He has three reality TV shows, a cookbook and a show tour. Every week, his family bakery cranks out 60 wedding cakes, 500 birthday cakes and hundreds of cannolis.
He's the Cake Boss.
Buddy Valastro stars in Cake Boss, the hit TLC show about his colorful Italian family and their business, Carlo's Bakery, in Hoboken, N.J. A spin-off competition show, the Next Great Baker, debuted in 2010, followed by his cooking show, Kitchen Boss.
Juggling it all — plus a wife and four children — is a careful balancing act, he says, but the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. In his new book, Cake Boss: The Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia, he weaves stories of his family and bakery with recipes and tips.
He comes to Tampa on Friday as part of his Bakin' with the Boss Tour. He'll talk about his TV show and family, demonstrate how to decorate a cake and invite audience members on stage to frost cupcakes. The funnier the cupcakes, the funnier he promises to be.
In an interview from the road, he dished on Prince William and Kate's wedding cake and his latest nearly 2-ton masterpiece.
Your cakes look impossible to transport. What happens if you hit a pothole?
You just pray for the best. We've definitely dropped cakes over the years. A lot of the times it happens when the cameras aren't around. You just have to remake them quickly.
What do you think of serving ice cream or finger desserts at a wedding rather than a cake?
It's becoming real popular but, for me, I'm more traditional. I like to see a wedding cake at a wedding. They're so beautiful and tell the story of a bride's tastes.
Any wedding cake trends you see emerging?
Lots of inspiration from the bride. Whether it be her dress, how the room is set up, invitations. Trying to pull different elements of what she likes and tailoring it to her tastes.
What did you think of Prince William and Kate's royal cake? Does fruitcake go over well here?
It was pretty nice. It wasn't as nice as I would have done it, but it was nice. We make a stollen that would knock your socks off. The problem with fruitcake is that when it sits around too long … but you eat a piece of warm stollen out of the oven, which is fruitcake, it's pretty good stuff.
Any requests yet to make a copy of it? Would it be hard to duplicate?
I haven't any requests yet. I think the giant Transformers cake I made the other day was a lot harder to do than that wedding cake, but I'm just saying. It was probably 1,700 pounds and 8 foot by 8 foot by 7 foot tall. And it moved and had fireworks in it.
Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman was in Tampa not too long ago. Do people often compare you two?
I guess so, because we are both cake artists, but the two shows' dynamics are totally different. I'm a 100-year-old bakery with a family business. It's basically him and his friends who started this business. He went to pastry school. I learned in a real bakery. We're a full-fledged bakery. They are a cake shop. So there are a lot of differences. No disrespect to the show or what they do — I think they make nice cakes — but I think we have two different audiences and appeals.
Any plans for a cake off?
I would love to. I'm a competing guy, but I don't think that's ever going to happen. We're on two different networks.