Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker

We’ve followed Buddy and his family around for a while now as they work to make crazy cakes for special occasions. We’ve seen fireworks and dragons, the leaning tower of piza and a fire station, the millenium falcon and pizza pies, and just about any other kind of cake you can imagine. This season, we got something new: a competition to find “the Next Great Baker.” Which really means that like in the Apprentice, this is a glorified search for someone to work at his bakery. The competition follows 10 bakers competing to prove who makes the best cake and design and the winner not only gets to work for Carlos but also wins $50,000 and a new car.

I’ll be honest. Having watched the show until now, the contestants don’t seem all that talented. Maybe they just aren’t being given enough time to do much, maybe they have specific strengths (which certainly does not seem to be decoration) that they aren’t getting much chance to showcase. Whatever it is, they mostly come off looking more inept than anything else. There might also be a nervousness factor here, not just because this is a competition but because Buddy can be kinda intimidating.

Despite their lack of talent, the show is still entertaining. With the misfires (special effects that didn’t go off) and cake demolition, we’ve been given surprises. The contestants themselves have the quirkiness of Christian Siriano and Jay of Project Runway and a mean streak worthy of the Jersey Shore.

Judges include members of the bakery and the clients they make cakes for. Somehow the contestants are always scared of the contestants as though Buddy’s sister who runs the orders is the authority on cakes. Yes, she works in a cake shop, but so do all the contestants. And she doesn’t even bake!

As the season draws to a close, and the frontrunners emerge, the show has been renewed for a second season. How many people can the bakery employ?

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Cake Boss: Battleship, Ballet, and Burning!

Buddy shows up at US Air Force. They’re having a formal dinner on the Battleship New Jersey and wants him to make a cake for the event. (Side note, the soldiers look so old.) This particular base is made up of men and women who have to take over hostile airstrips and make it functional in within 24 hours. Buddy also gets to take a ride in a humvee and partake in a training exercise. Wasting bullets in the US army. Joey, a veteran, particularly enjoyed being there. Buddy plans a runway with all that’s needed to turn it into an airport with a plane taking off. There will be tents, humvees, a forklift.

Buddy meets with Deborah to make a cake for the fifteenth anniversary of Dance Now, where choreographers and dancers premiere their work. They wear all manner of costume. Buddy wants a dancer on top and to use fabric. Buddy does a disturbing ballet imitation.

They are working on the cake when an alarm goes off. Buddy runs downstairs to find smoking. The pound cake is burning because Joey got called away. Buddy is pissed but finally he says just make another batch. Not so exciting as the title makes it sound.

At the top of the cake will be a dancer with a billowing skirt and the cake will be covered with flowy fabric. The dancer will be made of modeling chocolate.

Meanwhile, they start the cake out of a frame a cereal treats. The shape is the hardest place. He checks on the other pieces of the cake, including figurines which are too big for the cake…They argue over who said to do it. Buddy tells them to stop arguing and bickering and gives them a pep talk. Throw down hard! Dig down deep! We will prevail!

They cover the plane and then add windows and other little details. In walks Buddy’s relative, Grace (Joey’s wife) wearing Joey’s Desert Storm jacket. They begin putting the cake together downstairs. It’s 4×8 feet.

Meanwhile, they take pictures of the dancers to add to the cake. Plus they make it turn. Cue the dance theater. The performances look kind of weird but it might look different on a real stage in real costumes. Everyone applauds, as usual. The dance inspired the cake, the cake inspired random dancing! (iCarly anyone?).

Buddy is worried about finishing the airplane cake. The more they add, the better it looks. It’s pretty cool. Though the people are necklace which is funny looking. But otherwise, it’s huge. Now the real challenge, moving it and delivering it. The cake was so big they have barely enough room to get it out the back door. They manage to get it into the truck and drive over to the USS New Jersey. 3 football fields long. Using a cart they take the cake up and everyone’s cheering. The warmest reception they’ve ever gotten. Buddy makes sure to give his team credit.

Joey gets a special shout out and he makes a little speech saying the entire air force is a family effort too. He says he will always feel a part of the air force. They get Buddy an army shirt with his name and a rank (three star general at leave?).

Cake Boss: Candy, Crash, and Crisis

Buddy has a surprise. He is pulling out candy. They have to do a cake for Dylan’s Candy Bar (daughter of Ralph Lauren). The Candy Bar is celebrating their anniversary with Candy Land. They have characters that they want included. Candy Land road will cover the board along with characters and candy. They crush up peanut butter cups for filling. The girls are artists, creating the characters with modeling chocolate in intricate detail.They even make homemade gummy bears.

Downstairs things are crazy. Buddy has a ton of calls but he doesn’t pick up. He’s too busy looking at  cake he made. The women are annoyed and want to talk to him “calmly.” They think it’s time for him to hire an assistant. He doesn’t think he needs one. He’s hesitant. They yell at him until he agrees. They’re thrilled.

He’s also hired for a wedding cake.

They get 50+ special order cakes a week and they do them assembly line style. In comes the women with Tom, the new assistant. Buddy does not look thrilled though they look proud of themselves. They think Tom is cute and innocent. He wanted a counter position really. They tell him to give him a chance so he agrees to give it a shot.

There’s lots of work to do when in comes Buddy’s nephew. He wants to eat the candy but is told no. He doesn’t understand why he can’t have any. He sneaks some anyway when no one is looking.

Buddy gets Tom to get him lunch. Buddy thinks maybe he’s right. The sisters bully him into doing other things and he doesn’t know how to say no so he never gets a chance to get the food.

They roll gumballs. Downstairs Tom keeps trying to go but they keep not letting him. Buddy begins to wonder where Tom is. Buddy yells and the sisters say they needed help. Buddy said too bad, he’s his personal assistant. They fight in front of the customers. His sisters don’t really care.

Half the time I expect Anthony to drop the cakes the way he carries them. But then Anthony gets into an accident and the car is totaled. Buddy is surprisingly calm. Meanwhile, the cake is untouched.

Time to deliver the candy cake. The road is so crazy that the cake begins falling apart. They have to rush back to the bakery to fix it up. The figurines were okay but the top two tiers were destroyed. They have an hour to remake the whole thing. I’m impressed by how quickly they manage to put it back together again. Dylan loves it.

Cake Boss: Plants, Pranks, and Proposals

Team meeting: botanical gardens wicked plants tour inspired by the book of the same name. They want to make the cake for the author who will lead the tour. The plan is a huge venus fly trap surrounded by poisonous flowers. They use a pipe for the curvature and stability of the venus fly trap.It takes 3-4 hours to make a bunch of flowers.

Meanwhile, Buddy meets a customer to make a proposal cake for a guy who always comes in with his girlfriend. He wants to propose to him there: an oversized bling ring in a ring box. Don’t forget the real ring. He entrusts Buddy with the ring. Diamond out of sugar with a mold.

In comes Mary who doesn’t believe the flowers are poisonous and eats one. She says it tastes good. In comes his mother to yell at him for making Mary eating the flower. Mary says she’s tough and nothing will happen to her. Their mom discoveres the truth though.

While Buddy works on the engagement cake, someone sneaks over and takes the real ring.

In walks someone to order a cake. Buddy wants to punish Anthony for dropping a cake last season. They had a girl pretend to come in for a cake and have him flirt with Anthony meanwhile. Anthony is kind of awkward.

Buddy finished the diamond, makes a band, paints the box to look like the ring box (which he doesn’t realize is missing still).

Time to finish the prank with Anthony. They send him out and then have her plant him against the wall to get spilled all over. He asks her out and she goes toget her phone, leaving him in the perfect place to get dumped on. Anthony says they’ve got it coming. His mother comes out to yell at him. She tells them to apologize. It is unacceptable, she’s the real boss.

The venus fly trap reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors. FEED ME! Buddy opens the box with the ring and it’s empty. He asks who has it and he’s “not kidding around now.” He’s pissed. They tear everything apart but in walks his sister. She has the ring. She just took it to clean it. She just wanted it to look nice.

Transporting the botanical garden cake proves stressful as it has to be taken from New Jersey to Brooklyn. It gets there safely and the plant people are impressed by how realistic the flowers are.

Then there’s the engagement. Everyone watches anxiously. It’s sooo cute. Such an awesome proposal. Of course seh said yes!

Cake Boss 8

Couple comes because they’re having a Zombie walk–they walk through town with make up. They want a cake for the after party-Zombie Prom. They want it gross and rotting and bloody. They decide on a tombstone with a Zombie coming out of the dirt with a brain in hand and body parts sprawled all over.

As they get to work in comes a bride for a bachelorette cake. Buddy’s mom has a rule, no erotic cakes. Buddy is willing to do it for friends but they have to keep it secret. They want a very graphic cake where size matters. But can they keep it a secret?

He has the women and Tone Tone (Buddy’s gay assistant who is sister is getting married) make the male strippers while they take care of the stage itself. The strippers will be tricky because they couldn’t add clothes to cover imperfections. They’re all worried about the mother coming in and sure enough she sees what they’re doing and tells them it’s unacceptable. She says she’s the boss and she’ll break them herself if need be. No way no how! They agree to cover them (temporarily so they can remove it).

They start working on the zombie cake and up comes his mother to check on a wedding cake. She finds Tone Tone’s uncovered stripper. She flips out. They cover the strippers and the mom approves. He brings the cake to the bachelorette party where the girls flip out. (As Buddy says, “you would have thought I brought them real strippers.”)

The Zombie cake is still unfinished. They work on the skin, tearing and ripping the fondant and adding the teeth and blood. They splatter blood and airbrush it to add features. then they add a rat. It’s pretty gross so successful.

A bunch of them go to deliver the cake because they’re curious to see what a zombie fest is. People are all dressed up and limping around. The “zombies” tear the cake apart. They think it’s incredible.

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Cake Boss 7

Buddy gets a call by the Garruchi family, they do fireworks for everything big (olympics, inaugurations, etc.) they need a cake for the founder’s birthday. They want to incorporate landmarks and fireworks into the cake itself. He gets a surprise mini show.It’s not so impressive to see on tv, you just don’t get the effect and noise.

The idea is to do three landmasses and the statue of liberty, 4-5 foot skyscrapers, the brooklyn bridge, fireworks on top. The dad would be sitting at the base of the statue, poised to light a fireworks.

While working Buddy gets a call about how he has to go to his son’s school for “bring your dad to school day” so he wants to make mini cakes for each kid to design with their parents. His kids are so cute. They come to work and get a chance to play with the coloring.

Buddy wants to test the fireworks to see what happens. This doesn’t seem set up correctly…Buddy lights it and runs out of the way but nothing happens. They think it’s a dud, until the entire cake explodes. Ooops. Clearly not the right type of fireworks. There’s fireworks everywhere!

They get some snaps to have some fun. Meanwhile they set up the buildings and add the windows and bricks. They use poppy seeds for roofs. Sprinkles are people in a stadium. It’s pretty awesome, includes some generic and some important buildings (9 in total) plus a bridge, a stadium, a factory, and of course the bakery.

With the snaps they sneak down and scare the women in the kitchen. He’s thrilled with himself for scaring his sister so she goes and tells on him. She sends him back to work.

They run wires through the cakes to attach the fireworks. They run into a problem–the only big enough room to work is the oven room. Which is hot. So the fondant begins to melt and bend. Luckily with some quick thinking they use fans to dry the cakes.

So far so amazing looking. But now it’s time to transport the cake only to discover that the truck is too small.

(Sidenote, commercial for a new series Masters of Reception. I’m kind of curious, it’s like Cake Boss for party designers.)

Oh, they just have to lift it. Or they can remove the shelf that’s in the way. They’re nervous that they won’t have time to get it to the party in time. Finally they arrive and the cake is a hit. The fireworks are supercool once installed.

Then off to his son’s school. The mini cakes are a hit.

Buddy talks about his dad who inspires him.

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Cake Boss 6

May-June is a busy season. Buddy is working on a cake that had been planned a while ago. He meets with a bride who is difficult (she wants everything her mother doesn’t want). They can’t agree on anything but the daughter doesn’t do anything. The mother wants a white cake, the daughter wants black. He combines their two ideas and they agree on a four tier cake. Buddy drapes fondant on the cake, as the mother wants. Buddy is thrilled with how it comes out. He puts on cowlilies, which the bride wanted. They’re sure the bride will like it. 

Joey says someone contacted him asking if they could do something for a children’s hospital. Buddy says of course, anything for the kids. The cake is supposed to be a 3-D replica of their logo and feed 500 people. Not quite what he thought it was. This is going to be a lot harder than expected. It’s going to be a huge cake. While studying the logo Buddy get an idea. Cake is clouds and then they’ll add the bi-plane and a banner. 

The bride wants to come in and check on her cake. This isn’t typical but it happens on occasion. She’s very stoic. She sees it and says “oh my god this is so ugly.” She doesn’t like that it looks so traditional. The cake is very important to her. She wants there to be color in the cake. While they’re out discussing what to do, she grabs piping bags and starts squirting coloring all over the cake. He’s shocked. She says she was giving him an art lesson. He tells her to go. He pretty pissed and nearly decides not to make the cake. Buddy surveys the cake and calls her mother and tells on her. He doesn’t think he can make them a cake. Her mother starts crying so he says he’ll do it for her. Such a softie at heart. 

Buddy rallies his helpers. No one wants to make another cake, they say he should just deliver the one she ruined. Buddy says they’re making a cake regardless of what they like. 

He goes to check on the biplane cake and they’re not doing what he wanted. They’ve messed up so he has to do some quick fixing.

Meanwhile they’re having difficulty filling a cupcake order. Buddy is frustrated and starts yelling at everyone. Stretch the delivery boy and Frankie are up to something. It seems they’re planning a prank. Stretch goes to get Buddy. (This is a prank war, Buddy has apparently pranked Buddy.) Buddy falls for the bait and comes downstairs with Stretch to check on the delivery truck. But when Stretch opens the truck it’s empty and food coloring and water are poured onto the delivery boy. Buddy cracks up. Frankie went to Buddy as soon as Stretch came to him.

They had the cake and banner made but they still had to do the cake, which they made out of cake. The rest was made out of modeling chocolate with icing to stick everything together. They proud of the cake even though everyone is exhausted.

Now it’s Bridezilla’s wedding day and it’s not finished yet. After they add the flowers, they add silver pearls to a quilted exterior and with teamwork they manage to finish it. Buddy decides to deliver it personally so he can see her reaction. Her mother sees it and gasps in pleasure. She loves it. She apologizes about her daughter and he says he just wants to make her happy. Buddy says he’s confident the bride will love the cake. Let’s see…

They call the bride in. She doesn’t seem to want to come. She says “oh it’s beautiful” in a very sarcastic tone, refusing to come into the room, much less actually look at it. It wasn’t what Buddy was hoping for but everyone else loved it. 

Time to deliver the other cake. They get there and everyone applauds the cake. People are thrilled and say it tasted great. 

Buddy gets home and his kids run to him. He feels like he hasn’t seen them in a while and he misses them. They sit down for dinner. Buddy says family is what life is all about.

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