Bakin’ with the Boss: Tips for making great cakes & happy kids

The first cake he ever made was for his mother’s birthday when he was 13 years-old. That was the start of his career mixing over-the-top cakes for life’s celebrations. Buddy Valastro, whose new season of TLC’s The Cake Boss started on May 28, is a proud father of four, ages 1 through 9. He gives his all to whatever he does including his current tour around the country sharing his baking secrets (he stops in Denver on July 13). We couldn’t resist the chance to indulge in a little sweet talk with the boss.

CP:       Not everyone can be a “Cake Boss” yet we all dream of making beautiful cakes.  What are some of your tips for turning out cakes we can be proud of?

BV:      First, practice makes perfect. Keep trying. Second, people make the mistake of trying to ice a cake that’s too fresh like warm or room temperature. Refrigerate it first for a little while to make it easier to frost. Third, have the right tools like a turn table. I do well because having the right tools and know-how helps you become, well, a Cake Boss like me.

CP:        There’s a trend toward fantastical desserts and parties, even for kids, and a real pressure to make every party perfect. What’s your best party advice?

BV:      Try to match everything thematically but keep it simple like making a candy centerpiece then decorating a cake with store-bought candy. Just put candies on the frosted cake and it works!

Keep in mind that birthday parties are very important to kids and are something they will always remember. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top though. It’s about time with your child. It’s not about material things. Just spend the day with them.  And be sure you have cake!

CP:       What was the first cake you decorated?

BV:      It was my mom’s birthday cake when I was 13. I frosted it with whipped cream and decorated it with strawberries and chocolate shavings. I wasn’t allowed to bake in the bakery yet but they did let me do cakes for the family.

CP:       What’s your favorite cake to make these days?

BV:      Vanilla cake with French cream, fresh strawberries and chocolate ganache.

CP:       Do you bake at home with your kids?

BV:      Yes! People wouldn’t expect me to bake at home but I do. Usually though, I let the kids bake at the bakery so we can make a mess there and not at home. Recently, when I was home, the kids wanted to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, so we whipped up a batch.

CP:       It seems like your work is very high stress.  And parenting can be very high stress. How do you balance work with parenting?

BV:
      Family comes first no matter what! When I’m with my kids, I give 100%. When I’m at work, I give 100%. Wherever I am, I give 100%.

CP:       How old are your children?

BV:      Sofia is 9, Bartolo “Buddy” is 7, Marco is 5 and Carlo is 1.

CP:       How is parenting like baking?

BV:      You put in all the ingredients, ok, and basically the ingredients are your values. You put it into an oven and see what it becomes. It’s the same thing with children. You can only put the right ingredients in and the rest is up to what happens.

CP:       Do you think any of your children will go into the family business?

BV:      Maybe eventually. I’m going to have them work in the bakery to learn a strong work ethic. But after that, I’ll let them do what they want to in life that will make them happy.

CP:       What do you want to make sure our readers know about you?

BV:      I have a lot of achievements in my life. But the accomplishment I am most proud of is my family.  I’m a dad and I’m so happy to have that. I devote a lot of time and energy into that.

CP:       You’ve been to Colorado before (and we’re glad to have you back). What makes you keep returning?

BV:      Denver is a magnificent city. My production company is based in Denver so I go to Denver sometimes. The fans make me feel welcome. We did a show in Denver a couple of years ago that was sold out. The crowd was great.  Also, my production company is in Denver so I go there sometimes for that.

CP:       What can people expect when they come to your show, “Bakin’ With the Boss”?

BV:      It’s a fun-filled, family interactive show. I pull people up from the audience to decorate cakes. I make them compete against each other becomes funny, especially with dads.

You can bring 4 year-old and your grandma to my show. I’m pretty funny too, so you’ll laugh. I tell my story and take questions from the audience. I promise you, I thought of something I would want to see with my kids and designed the show around that. At the end, my favorite part is when people tell me ‘I didn’t know what to expect but that was great’. That’s music to my ears.
Tickets for “Bakin’ With the Boss” are available from tickethorse.com, 303-53HORSE.  Learn more about the Cake Boss at http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/cake-boss.

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