By Peter Covino
One of the most memorable lines in all of film history is “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”
Cannoli is that important. And so is cake.
So is it any wonder that when one of the stars of the TLC Network’s Cake Boss comes to Central Florida, the line outside of Carlo’s Bake Shop at Florida Mall is practically out the door.
You probably have seen (if you watch the show) Joey Faugno, head baker in the all-in-the-famiglia reality show, filmed at the original Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J.
Faugno has been making cakes all of his adult life, and he has spent 28 of those years at the New Jersey bakery, founded by Carlo Guastaffero in 1910.
Owned by the Valastro family since 1964, owner Buddy Valestro has become a celebrity on his own, since the show debuted in 2009.
Faugno was at the Orlando bakery last Monday, along with Chad Burkin, another bakery show employee favorite, and former contestant of TV’s Next Great Baker, to greet fans and promote season nine of the show. The premiere of the new season was last week.
“We have always been together,” Faugno said of the family dynamic, that has made the popular bakery and the show a success. He is married to bakery owner Valestro’s oldest sister, Grace. She also works in the shop.
While there are so many good things being prepared and baked in the kitchen of the Orlando bakery, it just doesn’t take the cake when compared to the massive undertakings that take place at the New Jersey bakery.
Wedding cakes and other celebratory cakes are made routinely in Orlando, but all of those cakes that sometimes sell in the five-figure range numerically are made in Hoboken.
Each week, on the show, Faugno, as chief baker, and the rest of the crew at the bakery, take on another challenge and create another memorable cake or two.
“It is what we do,” said Faugno. “But who knew this would happen,” he said of the show.
Some of the cakes made during the show are practically legendary.
Throughout the long run of the show, the baking team has made some very special cakes for the likes of Brittney Spears, the Kardashians, Jennifer Lopez, the New York Yankees and the New York Giants.
Some of those amazing cakes have included a mythical griffon for a group of forest game players, a Hollywood film cake for the Tribeca Film Festival and a Transformer cake shaped like the bumble bee Transformer.
“That cake was so big, we couldn’t build it in the bakery in New Jersey,” Faugno said.
Despite what you see on the show, some of the best cakes aren’t even part of the TV show because not everyone wants their cake or occasion to be part of Cake Boss, he said.
‘We have done some really cool stuff that never was seen,” he said.
Cake Boss is actually no stranger to Orlando. Several years ago Valestro was in Central Florida doing a Food Network Challenge, Faugno said, when Valestro and Mauro Castano (another show regular, and Buddy’s right hand man) got into one of those heated family arguments in front of that show’s producers.
The producers liked that dynamic, and it wasn’t too long after that Cake Boss was created. That was nearly 3oo episodes ago.
New episodes of Cake Boss can be seen on TLC at 9 p.m., Tuesday nights. Even if you don’t watch the show, you can always make that drive to Florida Mall and get some cannoli or other baked treats.
You can go right to the shop and browse, and definitely drool a little. Or you can order ahead online and pick up that order at the shop.
Here are some suggestions from looking through those glass windows.
Carlo’s Classic Cannolis: Six pieces, including four traditional and two chocolate-dipped cannoli. $24.80; Grace’s Gourmet Cupcakes: Six flavors, carrot cake, Nutella, Oreo, peanut butter, red velvet and caramel. $18. Lisa’s Loster Tails: Features four lobster tails, various fillings. $22. Momma Mary’s Mix: A selection of treats including cupcakes, lobster tails and cannolis. $59; Buddy’s Best: It features all of the above, plus your choice of one Decadent Cake. $85; Chocolate-dipped strawberries. Choice of milk, dark or white. $21.95 a pound; Custard cream puff. Filled with custard and powdered sugar. Two. $4. Éclair. $4. Order of two. Mousse Puff. Pastry filled with chocolate mousse and topped with ganache and powdered sugar. Order of two. $4. Sfogliatella. Order of two. $7.90.
They may not make those huge to order cakes in Orlando, but there still is a large assortment of cakes, everything from caramel and peanut butter to Oreo, tiramisu, chocolate mousse and many more. They usually serve from 6 to 8 persons and range in price from $14.95 for a dark chocolate mousse to $39.95 for the Beach Cake, a black and white decorated sponge cage with chocolate fudge filling. Check out the full menu at carlosbakery.com.