British Embassy Marks Anniversary Of Burning Of White House, With a Cake

Burning White House

Yesterday marked the 200th anniversary of the burning of the White House by British forces during the War On 1812 so, of course, the British Embassy decided to bake a cake:

Apparently, some people on social media were offended by the whole thing last night. The embassy eventually tweeted out an apology of sorts, linking to a Huffington Post piece by Deputy Head of Mission Patrick Davies. Personally, I thought it was hilarious. Nicely played, Brits.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Tyrell says:

    The War of 1812 was one of the strangest in history. It was also one of the most important events in US history. Yet most people would not be able to give one important fact about this war. Most schools skip or give only passing reference to it. I am not sure why people would be offended by this anniversary observance , but of course a lot of people today get offended about anything.
    The first and only time this country has been invaded (unless you count when the Mexican army went into Texas).
    The major battle was fought after the war wss legally over, at New Orleans as Colonel Jackson defeated the British using a motley collection of hunters, prisoners, citizens, and pirates in one of the most brilliant military victories in history.
    Great leadership by James Madison (and some inept British leaders) prevented a total disaster and defeat.

  2. Tillman says:

    Apparently, some people on social media were offended by the whole thing last night.


    Who is offended by cake?! Sure, a cake with the Hindenburg crash rendered lovingly in multicolored icing might be “too soon,” but a two-century-old razing?

  3. Neil Hudelson says:


    …that hat…

  4. C. Clavin says:

    Essex, CT had it’s fleet burnt in April 1814…so a few months before the White House. It’s an interesting story…and you can still see musket balls embedded in the walls of local buildings.
    Strangely enough…to this day Essex actually celebrates the event.
    Weird. But true. Tourism knows no pride.,_Connecticut

  5. KM says:

    @C. Clavin:
    They burnt Buffalo to the ground too.

    What this lead to was the ability of the frontier city to restructure itself in terms of functional layout since less than 5 buildings survived, leading to a booming community with wider avenues that normal and enough space for Olmstead to play with later on. The History Channel had a great special on it – it was seen a preview to the devastation planned for DC but turned into an unexpected boon for the city.

  6. Rick Almeida says:

    Better a cake than a barbecue?

  7. PD Shaw says:

    In six years, we can expect to see the British commemorating the bombing of Dresden with a cake?

  8. JWH says:

    Too soon.

  9. Franklin says:


    The War of 1812 was one of the strangest in history. Yet most people would not be able to give one important fact about this war.

    The only thing I know is that the 1812 Overture is NOT about the War of 1812. I suppose that doesn’t qualify as an important fact, however.

  10. SKI says:

    Growing up in Baltimore, it got quite a bit more attention what with Fort McHenry and the Star Spangled Banner and such. The Bowie Baysox (O’s AA team) have also had the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Brandenburg advertising up all year. We are very much a country of regions…

  11. Poster says:

    You know what would be even more funny? Let’s all get together and bake a cake for the time we broke into your house, broke your stuff, killed someone near to you, then burned what was left. If you’re not laughing with us, just give it some time and you’ll think it’s as funny as we do. That’s the principle you’re advocating.

  12. sam says:

    “Growing up in Baltimore, it got quite a bit more attention what with Fort McHenry and the Star Spangled Banner and such”

    Something I learned recently is that Francis Scott Key was Roger (Dred Scott) Taney’s brother-in- law and law partner.

    As for the Brits and the unpleasantness of 1812-14, I think Tony Blair struck the right note:
    Here’s Balir adressing a a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on Thursday, July 17, 2003.:

    Mr. Speaker and Mr. Vice President, honorable members of Congress, I’m deeply touched by that warm and generous welcome. That’s more than I deserve and more than I’m used to, quite frankly.

    And let me begin by thanking you most sincerely for voting to award me the Congressional Gold Medal. But you, like me, know who the real heroes are: those brave service men and women, yours and ours, who fought the war and risk their lives still.

    And our tribute to them should be measured in this way, by showing them and their families that they did not strive or die in vain, but that through their sacrifice future generations can live in greater peace, prosperity and hope.

    Let me also express my gratitude to President Bush. Through the troubled times since September the 11th changed our world, we have been allies and friends. Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership.

    Mr. Speaker, sir, my thrill on receiving this award was only a little diminished on being told that the first Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to George Washington for what Congress called his “wise and spirited conduct” in getting rid of the British out of Boston.

    On our way down here, Senator Frist was kind enough to show me the fireplace where, in 1814, the British had burnt the Congress Library. I know this is, kind of, late, but, uh, sorry.

  13. Neil Hudelson says:


    Lighten up, Francis.

  14. CSK says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    That hat, indeed. One could legitimately wonder if he’s wearing the cake on his head and carrying a hat in his hands.

  15. JKB says:

    This put me to mind of this Eddie Izzard bit, Cake or Death

    But we should be kind to them. If they were to leave the EU and join the US, Britain would be our second poorest state, beating out only Mississippi

  16. RGardner says:

    Breaking news, the Brits are burning the Federal City

  17. Tony W says:

    @Franklin: But the national anthem IS

  18. C. Clavin says:

    When someone like you, links to an article that says this:

    I’ve been asked (on Twitter) to link to my source, but I’m afraid there’s no study to point to. It’s original research.

    I immediately stop reading.

  19. J-Dub says:

    I remember during his presidency, George Bush touted 200 years of friendship between the US and Great Britain when it hadn’t even been 200 years since they burned the White House to the ground.

  20. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin:

    That’s sad

  21. bill says:

    @JKB: and they could also benefit from our esl programs.

  22. Stephen Bloom says:

    They burnt the White House in retaliation for the burning of York (now Toronto). The expedition left from Halifax.

  23. Stephen Bloom says:

    By the way, we are commemorating the War of 1812 in Canada during its 200th anniversary.

  24. al-Ameda says:

    Mitch McConnell ordered the cake, the Brits refused to put the flames and the likeness of Obama on the icing.

  25. Tillman says:

    @Stephen Bloom: I would too! It’s the war you can legitimately lord over us.

    …is it also the last war? Did you scare us out of the Great North for good or…? My history is rusty there.

  26. Grewgills says:

    A quick google search proves that statement false.
    The UK has a per capita GDP of 39,567 which puts it between Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
    Some other states lower than UK on the list are:

    30 Utah ………. 39,158
    31 Indiana ………. 39,065
    32 Vermont ………. 38,198
    33 Georgia ………. 37,702
    34 Ohio ………. 37,690
    35 Tennessee ………. 37,254

    Southeast ………. 36,961
    36 Missouri ………. 36,815
    37 Oklahoma ………. 36,252
    38 Michigan ………. 35,298
    39 Arizona ………. 35,195
    40 Florida ………. 34,802
    41 Maine ………. 34,597
    42 New Mexico ………. 33,900
    43 Kentucky ………. 33,519
    44 Montana ………. 33,204
    45 Alabama ………. 32,615
    46 Idaho ………. 31,945
    47 South Carolina ………. 31,881
    48 Arkansas ………. 31,837
    49 West Virginia ………. 30,389
    50 Mississippi ………. 28,944

    You may notice that most of those states and regions below UK on the list are Red. I’m guessing that doesn’t fit your preferred narrative.

  27. Grewgills says:

    I just had a look at the comments on that article you linked in the spectator. Wow! There is some nastiness in there.

  28. Grewgills says:

    An example from the UK version of our own SD in the comment thread there

    This is massive Third World colonisation. This is the gradual genocide of White people in their own nations. And its now progressed to the point of no return.

    25% of kids in Britain are now black or Muslim. For England alone, its even higher. This means we’re just one generation away from being faced with a huge, hostile, immigrant population.

    Even worse: they’ll hold all the political and media power as they’ll have all the cities.

  29. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Grewgills: i’m not sure that’s fair. Superdestroyer is a LOT more nuanced than that.

    Low bar to clear, I’ll admit, but still in all…

  30. JKB says:

    @Grewgills: A quick google search proves that statement false.

    Did you adjust for Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) like he does in the article?

  31. Grewgills says:

    UK’s PPP per capita is 37,307, which puts it between Ohio and Tennessee’s unadjusted GSP. He adjusts for PPP for the UK and doesn’t adjust individually between the states, making his comparison dodgy. It also fails to account for the structural differences in our economies. Among the glaring differences are the way health insurance is structured.

  32. Stephen Bloom says:

    @Tillman: we once had to repulse some Fenians post Civil War!