Scary cakes come to life on Food Network’s ‘Halloween Cake-Off’


‘Halloween Cake-Off’ – Cakes gone mobile

Duff Goldman

Duff Goldman has always had a love of making his cakes moving works of art, employing hydraulics, servo motors and sound and light effects to bring what would otherwise be static confections to life. Which is why the “Ace of Cakes” baker feels right at home hosting a competition series rife with that caliber of creativity that debuts this week on Food Network.

In “Halloween Cake-Off,” a four-episode stunt series premiering Monday, Sept. 23, four professional bakers are challenged with creating Halloween-themed cakes that not only must be able to hit the mark taste-wise for judges Goldman, Dan Langan and Waylynn Lucas, but also transform in mystifying ways that leave them blown away by the outside-the-box thinking.

One such creation in the series that did it for Goldman was a dragon cake that rose up on its hind legs, spread its wings and shot a seven-foot stream of fire from its mouth.

“It was amazing,” Goldman explains. “And not just the transformation itself – what the contestant did was incredible – but what I was really blown away about, she showed me kind of the behind-the-scenes, inside the cake. She showed me how she did everything. Because I’m such a nerd; I love all that stuff. I love looking at the mechanics of something and just everything she had done was just super smart and really clean. It was really well-crafted … and she controlled the whole thing from a computer. She had a Bluetooth hook-up from the cake to a computer. I mean, it was absolutely ground-breaking.”

Obviously, these bakers had to have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars making these moving cakes, given all the technology involved, although Goldman could not say for certain. But what he could say is that while these cakes not only had to have the “wow!” factor, they also had to be delicious because at the end of the day, that’s what a cake competition is all about.

“(The) thing that I really insisted on,” he says, “was the flavor counts just as much as the beauty of the cake and the transformation. Because it’s really important. If you know how to build one of these cakes – you know something with some special effects and some non-edible materials – if you really know how to do it right, you do not have to skimp on the quality. You can do it with delicious cake just as easily as you can do it with grocery store cake.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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