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Charm City Cakes

I just finished watching Ace of Cakes and was wondering what people thought of this place. A friend got one of his cakes for her birthday last year. It was incredibly cool looking but I didn't find the fondant itself very tasty and the cake itself was fairly ordinary. It was a $200 plus cake. On the other hand, my wife has tasted a few more of his cakes and pronounced them delicious.

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  1. we originally went to charm city cakes to get a crazy, goofy cake for our rehearsal dinner. we then visited everywhere from patisserie poupon to sugarbakers for our wedding cake. we wound up coming back to charm city because their cake itself was so much better than everywhere else....

    fondant anywhere sucks...it isn't used for flavor. it is used to create designs and make a "shell" for the cake. charm city cakes makes one of the best buttercreams i have ever tried. we are having the buttercream for our wedding cake.

    price wise, our cakes are very reasonable...i will repost after our wedding to give a consensus...

    plus, i worked with duff goldman (the owner)at a restaurant and he is one of the nicest guys i have ever met....

    1. I got a cake from CCC for my mother's wedding. We went to a tasting and she settled on certain flavors for the different layers and gave Duff an idea of what she wanted it to look like (hers was definitely not-so-traditional).

      The day of the wedding they delivered the cake on time, helped us decide where to put it (everything at the last minute...), and set it up. My mother had asked for something along the lines of a funky garden theme and Duff definitely did it. There was even a little trail of fondant ants to go on the table.

      Now the cake itself. Yes. I realize this is theoretically the most important part. The layers were almond amaretto cream, cardamom and pistachio and lemon poppyseed. One of them was a tiny bit on the dry side (I think it was the lemon, but I'm not positive) but the other two were amazing. I didn't eat the fondant (it's edible, of course, but I don't really see it that way), but I did taste it. It was by no means offensive (and I think it was necessary for the structure of the cake)... very smooth and not too sweet, but not particularly memorable aside from its greenness. Then again, it's fondant. How much can you do with it?

      Beyond the cake itself, Duff's attention to detail, sheer talent and the competency and friendliness of the staff mean that I'd never hesitate to recommend CCC.

      1. Have not had one from CCC, but recently attened a wedding and the cake was from Sugarbakers in Catonsville. It was beautiful, and although simple, quite tasty. In fact, I just splurged and ordered a birthday cake from there. they do the Frenc style butter cream and it was delicious, not greasy, and not too sweet.

        1. I went to a wedding last year and they had a cake from CCC. It was beautiful, of course. It was also the best tasting wedding cake I've had. It actually tasted like something and not just some plain sheet cake out of the supermarket. I'm definitely a fan.

          2 Replies
          1. re: KAZ

            I had a slice of a groom's cake from CCC about three years ago. It was a design which had been on their web site, Frank Lloyd Wright I think it was called, and the flavor was bananas foster. I frankly thought it would be gross, but it was absolutely delicious. It was also stunning to look at.

            Given that the popularity of the place and demands on the staff have most certainly increased with the show and all, I can't really vouch for it now, but based on that experience I definitely would have ordered a cake from them pre-show.

            1. re: Lowbar

              Their cakes now start at $500.

              That's a little insane for a regular birthday cake. I will need to start saving now if I ever get married and want them to do the cake. lol

          2. Duff did our Rehearsal dinner cake, I wanted something like a victorian charm pull cake. What he made was amazing and really tasty. We loved Duff himself and he was actually nice enought to talk to me about opening my own pastry shop. (Which I am still trying to accomplish). As for Sugarbakers, you couldn't pay me to get a cake from them. I went there and they were so rude to me and my fiance at the time. My mother and i also bought cannolis from them and they tasted like we bought show pieces not something you were supposed to eat. Our actual wedding cake came from
            Vaccaro's, whom we can't say enough about also.

            1. ok, so the wedding and rehearsal are over and the verdict is in....

              our rehearsal dinner cake, while spectacular looking, was not what we were told it would look like, nor entirely what we had discussed with duff. strike one against charm city....we were very disappointed. it was covered in fondant and tasted bland, dry, and stale. the flavor was chocolate peanut butter cup and the peanut butter flavor was virtually non-existant. however, oddly enough they delivered an additional cake to the rehearsal dinner. this cake was a 12 inch round cake, non-decorated, except with chocolate buttercream icing. i did not try this cake, however, i was told that it was quite good. fresh tasting, moist, and with a definite peanut butter flavor.....however, i will say that the artistry on our cake was phenomenal...

              on to the wedding cake. our wedding cake was a traditional 4 tier, square cake with vanilla buttercream and no decorations except small piping to cover the seams. again, quite disappointed. the bottom layer which is obviously the largest was supposed to be lemon poundcake with lemon curd and raspberry coulis....there was zero raspberry and again, stale, stale, stale...the second tier was chocolate chip muffin cake which neither my husband nor i got to try, but we were told that it was good. the third tier was dulce de leche which i never even heard anything about, nor did i even see anyone eating it. our top tier was chocolate raspberry. this was perhaps the best tier. i am not a fan of chocolate cake, but this was the most moist and had a hint of raspberry (i would have liked more). so, the final word on charm city....not very tasty, too pricey (for disappointing cakes), and did not deliver what they had promised as far as the rehearsal cake goes....maybe they should concentrate more on making good cake instead of being tv stars....i would not order from them again....

              1. Judging by the responses, they seem to be capable of greatness but inconsistant in execution - My wife has tried their cakes and found them delicious, but I've heard comments from other friends similar to the negative ones above.

                Also, (just my two cents), we had two wedding cakes (frasier wedding and chocolate/coffee grooms cake) from patisserie poupon and I was really impressed. Sort of pricey but well worth it. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend their cakes and service to anyone and everyone, especially after we tested some of their similarly-priced competition and found them inedible.

                1. patisserie poupon is pretty good, however, i ordered a citron (lemon)cake for my sister-in-law's bridal shower and it was so moist and slathered with goo (albeit yummy goo) that it fell apart as we sliced into it. i don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but it did taste pretty damn good!

                  oh, and pp has a reputation of being very very late, so if you are going to use them for an event, tell them to be there hours in advance, otherwise you are taking a gamble...

                  1. In reference to the comment about Patisserie Poupon being "very very late" it might be beneficial to explain your opinion. It is important to realize the difference between Charm City Cakes, and PP's target customer base. PP is marketed as an authentic traditional french bakery, while CCC is marketed to those seeking novelty cakes that emphasize aesthetic quality rather than taste. Box butter cake VS genoise? you choose.

                    1. I'll throw my money in and concur w/ others...Love Duff! Not a taste fan of his cakes, although they are incredible to look at. I've had the opportunity to try many of his cakes and always found them to be on the dry and tasteless side. PP cakes I've always enjoyed, although perhaps not as spectacular looking as CCC. I was @ a wedding recently that had used Sugarbakers, it was the first time I'd ever tried their cakes and was thoroughly impressed.

                      1. Joining the chorus. I tried four flavors from Charm City Cakes at Taste of the Nation a month or so ago and was dissappointed. I wouldn't say dry or tasteless, but definitely not as flavorful as I prefer, or as the names implied. Just nothing special; it was the sort of cake I'd normally shrug at and decide wasn't worth the extra gym time. (And I'm a cake lover!) Of the four I tried, I did like the pumpkin chocolate chip though; definitely the best of the lot.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: charmedgirl

                          I've heard much the same thing about PP and CCC. Has anyone tried Fishers Bakery in Old Ellicott City?

                          1. re: jrl2929

                            Fishers Bakery is good, but not the same calibur as Patisserie Poupon.

                            1. re: jrl2929

                              Bonjour Cafe and bakery on Falls Road near Lake Ave has a similar quality to Patisserie Poupon, without the sometimes snotty attitude. By chance, I tasted fraisier cakes from both on the same day, and thought Bonjour better. Bonjoour also has the advantage of having many more 9" round cakes available for retail sale if you have not pre-ordered

                          2. Had the opportunity to try one of Duff's cakes at a party and I must say it was one of the best cakes I've ever tasted. I didn't eat the fondant as I really don't like frosting in any form, but the cake portion itself was moist and flavorful. It was a really cute cake, to boot!