No, Sandra Lee! Put Down the Cakes!

One of my all-time favorite blogs to follow is Cake Wrecks. Every day (except sunday when she posts brilliant pieces of cake art as a wonderful palate cleanser) Jen exposes us to the dark underbelly of professional cake decorating. The misspellings, the unfortunate misuses of air brushing, the ideas that sounded good at the time, the ludicrously literal attempts to follow orders without completely understanding them, and the just plain inept efforts of undertrained minions in many a grocery store bakery. Good times, my friends. Good times.

Well, a few days ago, she posted this video from YouTube. I’m going to issue a food and beverage warning right now. Trust me, after seeing this exercise in cake destruction, you won’t be hungry anyway. Mostly you will thirst for justice for the poor souls who have received this monstrosity.

Oh, and what does it have to do with weddings? Listen closely. Sandra says she’s made this ‘decorated’ cake for weddings!

You all know I’m big into the DIY vibe, but if you’re going to DIY, then DIY all the way. Or at least don’t plop discount grocery store cupcakes on your discount grocery store cake without removing the wrappers. And don’t attempt to make a multi-tier cake without any sort of support for that upper tier. The upper tier will sink. And remember, if you’re buying two cakes and half a dozen cupcakes and a bunch of frosted sugar cookies in different designs, and what looks like Fruity Pebbles…really, it’s going to cost pretty much the same as just buying a regular grocery store celebratory cake, but it will never look like it did.

And if you really can’t afford a decorated cake to serve to your guests (or just don’t want to), you can always give them a different dessert. Individual fruit tarts went over well at my wedding to Mr. Twistie. Or how about making a few batches of chocolate chip cookies? Brownies and Blondies, anyone? Heck, I’d go for the Krispy Kreme cake before this one. See?

Much classier looking.

12 Responses to “No, Sandra Lee! Put Down the Cakes!”

  1. Linda says:

    $500! Yeah right. I wouldn’t pay the $40 for that mess. Yes I agree a child’s birthday but not anything more formal. Definitely not a wedding.

  2. Twistie says:

    Exactly. I could see a version of that project being loads of fun at a birthday party for someone ranging from about three to seven…but that’s about all. The smalls would have a blast putting random things on the cake and most of them would care about sweet and sparkly more than flavorful or tasteful.

    But for a wedding? Please! A sheet cake and some sugar flowers, maybe, but not this.

  3. De says:

    What’s kind of sad, is that she *could* have a very cute, whimsical wedding cake if she’d gone about it the right way. The cupcakes randomly sitting on top are what made it sink in quality for me, and the random placement of sprinkles and mismatched flowers. A coordinated, actually planned placement of some nicer embellishments could have made that a really cute cake that could be used at a wedding.

    (Tho not a $500 cake to be sure…) <—Altho I do like that Mario says her little price quote backwards, saying “you don’t have to pay $40 for it!” ha! And I wouldn’t.

  4. Melissa B. says:

    I have to admit, I’m storing this idea in the back of my head for when I have kids. I bet a five-year-old girl would be really into “decorating” a “fancy” cake with cookies and cupcakes for her birthday. But for my wedding? No way. Call me a snob but I think grocery store cakes are almost universally revolting. (They taste like Kleenex! And the frosting is chalky!) I’d much rather purchase a simple but delicious sheet cake from a real bakery than try to fake a “fancy” cake by throwing together a bunch of overpriced, oversugared grossness from the local Safeway.

    And if Sandra really thinks this looks like a $500 cake, she needs glasses or Lasik surgery ASAP.

  5. That would be really fun for little kids to get to decorate their own birthday cake with their friends. For a bunch of say 6 year olds, that would be an awesome birthday party. But in no way does two grocery store cakes plopped on top of each other covered with cupcakes and cookies = a wedding cake. Sandra Lee makes me cringe… I once saw her make tiramisu using Twinkies. That was the day I drew the line.

  6. Melissa B. says:

    Good lord, casablancabride. Who is this Sandra Lee person and why is she allowed to advise people to make tiramisu from Twinkies?!?! (Really, who is Sandra Lee? I’d never heard of her before I clicked that video link.)

  7. Twistie says:

    Melissa B., Sandra Lee is the scourge of the culinary underworld. She has a show on the Food Network called ‘Semi Homemade’ where she does horrible, horrible things to innocent pre-packaged foods in the interest of convincing people they can be easily and quickly turned into what they are not. She’s also fond of touting the economic sense of using her ‘recipes’ over fresh foods…even though my grocery store excursions have told me her math just plain doesn’t add up well over ninety per cent of the time.

    A good friend of mine made me watch her Christmas special just so she would know for certain that it had really, honestly happened and her brain wasn’t quite so diseased as to be able to imagine it for herself. No, alas, she had not made up the Tidy-Bowl blue cocktails, the Santa’s funeral procession centerpiece (it was supposed to be Santa in his sleigh, but the angle she placed the chocolate Santa in really made it look like a classic New Orleans funeral procession minus the Dixieland band), or the dipsomaniac’s Christmas tree entirely decked out in barware. They All Happened.

    And I shall never forget the episode I watched in slack-jawed horror as she made ice cream sundaes for a child’s party…complete with a port wine sauce that used half a cup of booze per child. I think everything in that episode had liquor in it. I felt a bit like I needed one of Jeeves’ morning-after pick-me-ups just from watching the show.

    Worst of all, she has all manner of excellent kitchen equipment on her set, including KitchenAid stand mixers that she never, ever uses! I say mixers because she has one in every color, so that she can use them to decorate the set to match every meal. (rends garments, gnashes teeth, sticks straws in hair) She’s mad, I tell you! MAD!

  8. JR says:

    I think all the budget for her show goes toward set decoration. Every time I see her on Food Network, it looks like she has a new window treatment, plates, glasses, silverware, pots, pans, serving trays, cabinets, oven mitts, aprons, vases, etc.

    No way can that much stuff fit in any actual kitchen.

  9. Twistie I agree completely. Sandra Lee is nuts. I used to work at a book store and cookbooks was one of the sections I was responsible for keeping organized and stocked. This is bad to admit but I used to put her books on the very bottom shelf in hopes that instead of her semi-homemade crap people would buy The Joy of Cooking, or the Bread Bible.

    The Tiramisu Twinkie recipe still makes me shudder.

  10. Fabrisse says:

    Y’know, the Krispie Kreme cake is more elegant.


  11. Hi. This is all about taste. I completely agree with you regarding \”Manolo for the Brides\”, but I think you are in the thin line of thinling. Don\’t you? Maybe you can try discount chocolate wedding favors

  12. Lace says:

    Sandra Lee should be banned from attempting to “bake” anything. Every dessert she tries to make (mainly anything that involves cake) turns out to be a disaster. I mean COME ON – Pre-baught cupcakes on pre-baught cake with pre-baught cookies? Damn, I’m all for taking shortcuts when they are actually effective, but seriously, WTF was she thinking? $500 looking cake my ass. A child’s birthday maybe, but anyting else? HELL NO. I’m sorry but I would be very insulted if somebody showed who was supposed to take care of my wedding/anniversary cake showed up with that, not because it looks ridiculous, but because they didn’t even TRY. I mean, if your gonna do a nice gesture for somebody, at least put the time and energy into it! If I wanted everything pre-made, I WOULD DO IT MYSELF! Damn she drives me nuts.