Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Sweets: Gingerbread!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I usually try to stick to actual cakes on Sunday Sweets, but I've had so many requests for gingerbread houses that I decided to make an exception this week. Besides, they are covered with icing, right? So we'll call that close enough.

Still, to kick things off let's start with a cake that only looks like gingerbread:

And now, on to the houses!

The Nittany Lion Inn in Penn State. Watch Heather Luse of the PSU bakery making the house here.
(Photo by Jerilyn Brom & found here.)

(Made by Chaz & found here)

(A Better Homes and Gardens photo found here)

How about a gingerbread trolley car streetcar?

(Sent in by Courtney and found in the lobby of Harrah's Hotel in New Orleans)

And now time for some geeky goodness. (You knew I couldn't resist, right?)

(Made by AnnaMaria & found here)

There are a few gingerbread Tardises out there (Q: what IS the proper plural of Tardis?), but this one gets extra points for having K-9 peeking out the door. Speaking of which, anyone remember the gingerbread K-9 I featured a while back?

Next a little Mario love:

(Made by Bade_MD & found here)

And lastly, here are my favorites from the '09 Cincinnati Houses of Hope Gingerbread House Contest. (Check out all the winners here.)


Today's charity, Heifer International, works to end hunger and poverty by providing livestock, training, and related services to communities worldwide.

And, good news: we found a way to make your dollar donations easier! We've created a page at Firstgiving, a secure payment-processing site specifically for charity fund raising. Here you'll only have to enter your information once for the rest of the two weeks, there are no minimums, and you can monitor how much we've raised each day. The fee is lower than most credit card processing charges, too, so more of your dollars will go to each charity.

Click here to donate your dollar, and to see how much we've raised so far!
Unknown said...

The Fisrtgiving website is so much easier! Jen, I didn't make my annual Angel Tree donation this year, so I am making up that amount by giving to your charities. This is, by far, the best idea I have seen on the net this season. Thank you for all the laughs, giggles, chortles, and guffaws. Your website is often like those late Spring days when you slip out of work early to meet friends for a glass or two of wine at 3 in the afternoon--just pure pleasure!

KCC said...

Great gingerbread houses! A reminder of what a woefully inept decorator I really am-- I guess you can say every other day of the week, when I laugh at cakes here, I'm really just laughing at myself!

I'm glad you guys found a central donating spot! I just looked at the Charity:Water donations-- yay! Another well to dig! Congrats, everyone! Let's keep going!

Suzanne Dargie said...

Oh WOW! A gingerbread TARDIS!!!!!!
I wish I'd thought of that!
This post is SO perfect right now! I'm just getting ready to make a gingerbread house myself!
These are beautiful!

AA said...

I'm pretty sure its 'Tardi'.
Like multiple Lexus vehicles are Lexi.
Im basing all of this on an old Alan Partridge sketch btw!

Anonymous said...

Are we going to be able to use this First Giving for all of the remaining charities? And is it set up for the first two?

schleifnet said...

I hate to say this, but...
there are no "trolley cars" in New Orleans only streetcars, trolley cars are in San Fran and are pulled underneath, streetcars are powered from above (also streetcars are older)

great post otherwise

Anonymous said...

CIDNY--Center for the Independence of the Disabled in New York.

Mel said...

Since TARDIS is an acronym, I would say that the plural should be TARDISes. Otherwise, I'd be inclined to handle it like similarly constructed words of Greek origin - one tardis --> multiple tardes.

Elisa said...

Heifer is a great charity! I just got their catalog the other day and goat-shopped for a bit.

Anyway, the FirstGiving setup reminds me: I set up my FirstGiving account last year to raise money for a charity called ClimateCycle. It's a bike ride in Chicago that raises money to put solar panels on local schools. The amount of energy they generate is rather minimal, but it comes with lessons and a way for city kids to get a current and RELEVANT science education! They've been building slowly but surely, and I'd be absolutely thrilled to see CakeWrecksters donate more money to them.

I'd raise money for them again, but I'll be in China for a year and unable to do the bike ride.

Wild Cakes said...

Wooo hooo on the donations simplification! I am on my way there now!

The first cake is mine! I made it for a bridal show a couple of years ago.

Anonymous said...

i think it should be tardi, you know, like how fungus becomes fungi but i found this on "the net " as it were

TARDISes is correct. It would not be "TARDI" as TARDIS is not Latin.

Arg those gram-maticians got me again

also, check the scale on the trolly car at Harrahs. that sucker has got to be like 6 feet long. aww yeaaa!

Parker said...

Those are darling!

That Tardis one is so cute! I love K9! (You got the plural Tardis right, BTW)

I also love the Sugar Plum Inn one.

Alice said...

You haven't seen real gingerbread houses until you've been to the National Gingerbread House contest held in good ol' Asheville NC!

Melissa said...

A gingerbread Tardis, fantastic! Thanks for making my Sunday!

Culinarychiq said...

Beautiful! And I'm loving the first cake:) It amazes me how much talent people have out there. I made a single attempt two years ago at a gingerbread house from a kit and it was such a PITA and complete disaster that I refused to ever try again (my nephew had a ball dismantling the thing though so it's all good;) So major kudos to those who not only are successful but pull off such terrific creations:)

holly said...

Ok, so I did $5 today because HI is an AWESOME choice. Teach a man to fish and all that. It's a sensible fix, you don't feel like you're just throwing money at an organization that is forever mired in bureaucracy.

You guys are so totally wonderful.

wv: sawla. I sawla heifer just the other day.

holly said...

Can I just add a comment re your choices of recipients? I'd love to see a donation to an organization that provides kids toys, or coats, or food for Christmas. I don't think any child should be skipped over by Santa. If you do choose something like this, I would suggest doing it soon, as there isn't much time left for volunteers to shop, wrap and distribute. Many of the other organizations aren't holiday-related and would still be thrilled to get the donations the day before Christmas. But if you're going to do something Christmas related, it should probably be soon. Just a suggestion though. You are terrific.

Alison said...

I also like the Firstgiving website...I like that we can put our aliases up, too.

This charity campaign is giving me another good reason to check your site EVERY single day! Oh, and the cakes are funny, too... :)

Unknown said...

Not that you aren't already doing enough here, but would it be possible to somewhere on your homepage link to the individual pages so we can go back and see how much money has been raised thus far without having to scroll through your posts? It also might give people an easier opportunity to go back and give if they missed these earlier ones. :)

Sheila Surla said...

I have to second what schleifnet said up there. If you say "Trolley" in New Orleans people will look at you like you just spoke a foreign language. It's why Tennessee Williams' play is called "A Streetcar named Desire" and not "A Trolley named Desire".

Anonymous said...

Great idea, Patricia! I second that suggestion.

Morgan in Jax said...

I am a volunteer at the Jacksonville Humane Society 363636363636363636363636363636 (comment inserted by my cat Colby - walking on the keyboard! He wishes to say, "Consider the animals!")

Two years ago we lost our building and a number of animals to a devastating fire. We have been operating in two temporary buildings since then, trying to raise enough money to rebuild - but with the econmy hit, it has been slow. If we could rebuild now, we could save millions on the cost of the buildings. We are a no-kill shelter and take animals from the city shelter as we can, which has saved many animals' lives.

Please consider donating to the JHS!
Wreck On!!!

Holly @ Domestic Dork said...

I gave Heifer International gifts to some of my friends and family this year! I <3 them!

SongRoarsPease said...

Oh man-if I knew that you were doing Gingerbread houses...

Have you seen this???

I found it while doing research on my King Kong Christmas tree...

Great job with the charity works, too- good on both of you!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I recognized the Nittany Lion Inn (first "house") immediately!

Sarah said...

The plural of TARDIS is tardises, as used by the tenth Doctor in "The Impossible Planet" (S2). Do I win?

Gary said...

Cookies and gingerbread are technically types of cakes, so I say they are appropriate on Cake Wrecks.

Good houses. I like the one with all the onion domes.

Anonymous said...

Sort of on topic-- I noticed yesterday that St. Jude's has some cute things on sale in their gift shop (ornaments, etc., and at very reasonable prices). If you still would like to donate at their website-- you have the option to tack your donation on when you pay for your purchase. Just an FYI!

wv-- durdi: Thank goodness for Sunday Sweets, so that the snow on the cakes doesn't look durdi today.

Dianne said...

Jen, I don't have a link but the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle hosts an incredible gingerbread competition between businesses every Christmas and puts the winners on display in the lobby. It's quite something to behold, if you can find a link!

Anonymous said...

May I say, that's yet another great-looking Carrot Jockey logo on the firstgiving page?! Thanks for choosing this charity! Can't wait to see who's up next!

Anonymous said...

Thanks SO much for the one site for donating! I'm a total Luddite as far as computer stuff is concerned, and I didn't want to miss out on this wonderful fund-raising idea. You have helped me be able to participate.
Love the gingerbread houses, all of which look far too good to actually eat!
And, as Lisa said in the opening comment - "Thank you for all the laughs, giggles, chortles, and guffaws. Your website is often like those late Spring days when you slip out of work early to meet friends for a glass or two of wine at 3 in the afternoon--just pure pleasure!" She put into words what I think all of us who visit your site feel.

Destinie said...

I live in New Orleans and I saw the gingerbread streetcar when i went to Miracle on Fulton Street (those of you inN.O. should know what im talking about). Anyway it is HUGE. about 6.5 ft long and 4 ft high!!

Anonymous said...

I'm making gingerbread men now! The gingerbread Tardis and the Doctor Who cake post just made my day! I've got to step up my gingerbread baking next year.

Sandi said...

Here's another charity suggestion: The Smile Train ( I have always loved this charity, which works with doctors to provide surgery for kids with cleft palette that would otherwise go through life as outcasts, sometimes even abandoned by their parents. Some cultures consider the kids bad luck. The deformity itself causes eating, breathing, and speaking problems, not to mention self-esteem. The astonishing thing is, the surgery is fairly simple, and since the doctors donate their time, it's fairly inexpensive. Just $250 will change a child's face and life forever. The New York Time called Smile Train " of the most productive charities—
dollar for deed—in the world." They gladly accept donations in any amount. Please pick this charity!

Sarah said...

Hah!! I think that's a Dalek just peeking into bottom corner of the shot of the Gingerbread TARDIS!

Anonymous said...

Ditto Lisa and morriganscrow-- thanks for another great year of wrecks, Jen and John! :D

Hey, is john's last name "(the hubby of Jen)"? I keep thinking about that guy who changed his name to "Trout Fishing in America" a while back. Ha!

Lonnie said...

This method of donating is a WONDERFUL idea. I've decided to give $5 to each charity.

Here is another link - I don't know if they take $1 donations or not...

Sarah Rosenblatt said...

I'm studying architecture and found this on a blog the other day:

A contemporary gingerbread house, complete with plans and cutsheets!

Anonymous said...

If TARDIS was a Latin noun, it would be Tardes (actually, tardis is an adjective, meaning slow) but since it's an English acronym, I'd have to go with TARDISes. (Then again, I never understood why the name of an alien ship is an acronym of English words.)

Amy Rainey said...

I second the motion for links to each donation site on the homepage..and also the nomination for Smile Train!

One Dream - Yet Another Sprite Webcomic said...

I think the plural is Tardii?

Catt of the Garage said...

Gratuitous Doctor Who references always brighten up my day - I had one yesterday on "There, I Fixed It", and now today on Sunday Sweets. Thank you all.

Unknown said...

Some very cool Gingerbread. Much love for the TARDIS with K-9.

Heifer is one of my favorite charities so I'm very glad to see it getting some publicity here. :)

Shasta said...

Can someone please tell me what the heck a "wv" is? I can't find an explanation on the net and it is driving me crazy!!

Angela said...

Heifer Project FTW! They are fantastic. My cousins and I typically buy an animal for our grandparents (my grandfather was a seagoing cowboy and helped start Heifer). Such a great way to celebrate!

Jessicasays said...

Went to HI's site to specifically donate to their Women in Livestock Development program. Thanks for all these great charities to consider.

Quick question about Firstgiving - if you donate a larger amount, are you eligible for a tax receipt? I didn't see anything about it in their site....

Stephanie said...

I'm not particularly fond of gingerbread, but these are beautiful! And the gingerbread TARDIS is just awesome. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, that Mario one is fantastic! All the details is just amazing. My kids and I just spent about 15 mins looking at the bigger picture and laughing at all the fun stuff - the squished goomba, the Mario flag on the castle, the snowballed Koopa, etc, etc.


deromanticize said...

I am a long-time reader of Cake Wrecks, so please don't take this as some sort of random attack. I think that your idea of getting everyone to donate to charities is wonderful, but as soon as I saw it I knew that one of them was going to be Heifer International. They are masters of marketing and manipulation, which has led to a huge following.

Heifer International lures people in with adorable pictures of baby animals, smiling children, and the promise of ending world hunger. What they never show are the facts about what livestock (especially of non-native animals) does to the land and water supply, and the adverse effects of a meat-based diet. Animal based agriculture is unsustainable, and we should not create this unstable paradigm of food production for other cultures.

In 2006, the UN released a report that the livestock sector was the largest producer of greenhouse gases- more than transportation, more than manufacturing plants ( Livestock is also the main contributor to land degradation. The FAO states:

"...herds cause wide-scale land degradation, with about 20 percent of pastures considered as degraded through overgrazing, compaction and erosion. This figure is even higher in the drylands where inappropriate policies and inadequate livestock management contribute to advancing desertification."

Having a meat-based diet also has a severe effect on water supplies, as it takes much more water to produce a pound of meat than it does to produce a pound of rice or beans. An article published in Cornell's Science News explains:

"Animal agriculture is a leading consumer of water resources in the United States, Pimentel noted. Grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of food. Raising broiler chickens takes 3,500 liters of water to make a kilogram of meat. In comparison, soybean production uses 2,000 liters for kilogram of food produced; rice, 1,912; wheat, 900; and potatoes, 500 liters."

The news article can be found here:

The scientific study it is referencing is here:

Finally, meat consumption increases the risks of many cancers, such as breast, prostate, kidney, pancreas, and colorectal. This is due to the carcinogens that form while cooking meat and the type of fats found in animal products ( A higher fat intake also increases risk for heart disease. Why would we want to export these diseases, which are highly associated with the American meat-based diet, to other countries?

Shipping animals overseas to Africa where they will either die from drought, destroy the land, or be slaughtered immediately is a ridiculous plan for permanently ending world hunger. It is irresponsible and unethical. Please consider some of these other charities when donating to end world hunger:

Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (

Women’s Bean Project (

Sustainable Harvest International (

Anonymous said...


WV is the word verification you have to type in before your comment can be posted (sometimes it's "ReCaptcha" or something like that). They aren't always real words, but if one sounds kind of useful, feel free to make up your own definition for it!

Or, it's the US Post Office abbreviation for the state of West Virginia. :)

WV: awighti-- It's just silly bonus fun here, awighti? lol

Renee said...

Yes!! I'm so glad you put Heifer International up today, they're my favorite charity!

Also, they were profiled in the excellent eye-opening book by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn called "Half the Sky".

Also, great gingerbread houses/structures!

holly said...

Shasta: Although comments are approved in batches and there is no answer to you posted *thus far*, I probably will not be the first.

WV is the word verification you see when you post a comment on this board (keeps electronic spammmers from being able to post ads). Mostly the verification is just odd letters but sometimes it will be an actual word or (more fun) almost a word. Or a combination of words slurred together. Earlier I had 'sawla'. So you use it in a sentence, 'I sawla (saw a) heifer'.

Really, just a play on words or playing with words. It's fun to look at the wv and try to make a 'normal' word or two out of it.

wv: tomoni. We want all tomoni (the money) we can get to buy heifers.

ren said...

man, i love that gingerbread tardis.... totally need to make one for myself!

ferretbottom said...

Are gingerbread houses some sort of American thing? I've heard the story of Hansel and Gretel, but never actually encountered anyone making miniature structures from it. Are they seasonal? Seems like kind of a weird thing to do, but nice weird.

Cate Fitt said...

I'm thanking Cake Wrecks for giving me so much pleasure by giving to some of my favorite charities. What a joy!

And, during the Clinton Administration I got to go through the White House at Christmastime. There was an amazing gingerbread White House that even included (ack, I've forgotten the cat's name).

Maura said...

First I must say how much I love your site - I stumbled on it a few months back and spent an entire evening reading and laughing. My 8year old daughter and I tried to get to the Framingham, MA book signing, but it wasn't to be.

This charitable giving idea of yours is brilliant - what a great way to raise lots of $ for deserving charities - and also a great way for all of us to give a bit. Feel good all around! And thanks for setting up through First Giving to make it easier for all of us.

john (the hubby of Jen) said...

Hi Deromanticize,

I thought we would end up getting at least one vegetarian who hates this organization. Please go to the Heifer site and read their counters to your argument.

Please let me add though that the idea of meat consumption leading to everything bad is a very American/ Western thought. And it's mainly because most of us, including me, eat way too much of it.

You have the right to disagree with today's charity. But they really do help people in a pretty unique way. Sometimes it's hard to see from our relatively cushy world view that, most of the time, a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle won't work for the poorest of the poor.

I know. You think I'm wrong. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

My two cents.


robyn said...

Beautimous, awesome idea to do Firstgiving, and THANK YOU for choosing Heifer International--what a great organization! =D


JPT said...

This is a strange but weirdly compelling site!

Samantha said...

From what I can tell, HI is a wonderful charity, and I'm so glad you picked it for today! IF eating meat lead to cancer (and I do not believe it does--check out the movie "Fathead" for more info), I would still rather people run the small risk of dying of cancer from eating meat than the near-certain death that they will die of starvation without HI's intervention.

Anyway,I would also like to suggest a charity near and dear to my heart (I'm a volunteer): Heavenly Angels in Need We provide memory boxes and burial gowns to families who have lost a baby to stillbirth or early neonatal death (often preemies who don't make it), completely free of charge. We work closely with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, the volunteer infant bereavement photography organization (which would be another great charity pick!), to keep the photographers supplied with appropriately-sized burial garments to dress those tiny little angels in.

God bless you, John and Jen, for using your blog to accomplish so much good!

SaraghA said...


How could you have missed this!?!?!

I think my gratuitous use of punctuation marks speaks for itself. In the event that it doesn't: It's the BATTLE OF PELENNOR FIELDS in gingerbread for frosty's sake! For shame, nerd! For shaaaaammme (at not having seen it yet).

Merry Xmas,
Sarah B

Unknown said...

I recognized the Nittany Lion Inn immediately! Woohoo~ Let's go State.

Terry Lee said...

thanks for the mario cake!!! my son is a mario FREAK and loves it!

and for what it's worth ... as a texas gal, i sure do love me a big ol' juicy steak!!

team heifer! :-)

{ramblin' off to take my zocor ...}

Anonymous said...

So loving the gingerbread TARDIS!!!

Unknown said...

If you haven't picked out all the charities yet, I would encourage/recommend donating to HERA, which supports research for finding a cure for ovarian cancer. So many women are touched by this cancer, yet it gets way less publicity than breast cancer. Just a suggestion!

Happy holidays!

john (the hubby of Jen) said...


Your point has been made. There is no use in discussing it further.


redgirl said...

a Dr. Who gingerbread....SCORE!!!!

Lissanee said...

Iced baked good more than qualifies gingerbread houses for me...the cake or cookie issue is an ongoing debate in Jasper Fforde's The Fourth Bear where the Nursery Crime officers are trying to recapture ginja assassin The Gingerbread Man. Major spoiler to tell how they decide. ;-) Jen's geekiness and outrageously awesome sense of humor (I think) would take to Fforde if she isn't already familiar with his work.

MeganMarie said...

I am sure you are already chock full of causes, but I wanted to bring attention to these ladies... who I think are doing something very unique and very important. I am crossing my fingers that they reach their goal this month!

Nikki said...

As a suggestion, B-eat (formally known as the Eating Disorders Association (EDA))is a great Charity.

Its main goal is to ensure that the support and information which people need to help them recover from eating disorders is always available.

Lisa svara said...


The charities so far as so definitely worthy. I do hope you will consider a small, local charity too. The thousands of dollars being raised for each one is truly wonderful and surely will be put to good use, but a few thousand dollars in the pocket of a small, local charity (like the one I nominated, Rockland Parent-Child Center - ) can more than marginally increase their operating budget and even mean the difference between, in this specific case, the loss of whole programs and the moving to a smaller location that won't meet their needs as well. Please consider a small, local charity!!!!

Gary said...

"... And, during the Clinton Administration I got to go through the White House at Christmastime. There was an amazing gingerbread White House that even included (ack, I've forgotten the cat's name)."

How could you forget Socks?!?
He was our First Cat for eight years.
As a matter of fact, Socks died just this year, at the very advanced (for a cat) age of 20.

RIP, Socks!,,20260477,00.html

Anonymous said...

The gingerbread houses are beautiful!!

The Appalachia Service Project would be a great charity for you to donate to! ASP serves the people of Appalachia by rebuilding homes t omake them "warmer, safer, and drier." It is truly a wonderful organization!

Thanks for reminding us all what Christmas is about by donating to such awesome organizations!!


Rose said...

I just saw the White House gingerbread house. That cake is amazing! Definitely worth adding.

Anonymous said...

I squealed out loud when I saw the Nittany Lion Inn! Thank you, Cake Wrecks, for reminding me of home.

mystic_eye_cda said...

If anyone wants to give toys to kids for Christmas the CP24/CHUM Christmas Wish is one of the few I know of that does a "last minute" toy distribution, they are giving out toys basically until Christmas eve. A social worker has let me know that this year they are sadly almost out of toys and its almost two weeks until Christmas.

I'm not sure how long distance donations work for this one, but there are RBC branches in the USA. Toys for Tots may also do last minute distributions but they don't exist in Canada and I happen to be in Canada so :P

However since we are dealing in "cash" donations I'd recommend a food bank over Christmas toys. Food banks get huge discounts when they buy in bulk not only because it is bulk but because they are food banks. So if you gave a food bank $20 they can usually get 2-3 times the amount of food that you could have bought for $20.

wood furniture said...

I remembered making my first gingerbread house! It was literally a disaster! I hope I can make beautiful houses like those in the pictures.

mystic_eye_cda said...


Heifer international give DAIRY goats. I'm not a huge fan of dairy as a part of developed nations' diets; but in places where protein and fat are scarce it can meet a need. Particularly when mixed with blood (common in some cultures)

Goats can eat pretty much anything and turn out decent quality milk.

Harvesting milk and blood from a goat can provide the protein and fat needed for a child's brain development; and the iron needed for growth. It can prevent anemia in women of reproductive years, another problem in some areas. Goats milk is also relatively rich in vitamin A -vitamin A prevents measles deaths.

Goats milk can also be given to newborns as a breast-milk substitute though it isn't completely adequate. However in areas where water is unsafe goat's milk is far safer than formula. Giving liquid vitamins, and sugar to be added to goats milk can make a completely safe breast milk substitute.

While breastfeeding is almost always the best choice for HIV+ mother's who can't get appropriate retrovirals or whose babies have started eating other foods breastfeeding is not best if there is a safe alternative. A milk goat is a safe alternative.

mystic_eye_cda said...


I wouldn't call them a strictly American thing as they are popular in Canada.

They are basically a Christmas thing, I have a feeling humidity in the summer would make the gingerbread and icing soft pretty fast.

As far as I am aware gingerbread houses originated in Germany; though various Scandinavian countries sometimes claim they started it. I believe they are still popular in most of Europe?

lizdini said...

As a vegetarian I can sympathize with deromanticize. The over abundance of livestock in the western world does lead to the destruction of land and environment. Not to mention the way the animals are treated is enough to turn anyone's stomach. However, we're not talking about factory farming here. Or even, for the most part about the slaughter of many animals. Most are meant to be used for milk. We're talking about a way to help people help themselves to eat and live and maybe even prosper. I donated my $ and feel that I've done good for the world, if only a little. However if it isn't something you can support, I understand that, perhaps give the amount you would have given today to some other cause that speaks to you.

Thank you, Jen and John for this opportunity to give this holiday season!

Amanda said...

I was so excited to see the Nittany Lion Inn as a gingerbread house! I'm a senior at Penn State, and that gingerbread house is an awesome replica!

If you're looking for really awesome charities to contribute too, the Penn State Dance MaraTHON is definitely up your alley. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, last year raising $7.4 million for children with pediatric cancer. It supports the Four Diamonds fund, which helps families by paying for any care a child may need that their insurance company will not cover. Check it out at !

Bookworm said...

@Lissannee - Jasper Fforde is brilliant. Also very nice in person. :-) Heartily second the recommendation for anyone (not just Jen ;-) ) who likes that special brand of British humour. At one point Mr. Toad goes drag racing with Miss Havisham on a beach in Wales (which is a socialist republic with a cheese smuggling problem). 'Nuff said?

Oh yeah, and the gingerbreads, whether cake or cookie, are pretty darned amazing too. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement with the comment about ovarian cancer research-- everyone I've ever known who's gotten it is gone now. Not to downplay breast cancer research, because it can be a very aggressive and devastating disease, indeed. But the way ovarian cancer research is funded now is the way that breast cancer used to be-- and look how nicely that is working out: it doesn't have to mean a death sentence to everyone anymore! Just food for thought... and thank you for doing this charity drive-- I think it's awesome!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jen,

First I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for Cake Wrecks! You can't know the number of dreary mornings at work that have be saved by a quick perusal of the latest cake atrocities. I love your site, and it is a bright spot of fun that I look forward to enjoying a few times a week.

A few days ago, you invited us readers to make suggestions for charity donations. One which I always donate to when I have some extra cash is GEMS: Girls Educational & Mentoring Services, which works to end the sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of children (the majority of which are girls). They have won numerous awards, including the Susan B. Anthony Award from N.O.W. in 2008. Their current campaign "Girls are Not for Sale" has the goal of educating at least one million Americans about ways they can support and empower victims of sex trafficking, as well as prevent it from happening. You can read more about them at

This is a great idea you guys have to donate each day, and to share the process with your readers. I had never heard of Charity Water or Heifer International, but I'm so glad to have them in my mind now for future donations!

Hope you are enjoying the holidays! Can't wait for more wrecks this week.

Anonymous said...

I grew up on a farm, and my family raised beef cattle on a small-scale. While I am not a vegetarian, I do have great respect for animals and am fully aware of where they come from. And I agree with John that Americans eat way too much protein, particularly that which is animal-based. Because of that, it creates a lot of problems here.

Heifer is not providing animals in such a way that I would consider them part of a large-scale industry, and those who benefit from this charity are not raising animals in the way we are all too often horrified to see in this country. The animals in this case are going to provide much-needed protein sources to a family somewhere, and it will let them make a small income by selling milk or eggs or offspring, if they are lucky. That is a very respectful way of life, and it is certainly not an extravagant one. These people are not exactly spoiled for choice as to the source of their diet. They don't have grocery stores (let alone socially conscious ones), they don't have vitamins they can take to make up the nutrients they lack in their diets, and they are going to need these animals for their very survival. They treat their animals well, or I, for one, would not support what this organization is doing.

I think in a lot of ways, the majority of Americans have become so removed from the food chain-- that is, seeing firsthand where food comes from-- that we have trouble understanding people who live the way a great many people did here even just a few decades ago.

Makya said...

The only thing better than a Mario gingerbread house is a loaf of Luigi bread made with Nintendough.

Mike, Amy, Max and Lily said...

Heather Luse is AMAZING and does all of our family cakes! She did our wedding cake, our anniversary cakes (a wedding top replica each year) and all our our birthday cakes! I'm so excited to see her on here! GO HEATHER!

ViiriƤinen said...

Tardae. Definitely Tardae.

Ashlee said...

Your Doctor Who love makes me so happy.

Silkydog said...

That gingerbread TARDIS made my day.

... Maybe the plural would just be TARDIS?
Because seeing as it stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space, the plural would be Time And Relative DimensionS In Space, meaning the change wouldn't be visible when you write it as TARDIS?

*sigh* I actually spent 10 minutes thinking about it.

I really need to get out more.

Em said...

Hi, Jen and John!

I've been lurking CakeWrecks for a long, long time, but have only now emerged from the woodwork to comment. Anyway, I love the site, and I really love your charity weeks idea. I didn't see anyone else mention it yet, but can I throw the ASPCA into the ring for consideration? I've been supporting them for a long time, as well as fostering and adopting pets from them, and they really do wonderful work. Thanks for your consideration, and your wonderful site.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see the White House gingerbread house last night on TV with Oprah? 390 lbs. 140 lbs of gingerbread, 250 lbs of white chocolate....and Bo on the front steps. It was stunning!

Anonymous said...

I love your site!

A worthy cause that could use a donation.The Braddock Pot Shop Water Filter Project helps people in the developing world build filters for clean, bacteria-free water:

You can reach me if you have questions at or 412. 362. 5328

Genie said...

Women for Women is a great charity that helps women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts.

Becky said...

Project 24 is an organization my uncle is part of. He went to Africa as part of Heifer International and found this great need for orphanages. Project 24 builds the orphanages and LCMS World Relief supports the children living in them. Thanks!

Distractedly Yours said...

I tried to put this up on twitter in reply to Wendi Aaron's crackhouse, but the link was too long. My coworkers and I had a gingerbread contest a couple of years ago. We decided to do an actual gingerbread crackhouse. We won.

Pics here:

Casey Neese said...

Hi Jen and John,

I work for Heifer International, and I’d like to thank you for including us in your Charity Countdown. We really appreciate your support.

deromanticize, some of the issues you raise are addressed in the FAQs on our Web site here:

Thanks everybody for the great comments and discussion.


boisekoneska said...

Hi there,

I saw someone posted about the Women's Bean Project as an alternative to Heifer International. While we have no problem with HI, I wanted to share more about the Bean Project. We are a nonprofit dedicated to helping women break the cycle of chronic unemployment and poverty by employing them in our gourmet food and jewelry businesses (while teaching life skills necessary to find and maintain a better-paying job).

You can learn more about us here:

MissCritta said...

Gingerbread Tardis!!!! NERD DROOL, COMMENCE!.

Melissa (& Billy) said...

OH my goodness soooo cute. Especially the gingerbread TARDIS (and K9!).

SyracuseWolvrine said...

If I remember correctly (and that's a big if), Jen/John live (have lived?) in the Greater Orlando area, and have some ties to Disney.

So, then, how could you come up with a sunday sweets featuring Gingerbread sculpture and not include the 15 foot tall Gingerbread House (Red Roof Inn ... aka Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa), or the life-size Gingerbread Carousel (Disney's Beach Club) ... or even the Gingerbread Men in the MK Christmas parade ( )?

All that being said, good post ... i'm hungry now.

Teri said...

The Nittany Lion Inn cake is awesome! We are Penn Staters here in this house & Heather Luse made our amazing wedding cake!! :) Best cake I ever ate!

Beth said...

Awesome charity, Wreckporters! I facilitate a Heifer Global Village and I KNOW that you've all made a difference with your donations. Don't be afraid to go a step further and tell others about it and get them in the act. Perhaps you can make it a holiday gift - who doesn't like to give someone a goat or beehive for Christmas?

Wendyrful said...

We had a Christmas festival last week. Along with Nativities, we displayed quilts, trees, a train and village, and Gingerbread houses. One house which I hope was a joke, was actually a trailer house, with the dog on the doorstep. It had crazy lights on top, and everything. I wish I'd taken a picture! (it wasn't professionally done, but what an idea!)

Anonymous said...

I am such a huge fan of Dr.Who that my bff who loves this site called me at 9pm last night just to tell me about the TARSIS....I LOVE it it's so cute just the kinda house I'd want to have. Can't wait to post a link to this on the Dr.Who FB page. Thanks for making my day!

Unknown said...

These are all amazing! I keep trying to get my sister to do a project like this. I think she'd be great at it. I need to check out the local bakery to see if they have done anything interesting like this. They do all kinds of treats like Indianapolis Specialty Desserts and Cakes. Maybe they got fancy and did some gingerbread houses!

Anonymous said...

Tardis is a name.
Proper plural would be Tardis'.

In Australia we call street cars trams!


Dodie said...

Indisputably "Tardi", see plural of "octopus". Love the site!

Dodie said...

Goat milk or bush meat? That's a tough one.
your vegetarian friend

Unknown said...

I love the TARDIS with K9, but one thing could have made it truly spectacular.

Edible ball-bearings.

Anonymous said...

That candy cane looks like someones intestinal track.


Unknown said...

i believe the plural of Tardis would be Tardii!

Unknown said...

Made me remember how obsessed I used to be about gingerbread houses. I wish I hadn't been raised by hippies.
Carob just isn't the same. In fact, it's downright nasty.

Maggie Forcier said...

I'm a huge cake wrecks fan (obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be bothering to post, right? Unless I was some rather perturbed wrecktress... oooh, I bet they're scary. I'm not one of them.) and I have to say I love what you're doing with the whole charity thing- you know, using your powers for good, not evil. That kind of thing.

And then I saw that Charity for Day 3 was none of than Heifer International. And my heart fell. Several stories, in fact.

While I think the general idea behind what they're doing is commendable I can't help but think that somewhere in the brainstorming process someone fell into a sugar-coma. Perhaps it was some bad cake. When trying to feed people with the least amount of effort, time, and cost- why on earth would anyone think it smart to use the "backwards funnel" system required to grown meat? To cultivate protein in an animal you must feed it protein- much more protein than you end up with as a final result.

The people receiving aid from Heifer are already living on very little land, which is in very poor condition- having been heavily depleted from previous overgrazing.

Frances Moore Lappe described it best, a "protein factory in reverse", and estimated one acre of land (which is more than most of these people have) devoted to grains would produce five times more protein than an acre devoted to growing animal protein. It takes 13 pounds of grain to produce a single pound of beef- and that is using the extremely efficient (and disgusting) modern factory farming methods.

I stumbled (literally, Stumble is awesome! If you don't use it: Go. Enjoy. Waste hours of your life.) on this organizationg: It's grown from the same seed, or maybe cut from the same cloth? Something about bread and kneading and dough? Anyway- same basic idea: give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Except WAY more efficient, environmentally friendly, and nothing has to die in order for said man to eat forever.

So let me re-cap:
1. Brilliant site, one of my favorite blogs.
2. Wins title of number one favorite blog because of the wonderful charity idea.
3. Little sad about choice of one charity, super happy about the rest.
4. Sharing another charity.
5. Happy Festivous!


john (the hubby of Jen) said...


I'm guessing you're a vegetarian. I would suggest going to the Heifer site and reading the FAQ which addresses many of your concerns quite eloquently.

On a more personal note, I have realized that even though my incredibly spoiled and privileged first world lifestyle allows me to enjoy a raw vegan diet complete with pharmaceutical supplements, a lot of folks in the rest of the world are starving and dying. They need help and Heifer gives it to them. Maybe not in the way you would like but it's being done and people are alive because of it.

We knew we wouldn't make everybody happy with our choices but we are doing our best. And please, if you don't want to give to Heifer, give to an organization you can get behind. But whatever you do, give. It's important.


Anonymous said...

These are beautiful!

My little 11 yr old cousin, who is an amazing cook already and want to be a pastry chef made the most beautiful ginger bread house from scratch by herself, fully decorated with little gingerbread santa and everything. It was going to be the centrepiece of my nanas christmas lunch.

They wrapped it up in celophane and went shopping, when they got back their two jack russells had devoured the whole thing.

Poor little girl cried her eyes out.

I usually send her the non m rated cake wrecks, but i don't have the heart to send her these gingerbread cakes :(

Tessa said...

Tardises. It's said so in the CIN special "Time Crash". [staring off into space/time vortex] I can't believe I know that.