Duff Goldman, who starred on Food Network’s popular show Ace of Cakes, is all smiles nowadays, with a new book coming out in 2020, a second store opening, and a new baking show — “in the kitchen,” he emphasizes — about to start. His popular Charm City Cakes studios are located in Baltimore and Los Angeles.

You can continue to watch him bake and decorate on Food Network’s Duff Takes the Cake and mentor bakers on Kids Baking Championship.

In September, Goldman made a special appearance at the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) in partnership with AB Mauri where he signed autographs and crafted a unique cake sculpture, Spilled Yeast. Made of fondant, wood and foam, his sculpted, oversized packet of iconic Fleischmann’s yeast is a unique reflection of the actual 7-gram package that consumers purchase today. Now 151 years old, Fleischmann’s is the oldest bakery yeast brand in North America.

“It’s nice working with AB Mauri. We are celebrating the art of baking,” Goldman said during an exclusive with Bake magazine. “Arts and crafts are two different things. You can’t make it art if the craft isn’t awesome.”

He’s excited about doing a show where he’ll return to the kitchen — “I love to bake. I love doing demos. The baking industry is all about tradition,” he said.

“People are making stunning cakes all around the world. More and more people are getting better at it. And that’s exciting,” Goldman said. “It’s people in Africa. It’s people in South America. It’s people in Europe, and they’re really doing neat stuff.

“It makes me nervous because we’ve got to stay on top of our game. We don’t want to be dinosaurs.”

Goldman grew up as a graffiti artist in his youth and remembers having “no preconceived notion of what you were supposed to do with fondant. I put motors and lasers on cakes and send cakes into space. Me and my crew innovated in a very specific way. Now there are so many different directions in cake that it’s not just massive, over-the-top cakes, but really refined. Cake artists are not relying on shock value to impress.”

He started Charm City Cakes in Baltimore in 2002, with his personal goal of becoming a full-time rock musician. “I wasn’t trying to change the industry. I was trying to pay the rent.”

All of his employees came from art school, and they began to redefine cake art, particularly as Ace of Cakes became widely popular during its 10 seasons on Food Network. 

Another piece of good news: He’s still in a band, as the bass player for his musical group, Foigrock.

Looking back on his favorite cake creations, Goldman grabs his phone and quickly sorts through thousands of images to find the one: a tackle box with a fish, all edible. “This is one of my favorite cakes,” he said. “Being able to create that level of realism with hand painting, airbrushing. That’s what is exciting to me.”