Tips From the Cake Boss Himself, Buddy Valastro
When it comes to high-concept cakes, nobody knocks 'em out like Buddy Valastro, chef and lead stud on the TLC reality series, Cake Boss. His talents are on display weekly at his Carlo's City Hall Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey, where he and his dedicated crew take on inspired -- often palatial -- pastry projects that come in via commissions and special orders. Here, Valastro sheds some light on his amazing craft:
Q&A with Buddy Valastro
- How do you keep a bakery in business for 100 years?
- Cake Boss: You have to have a great team working with you who care about the business as much as you do. Luckily, I've got my family and we've been building this business together for years.
- What talents does it take to bake cakes of epic magnitude?
- Cake Boss: You need some advanced baking skills for sure. Some cakes even need construction skills, but for any large cake, you need a lot of patience!
- What ingredients are best for sculpted cakes?
- Cake Boss: We've been using fondant and modeling chocolate for years on our sculpted cakes. They're great ingredients to work with for those more detailed cakes.
- What's the most daring cake design you've ever attempted?
- Cake Boss: Hands down, the NASCAR cake (see slide 9). That cake took years off me! We used over 2,500 sheet cakes -- the most we've ever used on one cake!
- What's the oddest request you've ever gotten for a cake?
- Cake Boss: You know, I think the toilet bowl request was the craziest. We even got that thing to flush!
- What are the most versions of a cake you've thrown away before getting it right? What was it?
- Cake Boss: The dessert I had to practice most wasn't actually a cake, it was our Lobster Tails. My father taught me the process early on, but it wasn't until I was 17-years-old that I got it right.
- How do you manage to stay out of the burn ward?
- Cake Boss: We take safety very seriously at the bakery. All of the bakers and decorators follow strict safety policies. Accidents always happen unfortunately, but we try to keep them down to a minimum.
- What do you consider your Mona Lisa?
- Cake Boss: The Transformers cake is in my top 5 for sure. That was a fun challenge.
- What's the best morsel of advice you can give to novice cake makers?
- Cake Boss: Keep practicing. You're never gonna get it right the first time, so practice until you do.
- What's the best tip you can give to small business owners?
- Cake Boss: Know what's going on in all departments of your business. That way you'll be ready to tackle new projects from all perspectives.