Expect the Unexpected

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Bad Eats: The Rainbow Cake Apocalypse


Who would think such a sweet looking cake could cause World War III on the internet?—Tablespoon.com photo

Who would think such a sweet looking cake could cause World War III on the internet? —Tablespoon.com photo

Forget six degrees of separation. When it comes to website comments, it may only take two or three degrees before a discussion runs amok and people start viciously attacking each other. Such is the most recent case of what is being dubbed “The Rainbow Cake Apocalypse.”

While you might expect comments to get ugly on political chatboards or any website that mentions Paula Deen, you wouldn’t expect people to fly ferociously off the handle about a colorful little cake with a hidden number baked inside it. Yet, that’s exactly what happened.

A few weeks ago, a poster by the name of Hungry Happenings posted a recipe and step-by-step instructions for a Rainbow Tie-Dye Surprise Cake on tablespoon.com. All well and good. The recipe is there, tons of photos, and thoughtful comments.

But then a Melbourne, Australia radio station website reposted photos of the cake and all hell broke less.

First off, the cake is very clever, it’s a cake within a cake. You bake a rainbow cake first. Cut out numbers from slices with a cookie cutter, freeze the numbers, then insert them into the batter of a plain pound cake and bake it. Frost with icing, cover with rainbow colored fondant, and voila! A cute little cake with a number 5 in every slice. Something any little birthday girl or boy would love. And me too. I love surprises!

How long do you freeze the numbers? TILL THEY ARE FROZEN!!

How long do you freeze the numbers? TILL THEY ARE FROZEN!!

But because only the photos, and not the recipe, was reprinted on the radio’s website, a poster named Irene asked innocently in the comments section, “How long do you freeze the numbers?”

A poster named Peb replied a tad snarkily, “Till they are FROZEN.”

And that, as they say, was that. Let the apocalypse begin.

The retorts at first were general. Peb and another poster were called out for being rude. Then someone accused someone else of not being “a baker,” and yada, yada yada — 800 comments, with F- bombs, C-bombs, and B-bombs flying and then the political accusations — you liberal, you fascist, you teapub (teapub?)! It devolved into a freefall screaming match, with more than 800 grueling comments.

I even learned a new phrase — “Facebook Balls.”

The Concourse on deadspin.com gives a terrific summary and play by play of the whole ghastly thing. I laughed through my tears reading it.

Anonymity on the internet brings out the worst in people. They become kids again. Bullies. Hiding behind screen names makes them the big man on campus, giving them the freedom to say whatever they want. No recourse. No consequences. Disagree with someone? Cut them down to size, the more profane the better.

All the technological advances we humans have made, and SNAP we turn to denigration and degradation over a little cake.

Shameful. Embarrassing.

And that’s life in the 21st century. Welcome aboard kids.

Towards the beginning of the mess:

Sadly "allhomemade" this is not about the cake anymore.

Sadly “allhomemade” this is not about the cake anymore.

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