June 29, 2011 9:01 AM   Subscribe

This is a blog researching the cinematic tradition in which any beautifully decorated cake serves as a harbinger of imminent catastrophe (often including the destruction of said cake). I also wrote an article about the phenomenon for Random House's film site, Word & Film.

I hope to circle back around and write a bit about each of the video examples, though they stand on their own quite effectively. I'm adding more videos I find them (or as quickly as my Netflix queue will allow). If you know of an example that you think qualifies as a Doom Cake, please let me know and I'll look into it. (Film only, if I open it up to television it will take over my life.)

I also welcome examples in which a cake is NOT destroyed, or does not preside over tragedy, as counterpoint. Individual slices do not count, the cake must be shown whole for greatest effect.
Role: creator
posted by hermitosis (17 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by griphus on August 6, 2011: And I'll Never Have That Recipe Again


Are you doing music videos too? There's "November Rain," though I remember it being somewhat elliptical (was it ever explained why she died?)

Also, is there a text index somewhere?
posted by johnofjack at 1:21 PM on June 29, 2011

I'll build a text index!

So far no music videos, but I may end up building an honorable mention section for them.
posted by hermitosis at 5:53 PM on June 29, 2011

Okay, I added the index. Plenty more clips soon...
posted by hermitosis at 6:11 PM on June 29, 2011

Oh good, The Hours us number one cause, seriously how labored was that metaphor?

I approve wholeheartedly of this.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 PM on June 29, 2011

Does the cake stripper scene from Under Siege count? If that is too "post-doom" in the plot, perhaps earlier when the cake is introduced? Does the cake have to be edible?!

I love how she waited patiently for hours and came out dancing like a trooper.
posted by troll at 3:27 AM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have been meaning to add that one, troll. Usually when a stripper comes out of a cake in a movie, the result is not what is expected, typically in a sad/ironic/unfortunate way. See also Addams Family Values.
posted by hermitosis at 7:50 AM on July 2, 2011

Love the name. Love that someone recognized that this is a thing. :)
(The cake scene that popped to mind was Singin' In the Rain, with a very not-happy Debbie Reynolds upon seeing Gene Kelly's smug grin.)
posted by Glinn at 1:53 PM on July 3, 2011

Thanks Glinn, I'll add it when I have time!
posted by hermitosis at 9:59 AM on July 4, 2011

Behold: the ultimate doom cake movie, Babes in Toyland.

In chronological order:

Doom Cake 1
Birds eye view of a huge wedding cake on a litter as Lisa Piper flies into Toyland (one of the first major objects seen, setting a precedent). This is followed by a forced-marriage ceremony between the evil antagonist Barnaby Barnacle and the love interest of Jack Nimble, Mary Contrary.

Doom Cake 2
The Cookie Factory is introduced (it makes more than just cookies), where many cakes can be spotted. This is just before Barnaby and his two goons, Zack and Mack, steal and destroy a huge inventory of sweets. Dozens of cakes meet their doom (which kind of makes this an instance of Meta-Doom-Cake). Bonus: Features Barnaby in an evil monologue detailing his Master Plan to "...destroy Jack, his plans, his marriage, and his friends." Pretty doomful.

Doom Cake 3
A large cake is in the opening shot as Lisa is getting a tour of the Cookie Factory (which, unknown to them, has already been vandalized) by Georgie Porgie when Barnaby appears from the back room to make more evil expositions. He threatens to put Lisa into the flour grinder. Justice Grimm arrives and Barnaby frames Jack for his crime, accusing him of stealing "...millions, many millions of cookies," and then, sermonizing with thick irony, says "it is a totally ruthless and unscrupulous act, completely devoid of all moral and social conscience." Jack is charged with "suspicion of Grand Cookie Larceny" and arrested by the teddy bear police.

Doom Cake 4
Here Zack and Mack run past a rack of cakes to hide in waiting for the protagonists, who soon run past the same rack. The goons manage to capture Jack in a trapdoor by pulling a giant pink lever.

Fortune Fruit
In a reversal of nutrition, the citizens of Toyland use fruit as projectiles to repel the invasion of Barnaby's army of trolls, which is soon routed into the Forest of the Night by giant toy soldiers.

Doom Cake 4
This wedding cake appears shortly before Lisa awakens from her trauma-induced hallucinagenic coma, vaporizing Toyland (How do we know we're not just the product of some god's dream, man?) and returning Lisa to cold, boring Cincinnati - or at least that's my interpretation.

Doom Cake 5
And finally, this doom cake portends the end of the movie, which is a tragedy in itself.

By the by, it is my humble opinion that this movie has the most entertaining car chase scene in all of cinema.

If anyone can provide a movie that out-doom-cakes Babes in Toyland, I'll half-bake a botulism-bacon-doom-cake and eat it.
posted by troll at 9:11 AM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

Oh lord, I didn't even know that there WAS an '80s "Babes in Toyland."

Thanks troll, I will post this and quote you at length.

(I'm constantly miffed that Tumblr strips out timestamp codes from Youtube URLs. Hoping to find a way around that eventually...)
posted by hermitosis at 10:28 AM on July 5, 2011

Looks like Doom Cakes (the article) is currently featured on the IMDB homepage!
posted by hermitosis at 6:43 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Remember this Doom Cake from AskMe?
posted by hermitosis at 1:53 PM on July 7, 2011

It turns out Doom Cakes was featured on the IFC website, I had no idea.
posted by hermitosis at 9:42 AM on July 15, 2011

Doom Cakes has swollen to 65+ cakes, and was featured as one of The Guardian's top internet picks last week. Thanks to you all for your many helpful suggestions!
posted by hermitosis at 8:55 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nice idea and site. Cool that it went to the front page too.

I was just poking through it and I think I found a typo.

Gran Turino

Should that be Gran Torino?
posted by lampshade at 9:56 AM on August 6, 2011

(oops...that link is weird. It is on the index page.)
posted by lampshade at 9:58 AM on August 6, 2011

Hmm. Now I'm wondering if Miss Haversham's wedding cake in Great Expectations was ruined in too-slow-motion to count?
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 1:01 PM on August 6, 2011

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