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The Creator of Sandra Lee's Kwanzaa Cake Confesses

Holy Corn Nuts, we have someone to blame for that atrocious Sandra Lee Kwanzaa cake (which she makes in the video below, if you haven't seen it). "Seasoned food professional" Denise Vivaldo wrote a guilt-ridden, slightly crazy, possibly satirical account of her experience writing recipes under contract for Lee, one of which included the Kwanzaa Cake, the now-legendary store-bought angel food cake hack. Wrote Vivaldo, "As a matter of fact, the more tasteless the recipes got the more she liked them, the faster she approved them, and I could get home and drink some medium-priced wine after our meetings."

The recipe calls for an angel food cake to be covered in chocolate cinnamon frosting, filled with apple pie filling, and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and Corn Nuts — hilariously, Lee calls them "acorns," but they're clearly Corn Nuts. Anyway, in Vivaldo's defense, she does say the candles were Lee's idea.

Video: The Sandra Lee Kwanzaa Cake

Recipe: Sandra Lee's Kwanzaa Cake

1 (10 to 12-ounce) purchased angel food cake
1 container (16 ounce) vanilla frosting
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (21-ounce) container apple filling or topping
1 (1.7-ounce) package corn nuts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/2 cup popped popcorn

Special Equipment:
Kwanzaa candles

Using a serrated knife, cut cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place bottom cake layer, cut side up, on a serving platter. Mix frosting, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon in large bowl until combined. Spread about 1/4 of the frosting over top of cake layer on platter. Top with second cake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake to coat completely. Spoon apple pie filling into hole in center of cake. Place candles atop cake. Sprinkle top of cake with some corn nuts, pumpkin seeds, and popcorn. Sprinkle remaining corn nuts and pumpkin seeds around base of cake.

· The Making of the Infamous Kwanzaa Cake [HuffPo]
· Sandra Lee and the famous Kwanzaa Cake (Food Network) [YouTube]
· Nastiest Kwanzaa Cake Ever
· All Sandra Lee Coverage on Eater [-E-]