something brown like chocolate.

December 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJamoche

This will never get old; it only gets funnier.

December 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLinnee

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