From Neighborhood Bakery to Household Name

Carlo's Bakery continues to expand its presence throughout the U.S. and the world.
 
As Carlo’s Bakery (arguably the most famous retail bakery in America) expands across the country, including its newest and first California location, consumers are responding to the excitement in many ways. “You know, every market is completely different. Each region has their own distinct palate and so we’re seeing certain items more popular in each city,” says master baker Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s hit series, Cake Boss, and subsequent spinoff Next Great Baker. “For some reason, Dallas loves lemon but Orlando likes caramel! However, the overall tone is: they’re very excited! I’m very lucky that the response to the bakeries is overwhelmingly positive. I hope we continue to see that in all of our new locations.”

Valastro keeps a hectic schedule, whether it involves speaking as headliner at the Americas Cake Fair in Orlando, Florida, or opening his newest Carlo’s Bakery in Santa Monica, California. You’d think he might not find time to make many cakes nowadays, but baking is in his blood.

He first learned to bake cakes from this father at their family business — founded in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1910.

“I really do love making cakes. It’s not just for TV,” he exclaims. “It relaxes me. Whenever I’m kind of grumpy, my assistant usually says, ‘Go make a cake!’ because she knows it’ll completely change my mood.”

'Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro is one of the most recognizable names in the baking world.
 
Innovation is just part of the growth the bakery needs to have, as his business grows to 22 locations and counting. “The bakery’s been around since 1910, so times and trends have changed. I do have a research and development kitchen at my Cake Factory where I go and act like a mad scientist. It’s never-ending but it’s fun. Some days it’s successful, and some days I’ve tasted so many new different custard flavors that I feel like I never want to see custard again.”

His inspirations for cake innovation are many. “I see a fabric I find cool or the way the clouds are against the sunset when I’m driving home from the office, it sparks something in me and makes my mind wander and I start thinking: What would that color taste like? How can I replicate this pattern on fondant?”

Carlo’s Bakery was catapulted from a Hoboken-based neighborhood bakery to a household name through the public’s fascination with the over-the-top cakes produced by Valastro and the success of TLC’s hit series, “Cake Boss.”

Valastro considers “Cake Boss” to be the greatest success of his career — “taking that leap, making that decision to put it all out there, that’s it right there. Never looked back.” 

Looking forward, he wants to continue expanding the bakery’s presence around the world. “I want to go international. The show airs internationally and I do have a bakery in Brazil, but I want to figure out a way to give other continents and cultures a piece of Hoboken. Give me five years. It’s going to happen.”