If you've ever watched Food Network, there's a large chance you'll recognize Duff Goldman's goofy laugh and awkward facial hair (and I say that with love).
Duff became a household name when his show, Ace of Cakes, showed everyone just how fun working in a bakery can be. He went to pastry school and ended up opening his own bakery called Charm City Cakes. The bakery is staffed by all his friends, and they have a rocking time.
Charm City Cakes has produced some incredible cakes in the past. Duff's slogan is "Make it bigger, make it badder, make it awesome!" and honestly he accomplishes that each and every time.
These are some of our favorite Charm City Cakes ever made, mixed in with a few tips from the professionals!
1. The Monster Truck Cake
Duff loves making functional cakes, and this was no different. The wheels of the truck spun around and splashed chocolate "mud" on everyone standing in the splash zone! Man, I would have loved to be front row for that.
If you're looking for a wedding cake, ask if they bake the cakes in house or if they just decorate.
"It's a really important question to ask because if you're making the cake yourself, you know exactly what you're putting into it and you have a little bit more control... But if you're taking a delivery once a month and putting all those cakes in the freezer, then you really don't have too much control over the flavors of those cakes," Duff said.
2. The Skylanders Cake
Skylanders is an incredibly popular video game series among kids, and Duff's team helped bring it to life in cake form! It looks almost too good to eat...ALMOST.
3. The Life-Size Race Car
NASCAR star Kacey Kahne unveiled his "new car," a No. 5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet. But it wasn't a car at all! It was cake!! It came fully equipped with wheels, exhaust, and hopefully enough forks for everyone to enjoy.
4. The U.S. Open Cake
Even though Ace of Cakes was coming to an end, Duff wanted to go out with a bang.
"Since this is ["Ace of Cakes"] last season he really wanted to do something fun and crazy," Rita Garza, senior director of corporate communications of the United States Tennis Association, said.
And go big he did! The stadium is a replica of Arthur Ashe Stadium, measuring four feet by five feet, and being three feet tall.
"There are some really amazing sporting events that we make cakes for, and the U.S. Open is one of the biggest," Duff said. "The fans are rabid, the U.S. Open staff are so enthusiastic and the players are legendary. I'm just glad a stray tennis ball didn't land in this cake!"
"To avoid catastrophe, store eggs and butter at 38 degrees F," Charm City Cakes bake, Adam Goldstein, says. "To avoid a 'caketastrophe,' allow them to come to room temperature before mixing."
5. The Betty White Cake
Duff and his team created a cake for Betty White's favorite animal charity, Morris Animal Foundation.
"Betty has been an animal lover forever and is so sincere and avid about raising money for all kinds of animal awareness, including the Morris Foundation," Duff said. "I've worked with Betty before on a movie called You Again, and she was razzing me on the set there in California and she razzed me some more at the Morris gala when I told her my one scene in the movie was cut."
6. The "Millionaire" Cake
To celebrate the 1,500th episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Charm City Cakes created a pile of money out of cake.
"I can't even imagine what that number means," Duff said about 1500 episodes. "I was thrilled to get to 100!"
I'd be thrilled to get a piece of that cake...
7. The Vintage Cop Car Cake
This cake had more of a personal touch for Duff.
"I finally got to decorate a cake with my best friend Art, who is a New York City policeman and was the goalie on my college hockey team," Duff recalled.
"For perfect, easy-to-spread ganache, use slightly more (by weight) cream than chocolate," Goldstein suggests. "So if you have 1 1/2 pounds of chocolate, use about 1 3/4 pounds of cream. And make sure to allow for ample time for the ganache to set up."
8. The Harry Potter Cake(s)
Duff and his team were lucky (and talented) enough to make not only one cake for the Harry Potter franchise, but two! The first time they made the Hogwarts Express, and the second time they made Hogwarts Castle.
9. Any Of His Food Cakes
I'm really not sure how Duff is able to create food out of cake...if that make sense. I look at this, and I know it's cake, but my brain automatically craves salty fries and a juicy burger. It's art in its purest form.
10. The T-Rex Cake
This dinosaur looks like it came straight out of Jurassic Park, and I'm sure the kid who got it for his birthday was absolutely thrilled. I would be.
"If your butter cake turns out rather heavy, chances are that you didn't cream the butter and sugar long enough"”at least five minutes is a good rule of thumb," Goldstein says.
11. The Smelly Sneakers Cake
Looking at this picture, my automatic reaction is to hold my breath so I don't smell the foot stink. I'm not sure if I'd be able to get past the sight of it and actually eat a slice!**
**yes I would.
12. The Life-Size Motorcycle
No, I didn't make a mistake. This motorcycle was made out of cake, and had working lights, smoking exhaust, and a revving engine.
This groom's cake totally stole the show at the wedding. I wonder how his bride felt about it?
If your recipe calls for baking soda, make sure there is an acidic component (buttermilk, vinegar, citrus) in your ingredients as well," Goldstein reminds everyone. "Unless, of course, you're going for the always popular soap-flavored cake."
13. The "30 Rock" Cake
Tina Fey's since-cancelled show 30 Rock had a fictional character called Meat Cat, and Charm City Cakes turned it into something edible. Amazing.
"The toothpick test is still the best way to determine if a cake is done," Goldstein says. "Give it a poke in the center, and if the toothpick is clean, you're good to go."
14. The Warhammer Cake
This cake of Squig, a character from the video game Warhammer, is, according to Duff, "the best cake we have ever made."
"We made a cake of a monster called Squig from a video game called Warhammer for a video-game convention," Duff said in an interview. "This thing was about the size of large sheepdog. It was gigantic. It was a humongous cake balanced on two legs."