Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm Sad Ace of Cakes is Over

I gained a new favorite TV show this season, and I discovered it in an unusual corner of the galaxy. Ace of Cakes, if you've never seen it, follows a bakery in Baltimore called Charm City Cakes that specializes in creating custom cakes that resemble anything but cake. Although it's clear that much of the bakery's day-to-day business lies in crafting relatively traditional tiered wedding cakes &c, the show focuses on the creation of cakes--really as much sculpture as food--in the shapes of spaceships, baseball stadiums, zombies, and Lord knows what else. You can see a few of them on the bakery's website. The work is truly extraordinary, and often involves a not insignificant measure of engineering. You'll never see so much attention paid to the structural properties of food.

I suppose you could call it a reality show, but Ace of Cakes is devoid of all of the characteristics of that genre that irritate me. Everyone in the bakery is completely likable, from goofy owner Duff Goldman, to the wry and ironic office manager Mary Alice, to the phlegmatic professional Geof, to the various decorators and carvers and artists who make the place run. There are no manufactured villains--there is sufficient narrative drama in the bakery's attempts to continuously top its most ambitious designs. It's really more of a documentary than a reality show.

Ace of Cakes is one of those shows that, upon discovery, I couldn't get enough of (much like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, back in the day). Not long after I learned of its existence, Food Network had a Saturday marathon, and my girlfriend and I watched it for hours, each episode brand new (at least to us). When the new season began, I looked forward to it every week.

Alas, the season just ended last weekend, with the Charm City gang flying to Hawaii to create what must've been the most expensive cake in history for the 100th episode of Lost. So I'm feeling a little sense of loss right now. But it's tempered by the knowledge that there must be tons of reruns out there I haven't seen yet, and Food Network will no doubt air them all at one time or another over the summer.

Thank goodness for DVR!

1 comment:

  1. Dude,

    Try watching "Cake Boss". It's Soprano speaking guys making insane cakes.

    Good stuff.