Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Duff Goldman - Meeting The "Ace Of Cakes"

Duff Goldman, owner of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore MD, and star of one of Food Networks biggest hit reality shows, "Ace Of Cakes" made a stop in Ann Arbor, Michigan on his tour promoting his new book, "Ace Of Cakes - Inside The World Of Charm City Cakes", co-written with his brother Willie Goldman.

Having been a cake decorator, on and off, for the last 22 years, I have been a huge fan of this show since it first premiered in August of 2006.

This book is a celebration of the bakery that started it all. This colorful scrapbook is loaded with stories about Duff's early days as a graffiti artist turned young chef, his successes and hilarious disasters, and the amazing team he built step-by-step.

The attendance at the book signing was amazing. Staff of Border's Books said they reached beyond the building capacity. The Borders is two floors, and the book signing was taking place on the 2nd floor. People filled the ground floor and some had to even wait outside. Now, from past experiences I've had with large book signings (i.e: Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse, Rachael Ray, etc) the book store usually requires you to purchase the book there at the time of the signing in order for you to even be able to get in line to have your book signed. This was not the case with Duff. Colored wristbands were distributed to people who wished to have their book signed by Duff and his brother Willie. They did, however, enforce that you MUST have a wristband to even go to the 2nd floor.
If you were lucky enough to arrive early, as James and I did, you were allowed to take one of the limited seats in an audience format, on the 2nd floor, for a cake competition of local culinary students from The Art Institute of Michigan, judged by Duff!

There were 4 cake entries in the competition and all were just incredible. The first cake to be judged depicted the journey from Detroit, MI, through Northern Ohio, then on to Pennsylvania and arriving in Baltimore MD, complete with an edible gum paste sculpture of the Charm City Cakes bakery.
The next cake, and my personal favorite because it is my all-time favorite movie, was a tribute to the 70th anniversary of "The Wizard Of Oz". This cake was a complete & edible replica of The Emerald City, and edible "Ruby Slippers" on top that rotated on a platform. At the bottom of the cake was an image of the main characters from The Wizard Of Oz.

Since Ann Arbor is the home of the University Of Michigan, the 3rd cake paid tribute to U of M, football. Eh, not really my thing!

The 4th cake was a very well sculpted fire-breathing dragon, that really emitted smoke (via dry ice effect). Though he thought every cake was simply amazing, Duff chose this dragon as the winner of the competition.
After the competition, Duff gave a discussion on how his career came to be, the show and ultimately this book. He's a very good speaker and extremely funny....

Almost every page in this book was a walk down memory lane for him and he happily shared his life stories with the crowd.

Duff then fielded questions from the audience which were really fun. The audience was great and Duff was more than happy to answer just about anything that was thrown at him.
Duff, as well as his brother Willie, signed several hundred books to end the evening. Unfortunately, there were no personal photo opportunities, so this was as close to a photo with Duff as I could get! Of course I had to wear my official "Charm City Cakes Hoodie" to the event, and even got a compliment from Duff for wearing it!
Generally, larger book signings such as this one, the author signs only their name. At first that was the case, but Duff himself decided that he would "personalize" the book for each fan!

Very fun and enjoyable event! I only wish others from the show came along with Duff such as Mary-Alice and Geof. Perhaps next time!


  1. It sounds like it was a great event. I enjoy his show and marvel at the cakes they create. True artists each one of them.

  2. Fun! I'm glad you had a great time! I'll have to pick up the book. Thanks for sharing, John!