Monday, April 21, 2008

Think Cake-Decorating is for Sissies??

Well if so, think again! Introducing the bonafide bad-ass of cake-decorating: Duff Goldman. This guy simply defines cool. Not only is this dude an artist, a sculptor, and an electric bass player, but he's also the hottest thing in the baking world today. (Read his entire bio here.) I was fortunate enough to have access to full cable for three days on a recent excursion to Des Moines, which meant I devoted the majority of my tv-watching to the Food Network (something I don't have access to at home...for good reason). It was during my Food Network binge that I was first introduced to Duff. Based out of Baltimore, Duff and his staff at "Charm City Cakes" turn out some the most amazing cakes I've ever seen. He literally takes cake-decorating to an entirely new level. You're not going to find many buttercream rosettes at his bakery (no offense to you cake-decorators out there...kudos to you because I can't even make a buttercream rosette!). I was literally sucked in as I watched one episode after another of "Ace of Cakes," the reality show that follows the day-to-day happenings at Duff's bakery. I would've never guessed that a show about a bakery could be so fascinating, but Duff and his small staff, who are all friends of his, have such dynamic and quirky personalities that there is never a dull moment. Plus, it was mind-boggling to watch them create their cakes, which literally are works of art.

So I thought I'd give you a sampling of just a few of Duff's cakes. Of course, there's the elegant wedding cakes, such as these:

But then, there's the more unusual and unconventional cakes, the ones that you look at and say, "Is that actually a cake?!" Like these:

And then there's the cakes that start venturing into the flat-out bizarre, like this one. I mean, seriously, what person actually is going to pay around $1000 for a cake that looks like a slab of bacon and canned beer?! I do enjoy bacon, but I gotta draw the line. Regardless, I'm hard-pressed to be able to tell that it's a's the definition of "the wow factor."

For all you baseball fans out there (givin' a shout out to my hubby), there's this cake: an exact replica of Wrigley Field. I had to show this one because I saw the episode of "Ace of Cakes" where they made it. It was ordered for the 80th birthday for a life-long Chicago resident and die hard Cubs fan. Duff actually drove from Baltimore to Chicago to hand-deliver this cake.

And finally, here's an example that really takes the cake. Okay, sorry for the extremely cheesey play on words, but I couldn't resist. :) This is one of those cakes that should be preserved behind plexi-glass in a museum: the Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter books. Why would anyone in their right mind want to actually eat this cake?! To Duff and his staff--you guys are geniouses.


BKicklighter said...

I can't believe you posted this today. I came across a website you have to check out (in the same vein) Same amazingness.

Been missin you!

Sarah said...

Thanks so much for that link, Becky!! I went to the site and they truly are amazing...I was gawking at his cakes!

Bethany said...

How much of the cake is actually *cake*, and how much is filler and molded fondant?

Sarah said...

Bethany--as far as I know, the majority of Duff's creations are mostly *cake* but it depends of the specific cake. Of course, his staff use a lot of molded fondant, but based on watching them makes some of the cakes, there is lots of real cake underneath the fondant and buttercream.

Also, on one of the shows, one of his staff said, "people always ask us, 'Sure the cakes looks amazing, but do they actually taste good?'" She answered that of course the cake itself tastes amazing. Duff has a degree from a renowned culinary institute and they offer something like over 40 different flavors of cake. Hope that answers your questions!