This show is a fun, fast-paced half-hour, that won’t change your life, but it won’t make you feel like you’re losing IQ points, either. There are stock situations that are familiar to anyone who’s watched this particular type of docu-reality program: Difficult days at work; challenging projects; warm-and-fuzzy stories; and funny “day in the life” episodes. We’ve seen all this before on American Chopper, Trading Places, and other examples of this sub-genre of “reality” programming, but it seems fresh here because Charm City Cakes is such an engrossing place.
If, like me, you are a Food Network junkie, then you may have seen Duff Goldman on some of their “Food Network Challenge” shows, where chefs compete against each other to make a cake or sugar sculpture or giant sammitch or something. Goldman stood out when he appeared on this program because he exudes a gruff, eccentric charisma and he makes incredibly impressive cakes. This is a guy who first gained notice in Baltimore with a live-on-stage cooking show called “F*** You, Let’s Bake,” where at one point he battled ninjas while cooking souffles. Duff is not only a chef, but a sculptor, artist, welder, and he plays bass in a punk band.
Anyone who doubts that cake decorating is a true art form will have their minds changed by watching this show. The cakes defy description. From the replica of Wrigley Field to the completely-edible Jeep Wrangler, these cakes are masterpieces.
Duff’s supporting cast is a lot of fun, too. Geoffrey Manthorne is a laid-back singer-songwriter who’s built architectural models in the past. He’s responsible for designing most of the cakes shaped like real-life objects. Mary Alice Fallon Yeskey is the quirky office manager who deals with clients and keeps Duff calm in times of crisis. The rest of the cast of Ace Of Cakes is populated with artists, sculptors, and other colorful characters who make the show loads of fun to watch.
The only problem with the show, which is our first TV program picked as “Cool Thing Of The Week” at PopCult, is that it makes you very, very hungry for cake.