Charm City Cake’s New Book!

Ace of Cakes

Baltimore is known as Charm City.  I have to tell you, I love my city!  It’s quirky.  It’s loyal.  It’s diverse and very creative.  It’s home to the O’s and the Charm City Roller Girls!  The Inner Harbor is a great tourist stop.  The Star Spangled Banner was written here and I promise, no other city has the Hon Fest Edgar Allan Poe found inspiration here!  And Duff Goldman has found a great spot to dig in his heels and sprout a delicious dream!  Baltimore is home to Charm City Cakes.  (We are so lucky!)

The Charm City Cakes crew just released their new book, Ace of Cakes; Inside the World of Charm City Cakes.  I received an invitation to come to their first book signing at Atomic Books (another killer Baltimore dig) and headed down with a friend and one of my sons.  My son, “Najay”, was beyond excited to meet Duff.  You see, he’s the kid that has aspired to be a chef for the better part of his life.  He loves to shadow his dad in the kitchen, sharpen up his knife skills and I can vouch he has quite a sophisticated palette.  This would be his first time meeting a celebrity chef.  It was late, really at the time he should have been getting to bed for school, but I knew this would be a fun adventure!  We arrived in Hampden and headed to Atomic Books.

in line

It was toward the end of the book signing, so it wasn’t too crowded.  We went in and purchased a book.  My friend, bought a graffiti magazine for her kid and thought it would be cool to have Duff sign it for him.

Atomic books!

We got in line.  “NaJay” was a bit nervous.


He stretched his neck to get a glimpse of the infamous Duff Goldman.  Spotted!  He was at the end of a long table of people!  Oh my!!  The whole Charm City Cake Crew was here!  Cool!


We gave our book to the first signer, Joe.  He quickly signed the book and off it went!  They had this signing thing down pat!  Our book moved four people a head of us and left us time to chat with some of the Charm City gang!  We met Erica Harrison, whose inspiration was Kermit the Frog!  We also met Sherri Chambers Fisher a decorator from my hometown, Catonsville!  Fun fact, she has directed the play, Earth, Wind and the Baltimore Fire, for Fluid Movement, with Duff Goldman acting as mayor of Baltimore circa 1904!  Sherri had on a great shirt!  I introduced myself and Erica took down the LoveFeast url!

Ace of Cake girls

We made our way down the line, with one person in front of us to Duff, I glanced at my kid to find him smiling nervously.  Duff began to put pen to paper on our book and I quickly requested he put in a personal note to our LoveFeast readers.  “Thanks for joining us at the table” he wrote!

Ace of Cakes

duff's note

I asked him if my son could get a picture with him.  Then a man sitting next to him answered, “Just have him stoop down in front of the table.”  Evidently, this guy was the “gate keeper” to Duff.  I can appreciate that.  I’m sure there are a few crazed fans out there trying to get a piece of Duff’s cake!  But, seriously, my kid is harmless, he just wanted to get a picture with a guy that inspires him!  Duff, rising to the occasion, stepped out from behind the table to put his arm around my kid (so glad, there’s a kid still inside of him that remembers what it’s like to be 12!) and get a picture with him!  Thank you Duff!

Duff and Najay

Duff sat down and took a look at my friend’s magazine.  She apologized it wasn’t one of his books, but explained she had an artist for a kid and thought he’d like this better.  Not knowing, Duff was once a “wall artist” himself!  He quickly bombed that mag!  How fun!

Duff's tag

Then, I turned back to have Duff sign my kid’s phone (he wanted something to show his friends at school) only to find the “gate keeper” blocking my path.  “No, he won’t do that.  We don’t let him sign phones.  Move on, there are other people waiting.”  I glanced back to see two more people in line.  “Really?” I said.  “Yes, now move on.”  “But, this is for a 12 year old boy…he just wants to show his friends.”  He quickly flagged me away without a thought.

Let me just say, the crew at Charm City is the real deal.  They are just like you see them on  Ace of Cakes.  They were joking with one another!  They smiled and looked us in the eyes.  They were approachable and really, I knew we could be fast friends if given a minute to chat!  They are fellow artists and after reading, and not being able to put down the book, I just knew they were kindred spirits!  But, the “gate keeper” about left me with a bad taste in my mouth.  I understand the need for some protection…I get it.  But, dude, we are in Duff’s hometown, Baltimore, in Atomic Books…his backyard, trying to get an autograph for a 12 year old kid, who just happens to be inspired by Duff!  “Najay” could be a Duff one day!  His parents embrace his art, encourage him to explore his gifts, and just like Duff’s mom, we set a stage for creative endeavors!  But, “gate keeper”…he couldn’t get an autograph on his cell phone?  Really?!  It would have been worn off in a few days from the use.  Maybe you don’t have any kids.  In that case, I guess I can kind of understand, but, speaking from experience (I have five kids) this one kind act, would’ve gone a long way!

I calmed down as I drove home because my friend and I realized that while I was arguing with “gate keeper” he was distracted from the special tag she received for her kid!  (Thank you Duff!)  We know you bent the rules for that one, and we appreciate it!  We love the young and budding graffiti artists!  We even LoveBomb them on a regular basis! So, thank you, again!


Like I said, I couldn’t put the book down…I’ll give you a glimpse…but, come back tomorrow and I’ll show you more!  We will also give this copy to one very lucky reader…but, now I have to run, go to the gym, do some laundry and set some stages for my kids to explore their dreams!

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  1. Suhhhhweeeet! So glad you got to get a picture with your son

  2. Me too! Even though there was a bit of teeth pulling to get it! 🙂

  3. John SleepingBear says:

    I just missed an opportunity to meet Duff as well. He was in the ‘Burgh 2 weekends ago, however I was unable to attend the event. Tell “Najay” to keep “shadowing” Dad in the kitchen, to keep dreaming (and make em big) and someday he too will be signing books and have a “gate keeper” of his very own!!!!

  4. Thanks John! We believe in dreaming big around here!

  5. Duff and all of his crew are really great people–they did our wedding cake for us back in 2006 (before all the Ace of Cakes hoopla) and he was just great. I had no idea what I wanted, and he just sat and sketched with me, and came up with a great idea for a beautiful cake. I’m glad your son got to meet him–he’s a great example of how a local guy (he went to UMBC and started cooking at Charleston) can live his dreams!

    PS-it was great to meet you on Friday!

  6. My sister-in-law, hubby and I got to meet Duff and Mary Alice at the Iowa Food & Wine expo … they were two of the funniest and most gracious people I’ve ever met. Just incredible!

  7. I don’t watch the show so I do not really know who these people are. But I love the post for making me fell like I was there too. GREG

  8. Definately a Hairy Cake with some scissors blowdryers , and Giant Big B-more hair!!! Or a skater skate parky thingy!

  9. I’m sorry if you found the “gatekeeping” aspect of the signing slightly off-putting.

    We had a VERY long line of VERY excited fans (in various states of sobriety) and sometimes, in their excitement, people forget their boundaries. Believe it or not, the “gatekeeping” was necessary.

    This was a signing for Charm City Cakes’ new book. As we estimated between 400-500 people coming through the door, some of them with strange ideas of what they’d like to Charm City Cakes to sign, we at Atomic felt it would work best to everyone’s benefit if me and another employee worked to keep the line moving, and to make sure no one person was holding things up for everyone else with strange requests and asking to sign things other than the book (although Duff did sign the Day in the Lyfe which was pretty cool).

    Overall, I hope you and your son and friend had a great experience, and I’m sorry you found me off-putting.

  10. Ah Benn Ray! Thanks for stopping by our table! We are happy to have you join us! I totally understand your position, but for future signings…kids are not inebrated adults. They don’t quite pose the same threat. At that point in the night, there were two people behind us. We get it and I’m sure Duff appreciated your safety measures. But, it still would’ve gone miles for my kid to show his friends his cell phone. Just sayin’.
    Anyway, we still think Atomic is a cool place and should be a definite stop to anyone visiting Baltimore!! It’s a one of a kind bookstore that offers a glimpse into true Baltimore culture!


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