March 19, 2010 -- The baking business is booming -- spawning reality shows with crazy cakes and even crazier personalities. The shows are one part sugar, one part flour and all WOW!
Shows like Food Network's "Ace of Cakes," TLC's "Ultimate Cake Off" and WE-TV's "Amazing Wedding Cakes" are drawing in millions of viewers, and raising the bar in what can be done with a little flour and a lot of icing.
And then there's Buddy Valastro, whose show "Cake Boss" on TLC is like Betty Crocker meets the Sopranos. The show goes inside Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, N.J., that Valastro runs with his mother, sisters, and other members of his Italian family.
In an interview with "Nightline," Valastro explained why he thinks cakes have caught so much attention recently.
"It's just that we can do these kind of cakes now. We can do cakes that don't look like cakes," he said. "When they see these cakes, it's definitely art and it's the wow factor of what we can really do."
These confectionary creations are everywhere. On the pages of celebrity magazines, stars like Paris Hilton, Kelly Ripa, Reese Witherspoon and many others are posed with giant cakes at Hollywood parties. Cake is not just dessert anymore, it's a status symbol.
Valastro has created customized cakes for stars like Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. His team at Carlo's spent 60 hours creating a circus-themed cake for Britney Spears' birthday that was presented to her on "Good Morning America."
Valastro is constantly tasked with one-upping himself, but he welcomes the challenge.
"You know, I live for this. This is really, really who I am and what I do," he said. "And no matter how crazy the tasks get, and how obscene, it's like, I need that challenge in my life. I can't wait."
Life-Size Nascar Cake, Aquarium Cake Dazzle Clients
Some of Valastro's most outrageous cakes include a life-size Nascar cake, and a 14-foot-long cake made for an aquarium's anniversary that had a live fish tank built into the cake, with fish swimming.
His show "Cake Boss" is so popular, his sales have nearly doubled since it started airing. And now fans stand in line for up to two hours hoping to get a chance meeting inside the bakery with Valastro.
Valastro says no matter how popular his show or his bakery may get, he appreciates his longtime patrons as much as his new celebrity clients.
"Somebody coming in and getting a cupcake is just as important as me making a cake for the biggest celebrity in the world. Because, you know, at the end of the day no matter what happens in life, you have to be humble and not forget where you come from," he said. "It's fun to say you made a cake for a celebrity, but it's just as fun to say I'm making this cake for this girl who's turning 16."