Sweet Talk

We catch up with the Charm City Cakes executive chef.

By Anthony Landi -

Duff Goldman Talks About Horseshoe Casino

We catch up with the Charm City Cakes executive chef.

By Anthony Landi -

Charm City Cakes owner and Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman is about to answer the question that his fans have been asking for years: What do his cakes actually taste like?

The public will get to find out on Aug. 26 with the opening of Horseshoe Casino’s Jack Binion’s Steak House, which has teamed with Charm City cakes to create an array of inventive dessert options.

Goldman’s sweet stuff will include 10-inch buttercream cakes, decorated six-inch cakes, cupcakes and cake jars, in crowd-pleasing flavors such as red velvet and carrot cake.

“This is a way for everyone who’s coming to the casino or from out of town to try our cakes,” says Goldman. “They’ll be able to see that our cakes don’t just look awesome, but they taste great, too.”

Typically, Goldman’s cakes are custom-ordered and come at a premium price. (They can run well into the thousands of dollars.) With this venture, the goal is to democratize his product and reach out to fans.

“It’s not some big wedding cake that you have to pay hundreds of dollars for—it’s just a slice,” says Goldman.

The partnership is one of the first new projects that Goldman has taken on in Baltimore since expanding his brand to Los Angeles with Charm City Cakes West and Duff’s Cakemix, a do-it-yourself cake shop for kids.

“It’s been a long haul getting a casino opened in Baltimore,” says Goldman. “Now that it’s here and my friends Guy [Fieri], Aarón [Sánchez] and John [Besh] opened restaurants, I was like ‘I should probably have a place too.’”

Although Goldman’s Ace of Cakes last aired on the Food Network in 2011, he plans to make a return to the screen.

“I was working on a YouTube series with Gartner [production house], but they sort of lost interest,” he explains. “They’re an awesome production company, but their tastes skew toward traditional media and were used to seeing television-type [ratings] and results. I will be doing more digital content in the future, though.”

Since then, he’s grown tired of celebrity chef culture.

“I don’t like those words,” says Goldman. “I’m just a chef that people point cameras at. If you need to introduce yourself as a celebrity chef, you need to reexamine why you started cooking in the first place.”

He clarifies his position: “Back in the day, there used to only be Emeril, Julia Child and handful of others. Now there’s a cooking show or two on every channel. Being a celebrity chef isn’t the great qualifier that it used to be.”

The talented baker does, however, cherish the newfound knowledge and love of food that the average American has thanks to cooking shows.

“There are all these kids that are being inspired to go to culinary school—not because they want to be on T.V., but because they want to be chefs—which is great,” says Goldman. “At Cakemix, I get kids decorating cakes better than I was when I graduated culinary school and they’re 10 years old. It’s amazing.”

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