Tube Talk: Sweet success: Check out Ace of Cakes

You’ve probably heard it by now: Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman is coming to town Oct. 20 for a day of cake-themed fund-raisers for the Discovery Center.

If you’ve never heard of Ace of Cakes and the only Duff you know is Homer Simpson’s favorite brand of beer, you’re missing out on a whole lot of fun.

The series follows Duff and his staff of quirky bakers and cake decorators as they create unbelievably detailed and inventive cakes for their customers at Baltimore’s Charm City Cakes. If you want a crash course in what these artists can do with cake, fondant and a little icing, scroll through their gallery of cakes at You will be amazed.

In some ways, Ace of Cakes reminds me of TLC’s Miami Ink and LA Ink. Like the tattoo pros, Duff and his crew are true artists working in an unusual medium. The big difference is the bakers’ creations aren’t permanent—they’re meant to be eaten. Like the tattoo artists, the bakers consult with their clients, getting to know them so they can create the perfect cake to complement each customer’s personality.

It’s not just the decorations that are unique. Charm City Cakes offers 40 flavors—many you probably won’t find anywhere else—and are open to trying new flavors and combinations. Green tea and ginger, peanut butter and jelly—it’s not just chocolate anymore.

Watching the show, you’ll see how much creativity and effort goes into each cake. Among the bakers are a couple of engineers, who are basically cake architects in charge of ensuring the more unusually-formed cakes are structurally sound. Freshness is important when it comes to cake, so the crew is usually racing the clock to complete their fantastic designs in time for pick up or delivery. (I’m sure I’m not the only one holding my breath when large cakes are being carried or assembled!)

When Duff is in Rockford, he’ll give a cake-decorating demonstration and talk as well as judge a cake-decorating contest at the Discovery Center in the afternoon. In the evening, he’ll be at Cliffbreakers for “Dinner with Duff,” where some local celebrities will show off their skills in a celebrity cake-decorating contest.

Before the big day, be sure to check out Ace of Cakes. New episodes air on the Food Network Thursdays at 9 p.m. and are followed with repeat episodes at 9:30 p.m. Be forewarned, the season finale will air on a different night: Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 9 p.m. Food Network is using the popularity of Ace of Cakes to help launch a new series, 2 Dudes Catering, in the 9:30 p.m. timeslot.

If you can’t wait for the next episode to air—or to see Duff at the Discovery Center’s events—you can watch video clips at the show’s Web site, Be sure to take the “Real or Cake” quiz, which shows how realistic Duff and company’s cakes look.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week, and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to

from the Oct. 10, 2007, issue

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