30 November 2006

Kwanzaa Celebration Cakestravaganza

A few days ago, Brianna IM'd me a link, which I unfortunately clicked.

Go ahead, click it. I dare you.

I watch the Food Network a lot. It's like my porn. Nine times out of ten, when The Boyfriend comes home later than me, I'm sitting on the couch, eating something of questionable nutritional value (hi bag of chocolate chips!), and watching FoodTV. I can watch just about anything on that channel, but should Sandra Lee's show "Semi-Homemade" come on air, I'm out. I'm all for convenience, but come on Sandra! A few weeks ago (while searching frantically for the remote control to END THE HORROR) I glimpsed her scooping out the insides of a pumpkin pie and a cheesecake, and mixing them together to make a pumpkin cheesecake filling. It was just wrong.

Now, in all my years of using the World Wide Web, I've seen some crazy shit - however, I don't think I've seen anything quite like Sandra Lee's Kwanzaa Celebration Cake. It's offensive and wrong on so many levels. For one, the recipe includes a store-bought angel food cake, corn nuts, and canned apple pie filling. Those things DO NOT GO TOGETHER. (Frankly, canned apple pie filling doesn't go with anything, although when we were grocery shopping for Project: Kwanzaa Celebration Cake, Brianna charitably suggested that a non-baker might use it to bake an apple pie. She's nicer than me.) Next, the recipe is on FoodTV.com, Now, I know Thomas Keller isn't exactly vying for a slot on the Food Network, but there are some respected, reputable chefs who contribute, and what exactly do Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck think of the "food" that Sandra "cooks"? Thirdly, look at her, and think hard about what this woman knows about Kwanzaa.

Let's look at that cake again:


Anyway, we decided to get together and create this culinary delight. A quick stop at Key Food and $20 (we also bought ice cream) yielded the necessary ingredients. (Brianna had the more reasonable ingredients at home, like vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa. Somewhat surprisingly she also had corn nuts, which is good because we actually couldn't find those at the grocery store.)

I sliced the angel food cake in half and placed the bottom on Brianna's grandma's silver platter. (We really are just that classy.) Brianna mixed up the frosting, and despite my protests and the recipe CLEARLY stating that we should use a large bowl, she insisted upon adding the mix-ins directly to the frosting cannister, claiming, "That's how Sandra would do it." Spillage was minimal. We then frosted the cake (Sandra doesn't use a crumb coat) and got to the fun stuff: Canned apple pie filling. 21 ounces of it.

"There's no way this is all going in that hole."

"Make it fit. Come on, just jam it in there."

Hehe. That's what she said.

Next came the fun stuff: pumpkin seeds, popcorns, and corn nuts.

Why, Sandra? Why? What compelled you to put corn nuts on a cake?

Three Jim & Gingers later, we had assembled our masterpiece. Either Sandra's cake (and thus her hole, heh) was much bigger than ours, or she was daintier than her recipe called for with those toppings, because, dudes, look at this thing:

(We forgot the candles.)

We actually did taste it and then rinsed our mouths with turpentine, because turpentine was less offensive to our taste buds than store-bought vanilla frosting mixed with cinnamon and cocoa. Then we drank some more bourbon.

Photographic evidence is available on Flickr.

Brianna's recap of our cakestravaganza is on Random Access Babble.


  1. you are hilarious! thanks for the laughs

  2. They trot out the Kwanzaa cake every year around this time and every time I see even the stylized version they've shown I find it vaguely repulsive.

    It's not the concept of Kwanzaa, just the fact they'd grace it with such a disgusting concoction.

    Kudos to you for attempting to do the project.

  3. Wow.... that cake looks absolutely disgusting...like it's covered in bugs and my cat's lunch from yesterday. BUT I must say that you did an excellent job in putting it together! Far prettier than Sandra's version. I cannot imagine why she would even think to put these things together!!! It's like putting garlic in your rice pudding or bell peppers in your beer... they DO NOT go together!! This doesn't make sense for any season, let alone a special holiday treat. I'd think that she would have gone for a rum-soaked fruit/nut cake or something... but what do I know!? Thanks for trying this out ladies - are you building up your stamina for "fear factor"? Curious minds want to know :)

  4. I thought Kwanzaa was all about home made things?
    Store bought, pre-made cake, frosting in a can?? Corn nuts on cake?
    I'm surprised she didn't whip out one of her envelopes of dressing mix.
    PS found you from Cake Wrecks!!

  5. Thanks for the laughs! I watched the video on the food network website - the advert at the beginning was for heartburn medicine.... you'd need it after eating this cake!

  6. LOL. turpentine sounds just about right. OMG, i can't imagine the horror. The pictures on Flickr literally (I kid you not) made my back go cold and little shivers run up and down my spine.

    She should be cooking jail food...it will be a greater incentive not to commit a crime than life-long incarceration.

  7. I love that you made this! It sounds just as horrible as I would have imagined. I don't know how this woman has her own show. Thanks for the laugh!

  8. You ladies were brave to even attempt that. POPCORN! I have no words!

    And the pictures speak volumes. I'm just thankful you lived to even tell this story after tasting that nastiness.

    I have an aunt who celebrates Kwanzaa and she said she usually eats fried fish, macaroni & cheese and has sweet potato pie. She has never heard of or seen a Kwanzaa cake like this and said she would assault anyone who brought such an atrocity to her home.

  9. OMG I came from Cake Wrecks

    you actually tried it?
    what a brave soul!

  10. Heavens to betsy- I'm so relieved someone else sees Sandra Lee's insanity. She is so whack! Her shortcuts are usually so expensive and are totally enabling our kid obesity problem. In all honesty, I've only seen bits and pieces because she pisses me off and I eventually have to turn off the tube and go make something from scratch!

    Your cake was just lovely. In an'A for effort'-experimental way. The frosting looks pretty damn good.

  11. This is hilarious! My best friend and I are sitting around talking about food and she wanted to show me the Sandra Lee Kwanza Cake. This truely made me laugh out loud. If you guys lived nearby I would want to be your friend.

  12. Is there such a thing as a kwanza cake or is this Sandra's own invention? horrifying. and you TRIED it! it must have been fun to make. (how much did you have to drink first to steel your nerves?)

    btw, annoying Sandra also bugs me for her over the top "decor" and tablescapes-for-every- single episode-no-matter-what-the-theme-is. As if we all have that kind of time or budget.

    she also bugs me because she insists your friends are going to love whatever crap she suggests you make. how pretentious!

    Also, did you notice how much she loves her booze? every episode has a cocktail. honestly, I think that's her favorite part.

    btw, I found you from cake wrecks!

  13. Found you from Cake Wrecks and will be following your blog now! HILARIOUS!!!

  14. Ms. Sandra is what I like to call a silly little broad.

    You, conversely, are brave and important. Thank you and carry on.

  15. I also found this via Cake Wrecks. I have to say that I am not surprised that you couldn't find cornnuts at the grocery store. Everyone knows you can only buy them at the gas station. ;)

  16. Corn nuts? Popcorn? Pumpkin seeds, for heaven's sake? Did she just go to the savory snack section and point at random stuff and decide to shove it on a CAKE? Along with some delectable pre-fab apple pie filling? Ack! And yet there is a silver lining--this HYSTERICAL post.

  17. You are hilarious! I'm not much of a cook, but I enjoyed reading your post! Love the pics, too!

    Cindy :)