Sunday, November 22, 2009

What Kind of Cake Are You?

by Anna Sugden

I admit it - I'm a Food Network junkie. One of the things I knew I was going to miss when we moved back home to England was my daily dose of Food Network favourites.

Imagine my delight the other evening when a new channel popped up on our TV guide - yes, we now have The Food Network! *happy sigh* With ESPN America showing live hockey, what more could a girl want? (TNT and the old series of Trick my Truck - love that Chrome Shop Mafia! - but that's another story!)

Now, I love shows like Iron Chef America, but I'm a total and utter fan-girl when it comes to Ace of Cakes.

It's hard to resist Duff Goldman and the crew at Charm City Cakes. Duff, a former graffiti artist turned cake-maker extraordinaire appeals the rebel in me - you gotta adore a guy who likes to do things his way, against the odds and against the norms. Kind of like us romance writers!

But, the thing I enjoy most about this show is the unbelievably creativity, skill and talent of the team as they create the most spectacular cakes.

As someone who has zero capability for anything crafty, I can only watch in awe as they turn sheet cakes and fondant into amazing sculptures, from library carts to Hogwarts, from a shark ray called Sweet Pea to a Star Trek cake, from the Millennium Falcon to Wrigley Field!

All of which got me thinking.

I love fun cakes. When I was little, my mum made me a chocolate train cake out of chocolate Swiss rolls and sweeties. There was also a house cake . There were name cakes, with each letter made from cake - both my full name, Anahita and Anna. I also remember a cake in my teens with the car from Starsky and Hutch on it.

I know Charm City Cakes don't deliver cakes to England *unhappy sigh*, but if they did, and I could afford their prices, what kind of cake would I want them to make for me?

Hmm. Well, I collect penguins, so a penguin cake would work. I love cats, so maybe a pair of cat cakes - one black and one tuxedo, like Jersey Girl and CC.

I write romances, so perhaps an aspirational cake - a romance novel with my name on it!

Or, some kind of hockey cake. A rink with mini-hockey players. A puck smashing into a cake. *g*. Maybe even a bobblehead cake of my favourite player. Now, that sounds like an Ace of Cakes type of cake!

What about you? If Duff and his team were to make you a special cake, what kind of cake would it be?


limecello said...


limecello said...

Hmmm... Well, Anna, first off, I love food network too! Although, I love Iron Chef as well. Always interesting to learn new food techniques - and I've gone to a few of the challengers restaurants. And got some of the best meals of my life. Michael Symon's restaurant Lola is also great- though I hated Lolita.

*Ahem.* Anyway. What type of cake? I have no idea. Some people might say books. Or in college/high school maybe Eeyore (my favorite cartoon character of all time).

Places I love? Heh. Ohio Stadium? :P Still on the football high. I love the met. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Really I don't know though - I'd have to think about it. But assuming I could afford a cake Duff/his crew makes, I'd want it to be really unique and for them to go all out.
[And since its late, the first thing that popped into my head when I saw "what kind of cake are you" was red velvet cake! Haha - although that scares me now b/c of all the food dye. Eek! And did you know red food dye is often made from BUGS!?!?]

jo robertson said...

Love the topic, Anna! Cakes are my favorite kind of dessert. I'm especially fond of the ones with some kind of Bavarian cream filling. Not so crazy about too sugary frosting though. I like the cream kind.

My daughter gave me a silver pendant for my last birthday, shaped in the words "Hope" because of my hope to be published one day. I'd love to see that on a cake!

I adore food network too or any of the cooking channels. There's something fascinating to me about all those smart cooks. My mum didn't teach me to cook, so I had to learn the hard way, lots of trial and error.

Tawny said...

OMG - first and most important, Anna, you are so precious!!! What adorable pictures. I'm stuck in awwwwwwww mode here :-) Precious - absolutely precious.


Okay, snapping back to say I love Ace of Cakes and was so excited to see he'd pimped out his name - I mean, that there's an Ace of Cakes decorating kit for kids. Similar to the Easy Bake Oven, but you do the baking in the microwave and use the kit to decorate with fondant and stuff. Yes, I got one for my little girl for Christmas, I can't wait till she opens it and we can start playing Duff and Geoff!!!!

Awwwwwww, I looked at the pictures again :-D

Cakes - I actually do decorate cakes, ala many Wilton classes. One year I made my husband a 'guy in a recliner with a remote control' cake, have done cookie cakes, teddy bear cakes, flower cakes, Blues Clues, Scooby Doo, Pokemon, etc cakes.

I think if I were to get an Ace of Cakes cake, though, I'd want a book. Kinda old fashioned looking, gilt edges with Once Upon A Time scrolled on one page and my name on the author page *g* Now that would rock!!!!

Once more, though - awwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Lime, AGAIN???!!!

Anna, we get the Food Network here on Pay TV - can't say I've ever really got into it. Which is strange as clearly I LOVE food! ;-) But I love those pictures of cakes you put up on the blog. They're amazing. When I was a primary school kid (late 60s into early 70s), there was a huge fashion for ice-cream cakes done in shapes. I remember I very spectacular Pooh Bear that one of my friends had. I coveted those cakes and never actually got one. It's strange - I'd forgotten that until I saw your post! I'd like a cake with all of my lovely covers on it. What fun would that be?

Virginia said...

I don't watch the food network! Those are some cook cakes you posted! I am not sure what kind of cake I would want. When I need to get a cake for a birthday or something I use a very old bakery that down town in a town near where I live. They have very good bake goods there and their breads and pasteries are to die for. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

Helen said...

Congrats Limecello

What a great post I to decorate cakes for my grandkids birthdays and I did for my kids birthdays and other family members i have made monsters, pirates, numbers, names, Minnie Mouse castles yes I have done a few and I need to think of a couple for Jake and Corey who will be 1 next month.

I have the cooking channels on pay TV but I don't watch them even though I too love cakes and food in general. I gotta say I too love the pictures what a cutie.

What cake would I have someone make me that is a good question somthing romantic a giant heart maybe!

Have Fun

Lynz Pickles said...

Mmm, Food Network. Mmmm, Ace of Cakes. I love this post! But as to the question: aaah, choices! First and foremost, it'd have to be chocolate. What would I want it to be of, though? A purse, shoes, books, a piano... or any combination of those could work. I'd also love a hockey cake! (Related but not really: I saw the Marlies lose tonight, but it was still awesome because I got my ticket free! Someone had an extra and gave it to me!) So... basically, I don't know what I'd want, apart from something chocolate. And now I'm hungry.

Jane said...

One of my favorite episodes was when they made the ear cake. I would go for the cake and ice cream combo. I'm thinking the cake could look like the NY skyline.

Tawny said...

I'd like a cake with all of my lovely covers on it.

Oooh, Fo!! My husband got me a cake with my cover on it for my debut launch party. It was delish *g*

I'd totally forgot about ice cream cakes!!! LOVE them. For my thirtieth birthday (yes, last year hahaha) my brother got me an icecream cake shaped like a dragon :-)

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Lime - I've been to some of the Iron Chef restaurants too and have to say that Babbo (Mario Battali) and Morimoto are two of my all-time faves in NY. Really like Bobby Flay's too. Haven't tried Michael Symon's - maybe next visit.

Awww - Eeyore is so cute (my fave is Thumper).

Yes, I knew about red food dye *g*. At least it's natural.

Anna Sugden said...

Congrats on the pesky rooster, Lime! Perhaps he'll bake you a cake today - though I wouldn't expect the ace decrating.

Anna Sugden said...

I love butter-cream frosting, Jo. Overe here a lot of our fruit cakes have a marzipan layer beneath the frosting and while I'm not a huge fruit cake fan, I'll eat the icing and marzipan until the cows come home!

Aww - I HOPE you sell in this next year, Jo so we can celebrate with a cake with your name on it!

Anna Sugden said...

Oops - meant to say - I have a little silver stone that says 'believe' from a friend.

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Thanks, Tawny. You'll notice I didn't include any teen pics - definitely not awww!

How cool on the Ace of Cakes decorating kit. I can imagine your daughter will love that! How did I know that someone so skilled with crafts would also be a master at cake decorating?!

Anna Sugden said...

Anna, you're missing out! Food Network has some awesome shows *g*.

I remember that craze for ice cream cakes - in fact, I think the Starsky and Hutch cake is an ice cream cake. I don't know if you had the craze started by Jane Asher, who also got everyone on a fancy cake decoratingbinge.

Anna Sugden said...

Ah Virginia - if only for Ace of Cakes, it's worth a gander!

Finding a great bakery is so tough. I'm glad you have one nearby that you can trust. Still trying to find one locally here - though with hubby doing his own lately, maybe there is a good bakery more local than we thought!

Anna Sugden said...

Awww Helen - you definitely deserve a big romantic heart!

How cool that you're the kind of Grandma who can make all those fancy cakes! Can you adopt me?! Neither of my grandmas could bake or knit - I was robbed!

Anna Sugden said...

Free hockey tickets are always cool, Lynz. Sorry the Marlies lost, though.

Shoes - how could I forget about shoes? Oh yes.

And how about something manga/anime for you?

Anna Sugden said...

Sounds very nice, Jane - the NY skyline would be awesome! Yes, I love the cake and ice-cream combination.

Anna Sugden said...

I was thinking of that cake, Tawny, when I wrote the blog and came up with a book cover!

Christie Kelley said...

Anna! Great blog. Of course, Jeanne and I have the advantage of being close enough to Charm City Cakes that we could actually have Duff make one. (if we could afford it!)

I have a friend who does cakes too. She made the most amazing cake for my husband's 50th this year. He's a guitarist so she make a two layer cake with an acoustic guitar on top with music notes all over it. Totally amazing.

For me? Well, I still have a couple of years before my friend has to make my 50th. I'm thinking something like a book or maybe a pc since I spend my life on it.

Pissenlit said...

Congrats limecello! :D

Mmmmmmmmm...cake! I'm a bit of a traditionalist. Though I love watching cake decorating shows where they make all those super fancy cakes, if I were to get one for myself, I'd prefer ones like in that first picture with, I assume, Duff. Pretty many-tiered cakes. All the other super fancy ones kind of freak me out. I don't know where I would cut into them! :D

Anna Sugden said...

I'm very envious Christie - every time we're in Baltimore I think about dropping by the bakery.

Your husband's 50th birthday cake sounds great. We had one made locally for my FIL's 80th and it was a Manchester United football shirt. Very cool.

Anna Sugden said...

Some of the early ones they did, Pissenlit, which were many tiers and beautiful piping, were spectacular. The episode where Geof iced the cake for his sister's wedding was so touching. He piped it all himself and it was like a cake covered in the finest lace.

Joan said...

I absolutely ADORE Duff and his crew! My DVR is set to capture every episode.

What I like about the show as much as the artistry, creativity of the cakes featured is the cohesiveness of the decorators. Each has such a unique personality and talent and somebody cool like Mary Alice to keep them all in line. I used to decorate cakes too, though I never got into fondant. So I can fully appreciate the skill it takes to bring these marvalous cakes to being.

So as to a cake. A romance novel would be appropriate. Something about Ireland. Some type of landscape or celtic chocolate cake thank you very much.

Oh, and I'd like Geoff to deliver it. I love his laid back, dry sense of humor.

Anna Sugden said...

What, no edible version of Demetrius, Joan?!

I love all the different personalities and their individual skills too. I think that's why the show works so well.

Louisa Cornell said...

Good grief, Lime! Why don't you two just post the banns and be done with it!

I have to agree with, Tawny, Anna, you are adorable at any age!

This post is right up my alley - bakery manager? Hello!

And by the way, Ace of Cakes has a book out just in time for holiday gift giving. I am getting one for my SIL who is a FABULOUS professional cake decorator. My family hates it when we get together because all we talk is cakes and techniques.

While I do run a Wal-Mart bakery which is featured on another website quite frequently - Cake Wrecks. Check it out if you want a good laugh. Some of these cakes are a complete DISASTER! Our bakery has a reputation for coming up with some spectacular cakes because we will try anything. And I let my decorators experiment quite a bit. So much so that when the Regional Manager came by and saw the hamburger cake in our case he asked if we had any others. Fortunately I told my girls they needed to photograph the cakes they created "out of the box" so to speak. Well he was so impressed we had to load all of the photos onto a disc for him to take to the home office.

Right now we are doing cupcake critters that are turkeys. In fact we have to produce @ 50 of them for the local nursing home for Thanksgiving.

Now me, my cake would have to be a highly sculpted version of an English lord / hero who bears a striking resemblance to Andres Velencoso, or maybe Gerard Butler, or maybe Clive Owen or maybe .... well you get the picture!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey, Lime! He's staying true!

Anna, what a fun post. I love Ace of Cakes too. They make the COOLEST stuff!!

As to what kind of cake they'd make me...hmmm....A Dark and Dangerous one? SNORK!!

Probably a book cake or a Rita Statuette cake or a Dalmatian cake, since I love my Dally dogs so much. Or a castle cake since I love architecture and historic preservation so much. If it were up to my boys, they'd be making another Wrigley Field cake! ha! (American Football for me though...)

What a fun thing to think about. I'll have to give it some more thought.

Nancy said...

Anna, what a fun blog! We love Duff and his crew, too. We also like getting BBC World News on public TV. The BBC pays more attention to the rest of the world than most American newscasts.

When I was growing up, a bakery near our house made cakes with dolls in them--not Barbie or any brand name, but girl dolls standing up in the middle of the cake, which was decorated to serve as her gown. We had them for birthdays, and I loved those cakes!

My problem with getting any cake of the wonderful sort Duff makes is that I wouldn't want to eat it, just look at it. I'll have to give some thought to what kind I'd like not only to have but to eat.

Nancy said...

Fo, a grocery store bakery here can put a transfer of a book cover on a cake top. Several of my friends have used them for launch parties. I bet the bakers could do multiple covers, too.

So if you came here . . .

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...


Love it.

I've got another to add...I'd adore a dragon cake. Big, gold-green or red-green dragon. Yep. Perfect.

Tawny, not at ALL surprised you can do this, nor am I surpised that Helen does it either.

I'm with Anna, Helen. Will you adopt me? :>

Claudia Dain said...

My daughter is a huge fan of Ace of Cakes. I think she made me watch a show with her once. Amazing talent! Vision! Control! Truly an art form.

I don't like cake though. Maybe Duff could make me a lovely pumpkin pie with real whipped cream? I'm sure he could do some wonderful things with the whipped cream.

Anna Sugden said...

Thank you, Louisa *g*. As I said to Tawny - there were some very unadorable teen years that are best forgotten!

Cool on your bakery doing special cakes. We have a lovely bakery in York, which has been mentioned here before. It's called Betty's and their caulflower cakes are my all-time faves. Very cute and delish too.

LOL on the sculpted lord - now how is it you're the first to want a sculpted hunk?!

Joan said...

What, no edible version of Demetrius, Joan?!

Demetrius covered in chocolate???



Joan said...

I'm sure he could do some wonderful things with the whipped cream.

I can just see Duff's expression at this suggestion...LOL

Anna Sugden said...

You? Dark and Dangerous, Duchesse? Surely you jest LOL.

Did you see the dog Duff and crew made? It was pretty cool (though the thing in real life - which I want to say was some kind of drooling mastiff, but I could be wrong - wasn't as cute). I think they could handle one of your Dallys.

Yes, I can see your boys wanting another Wrigley Field - my hubby would want The Theatre of Dreams aka Old Trafford, home of Manchester United.

Totally off-topic, but they have a fun Christmas gift this year which is a grow your own football pitch in a box, with the appropriate stands behind for your favourite team. Made me giggle.

Anna Sugden said...

Ooh a RITA statuette cake would be pretty spiffy. So would the real thing. Heck, so would a contract - I'm not fussy!

Anna Sugden said...

We had a store near us that made the doll cakes too Nancy. I remember a friend of mine having one.

I know what you mean - Duff's cakes are so fab it would be hard to cut into them. Plus think of all those $$ everyone was eating!

Anna Sugden said...

Yes, we have bakeries that can do those kind of transfers onto sugar or rice paper, I think.

In one AoC episode, one of the gals in the bakery hand-painted the cover of a book which was spectacular.

Anna Sugden said...

A dragon cake would be hot *g*. Yes, the sun is over the yard arm here in England and I'm on the wine.

Anna Sugden said...

Claudia, I'm sure Duff would be more than willing to do anything you'd like with whipped cream! LOL The man is a graffiti artist at heart, so you can let your imagination run wild.

Helen said...

Demetrius covered in chocolate I like the idea of that and what about a Sven cake covered in vanilla frosting yummo.

I always have lots of fun making the cakes and deciding what to make. We are having a combined party for Corey and Jake and I think I will make them each a no 1 cake covered in M&Ms I am sure they will love the icing and M&Ms LOL.

Have Fun

Louisa Cornell said...

The most amazing cake I ever saw was done by my SIL for my nephew's tenth birthday. At the time I owned a menagerie of reptiles and I took them to schools, community centers and did programs on animal conservation, etc. He asked me to bring them to his birthday party that year, especially Big Mama - my 13 foot, 100 plus pound Burmese python. My SIL called and asked me to send a photo of Big Mama. When I got to the party I saw why. She had created a life-sized cake replica of Big Mama!It wound it's way down a couple of tables in the center of the dining room. The kids went nuts! The detail work was amazing down to the scales and the color of Big Mama's eyes. That cake was the talk of the town for weeks!

Andrea said...

So many blogs lately have made me hungry!!! LOL

I'd like either a book or something to do with bowling, but honestly, I don't care what the cake looks like if it's red velvet. Hands down, my favorite!

Congrats, lime!

Louisa Cornell said...

Andrea we do a cupcake critter out of red velvet cake in the shape of an armadillo. One of our best sellers!

Nancy said...

Andrea, I love red velvet cake! Given my limited kitchen skills, I've never tried to make one, but I'm always ready to try a sample.

Nancy said...

Jeanne--a dragon cake? That, I could eat. I'd bet Duff could make it breathe fire, too.

Nancy said...

Anna, the dh loves marzipan. Santa frequently brings him some. Don't know whether the kind with icing has ever arrived.

PJ said...

Oh, I love Food Network and Ace of Cakes is a favorite. My mom was a terrific cake maker - very creative. I remember a circus train she made one year for one of my brother's birthdays. It was amazing!

PJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PJ said...

Wow, Louisa! I hope they took lots of photos of that cake. That's incredible!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Anna, I am so with you on the food network and the Ace of Cakes, you just gotta love that show, they are all soooooo laid back.
For me it would have to be a book cake, preferably a romance novel *g*

Louisa Cornell said...

Yes, they did, PJ. I need to find my copies and post them. My SIL used that photo and some photos of her other cakes to get the job she has now. I encourage the girls that work for me to keep a portfolio of the cakes they've done just in case they have the opportunity to move into a better position away from Wal-Mart. I have some really skilled decorators and they don't get paid nearly enough for their work.

catslady said...

hmmm maybe if one could be made in the shape of a cat lol.

I remember when my niece was young we had someone make her this cake with a beautiful girl in a full skirt on top. It wasn't until weeks later that my sister found out that the skirt was also cake lol.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

What a FUN post, VA! And you and your cakes ARE adorable!!!

One of my local grocery stores will put photos on top of sheet cakes and my CP ordered one with my book cover for both my launch parties. They were a HUGE hit! Everyone wanted pieces of cake with hero body parts... GO FIGURE! Oh, and the cake wasn't bad either, both times my CP got marble cake with raspberry filling. YUM!


Christine Wells said...

Oh, Anna, what a fantastic post. Love those cakes! I'll have to see if your show is on our version of the Food channel. I'm a big fan of Food but haven't come across that one.

Well, I'm into dreaming big at the moment, so I think I'd like a fairytale castle, something a little like Neuschwanstein (sp?) with its own prince and princess. How cutesy pie is that? If I *were* a kind of cake, though, I'd probably be one of those coffee cakes my mother used to make. A combination of bitter and sweet, and a little bit nutty, too!

Congrats Lime!

Caren Crane said...

Lime, congrats! Oh, no, me as a cake. Hm. Something bossy and sarcastic. Maybe Danny DeVito's Lou from 'Taxi'. *g* Oscar the Grouch? *sigh*

I used to be fun, really. I'm almost sure I was, once! Too much worry over the budget and stuff. It zapped my joie de vivre. If only I could hang out at writer's conferences all the time, I think I could get my funny back!

Then I could be more like, oh...Mary Poppins. Bossy and fun! *g*

limecello said...

Anna - I've heard mixed "reviews" about the Iron Chef's restaurants, and I understand. I'd most love to be a judge on Iron Chef. But - to pick the ingredient. For example, battle parmesan? I'd give something big to be there.
On... balsamic vinegar? No. Or walnut. (Allergic.)
Anyway, about the chefs - who are celebrities, because they're away from their restaurants so much. I think that does affect quality. But during restaurant week(s) in big cities, I've gotten to go to some of the challenger's restaurants, and some are amazing. One of my most favorites would have to be Harvest, in Cambridge, MA. :)

MsHellion said...

Love that show! (One of my students says I look like Mary Alice--and as sassy smart ass.)

Hmmm, a cake.

I'd rather have a Hogwarts cake myself. But I bet a ship of the Black Pearl, with a bunch of little Jacks would be fun.

Suzanne Welsh said...

OH Anna, I wonder if the Bandits could guess what kind of cake icing I'd like on my cake? (hehehe)

I'd want a cake with a cowboy in jeans, no shirt, nice abs...and

BUTTERCREAM ICING, no Fondant for me!!

Suzanne Welsh said...


My oldest doesn't like cake either! Since her birthday is in October, I've always made her a pumpkin pie for her birthday. This year, though I made a pumpkin cheesecake that went over big!

Anna Sugden said...

Sven covered in frosting - I like the way your mind works, Helen.

Aww - I bet your grandkidlets will love their first birthday cake.

Anna Sugden said...

OMG Louisa - Big Mama sounds bigger than you!! Do you still have her?

That cake sounds so cool. *sigh* I wish I had the creativity/craft gene.

Anna Sugden said...

A red velevet bowling cake - sounds like something Duff could manage, Andrea.

I've never had a red velvet cake - must put that right next time I'm in the US.

Anna Sugden said...

When you come to visit, Nancy, we'll make you and your hubby a proper English cake with marzipan and icing.

Anna Sugden said...

Awww PJ - a circus train sounds fabulous. Guess you got your culinary skills from her.

Anna Sugden said...

I'm sure the lady who painted the book covers could do you a fab romance novel cake, Dianna.

Maybe one day when we're all rich and famous we can have Duff make the Banditas and BB's a Golden Rooster cake!

Anna Sugden said...

I'm sure we could get a gorgeous cat cake made, Catslady. My Jersey Girl, a tuxedo, would be only too happy to pose for it. I'm afraid CC would probably land paws first in the middle!

Anna Sugden said...

What a lovely CP you have, AC. I bet your launch parties went with a huge bang with your fab covers and that delish sounding cake.

Anna Sugden said...

What a lovely CP you have, AC. I bet your launch parties went with a huge bang with your fab covers and that delish sounding cake.

Anna Sugden said...

Ace of Cakes has been on our regular Food Channel too, Christine, so you may be in luck. They've also started showing some of the Aussie TV chefs.

You'd like the Harry Potter cake, then. I'm sure they could make a really fairy taletype one just for you.

Anna Sugden said...

Sounds like we need to get you a Mary Poppins cake pronto, Caren, so you can be chirpy and cheerful again. Or we need to send you a spoonful of sugar - spit spot!

Anna Sugden said...

I have to say, Lime, that I've not been disappointed by any of the Iron Chefs' restaurants, despite the reviews. They really did reflect the kind of creations and flavours the chefs are known for. Mario Battali's Pea Love Letters and Morimoto's omekase are to die for!

And Gordon Ramsey's no slouch either!

The beauty of New York is that you have so many fabulous restaurants to choose from. We need a week there just to revisit our faves!

Anna Sugden said...

I adore Mary Alice,Ms Hellion. She cracks me up with her sense of humour and her ability to handle Duff (which can't be easy!).

I think you might have to share a Black Pearl cake with Tawny and Trish ... or the little pirate characters anyway!

Anna Sugden said...

One of these days I'll actually get to eat a slice of the bandita cake at Nationals! Both years, I've somehow missed out.

I LOVE buttercream.

Uh huh on the cowboy, Suz - and I bet I know what accessories you'd want him to have ;)