From the department of “How did I not know this existed?”

So it turns out what I thought was a brand new show that I caught last week on Food Network has actually been on since August 2006 and had more than 40 episodes. Huh. I’m not the biggest Food Network fan (with the exception of Top Chef, I’m not so much into watching people eat good stuff that I can’t partake in), but I’m still surprised I had never heard of Ace of Cakes.

fun_7.jpgDuff Goldman is a bad-boy baker who owns Charm City Cakes in Baltimore. Now, I’ve been pretty immersed in The Wire on DVD lately, so the image of Baltimore in my head is a bit more drugs-and-guns than anything else; frankly, I was relieved to see that they do have things such as cake shops around there. This particular cake shop happens to be staffed by a band of young, hip, artisty types, and the cakes they make are as much works of art as food. Especially impressive are the cakes that are designed to look like other thingscars, guitars, the spaceship Serenity (for real!). Most delightful to me are the ones that look like hot dogs, mugs of beer, and things of that ilk, because there is just something fun about a food dressed up to look like another food. Searching around the gallery of cakes on their website, charmcitycakes.com, my favorite was the BLT pictured here. Makes me want a sandwich AND dessert! (Fun facts learned on the website: the minimum cost for any of their designer cakes is $500, and they’re booked for huge chunks of time and on every holiday through the end of 2009. Insanity!)

Besides the fun of seeing the completed cakes, the show is entertaining because of the personalities of the people who work in the shop, especially cheerful Mary Alice, extremely dry-humored Geof, and Doff himself. While Ace of Cakes follows a template similar to tattoo shop-themed shows like Miami Ink, I find it more entertaining because the process of making each cake has unique problems to solve in a way that drawing a tattoo just doesn’t. It’s just fun to watch them take a slab of cake and force it to look how they want it to look.

Check it out, new episodes air Thursdays at 10:30 PM, and repeats are scattered throughout the week.

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Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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