Since 2009, fans of the TLC show Cake Boss have tuned in every week to watch the exploits of the Valastro family as they create custom cakes for every occasion you could think of. No matter what the customer wants, be it something to celebrate the opening of a new museum exhibit or something tasty to be shown off at someone's dream wedding, Buddy and his team of expert cake decorators turn out crazy pastries that you couldn't see even in your wildest imagination!
The show has left a lasting impact on popular culture; Cake Boss is still one of TLC's highest-rated shows (now with multiple spin-offs and product lines), and the popularity of the series has increased tourism in the city of Hoboken, New Jersey exponentially.
However, not all is as it seems at Carlo's Bakery. Superficially everything looks like it's fine and dandy... The Valastro family seems to be a close and happy one, the customers are always over the moon about their finished products, and business is always booming at the pastry shop that has been around for over one hundred years. What the cameras don't show you are the behind-the-scenes scuffles and secrets that the people over at TLC want to keep hidden from the public. Legal issues, controversies, family drama, and a little bit of reality TV fakery are no stranger to the world of Cake Boss.
Here are 15 Dark Secrets You Didn't Know About Cake Boss!
15 Buddy was arrested for a DWI in 2014
The star of the show, Bartolo "Buddy" Valastro, is known for his boorish yet charming demeanor. Even though he acts all rough and tough on the outside, deep down you can tell that he's a great guy with a soft spot for his family and a good sense of humor. Buddy has been running Carlo's Bakery since his father's unexpected and tragic passing in 1994, and has acted as a model citizen as well as a role model to the people who watch his show.
This is why it came as such a shock when, in 2014, Buddy was arrested and charged with a DWI in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. At around 1 a.m. in the morning, police officers pulled over Valastro while he was driving his yellow corvette. Allegedly, Buddy tried to talk his way out of the arrest by claiming that he couldn't be arrested because "[he] is the cake boss."
After spending a night in jail Valastro was released. However, Buddy was quick to apologize and take responsibility for the incident.
14 Buddy once had his own sister fired from the show
Anyone who watches Cake Boss will be familiar with his sisters. The women of the Valastro family tend to add a little bit of flair to the show by creating drama around the bakery and coming up with funny pranks to pull on Buddy and his employees.
Mary Valastro (now Mary Sciarrone) is the only member of the Valastro family to not have their significant other involved with Carlo's Bakery in some way, shape, or form. This particular sister is known for her fiery temper and her habit of saying whatever comes to her mind without any filter.
This got Mary in trouble during the middle of Cake Boss' fifth season, when she wouldn't stop making rude comments to the rest of the employees. Buddy pulled her off to the side and told her to knock it off, which resulted in the two getting into a shouting match and Buddy firing her from the bakery as well as the show.
Though Mary returned to Carlo's Bakery just a few episodes later, Buddy stands by his claim that in that moment he truly never wanted to see her face in his cake shop again.
13 The cake "surprises" are fake
The entire concept of Cake Boss consists of Buddy and his crew surprising their customers with creative and artistic pastries that they have no idea are coming. At the beginning of an episode, a customer will come to Buddy and present him with a unique cake request for their special occasion. Though they have a general idea of what they want it to look like, they almost always walk away, leaving the final design to Buddy's discretion. Like clockwork, they are always pleased with the final product that the bakery comes up with.
This may make for good TV, but in reality, the customers that appear on Cake Boss go into their meeting knowing darn well what they're going to get. Think about it: why on Earth would you go to a meeting with a baker in full TV makeup?
Just about every person who walks through the door at Carlo's Bakery has already talked to the consultants about their cake because, let's face it: when you're going to be paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a cake, you're going to get exactly what you want!
12 Cousin Anthony's bigoted tweets
Every Batman needs his Robin, and for ten seasons Cousin Anthony was Buddy's. Well, maybe he was more of a Bat-Mite than a Robin, but the point still stands; Anthony was the character on the show who was portrayed as a wide-eyed young man who made a bunch of mistakes but who always meant well. This was why it was such a shock when, in the show's tenth season, Anthony quit his job at Carlo's without so much as a warning.
In 2013, in the aftermath of the horrific Boston Marathon Bombings, Cousin Anthony sent out a tweet that many considered to be based in bigotry. He claimed that America should stop "...letting these Animals into our country so they can keep attacking us..." The tweet came before the FBI had identified any suspects in the murders, and many followers claimed that Anthony was racially profiling the attacks to promote his own political agenda. Things didn't get better when Cousin Anthony started confronting his critics.
11 Mary Valastro sadly passed away in June of 2017
Ever since his father's tragic death in 1994, Buddy and his mother Mary have been extremely close. As an immigrant from Italy, Mary and her husband came over to America and started working in the very same bakery that the show takes place in today.
Though she retired from the bake shop only a season or two into the show, Mary was always showing up to check in on Buddy and the rest of the family. In 2012, the Valastro family was blindsided when she received a diagnosis of ALS (a nervous system disease that degenerates muscle function).
Even though the family struggled with complications that came along with the horrible illness, Mary continued to keep in good spirits and appeared on the show as often as she could. Sadly, in June of 2017 Mary Valastro passed away from complications related to her ailment. In memory of the beloved matriarch, the employees of Carlo's Bake Shop set up an eloquent flower display that stood outside of the establishment.
10 Most of the food is made at a factory, not Carlo's Bakery
Cake Boss may be focused strictly on the titular pastries, but Carlo's Bakery has always been more known since its inception for its smaller items such as lobster tails and cannolis. If you ever go to the popular tourist attraction you'll find the staples of any major cakery. Cupcakes, donuts, cookies, and tiramisu are just a small sample of tasty morsels that are purchasable in this particular establishment.
However, according to a Reddit AMA from a Carlo's Bakery employee, everything you see on screen in Cake Boss is premade and shipped to the store every day. This will come as a shock to longtime fans of the show because the series always goes out of its way to talk about how Buddy's employees make their food fresh every day right there in the shop.
In reality, Carlo's Bakery has become such a large brand that it has "factories" that make all of their desserts and then ship them off to the multiple locations across the country.
9 A disgruntled employee of Carlo's Bakery made a custom cake for Buddy's DWI
As we mentioned in an earlier entry, the DWI arrest of Buddy Valastro shocked fans of the show who viewed the reality star as a model citizen and a wholesome family man. Though the Cake Boss has owned up to this incident, taking full responsibility and calling it a huge mistake, that doesn't stop people from poking fun at the screw up every now and again. One of these critics was Buddy's former assistant, Tony Albanese.
He was never a main character on the show, but Albanese was an intern of Carlo's Bakery that appeared on a few of the earlier episodes of the series. Tony obviously learned a lot from his time at the Hoboken pastry shop; a few months after Buddy's DWI, the baker created a custom cake depicting his former boss behind bars alongside the words "Tanked Boss."
Though Albanese claims that it's all in good fun, Valastro himself has refused to even acknowledge the publicity stunt's existence.
8 The show was sued in 2010
Back in 2009, when Cake Boss first came onto the scene, nobody could even imagine how big of a hit it was going to be. In the years since, the show has become a multi-million dollar endeavor, complete with its own line of cookware and recipe books. Naturally, success draws out the jealous and those looking to cash in on the show's fame.
A year after the show took off, a Seattle company sued TLC for copyright infringement. The company claimed that their software program, which was named "CakeBoss" and helped bakeries manage their orders, had been around since 2006 and that the channel was profiting from their trademarked name. A judge agreed, and Cake Boss looked like it was going to get another name after its third season.
The suit was eventually settled out of court and Buddy's show was able to keep its title.
7 Buddy admits that the show is more about showmanship than talent
At Carlo's Bake Shop, the creation of cakes is serious business. Though nowadays the company could make a living strictly off its merchandise and tourist appeal alone, originally the custom cakes that were made were the big moneymakers. The importance of these creations means that every baker or decorator working on the product has to be as meticulous and careful as they can possibly be. For the audience, this snail's pace process isn't exactly something they'd want to see.
Buddy himself recognizes this, and admits that his show is much more about choreography rather than raw talent. He understands that there are other bakers out there that are perhaps more artistic than his crew or that maybe make more scrumptious cakes than his bakery, but the appeal of Cake Boss has always been the way Carlo's Bakery goes about their day-to-day operations and the dynamics between the different characters.
6 The Transphobic episode
Buddy and his family are always trying to play pranks on each other (mostly aimed at Cousin Anthony). Some of the tricks seen on the show included Anthony getting bombarded with pies, Buddy sending a clown after an employee that was afraid of clowns, and dumping water and flour on an unsuspecting crew member. However, fans accused the Buddy of going too far in 2012.
As part of an episode involving a Mardi Gras celebration, Cousin Anthony talks with a woman whom he finds particularly attractive. Anthony and Carmen flirt and exchange numbers, all while Buddy tells the audience that he's setting up a giant prank; Carmen Carrera is a transgender modeling superstar and Cousin Anthony has no idea. After Carmen gives him a peck on the cheek, Buddy calls him over and tells him "She's a man, baby!" The reaction from Anthony is shock and horror as he runs out of the bar.
Carrera quickly shot back at the show, saying that she didn't know she was going to be part of a joke that was so insulting to the transgender community. Buddy has since apologized, and the episode has been pulled from syndication.
5 The Valastro Family doesn't care much for cake
With a name like Cake Boss, it's pretty obvious that the lives of the Valastro Family would revolve around the dessert in question. Even the spin-offs from the series are cake-focused in their own way! Cake is the lifeblood of Carlo's Bakery; without the cake decorating talents of Buddy and his crew, there would never have even been a show.
The deliciously creative creations of the show have gone on to awe anyone who's stood in their presence on top of providing them with a tasty snack.
However, the Valastros aren't really that crazy about cake themselves. Perhaps it's because the pastry in question has seemingly taken over their lives, or perhaps they realized a long time ago that you don't make it far in the cake decorating industry when you keep eating your product.
When Buddy was asked by an interviewer what the family was going to be eating for the holidays, he responded by saying that they weren't really into cake as a dessert, and preferred things like cannolis and eclairs.
4 The show is mostly scripted
What more could you want from reality TV than what you get in Cake Boss? It has everything - the charismatic and good-natured lead, annoying side characters who create drama whenever they're on screen, tight deadlines and demanding clients that cause tensions inside of the shop, and audiences are practically beaten over the head with family values by the Valastro Family. There never seems to be a dull moment inside of Carlo's Bake Shop.
Well... there's a reason for that. As stated before, Buddy understands that the show is all about the choreography and keeping audiences entertained. This means that several events in the show are scripted for maximum entertainment value.
Remember when Mama Valastro walked in on the erotic cake just as the cameras happened to be watching? Or the time that two of the employees dropped an expensive cake down the stairs when they were already on a tight deadline? Situations like these happen quite often and seem to be a little too convenient to be mere coincidences.
3 Buddy is almost never at the bakery
Perhaps the most shocking revelation from this list comes in at #3. You read that right. Buddy, the owner of Carlo's Bakery whose entire lifeblood lies in its success and who has been working in the establishment for over twenty years, is almost never physically at the bakery. Regulars of Carlo's claim that since the show has hit it big, Buddy only shows up when it is time to film the show and commercials for the store.
You can't really blame the guy for not wanting to be there. On the rare occasions that he is present fans line up like tourists at the local zoo to try and catch a glimpse or a picture of the famed baker. Likewise, the place has become such a madhouse during months of high tourism that you'd have to be crazy to want to deal with these people.
However, it's odd that the man who helped build Carlo's into the juggernaut it is today seemingly wants nothing to do with it outside of his TV show.
2 Most of the cakes made on the show are completely inedible
The centerpiece of every episode of Cake Boss is, well... the cakes! In each and every show the employees of Carlo's Bakery are tasked with creating a custom-made cake to coincide with a special occasion. Using a combination of sheet cake, rice crispy treats, fondant, sugar paste, and various structural materials (such as wood and wire), the crew is able to create pieces beyond the customer's wildest imagination.
What if we told you that because of these construction ingredients, most of Buddy's cakes are completely inedible? Often times the cakes presented at the show's finale are for show only; they flaunt it at the event, cut a piece or two out of it, and then when cameras stop rolling bring out sheet cakes with minimal decoration (or none at all).
In one case, the 400-pound cake that was presented to the the Chicago Cubs was found in the dumpster behind Wrigley Field mostly untouched. Now, there have been cases in which the final product is able to be eaten by customers, but this is a huge minority.
1 One of the original cast members is in prison for assault
Does anyone remember Remy Gonzalez? We don't blame you if you don't; he is the cast member that the show has gone out of its way to make sure nobody associates with them anymore. Remy was Buddy's "left-hand man" for the first few seasons of the show as well as his brother-in-law (he was married to Lisa Valastro). A few seasons into the show, Lisa was suddenly divorced and Remy was nowhere to be found.
Turns out, Gonzalez was arrested in 2010 for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. He eventually pleaded guilty to the crime, and after unsuccessfully trying to withdraw his plea in 2011 he was sentenced to nine years in prison. Remy is currently still serving his prison time, and is almost guaranteed to be deported back to his home country of Mexico as soon as the sentence is over. Yeah... we totally get why TLC tries so hard to cover up this one.
Did we miss out on any of Cake Boss' juicy dark secrets? Let us know in the comments!