I am the body, I am the blood, I am dessert: 1970's most astonishing cakes
Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.
A stack of Mail Box News magazines
Publisher: Maid of Scandinavia
Discovered at: Thrift store
"Mobile homes are really the homes of the future, according to those 'in the know.' This mobile home cake is a scale model of a relative's new home. The cake is give a siding-like finish and trimmed with brown icing." (page 24, September, 1970.)
Before anything else, here's that mobile home cake, just one of the hundreds of proto-Cake Wrecks waiting to confound readers of Mail Box News.
And you thought a "trailer park dessert" meant a Mountain Dew with a side of ranch. The cake, created by Mrs. M. J. Degenhardt of Wisconsin, was 30 inches long, 8 inches wide, and apparently the inspiration for the future's power-strips and surge protectors.
Then as now, the magazine celebrates creative cakes, many submitted in photos by readers. (In much the same way that Penthouse rarely covers high-end apartments, Mail Box News is not at all about mailboxes.)
Many of these cakes are lovely, but we'll overlook them in favor of the ill-advised. Cleverly dying whipped cream the yellowish-white of Swiss cheese, this cake's creator enlivened her daughter's birthday with all the fun of a public-health crisis.
When mice burst from your cheeses, you call an exterminator or animal control. But where do you turn when your party is ruined by Bottom, the Bend-Over-and-Take-It Clown?
Remarkably, this is not the first crucified-clown cake in the Crap Archives.
Or the last:
This next one explains why dad couldn't make it to your party.
Sweet teddy bear . . .
. . . or multi-armed eastern god of the melting crotch?
Animal carcasses are always a hit. Who wouldn't enjoy a birthday turdfish?
Or this, seemingly designed to encourage you to eat an apple instead?
But even in the easy-going seventies, decent people most likely frowned on this tribute to the birth canal.
Constructing this next one involved tree branches, Contact paper, plywood, maseonite, screws and "little fairies with a granddaughter's name at the bottom of each." Also, the year had to be 1970. The result:
"The Sex Dance of the Scrubbing Bubbles."
Ever wonder how your baked goods would turn out if you had to use a pterodactyl's beak as your mixing bowl?
Finally, my two favorites. First, beatnik Slimer.
And this last one has inspired my first play, Honest Abe and the Case of the Misfit Toys.
Abraham Lincoln: "Good evening, Santa, Merlin, Evil Clown, Little Dutch Boy, Nanny McPhee, Noseless Boy Scout, Pervert Rabbit, Uncle Sam, and Marshmallow Snowman With a Hitler Mustache. I've called you all here this evening to reveal a shocking truth: the murderer is among us, right on this very cake."
Much love to Cake Wrecks!
[The Crap Archivist lives in Kansas City, where he originates his on-line Studies for the Voice's sister paper, The Pitch.]
The mighty Studies in Crap e-mail list updates you whenever a new SiC post hits. Sign up at email@example.com.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.