The 6th Annual April Fool’s Day Spectacular: Cleanup, Aisle 4!


“Spoon the thickened filling into the crust.”

Well, we got the spoon part right…

Woo hoo! It’s finally April – winter should be out the door. But of course, April can’t start without April 1st, and you know what that means…

Our Annual April Fool’s Day blog, straight to you from our test kitchens here at King Arthur Flour.

Each year we think “Hey, maybe we won’t have enough flubs for April Fool’s.” Yet somehow, despite 100+ years of combined baking experience among us, we still manage to make some spectacular goofs.

And now, on with the show.

Possible captions…

“They just don’t make ovens like they used to.”

“Don’t worry, a little powdered sugar on top, no one will notice.”

And for my fellow geeks – “Hey, Wonder Woman, your invisible pans idea is a flop!”

Well, at least this one had the good grace to land on a baking sheet.

Grapeseed flour. The next big thing? Maybe not… Does anyone else remember purple ketchup from the ’90s?

Oh well, back to the ovens.

Oven’s up to temp, right? Close enough, right? Uh……

Okay, we’ll just bake something else.

Canapé bread tubes, or clay extruders… the world may never know.

Some of you inveterate readers of this blog may recall PJ working on this split-top bread last year.

She’ll probably still be working on it next year.

Why do I have a sudden vision of the Flying Nun?

I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like a good, cast iron pan for baking bread.

If your goal is a completely incinerated bottom crust. Charcoal, baby. 1/2″-thick black asphalt.

Reaction of our tasting panel? “Thanks, I’ll pass.”

Hamantaschen? How about Hamansquishen? This is why you DON’T use jam in filled cookies.

Does anyone else think the cookie on the lower left is filled with salsa? It sure looks it to me! Hey, at least salsa doesn’t boil out of its crust…

And then there’s the Big Ooze.

Want to turn maple sugar to maple syrup – instantly? Turn your back on a rolled log of maple-walnut sticky bun dough for 1 minute, and see what happens.

Get… back… in there!

Double the correct amount of butter in this cookie crumb pie crust? Let me just bake it anyway, I wonder what will happen…

Really, we’re not having much luck with our ovens, are we? I say we head over to the stove top  instead.

It’s as easy as boiling an egg, right? NOT.

Hmm, this recipe says to butter the pan with 1 teaspoon butter and 1 teaspoon oil before pouring in the batter.

Nah… that’s overkill. I’ll just give the pan a little spritz with some Pam; it’ll be fine.

Well – beauty isn’t everything, you know!

What she said.

One of these things is not like the others… one of these things just doesn’t belong.

Well, the heck with baking – let’s try some pasta.

“Make a well in the center of the flour, and add 2 eggs. Stir to combine.”

And oh, by the way – make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN not to accidentally knock a hole in that wall of flour!

Attention class: today’s lesson is punctuation, with a focus on commas.

Namely, too many commas. Am I referring to the controversial Oxford Comma here?

Nope, not this time. It seems this birthday cake was for John Martin, and Caleb – two kids, not three.

Hey, a flick of the spatula, that comma is GONE. And the grandma who’d come to pick the cake up for her grandsons’ birthday was very gracious about the tiny, comma-less divot in the buttercream.

We don’t seem to be having much luck baking or cooking today. I guess we’ll just clean up the kitchen and call it a day.


Gravity is always on…

Remember this picture from 2 years ago? Those are PJ’s feet covered in flour. So, how’s she doing now?

Same PJ, same shoes now with a sweet sugar coating. Cleanup, aisle 4!

We’d like to leave you with one last thought, before we head back to our test kitchen toils.

Life isn’t all about chocolate and sugar and butter and flour.

Ordering: Clam on graham, Cheeto on the side, and a bag of cheese Jujyfruits to go.

Thanks for joining us once again as we celebrate our follies, foibles and flubs. See you next year!

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. mumpy

    love, love, love this blog…makes me think that maybe i don’t need to spill/drop/goof for a while…i can leave it to the professionals!…thanks for the reminder that EVERYONE has kitchen mishaps!
    It is just as fun for us to look back over the year and see the trials we’ve made it through once again. :) ~ MaryJane

  2. puppyfuzz

    Like so many other readers, I love this yearly post! I think you’ve outdone yourself this year…the photos are great (and hilarious and self-esteem saving), and the narrative was absolutely delightful and witty. Well done, and thank you for a great start to the day!
    Better than salt in the sugar shaker, right? :) ~ MaryJane

  3. yvetteclark

    Speaking of slip ups, I once dropped a bread machine bucket that I had just filled, while I was putting it into the bread machine. Should have taken a picture! It was spectacular and horrifying all at the same time!
    Did your chubby kitty come and help clean up? ;) ~ MaryJane

  4. AnneMarie

    Not noticing you left the immersion blender on 10 and turning it on, while your not really holding the container tightly, which is FILLED to the brim with quiche filling. Oh ya, raw egg on the walls, cabinets, appliances, floor…child! LOL! OMG what a mess.
    OH NO! and there is no quick fix for that type of clean up. Mr. Clean and Bounty, your new best friends! ~ MaryJane

  5. Louise

    I love this annual post. And, even though I’m a well-seasoned senior citizen, I’m grateful and affirmed to be reminded that, Yes, we’re all human–and isn’t it fun!
    Nice to hear you look forward to this post, Louise! Elisabeth

  6. Amanda

    This yearly post never fails to make me feel better. It’s nice to know that even the pros screw up now and again.
    Glad we could make you smile, Amanda! Elisabeth

  7. "Momo "

    Thanks for sharing your human-ness with us! I feel a lot better about that bad dinner on Saturday night….and it wasn’t nearly as bad as these! In fact, Hubs liked it; actually liked it! May all your disasters be very small ones this year! I look forward to spending much more time with you!
    And may all of your dishes be self-cleaning too! ~ MaryJane

  8. Asta

    Had help with a cake…decorator didn’t listen and sure enough, ran the congratulations across the top and down the side of the sheet cake. I had to remove all her work and redo it myself.

    Oh wow, that is definitely worthy of “Cake Wrecks”. I hope you got a discount on the cake!-Jon

  9. Cassandra

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!!!! Can’t count the number of boo-boos I have placed on the table or pulled out of the oven. Most of the times the tastes was good, just had a strange appearance.
    Too true! Don’t look, just bite! ~ MaryJane

  10. "daisy in nj"

    All your posts are wonderful but as a lifelong ‘Messy Bessie’ today’s was especially comforting. At least I’m not the only one with perpetually floured shoes and an oven that needs (kinda badly) to be cleaned! Thanks as always!
    Maybe we should form the Messy Bessie club. Anyone else up for lifelong membership? We’ll need a president, vp, treasurer, secretary, mop gal, brush guy, sponge dude, etc. ;) ~ MaryJane

  11. Lori

    Loved this post, makes me feel better too. :) My last kitchen disaster: not realizing that the knob was turned to “pulse” when I plugged in a blender full of liquid (with no cap on, naturally). I got so flustered when I plugged it in and got sprayed with liquid that I quickly moved the dial all the way to the other direction….to “high”! Crazy splatter ensues. Now who puts an “off” switch in the center?! Hee hee. It was so silly that I did have to laugh at myself, cleaning ingredients off the counters…the walls…the floors…the windows…
    I know just what you mean! My blender “off” setting is right in the middle too. Now I’m sure to put the cover on BEFORE I even plug it in . :) ~ MaryJane

  12. Christie

    I’m thinking I should print this blog post – then frame it behind moisture-proof glass and hang it in the kitchen. Then next time I blunder or create a mess, it won’t feel like the end of the world! Thanks for this.
    What a great idea! Except in our kitchen, I’m sure we’d splatter so much on it you would never see the words again! ;) ~ MaryJane

  13. "Paul from Ohio"

    Love it Love it Love it! I could easily do such a blog of my own ooopsies! Happy April to you all. Can’t get good things inside a body without some “damage” to the counter, oven or floor! If only I had more counter space!

    What to make an even bigger mess?!!! LOL

    Think of it as spreading out the mess so it looks like there is less of it!-Jon

  14. Sherry

    Spilled flour and sugar – that’s a cinch to clean up!

    Back in the day when I used Crisco and fried frequently – the Crisco had cooled enough to strain back into the Crisco can. I put the lid on it, picked it up to move it, it slipped. I tipped it to the corner of the kitchen. Ruined several old rag-towels and a mop.

    Ah yes, fat is really hard to clean off of linens and cloth. I just never seem to get all of it out.-Jon

  15. sarahh

    I always love reading this post! I have too many goofs of my own to pick just one. The best was probably dropping my almost full sourdough starter container on the floor. It was plastic and didn’t break, but it hit bottom side down, the topped popped off and starter fountained up onto the cabinets and me. Let me tell you, sourdough starter is really hard to clean off white cabinets. I would think it was gone, then it would dry and I would see my streaks again. At least there was enough clean starter in the container that I didn’t have to start over again. :)

    And this is my Easter cake from last year – not exactly on April Fool’s, but it felt like it!

    Nice save though! I guess he was a little top heavy.-Jon

  16. OtterQueen

    When I was 17, I worked (briefly) in a hotel bakery. I had to separate 60 eggs into a big mixer, so I took out the first flat of 30 and set it atop the mixer next to the one I was working with. After going through the first two rows of eggs, yes the first two rows off one side, the now-unbalanced flat flipped over and I had 20 eggs crash to the floor. That was fun to clean up!

    Ouch, eggs are another pain to clean up.-Jon

  17. Mardee

    Thank-you for this. I knew I was as good as the King Arthur experts!! I’ve had many failures but I keep marching on :)

    So long as we learn from them then mistakes can actually be a good thing. At least in moderation!-Jon

  18. bebop48

    Years ago my kids remember coming in from school and seeing a “knife” sticking out of a very messily iced cake! “Mom stabbed the cake!”
    I did, I must have tried to ice the cake when it was still too warm, and of course the cake kept crumbling each swipe… Got frustrated and stabbed the cake…it was a spatula, but looked like I killed the cake!!
    Thankfully I have become very proficient in baking and decorating cakes, but my kids will never forget that day…and told my Grandkids all about it!!!

  19. cwcdesign

    I always laugh out loud when I read this post. Not my mishap, but one year on my birthday, my MIL picked up a cake for me which said “Happy Birthday, Carl” She never noticed the missing “O” Now my son calls me Carlo :-)

    Carlo – love it! And now I’m chuckling, too… :) PJH

  20. Amy1234

    I love your April fools post! Definitely makes me feel better about my own mishaps. I remember knocking over a zo bread pan filled with the raw ingredients for a sweet bread– including eggs– on to the countertop. I knew the counter was clean when I started, so I just took a spatula and scraped the ingredients off the counter and back into the pan. Bread looked and tasted great! (I did tell my family before they ate it and they didn’t care at all. My husband was actually happy I didn’t waste the ingredients!).

    I would have done exactly the same thing, Amy – in fact, I HAVE done exactly the same thing! ;) PJH

  21. Cactus

    Imagine 16 oz each of picante sauce, cheddar cheese and cream cheese, melted in the microwave…. then imagine said vintage glass bowl slipping out of your hands as you remove it from the microwave. All over the floor…. I think I was more upset about losing my vintage mixing bowel than the mess. LOL

    Oh, my… I make that same recipe, and can only imagine (thankfully!) the mess… Sorry about your bowl, too; but thanks for sharing your disaster here! ;) PJH

  22. buenadriver

    Mom’s cake had a little off taste, but we ate it anyway. Everything was ok until she cleaned up the kitchen and started to put things away. Whoops, that wasn’t a bottle of vanilla, that was a bottle of furniture polish.
    OH NO! I guess your tummies were nice and shiny after that! ~ MaryJane

  23. sallybr

    Worth the wait! not sure which is my favorite, but that before and after baking tray, with stuff that looked perfect before, but somehow Poltergeist interfered, and….. ;-) well, well, well

    Glad it’s not just in my kitchen this stuff happens!

    Awesome round up! (the split bread got me laughing real hard too…)
    We’re just glad you didn’t split your sides laughing. *groan* ;) ~ MaryJane

  24. lyna

    “…may all of your dishes be self-cleaning…”
    Will the KAF store carry them soon? Please?
    Yes, along with our line of self-baking pans, and self-stirring bowls. ;) ~ MaryJane

  25. waikikirie

    Hey MJ….Sign me up as a charter member of the Messy Bessie club!!!!!!! I have a feeling I would be high ranking….teehee…. I so enjoy this April 1st blog. Makes me feel good. My favorite mishap happened when I was about 9 years old. I made my aunt a cake for her birthday. I couldn’t spell as a kid, and truth be told, I still can’t. Anyway, I made the cake and it was so slanted as to be comical. Then my spelling “skills” came out when I wrote, “Happy ‘BRITHDAY’ ‘ANUT’ Amy.” That was darn near forty years ago. She has been “Anut” in my family every since. She turned 85 in February. We sent her flowers and that’s how I signed the card……
    That is just BRILLIANT! Thanks so much for sharing, and you are totally in the club. You can be in charge of the newsletter! ;) ~ MaryJane

  26. JAdrion

    Wow – just wow! Both this post, and other people’s comments, make me feel a whole lot better. After you mentioned purple ketchup, I remembered that Heinz also made green ketchup. (What were they thinking?) Anyway, I bought a bottle of the green which sat, and sat in my cupboard. I hated the idea of throwing it out, so used it to make Ann Lander’s meatloaf. (What was I thinking?) You can just imagine how appetizing that dinner was! LOL!!
    I had a jar of green cherries like that. Just couldn’t understand what I was thinking! ~ MaryJane

  27. Karen

    My favorite personal disaster was forgetting to put the tightly sealed Camco container of bread dough in the fridge before bed. During the night, the expanding dough blew the cover off up to the vaulted ceiling, splattering dough on the ceiling, stove, stove hood, cabinets, tops of the cabinets; sideways to the pantry door; and the bucket fell over and drooled the rest of the dough all over the counter top and floor.

    Oh gosh, that must have been quite the scene to wake up to! I think I would have had a mild heart attack.-Jon

  28. Mia

    LOVE IT. Makes me feel better about my life. Last year for Memorial Day I was supposed to bake two pies and a cake. Required 3 mid-baking trips to the store. First I couldn’t find my pie plates (one of them still hasn’t shown up). Then I burned the crust and had to go back for more ingredients. Then I finally made it all the way through baking, only to pull one out of the oven, have it slip out of my hands, flip over, and land all over my oven door and floor. I actually just left it there until morning (don’t tell anyone!) and started again bright and early before heading to the family cookout. Its clear that you are my people.

    Oh my gosh, I would be in the exact same camp! Sometimes, you just have to walk away. Glad you recovered though! That’s what it’s all about :) Kim@KAF

  29. gaa

    Anytime I make a mistake in the kitchen, I think of two things: this annual blog post and Miss Julia Child … Both reminds me that we all make mistakes and have mishaps (like foolishly thinking that I could transport a pumpkin pie from the counter to the oven without using a cookie sheet … oh yeah, did I mention that I have four dogs who like to gather at my feet?? Do you see where this is going and can you guess where the pumpkin pie filling went??) and that, as MIss Julia said, never apologize for those mistakes! You are in your own kitchen; who’s to see?!

    I did the same with my mom’s homemade banana cream pie once. I was 9 and playing Helper in the kitchen with her. She baked 4 beautiful lemon meringue pies and one lone banana cream for my dad (his favorite!), completely from scratch: crust, custard, and all. I took it down to the basement fridge to set and when lifting the warm pie from the cookie sheet to slide onto the fridge shelf, folded it completely in half! Delicious, warm custard mess all over my hands. I will never forget the look on his face when I came upstairs with the evidence (of course, I’d licked my hands nearly clean first!). Never will I forget about wobbly custard pie baking! ;) Kim@KAF

  30. Jen

    There’s still an extra comma on that cake ;) “Congratulations John Martin and Caleb.” No need to a comma before an “and.”

    The Oxford Comma is a tricky little piece of grammar!-Jon

    Jen, you’re right – hopefully they got rid of TWO commas! :) PJH

  31. Tonia

    That flour on the flour clean-up would’ve been much preferable to cleaning up 1 gallon of vegetable oil that I tipped over first thing on my baking shift many years ago — YIKES! I knew that my day could only get better — I hoped!!

    Now that is truly a disaster – bet you were slipping and sliding for days, Tonia! PJH


Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *