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  1. 1. Granda 1Natalie GrandaMrs. CorbettSenior Project Research Paper17 November 2011 The Cake Boss In America, it is a common tradition to have cake at different celebrations throughoutlife. Cakes today have become far more advanced than that of ancient cake making. Cakemaking became easier in the 1840’s with the invention of baking soda and baking powder. Astime goes on, people stretched the limitation of cakes. Cakes are now larger and more intricatethan ever. Perfecting the art of cake making and decorating is the aspiration of many; BuddyValastro is one who has this art mastered. Currently, Buddy Valastro works with his family at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, NewJersey. The now well-known bakery all got started with Valastro’s father. Valastro’s father camefrom Sicily, Italy as an immigrant at the age of thirteen. His family was so poor that they wereforced to rummage through other peoples’ garbage to find scraps of food. When they came toAmerica he did not have anything to his name; the only thing he did have was determination.When he was in his twenties he began working at Carlo’s bakery. In 1963 he ended up buyingCarlo’s bakery and keeping the same name in honor of the previous owner. He was determinedto make sure his family was secure and he was able to provide for them. However, he also madesure the whole family worked together in the bakery, even young Buddy.
  2. 2. Granda 2 Buddy Valastro began working in the bakery at the age of eleven, but he would onlywork on weekends. By working in the bakery Buddy seemed to have found his niche. He knewthat this is what he would want to do for the rest of his life. He worked hard and learned thingsfrom working hard at everything that he did. In Charlotte Triggs’ interview with Buddy Valastrohe said, “‘My dad wanted me to know what it was like to be everybody in the bakery. The thingis, everything they made me do, I was good at’” (Triggs). When something would go wrong withany of the cakes his dad would get him out of school so he could fix the problem. He would havethis natural talent that would help him go far in his life. By the age of fifteen he was decoratingthe bakery’s most elaborate wedding cakes. At the age of fifty-four Valastro’s father died oflung cancer. Buddy was only seventeen when his father died and at that young age was nowbeing forced to take over the business. He dropped out of high school to take his father’s place atthe bakery. In an instant, he was now in charge of a bakery with over thirty employees nowlooking towards him. He had to handle all this on top of grieving the loss of his father. Peopledoubted him and thought that without his father there the business would undoubtedly go underand could never be the same. Buddy was determined to prove them wrong. He wanted to provethat he was more than just a kid, and he wanted to make the business a success for his father. Hisultimate goal was to make Carlo’s Bakery a household name. At this point he was unaware ofjust how huge this business would become. Just as Buddy wanted it, Carlo’s Bakery has become famous. The bakery is featured onthe TLC show “Cake Boss” and new episodes come on once a week. The bakery is busy all yearround, and every week there are copious amounts of deserts that are made. Detailed in the article“Reality show takes the cake,” each week they make “50 to 60 wedding cakes, 300 to 600birthday cakes, 2,000 cupcakes, thousands of pastries (cannoli, lobster tails, biscotti, and éclairs)
  3. 3. Granda 3and several complex, intricately designed cakes.” There is always something to be done in thebakery. There are constantly orders to be made or desserts to be made for purchase. Generally,the show features the most elaborate cakes. Some are astounding to think that it is even possiblefor a cake like that to be made. Buddy Valastro’s cakes are nothing short of jaw dropping. Someof the more extreme cakes to be seen on the show include a wedding cake that had a tier in themiddle to house two doves, a four-hundred pound cake that was made to look like an extinctmammal, and even a scene with huge toy soldiers. He even made a cake in the shape of a toiletthat actually flushed. When it comes to cake, people want cakes that are more elaborate and overthe top than ever seen before. They want something that has never been made before. BuddyValsatro is one that is willing and excited to make these extravagant cakes that constantlychallenge him to get better at what he does. One of Valastro’s most challenging cakes was a cakehe made for NASCAR. The cake needed to be the size of a real car and ended up at about twentythousand pounds. Being that there is no mold to make a cake the size of a car, Valastro had touse trial and error to get it the perfect size and shape. He also had to make sure that the cake wasperfectly decorated to look like a NASCAR car. If that was not challenging enough, Valastroonly had three days to make this extreme cake. However, with his dedication and skill he wasable to pull it off and make it look incredible. For Valastro’s wife’s thirtieth birthday he decidedto make her a cake of herself. This may have been even more challenging than the NASCARcake in the respect that if he did not get the cake just right he could be in trouble with his wife.He knew it was risky but decided to go for it regardless. Despite the potential for things to gowrong the cake turned out just the way he wanted it to and his wife, Lisa, loved it. One of the main things Valastro wanted to accomplish was making sure it was a familyshow and that he could give back. Family is Valastro’s main priority, even put before the bakery.
  4. 4. Granda 4In an interview with Liza Hamm, when asked what he thought was the best thing about theincredible success of his show on TLC was Valastro said, “ ‘I love that it brings families togetherfor half an hour every week’” (Hamm). Even though in the show the family can be seen yellingat each other when things go wrong, the love they have for each other is never ending. Valastrohas the idea that a family can be compared to tiramisu. Although complex in all it’s differentlayers, when it is all put together it is something amazing. Christmas is a big family holiday andthat is no different for the extremely large extended family that Valastro has. However, he stillopens his bakery in the morning on Christmas day. He wants to make sure that if someone waslooking forward to getting a special treat from Carlo’s bakery that they were able to. He does notwant to disappoint his loyal customers or their families. Valastro always wants to make sure thathe is giving back. That is why when he was asked by the Make a Wish Foundation to make acake with a seven year-old girl who had terminal cancer, he was more than happy and willing to.In a post interview about it with Nanci Hellmich, Valastro talked about her and said, “ ‘She wasin a wheelchair and she barely had the strength to pick up the knife. She wanted to make a cakein the shape of heaven cause she knew that is where she was going.’” (Hellmich). He wanted tomake sure she got to do exactly what she wanted and have a bit of happiness instilled in her. Despite all the amazing things that Valastro and the bakery accomplishes, things do notalways turn out as perfect as Valastro would want them to. Not everyone who receives theircakes are completely happy and amazed by them. Valastro showed a bride her finished cake and,having nothing but dislike towards it, she squirted different colored icing all over it. She was aperfect example of how even with putting in all your hard work there is no way that everyonecan be pleased. There have also been disasters that caused them to have to work extra at the lastminute. On one occasion an employee accidentally dropped a three-thousand dollar cake, that
  5. 5. Granda 5was meant to serve two-hundred people at a sweet sixteen birthday party down the stairs. Therewas nothing that could be done other than to remake the extremely large cake. On anotheroccasion five large wedding cakes got ruined. Again, there was nothing that could be done otherthan to remake them. However, this time they only had four hours to remake these meticulouslydesigned wedding cakes. Even though Valastro may experience problems such as these, he willnever let them set him back. Ultimately, Valastro was able to honor his father and his father’s hard work by makingthe bakery into a success. Valastro is a picture of the American dream. He was able to turn asmall bakery into an unbelievable success and a household name. He has an amazing amount ofsuccess to be proud of. He has been able to create things that others would never attempt norwould they even think possible. Small failures will never bring down the grand success thatValastro has made. With his family by his side, he will undoubtedly go on to bigger and moreextreme cakes. Buddy Valastro has made himself into the unchallenged cake boss.
  6. 6. Granda 6 Works CitedBonfitto, Christina, Jonathan Caluori, and Alyssa Izzo. "Cake Boss enjoys being on television,but creating beautiful deserts is his mission." Newspaper Source. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <>." cakes by: Buddy Valastro ." Carlos Bakery. WSI, 2007. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <>.Eaton, Lorraine. "Cake Bosss artistry comes iced to perfection." Newspaper Source. N.p., n.d.Web. 17 Oct. 2011. < login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=2W6922863516&site=src-live.>.Hamm, Liza. "Christmas with the CAKE BOSS." EBSCO. time inc., 2010. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. < detail?vid=8&hid=19&sid=c711bf31-3dbe-43d6-8e95-1fb3a433b782%40sessionmgr4&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2 ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=59703206>.Hellmich, Nanci. "Cake Boss key ingredient: Family ." EBSCO. time inc. , 2010. Web. 14 Oct.2011. <
  7. 7. Granda 7 detail?vid=10&hid=19&sid=c711bf31-3dbe-43d6-8e95-1fb3a433b782%40sessionmgr4&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl 2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=J0E230691983410>.- - -. "Reality show takes the cake." EBSCO. time inc., 2010. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. < detail?vid=14&hid=19&sid=c711bf31-3dbe-43d6-8e95-1fb3a433b782%40sessionmgr4&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl 2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=J0E373490949809>.Hennessy, Christina. "Cake Boss Buddy Valastro stops at Shubert, R.J. Julia." NewspaperSource. N.p., 3 Nov. 2010. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. < login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=2W61460002852&site=src-live.>.Kahn shelton, Sandi. "Bakin with the Boss." Newspaper Source. N.p., 1 Nov. 2010. Web. 17Oct. 2011. < login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=2W671931049&site=src-live.>.Triggs, Charlotte. "INSIDE THE SUGARY WORLD OF BUDDY VALASTRO, BAKE-MEISTER ON TLCS TOP-RATED SHOW ." EBSCO . Time inc., 2010. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. <
  8. 8. Granda 8 detail?vid=5&hid=19&sid=c711bf31-3dbe-43d6-8e95-1fb3a433b782%40sessionmgr4&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2 ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=52060915>.Witchel, Alex. "A Cake Boss Easter Treat, Sugar-Free." EBSCO. time inc., 2010. Web. 14 Oct.2011. < detail?vid=12&hid=19&sid=c711bf31-3dbe-43d6-8e95-1fb3a433b782%40sessionmgr4&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl 2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=59649695>.