Whatever happened to Duff Goldman?
You remember Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes, the show that managed to inspired you to get in the kitchen and try your hand at some serious dessert decoration. Goldman was at the head of the show for an impressive 10 years, but he definitely didn’t retire from the business once it came to an end. So, what’s he been up to since?
Ace of Cakes was cancelled for another show
When Ace of Cakes first started, it was something new and different. By the time it was cancelled, though, there were a ton of other cake-themed shows all baked from the same mold. That was part of the problem, Goldman told the Los Angeles Times (via TDN), and one big reason he wanted to do something different.
By the time Ace of Cakes was cancelled, he already had a new project in the works with Food Network. They weren’t going too far out on a limb, and Goldman himself said, “The concept is not genius. I ride around the country, show up on a motorcycle and eat dessert. What’s new is how you present it… I’m a dude on a bike who likes chocolate and custard.”
There were only six episodes of Sugar High, which saw Goldman finding the best desserts offered in Los Angeles, Dallas, New Orleans, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia. While Sugar High was short-lived, it wasn’t long before Goldman was on to the next thing.
He's lost a ton of weight
It’s impossible to watch any cooking show without wondering how they manage to stay healthy, and that goes double for shows revolving around the tastiest part of the meal. In August 2017, Goldman took to social media to show off his impressive weight loss (via Men’s Health). He’s been posting about not just his new look, but he’s also shared some tips and some photos to show just how he did it. He says he went “old school”, focusing on eating right, riding his motorcycle, and lifting weights, while piling his plates with veggies and low-fat meat. There’s not a cake in sight, and he’s said that getting to the point where he needs new clothes is one of the best feelings he’s experienced.
He's been vocal in opposing discrimination
In 2017, Goldman wrote a piece for People. He was weighing in on a controversial case that was heading all the way to the Supreme Court, and you’ve probably heard of it. It started when Masterpiece Cakeshop claimed they were well within their rights to refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding because of their religious views. Goldman doesn’t agree.
Goldman wrote (in part), ” … I’m supporting a same-sex couple in Colorado in their lawsuit against a local business owner who refused to sell them wedding cake … Following the business owner’s refusal, lower courts repeatedly agree that refusing service amounted to nothing more than discrimination, plain and simple. And I definitely agree …”
Goldman went on to say the entire idea was a “slippery slope,” and there was the potential to open the door to all kinds of discrimination starting with sexual orientation and possibly expanding into race and religion. He’s been clear he sees this as not just discrimination, but as something that could be much more far-reaching and damaging.
He claimed Trump ripped off his inauguration cake
It’s no secret Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration sent the US into a collective tailspin, and it was a hugely dividing event. Goldman also took to social media with a grievance of his own, and he had the proof.
A few years earlier, his Baltimore-based Charm City Cakes had been asked to make the cake for President Barack Obama’s 2013 inaugural celebration. The patriotic, tiered cake was decorated with the emblems of the armed forces along with traditional stars and stripes, and when it came time for Trump’s cake four years later, it looked suspiciously familiar.
It looked, in fact, pretty much identical. Goldman posted a side-by-side comparison on Twitter, noting he definitely hadn’t made Trump’s cake. It turns out it wasn’t a coincidence, and according to what Trump cake-maker Buttercream Bakeshop posted in response (via Good Housekeeping), they had been asked specifically to replicate Goldman’s cake. Mystery… solved?
He's perfecting his bread recipes
Even though Goldman is known for his cakes, he got his start in another part of the bakery. During his time at the Culinary Institute of America, he was also working at a local bakery that would produce thousands of baguettes and rolls every single day. He loved it, telling the Los Angeles Times, “It was Zen-like. I was there all night by myself. But here was this visceral satisfaction at the end of each shift, just looking at all the bread on the racks.”
It’s that love he’s gone back to, perfecting his own recipe for focaccia — and other breads — for his book Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home. Bread might seem like a departure for someone who made his name by making some of the most mind-blowing cakes ever seen on Food Network, but Goldman clearly has a soft spot for this particular kind of baking. “No matter how many time you bake bread, you’re always still stoked. It’s amazing. It’s magical.” How amazing? He cleared that up, too, saying, “If I could stop doing cakes and make bread and still have the lifestyle I have, I would.”
He wrote a cookbook
Goldman’s cookbook hit shelves in 2015, and he told Baltimore he wanted to make sure he did something that wasn’t just informative, but accessible, too. Baking, he said, can be scientific enough that it’s intimidating, and he wanted to clear up the misconception some people have that it has to be boring. “Baking is viewed as this mysterious alchemy that only the fortunate few can do, but that’s not true,” he said.
Goldman covers the full range of baked goods in his book Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home, and he’s dedicated it to his mentor, chef Cindy Wolf. He’s said that without her, he wouldn’t be where he is today, so it was only natural he dedicate the book to her.
He lost some toes in a motorcycle accident
Anyone who follows Goldman knows he’s a huge fan of motorcycles, so much so that he’s managed to work riding into some of his projects. But in 2012, he was involved in an accident that ended badly — but not as badly as it could have, and he told US Weekly that helped put things in perspective.
Goldman lost several toes in the accident, and even though he promised his family and friends he wasn’t going to ride any more, it was a promise he says he couldn’t keep. “It just made me make the choice — more consciously to say, ‘I’m doing something that is very dangerous, but it’s something I love.'” It might sound a little crazy, but he also says the eight months he did give up riding were incredibly hard, and when he went back to it he was completely at peace with the idea he was doing something that put him “really close to death.”
He expanded the business to California
After Ace of Cakes made his bakery the place to go for cakes on the East Coast, Goldman headed west. Duff’s Cakemix opened on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, and while you can definitely order a cake from him, you can also drop in for a bit of do-it-yourself. He’s including the option for customers to learn the ins and outs of baking and cake design by offering a series of workshops, and he told the Los Angeles Times (via TDN) that this new location was a logical step for his business even though it “knocked us out of our comfort zone.”
And even though you might think Goldman’s comfort zone involves coming up with the most insane cakes ever, he says he’s focusing on smaller cakes for LA. That’s because he’s fighting to get a message out that a cake from them doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars, and he’s also putting some seriously funky flavors on the menu. Even though his favorite is still the old-school standby of carrot cake, he says his new favorite might just be their curry banana. For real.
He starred in a new show
In 2016, Goldman and Charm City Cakes were back on Food Network with a new show called Cake Masters. The show only ran for a single season, had six episodes and one special, but to fans of Ace of Cakes it probably seemed very familiar. The show followed the crew as they created some mega-cakes that were a little more than just edible. They created an event around the Skylanders video game, a Transformers cake that actually transformed, and a cake guitar that actually played music — but as cool as those cakes were the show was still incredibly short-lived.
He's been getting in touch with his musical side
In 2015, Los Angeles Magazine ran an intro piece on one of the city’s newest rock bands: Foie Grock. Not surprisingly, it’s made up (almost) entirely of chefs — and Goldman’s on bass.
They say the idea to put a band together was almost accidental, and it all started when Goldman was at an event with Union and Knead and Co Pasta Bar chef Bruce Kalman. Someone made the off-hand comment they looked like they were in a band, and it wasn’t long before they were — along with a few other recruits.
It’s not the first time Goldman’s been on stage, either. He was in a handful of bands back in Baltimore, and says it’s actually logical to jump from the kitchen to the stage. The dynamic is the same, as it’s everyone working together to pull their weight to make a finished product greater than the sum of its parts. And, he adds, everyone’s affected by a single slacker, and it’s something you have to love to do. Logical!
He branched out into ice cream
It doesn’t matter what kind of cake we’re talking about here, we all know it’s not complete without some ice cream. That makes it completely logical that it wasn’t long after Ace of Cakes ended that Goldman was forming a new partnership — with Blue Bunny ice cream.
According to Eater, all of Goldman’s flavors have been cake-inspired. They include things like Red Carpet Red Velvet, Strawberries are Forever Shortcake, I Do I Do Wedding Cake, and Chocolate Lovers Triple Chocolate Cake. They’re essentially pieces of goodness — including cake — mixed with ice cream. Let’s all say “yum!” together.
He's hosting a kids' baking competition
In 2015, Food Network announced Goldman would be returning to their lineup. This time, he wasn’t going to be baking and instead, he was going to be judging. The official news release named Goldman as one of the judges (along with Valerie Bertinelli) on the upcoming Kids Baking Championship, a competition show that would pit a group of kids — all between 10 and 13 years old — against each other in a baking competition where they would need to make everything from dessert pizzas to cookie cakes.
Goldman says he’s been consistently amazed by the competition’s young bakers, telling FN Dish, “It wasn’t [just] good for kids, it was good, period. … These kids were better at 11 and 12 years old than I was when I graduated culinary school.” And that’s some seriously high praise.