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A page from Wreck The Halls. (Andrews McMeel)

'Wreck The Halls': Explore The Terrifying, Hilarious World Of Holiday Baking

Oct 18, 2011

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The great thing about ugly and/or mortifying cakes is that people keep making them, and then buying them, and then eating them (maybe), and then making more. That's what keeps Jen Yates in business.

Yates is the operator of Cake Wrecks, one of my favorite simple-concept internet destinations. As I wrote when the first Cake Wrecks book came out two years ago, I find it both hilarious and good-natured, and lovely in that it's balanced every weekend with a collection of great and glorious cakes.

Now, the site has spawned a second book called Wreck The Halls, which is loosely themed around holiday cakes (starting in October, with a gravestone cake on which someone has written the non-exclamation, "EKK!"). But there's a lot more to it, including an off-theme but on-target selection of cakes specifically involving confusion of Star Trek with Star Wars. And birthdays count as holidays here, so you get plenty of kids' cakes that miserably reproduce Dora or Spongebob in the most misshapen, pitiful way imaginable.

Not to overthink it (okay, I'm overthinking it), but I think Cake Wrecks has appeal in part because it's so poignant. It really is. It's human folly. You almost always get a cake in a state of enthusiasm. You're happy. You're celebrating. (Yes, sometimes it's a funeral or a farewell or something. Those are the exceptions.) And then you get the cake, and ... well. Something happens.

Perhaps it's a spelling error.

Perhaps someone takes your instructions about what to put on the cake a little bit too literally (this kind of problem is a Cake Wrecks classic).

Perhaps it just seems like someone is not following. In kind of a general way.

But then you find the humor in it, and you laugh, and you show it to other people, and they laugh. And even though it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to, and even though you were disappointed, it's okay. See? This turkey says so.

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