Netflix added Sixteen Candles last week and I’m super stoked. (Apparently so is everyone else. It’s one of the top viewed things on Netflix right now.) I am a big fan of all of the John Hughes movies, but especially the Molly Ringwald ones. That girl is pure magic. Not to mention the music in the film was incredible and I did not appreciate it when I was younger. (Check it for Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell when Anthony Michael Hall is driving the Rolls Royce and Patti Smith’s Gloria when Caroline’s hair is stuck in the door.)
As I rewatched it, I couldn’t help but wonder if a lot of that stuff would fly in a teen movie today. Content, language and nudity… it was pretty hilarious, but I feel like a lot of it went a bit far. Then again, American Pie happened, so what do I know?
For starters… it’s pretty damn racist. For some reason, it was still acceptable to be racist against Asians in the 80s? Every time they say Long Duck Dong, there’s a big gong noise. I know this is something that current television has made fun of, but it still shocks me that it even happened in the first place.
There are definitely some language things that probably wouldn’t make it in these days. “They forgot my fucking birthday.” is one of the first things Sam says and I think that would be ok. But they definitely drop the other f-bomb. One of the geeks gets called a fag and I just don’t think they’d go there now.
Then there’s the sexual stuff. There’s a shot of Caroline’s boobs… but she was actually over 18 when the film was shot. But how about that rape scene, huh? Before AMH takes her out in the car, Jake says, “I could violate her ten different ways if I wanted to,” referring to how Caroline is drunkenly passed out. So they load her in the car and Jake tells her that AMH is him. They go off and do… fuck knows what, but the next morning their conversation confirms that she and him had sex. He was definitely sober enough to drive them around and he knew full well what he was doing. She was incoherent and under the delusion that he was her boyfriend. Sure it all turned out in a happy ending sort of way because that’s how the movie is, but I just can’t overlook the fact that that was rape. So yeah, can’t see that happening in a feel-good teen movie today.
Outside of the cultural advancements we’ve had that make us question some of the plot decisions of the film, it’s still incredible. Nothing beats the scene where Anthony Michael Hall is dancing with Sam while she just stands there. Not to mention the line one of the geeks at that dance utters, “I bet you a dozen floppy disks you don’t even get a tit.” Then there’s the best movie dad of all times. Their pep talk got many a girl through their high school crushes. “That’s why they call them crushes, if they were easy, they’d call them something else.”
So, in honor of this classic, fucked up, wonderful piece of movie history, I made the cake. Not the actual cake, the actual cake was made of cardboard. But what the cake should have been. A four-layer ombré pink lemonade cake decorated with 80’s style Molly Ringwald-esque glory. AND… I made it all from cake mix and canned frosting so it’ll be super easy for you to replicate.
So… if you wished for a perfect 16th birthday cake… It already came true.
Pink Lemonade Ombré Layer Cake
adapted from Betty Crocker
2 boxes white cake mix
1 cup vegetable oil, divided
½ cup water, divided
1 can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed and divided
pink food dye (gel)
red food dye
4 cans white frosting
pink cake decorations
9-inch round cake pans (2 or 4 of them)
icing bag and tip
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray cake pans with cooking spray, set aside.
It’s easiest to work in two batches for this recipe. In a mixing bowl, combine one box of cake mix, 3 eggs, ½ cup vegetable oil, ¼ cup water and ¾ cup lemonade concentrate. Mix until just combined. Divide batter amongst two bowls. Using a spatula, mix in food coloring. For the first two, I used two drops of pink in one and four drops of pink in the other. Stir until combined and distribute into cake pans. Tap to flatten the top and make even.
Bake for 25-30 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.) Let cool for ten minutes on a cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges of the pan and carefully turn the cake out of the pan and onto the cooling rack. Leave until completely cooled.
Meanwhile, begin the second batch. Mix together ingredients (as above). Divide batter amongst two bowls. Using a spatula, mix in food coloring. For the third layer, I used seven drops of pink and for the fourth layer I used 10 drops of pink and one drop of red. Bake as you did the other two layers.
When all four layers are completely cool, you can begin to assemble your cake. Place darkest layer on bottom. Spoon out about a half of a container of frosting onto the top and spread evenly. Repeat with the next two layers. Once you’ve placed the top layer on, spread a thin layer of icing over the whole cake (a crumb coat). After that, spread a thicker layer of icing over the cake and smooth. Spoon your remaining icing into a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate as desired. Add any decorative accents. Definitely add sixteen candles. Serve to the girl crush in your life.