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Student cakes judged by ‘aces’

Let them eat cake — but not just any cake.

“Ace of Cakes” stars Duff Goldman and Geof Manthorne visited Ohio State on Monday night to present an OSU-inspired cake and talk about their show, which is in its ninth season on Food Network.

The two chefs, who are known for their creative and unconventional cake artistry, unveiled a cake they created back at their bakery in Baltimore. The cake, which was driven from the bakery and partially assembled at the Ohio Union, was shaped to resemble Brutus.

The mascot himself was present for the event, comparing himself to his cake version onstage.

“Oh, you like that?” Manthorne said after Brutus compared his backside with the cake. “I crafted that myself.”

Goldman and Manthorne started the night with a student cake contest.

“Wow, look at these,” Goldman said, viewing the cakes. “You guys made these?”

The chefs provided feedback for the students but said they weren’t judging the contest seriously. The two even poked fun at some of the students’ desserts and buckeye leaf representations, a common element among the cakes.

Joking aside, Goldman praised many of the cakes’ creators, telling one student to give him a call in a few years if her future plans fail.

No matter what the feedback, students were excited to have Goldman and Manthorne see their work.

It was “so awesome,” said Matt Teegarden, a third-year in food science who competed in the contest. “It’s been a dream of mine just to talk to them.”

Having cake trendsetters judge your work is a little nerve-wracking, said Rachel Weiler, a third-year in food science who created a Mirror Lake-inspired cake.

“I had to try not to pass out,” Weiler said. “I had to remind myself not to lock my knees.”

Sadie Skeels, a third-year in anthropology who worked with Weiler on the cake, said she “just had to keep breathing.”

Goldman and Manthorne talked about many aspects of their show and bakery, and welcomed audience questions. The cake duo received a wedding and birthday cake request during the event.

“Just call Mary Alice” Fallon-Yeskey, Goldman said. Fallon-Yeskey is office manager of Goldman’s bakery.

The TV show leads many to believe that Charm City Cakes isn’t a real, functioning bakery, Goldman said.

“People think we are all actors,” he said.

Manthorne said, “People think things are staged when they aren’t.”

The show is considered a “docu-soap” — a documentary with a little drama thrown in, Manthorne said.

TV is not always the best representation of reality, however.

“TV is crazy,” Goldman said. “And when you are on TV, people skew your image.”

Goldman and Manthorne answered all questions during their visit — except for one.

In a sit-down interview with The Lantern before the event, the two kept quiet about how much they charge for a cake.

“We don’t talk about money too much,” Goldman said.

Each cake order requires “a minimum of $1,000,” according to their website, charmcitycakes.com. Goldman said the average cost of a cake is “anywhere between $1,200 to $1,500” during an interview with Welcome to Baltimore, Hon!, a website that features Baltimore citizens and events.

But Goldman and Manthorne did discuss their life beyond the bakery and television show. Goldman said he manages to play regularly in a band called …soihadto…, which has opened for Zakk Wylde, among others. Manthorne is also into music and was invited to play onstage at the Grand Ole Opry with Jimmy Wayne.

The Ohio Union Activities Board, which announced that about 1,500 students were in attendance at the West Ballroom, sponsored Goldman and Manthorne’s visit.

Two thousand tickets were given out for the event, but it’s customary to outsell events, OUAB said. The seating arrangement was set for about 1,500 people, and students filled nearly every seat.

Most in the audience were quick to express their excitement about the cake show stars.

“I really like cake shows,” said Ashton Montgomery, a second-year in art and theater who attended the event. “I think it’s really fun how they can make them look so pretty.”

But cake wasn’t all that attracted students to the event.

“Well, I’ve been a fan of ‘Ace of Cakes’ forever,” said Alexandra King, a graduate student in medicine. “Not just for the cake, but for Duff and Geof’s personality.”

Goldman and Manthorne brought enough sheet cake to feed the crowd, many of whom waited in line for a piece after the event.

“It’s OK,” said Melissa Gusching, a graduate student in dentistry, while eating Goldman and Manthorne’s cake. She said the cake tasted like it had been cut too early before being handed out.

But not everyone shared her view.

“The cake is really good,” King said.

Goldman would be proud. Positive reactions are what he aims for.

“When you see how much people smile when you bring them the cake,” he said, “that’s what hooked me.”


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