Cake Boss is a suspenseful, action-packed series, all about cake. Cake! White or dark filled, spongy or dense, gooey, nicely decorated cake. Will it make it to the city fete on time despite the impossible last minute change orders? Will the nitwit nephew Anthony drop the platter and be made to pay a heavy price? Sorry. It’s just cake.
Still, we care enough about the drama to make dirty ice and fondant household words. Humans who once cheered for Betty Crocker are throwing sophisticated cake designing parties with the works, competing for best decorations while impersonating dough boy icon, Buddy Valastro, who provides the sweet inspiration. He’s the boss! Yep, superman now wear a chef’s coat and a pompadour and wields a rolling pin. I guess Marie Antoinette was onto something. The people won’t have as much fun with bread.
And so, the phenomenon has taken the boutique cake concept a step further to transmogrify the tiered and frosted celebratory dessert into interactive iced sculpture. After all, it starts with an artist’s sketch, just like real art, and ends with a cavity and a pound or two.
But no matter how you slice it, the short-lived presentation (a band of Italian men trotting into a 50th anniversary with a giant cake shaped like an accordion) is followed by mounds of waste (big sob), not to mention what goes into the super size daily batter: vats of eggs, pounds of butter and countless bags of sugar.
The adorable host, who boasts that winning combo of artistic genius and serious addiction to chocolate, convinces us there is a great demand for the extravagant custom cakes he builds best. But we all know as reality shows go, there is an ultra fine line between reality and half-baked plots hatched by producers. Rod Serling called this middle place the Twilight Zone. Heidi Klum calls it Project Runway.
On Cake Boss, we’re led to believe customers demanded a colossal Roman Coliseum, a kitschy and slimy aquarium, a vast USA train town and an upscale botanical garden. When delivered, the truly masterful creations had recipients dizzy headed with delight, drooling like mad Pit Bulls over a delicious Pug puppy.
Meantime, I’m done with the twenty questions. The edible train cars forged from something labeled cereal treats and human figures carved out of modeling chocolate don’t look like a food group to me. Seriously, would you swallow a giant sugar diamond Buddy carved for a man who proposed at Carlo’s Bakery via a custom cake? Didn’t his girlfriend think something was fishy in Hoboken when the bright camera lights hit her?
Alright, so we can agree much of the hit show is staged, and we can also admit the awesome cakes are not sustainable museum pieces (freezing the top of the wedding cake for a year doesn’t count).
I suppose you could argue Buddy’s job is to sell cakes and his customers must decide whether to donate leftovers to the needy – people who still appreciate Betty Crocker but won’t turn up their noses at a slab of red velvet cake, molded into a six-foot hero sub sandwich.
The good news from a desperate recession standpoint is the made-in-America cake biz is thriving (Buddy is getting set for a new book tour) while keeping a sizable kitchen crew of kin out of the unemployment lines. Hey, that’s what famiglia does!
The bad news is the white powdery substance being peddled by the Boss is considered the most harmful legal drug for the body. Just keep it under wraps, kids. If the other bosses in the hood find out, they may want to take over Carlo’s Bakery, and viewers who have witnessed Buddy’s four older sisters in action, know it could get hella ugly. I’m not ready for the spin-off show, Cake Boss Wars. Are yooze?
Images: Derek Purdy