Baltimore’s ‘Ace of Cakes’ looks to trump ‘Cake Boss’ - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Baltimore’s ‘Ace of Cakes’ looks to trump ‘Cake Boss’

Duff Goldman hasn’t spent the past few months preparing for a baking competition.

He’s been training for a fight.

“I’d wake up at 3 a.m., go to the gym for two hours, go home and then bake for 10 hours, Goldman said. “Then I’d wake up and do it all over again and again. It was like Rocky. Rocky punched meat. I baked.”

Goldman’s opponent isn’t Ivan Drago. It’s Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro, the owner of Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, N.J., who will look to take down Goldman in front of a worldwide audience.

“I got tired of hearing everyone calling Buddy the ‘Cake Boss,’” said Goldman, who earned the “Ace of Cakes” nicknamed after his hit reality show on Food Network that for 10 seasons between 2006-2011 chronicled the outrageous cakes produced at his shop on Remington Avenue in Baltimore.

Goldman and Valastro will see who truly is the undisputed king of the cake world when the two go head-to-head in “Buddy vs. Duff,” a six-week baking competition that will air on Sunday nights at 9 on Food Network, beginning this week.

“Buddy vs. Duff” is unlike any competition show in Food Network history. Though some of the network’s top talent have competed against one another by leading teams of chefs, none have gone one-on-one in an episodic format.

“Audiences have come to recognize Buddy and Duff as the biggest names in cake, known for creating larger-than-life, jaw-dropping delectable designs as well as massive baking empires,” Food Network President Courtney White said. “Never before have these two baking icons gone head-to-head in a competition, until now.”

Duff Goldman left, and Buddy Valastro, go one-on-one to see who is the king of the cake world in “Buddy vs. Duff” on Food Network. The six-week competition, which airs every Sunday at 9 p.m., begins on March 10. (Food Network)

The competition will test Goldman and Valastro’s pastry and cake-making skills, including technique, design, and taste. Each show will consist of two rounds – a Bake-Off to test their baking abilities, followed by a Cake-Off to showcase their creative imaginations and decorating acumen.

In the Cake-Off, Goldman and Valastro will each have a soux chef of their choice, as Goldman will choose long-time friend and Charm City Cakes baker Geof Manthorne, with Valastro going with Carlo’s head bakery sculptor Ralph Attanasia II.

“This is a fight. It’s is not his shop against my shop. It’s me against Buddy,” Goldman said. “That dude is a pro – and absolute pro. He’s been baking his whole life. His grandfather baked, his father was a baker and he’s a baker. It’s in his family.”

Award-wining chefs Sherry Yard and Keegan Gerhard are joined throughout the competition by special guest experts including, Florian Bellanger, “Street Science’s” Kevin Delaney, “Flip or Flop’s” Christina Anstead, Hannah Hart, Waylynn Lucas, Penn & Teller, Gesine Prado, “Fast N’ Loud’s” Richard Rawlings and Aarti Sequeira, among others, to determine the champion.

Goldman and Valastro will open the first episode by making their signature family recipes. In the second round, they will create car-inspired cakes with all the bells and whistles. In future episodes, the two chefs will be asked to create carnival treats to impress a crowd of hungry amusement park customers, dazzle with intricate Bollywood-inspired cakes, and satisfy customers during the morning rush at the iconic Randy’s Donuts in Los Angeles.

They will also design desserts for an exclusive dog pampering party, impress a couple with elegant wedding cakes for their big day, and enchant audiences with illusion cakes for a special show at Hollywood’s Magic Castle, according to Food Network.

The competition will conclude on April 14, when the final round begins with them creating chocolate desserts to conceal engagement rings for surprise proposals. In the final challenge, Goldman and Valastro will return to home bakeries to craft a their own space-themed cake.

Goldman said cooking in his kitchen, where he controls everything around him, including the ability blast Led Zeppelin or Paul Simon while he’s baking, is vastly different than when he’s competing on television.

“First, there’s an audience watching you,” he said. “You’re baking and there’s a sound guy in our face, a producer asking you questions and all of this other stuff going on that’s distracting. You’re also in a kitchen you’ve never been in.”

Goldman knows it won’t be easy to knock off Valastro.

“We are both very good at what we do,” Goldman said. “This is baking competition. We are going to be side-by-side and baking. We aren’t going to see who can crack the most eggs in an hour. We are going to see who can come up with the most creative way to use chocolate.”

About the author

Jon Gallo

Jon Gallo is an award-winning journalist and editor with 19 years of experience, including stints as a staff writer at The Washington Post and sports editor at The Baltimore Examiner. He also believes the government should declare federal holidays in honor of the following: the Round of 64 of the NCAA men's basketball tournament; the Friday of the Sweet 16; the Monday after the Super Bowl; and of course, the day after the release of the latest Madden NFL video game. Contact the author.

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