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Cake decorators gone wild

Meoooooow.....

Meoooooow.....

My 12-year-old daughter has been watching “Cake Boss” — the TLC cable television show that follows the crew in a New Jersey cake shop as they fashion elaborate cakes for fickle clients.

I’ve half-watched a couple of episodes with her and tried not to be too much of a pill about food coloring and cliched reality TV editing.

So I decided to treat her with a chocolate cake mix, a tub of red fondant and some press-on texturizers from Duff Goldman of the “Ace of Cakes” show on the Food Network.

It was, to say the least, a surprise for her. Cakes are more of a Mommy than a Daddy thing in our house, and they usually involve a box of Duncan Hines and a tub of frosting.

We baked the two cakes but realized that we didn’t have any frosting, so we winged it. Two sticks of softened unsalted butter went into the mixer, and as it ran we added a pound or so of confectioners sugar. Next, in went a spoonful of vanilla and finally a few splashes of milk to smooth the vanilla frosting out.

My kid knew exactly what to do to “dirty ice” the two-layer cake to make it ready for the fondant. Yes, that blood-red fondant. A few seconds in the microwave softened it considerably and made it very easy to roll out, then we pressed it with the textured film to create a basket weave surface. Finally, we played with the leftover fondant as if it were Sculpey clay.

The verdict? Everyone loved the tasty chocolate cake mix — particularly with the homemade frosting. But we all picked off the fondant after a tooth-tingling bite of the sweet stuff. o

“Yeah, they always pick off the fondant,” said my kid.

Do you watch these shows? What is the fascination in popular culture with cake decorating these days?

42 comments Add your comment

Allison

July 14th, 2010
1:37 pm

Love Ace of Cakes. Hate Cake Boss–it’s too Jersey. Cake decorating is artsy and tasty, with a little construction thrown in. I’d love to get paid to do that.

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steph

July 14th, 2010
1:45 pm

She did a great job! Lookd sfabulous and I love the kitty! She can make ma cake anytime, but no mixes please;)

Perquito

July 14th, 2010
1:58 pm

Redneck people in Atlanta don’t know a thing about cakes. They all think that cakes are Little Debbies. In my travels I have had many little cakes, and there is no real person who is Little Debbie. Imbeciles!

Reds

July 14th, 2010
2:21 pm

I am not a fan of Cake Boss, but i also love Ace of Cakes. The detail they put into everything! I’ve been watching the Food Network Cake challenges since they started. They’re always fun… plus, condensed into an hour, instead of 8. Your daughter did a great job! I taught basic Wilton cake decorating at Michaels for a while, and worked at a bakery to put myself through college. Never got into fondant, but gum paste is fun to play with.

Reds

July 14th, 2010
2:23 pm

Per– I’m an Atlanta girl (native) and I can’t tell you the last time I had a little debbie. Just saying there are some non-rednecks in Atlanta.

Mike Imbecile

July 14th, 2010
3:04 pm

Little Debbie is a friend of mine. She has known and made cakes for several generations of the Imbecile family. Italians are like that.

fer

July 14th, 2010
3:06 pm

Perquito — you don’t know what you are talking about. I grew up in the South and never heard of a Lil Debbie until I was grown. What I knew were Lane cakes, Coconut cakes, German Chocolate cakes, Chocolate cake w/ 7-minute frosting (yes, a real person beat it for 7 minutes — that was my mother), and Lemon Cheese cakes. Do you know what any of these are?

Perquito

July 14th, 2010
3:08 pm

P’ffffft to you, Atlanta type persons!

Becky

July 14th, 2010
3:11 pm

Love Cake Boss, not so much Ace of Cakes..Your daughter did a wonderful job on this cake..

@perquito..Nice of you to share your charming sense of humor with us, now go find some chunky imbecile to amuse..

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jihad Jane-Brûlée and Magnolia CandyShop. Magnolia CandyShop said: Cake decorators gone wild: Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)So I surprised her with a chocolate cake mix, a tub … http://bit.ly/bhjeoG [...]

VoiceOf Reason

July 14th, 2010
3:33 pm

I sometimes watch the the Food Network Challenge for specialty cakes, but its more about the art & creative talent with these shows than about the actual cakes.

With Ace & Cakes (and similar shows) it really doesn’t seem like they give a darn about the cake whatsoever since the cakes are usually 60% fondant or more…..which is gross. How good are you when 60% or more of your cake is inedible? Since they never bother with mentioning the ingredients or flavors, nor do they show any actual baking skills, I assume it taste like a Publix birthday cake.

I do however enjoy Cupcake Wars on Food Network just because I like to watch competitions. I can watch a competition on darn near anything….and have. Chooped, Iron Chef, Bobby Flay’s Throwdown, Top Chef, The Next Food Network Star, etc, etc.

Andrea

July 14th, 2010
3:44 pm

I love Ace of Cakes and am an avid fan of the Food Network Challenges. I like to watch them but I would NEVER eat any of their cakes because none of them ever wear gloves.

Kar

July 14th, 2010
3:48 pm

I can’t stand “Ace of Cakes.” They’re very imaginative, sure.

However, I get grossed out watching them roll fondant between their palms, squeezed by fingers, shaped by the bare fingertips and just about wrapped around every other body part.

NO ONE WEARS GLOVES OR HAIRNETS!!!! Does Baltimore not have food inspectors? This is a certified professional kitchen for heaven’s sake.

I have to ask, as a food professional, doesn’t this bother you? I imagine that as a critic, you wouldn’t recommend a restaurant that doesn’t take these basic health steps or has a bad inspection.

WTHIIN

July 14th, 2010
4:04 pm

OMG! Andrea and Kar that is the VERY reason I stopped watching Ace of Cakes. They’re laughing and talking and playing with someones FOOD!!! That’s just NASTY!

MAP

July 14th, 2010
4:07 pm

Yea!! Mike Imbecile.

Lori

July 14th, 2010
4:12 pm

OMG, cakes and pies are like a staple on any Southern table. Perquito is an idiot.

I’m not a fan of Cake Boss (too much screaming and yelling at each other). I do like Ace of Cakes though and the Food Network Challenges. I like it because it’s something that I could only dream of doing. It’s art you can eat!! I wish I had that kind of talent.

Just Saying

July 14th, 2010
4:43 pm

Perquito – why are you here? I’m sure you’re not being held against your will – BE GONE!
@Kar – I thought it was just me. I told my friend I would never eat another bakery cake after watching that show – GROSS!

jg

July 14th, 2010
4:46 pm

Kar you are so right!! They are so nasty!! I am sorry but (personally) I do not see any art in rolling out play-doh – I mean fondant – and placing it on a cake. My mother made beautiful wedding cakes with plain old frosting – a bag and some tubes – Wilton used to have the best books and show you how to make your own flowers, etc. And it smelled so wonderful! There were no power tools to make your cakes – maybe a dowel here and there or some heavy duty tooth picks.

Puerquito

July 14th, 2010
5:08 pm

Someone is trying to impersonate me and completely misspelled my name.
I guess it is time to assume a new identity…

Son of Puerquito

July 14th, 2010
5:19 pm

I don’t know about you guys but I think perquito is a douche and pUerquito is probably a handsome devil.

cakemom

July 14th, 2010
5:46 pm

Cake Boss thinks he is all that! Can’t stand to watch all that jersey screaming. Used to be an Ace of Cakes fan, but they have gone too “big deal” for me. Your daughter’s cake is great. Looks like you should start saving for culinary/pastry school!!

Ramona Clef

July 14th, 2010
8:09 pm

When it comes to decorated cakes, I like Cake Wrecks!
http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2009/09/im-this-many.html

HotlantaHobo

July 14th, 2010
11:09 pm

Was in Baltimore a few weeks ago and was at the diner across the street from Charm City Cakes. They have covered all the windows of the bakery with black plastic film to keep people from looking in while they work. Maybe the lack of gloves is something they don’t want you to see. But really if they wash their hands with sanitizer it shouldn’t be a problem.

I always thought these were nothing more than novelty cakes and not really something interesting to eat. Give me a creation from Demel’s any day! Or even one of the creations in any Atlanta Greek diner!

penguinmom

July 14th, 2010
11:52 pm

I like seeing the art created on Ace Of Cakes but I really don’t like the thought of eating a fondant cake. I’d much rather have a cake with some good old-fashioned frosting.

The other thing I’ve wondered is how they keep their cakes fresh. They sit out for a week while they mess around with the decorating. I’m assuming the fondant seals in the moisture but I still prefer my cakes fairly fresh from the oven.

kar

July 15th, 2010
1:53 am

Even if they use a ton of sanitizer it doesn’t clean off the gunk on your hands or the gross bits underneath your nails.

Surgeons don’t just use a little Sani-wipe because it doesn’t clean your hands, just kills some of the bacteria. I doubt that the Health Dept would be satisfied with the guy scooping up fries use hand sanitizer rather than gloves too

Besides, there are other fundemental food safety protocols tthat they ignore. I suspect the baker and the bakery are fairly up to code but the front where they decorate seems pretty busy for food prep.

Plus, as I mentioned, no one wears HAIRNETS. When you look at restaurants or food manufacturing plants, they not only wear hairnets on their head but also for their beards. Even if they’re just walking around, not in direct contact with the food.

Some of the guys like Geoff do seem smart and down to earth. However, I don’t want to find half of his beard in the white fondant.

Lucy

July 15th, 2010
8:39 am

Cake decorating is a great family project – I like to bake, but not decorate. My husband and daughter have created a few cakes for school bake sales and friends’ birthday parties, inspired by Ace of Cakes. There are so many materials available now that simplify decorating. I may have misread, but are the cake goodies you brought home Ace of Cakes brand supplies? If so, brilliant!

Allison

July 15th, 2010
1:24 pm

I’ve eaten an Ace of Cake cake. It was good! Yes, there was fondant, but it was pretty tasty for fondant. The cake itself was moist and flavorful and the interior filling was really good.

Becky

July 15th, 2010
3:30 pm

Have you ever priced a cake from Ace of Cakes..WOW..He chargeds something like $100.00 per hr. to deliver it..Not my cup of tea..

Becky

July 15th, 2010
3:44 pm

Ok, I was wrong about $100.00..His cakes start out at at least $1000.00, $500.00 of which is nonrefundable, then it’s $175.00 per hr for delivery..NO cake (IMO) is worth that much money..

Sandra

July 15th, 2010
4:18 pm

fer – What is a “Lane cake”?

Ms Bulldawg

July 15th, 2010
5:35 pm

One of the genuine geniuses in cake decorating has a business in the Atlanta area. To my knowledge, he does not “do” cakes for the public, he does teach the art of decorating. Micholas Lodge has a shop (International Sugar Crafts, I think that is correct…something like that) in the Norcross area. He has an amazing galley of sugar flowers in the shop that will leave you speechless. Mr. Lodge has also jusdged several of the “Challenges” on the FoodNetwork.

Ms Bulldawg

July 15th, 2010
5:36 pm

That should be Nicholas Lodge…not Mickolas…sorry.

HM

July 16th, 2010
7:59 am

Bakers Man in Alpharetta does cakes better than Ace of Cakes…and his cakes are YUMMMY!

I luv cake

July 16th, 2010
8:47 am

I’m craving cake now. I love Ace of Cakes and the cooking shows on foodnetwork. I’ve attempted a couple of the food recipes, but I have yet to attempt to make a cake.

SheShe

July 16th, 2010
9:12 am

YUMMY!! Addicted to “Cupcake Wars”!! But I enjoy both cake shows as well.

SheShe

July 16th, 2010
9:20 am

What’s not to love about “CAKES”? Hansens in California. Slyvia Weinstock in NYC. A Piece Of Cake in Atlanta GA. They are all delicious treats.

MJ

July 16th, 2010
10:25 am

I am glad to know that others have noticed that lack of sanitary practices by Ace of Cakes. Many of the famale decorators have long hair, they wear clothes in off the street, etc. I think they are more creative and talented than Cake Boss. But I would eat a cake from Cake Boss before Ace of Cakes any day because of the difference in how they handle food prepration. I have been tempted to write FoodNetwork with my concerns after watching a show.

She-Ra

July 16th, 2010
12:01 pm

@ Kar and Andrea me and my Mom said the same thing about Ace of Cakes. They touch all types of things on Ace of Cakes and you NEVER see them wash their hands. We like watching the show and the different creations they make… but that place/people do not look sanitary at all!

pmuckle

July 16th, 2010
3:50 pm

I love food network shows all but ace of cake and big daddy’s house they can take off the air!!!

Marge

July 22nd, 2010
12:42 am

All decorators should have their hair covered; hat, cap, scarf, etc. And the ladies should have their hair pulled away from their face and have their hair covered. For the gloves… it isn’t any more sanitary, and maybe worst. Wearing gloves gives one a false since of being germ free. As soon as you touch something there is now germs on the gloves. You would be changing gloves every few minutes. A doctor doesn’t pick up his instruments, they are handed to him by a nurse. What I teach is every 20/20…every 20 min. you wash your hands for 20 sec., or sooner, especially if you touch your face, hair, sneeze, etc. These shows are for entertainment; they are all showing their talents. I for one can’t stand to watch them. I watched one for 15 minutes, and it was so unbelieveable that I changed channels and haven’t watch another since.

Katie

July 25th, 2010
5:17 pm

Gotta love a man who knows what to do in the kitchen.