Sure, Apocalypse Cakes: Recipes For The End, is a gimmicky new pocket-sized book by author Shannon O'Malley who boasts on her book jacket bio that she "has no previous baking experience." That's also why this book is a pretty great cure for summer workweek doldrums with its snarky recipes for "President Palin Half-Baked Alaska" (p. 61, the instructions include baking the meringue-covered ice cream cake "on the lowest shelf" of the oven) and "Obesity Epidemic Pound Cake" (p. 81, a butter, egg, and heavy cream-laden cake with an optional "lit cigarette" among the ingredients). The entertaining photos by Keith Wilson are, as they say, the icing on the proverbial cake.
This is the sort of quick-flip book that you don't pull out in the kitchen (or so we can hope), but on those days when you are stuck in a windowless cubicle with a sack lunch while your boss is out enjoying a three-course power lunch on the patio of a posh restaurant. Turn the page.
As O'Malley tells us in the three-sentence Introduction: "A variety of cataclysmic punishments from God continue to rain down upon us... Use this book to help you celebrate your time on this earth... eat now, little heathens: There are no cakes in the apocalypse." And so the fun begins.
Some of O'Malley's cakes might actually lead us to an early culinary demise, as most rely on cake mixes, store-bought ice cream, and other questionable ingestibles such as a pint of virgin's blood to pour over the iced "Hail the Devil's Food Cake." But the best "recipes" are those that make for fun political Friday night party talk, like the cake for a gay wedding that O'Malley introduces with this sarcastic rant gay marriage bans: "Now that our Godless politicians are letting the homosexuals have their 'marriages,' our children's eyes will burn out of their skulls, upstanding homosexuals will start making love to their golden retrievers, and the earth will explode into pink globules of K-Y Jelly -- all to the soundtrack of Rent....." The gay wedding cake is not one that you make, but simply one "stolen from a straight wedding."
Other controversial topics O'Malley tackles in baked format: Global Jihad Date Cake, Black Deforestation Cake, Pharma Nation Nut Cake, Human Cloning Egg Cakes, BP Oil Black Bottom Cake, Pastel de Sublevación Migratoria con Chocolate Mexicano (with an accompanying immigration cake recipe that is written entirely in Spanish). Sure, a few actually have what appear to be edible recipes, but eating these cakes, obviously, is not the intention here.
And so it's no surprise that O'Malley's website has several comments from offended readers, such as this one from someone who goes by Not Pleased: "I found a link to this site on bakebakebake at LJ. I have to say I'm offended by by the very concept of this site. A Kool-Aid flavored cake mocking the victims of the Jonestown massacre? A Jihad cake in the shape of a roadside bomb? How about making a cake that doesn't mock the deaths of innocent people?"
Yeah, this the sort of book to gift carefully. It's probably best left on the shelf if you live and work among sensitive souls. But for those who find the occasional dose of sarcasm entertaining, by all means, go right ahead and bake a "Nuclear Winter Cake" (chocolate ice cream cake) for your summer BBQ. And remember, the apocalypse has been rescheduled for October, so you best enjoy every bite.
Jonestown Kool-Aid Cake
Makes: 1 cake
From: The Apocalyse Cakes website
Note (From O'Malley): "If 1978's capitalist America could drive 900 people to follow Jim Jones to his Guyanese socialist compound to grow vegetables and commit revolutionary suicide, 2010's emigration should be epic. When Microsoft and Pfizer's merger produces a Zoloft-enabled Bluetooth headset to keep you connected to your company's server 24 hours a day, you won't have time for communist pastimes such as sleep and masturbation. Better indulge in this tangy grape Kool-Aid cake now before you lose your shit, move to Jonestown and gag over the vat of grape flavored cyanide."
1 pack of grape Kool-Aid
1 box of cake mix
1 1/3 cups of water
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
3 large eggs
Icing, as desired
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1. Preheat oven to 350 and think about how you're going to keep it together tomorrow at work.
2. Grease pan with shortening and flour lightly. Blend dry mix, water, oil, Kool-Aid and eggs in large bowl at low speed until moistened. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes and pour batter in pans.
3. Bake for 32-35 minutes in one 13" x 9" pan. Cool completely before frosting.