With a single serving size weighing in at a hefty 330 calories, there’s a good chance some of the thousands of Rhode Islanders who stopped by Kennedy Plaza Wednesday to receive a complimentary cake from Cake Boss Buddy Valastro will be feeling some remorse today and working a little extra to burn off the calories.
Or if you’re Dennis Hoag of Central Falls you’re planning to have a slice for breakfast and maybe another for lunch.
“Not bad,” Hoag says as he licked a dab of frosting from his finger under a shade tree in nearby Burnside Park.
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Cake Boss line of cakes being available at BJ's Wholesale Club, Valastro, star of the TLC show “Cake Boss,” was at the Providence Rink at the Bank of America City Center giving away 10,000 free “Cake Boss” cakes to his fans — or to anyone who just happened to be passing through Kennedy Plaza. Valastro was also on hand for fan photos for about two hours during the day-long event.
Described on the packaging as “moist yellow and velvety chocolate cake layers married together by an indulgent fudge filling,” the frozen boxed 10-inch cakes were distributed under a massive canopy by dozens of employees of Dawn Food Products, Inc., a family-owned bakery that makes the cakes based on Valastro’s personal recipes.
The “Cake Boss” cake line has seven kinds of butter cream cakes, four kinds of cupcakes and two kinds of fondant cakes.
On Wednesday, fans were able to get their cakes by waiting in a line that snaked all the way through 14,000-square-foot rink, but it was a line that moved fast despite the huge number of people.
“Before we even opened we had a huge line of people waiting, but since then there’s been a great flow and the line is moving smoothly,” said Joe Bushetto of Dawn Food Products, which distributes the cakes to BJ’s Wholesale Club — the first retailer to carry the cakes.
In the fall, BJ's Wholesale will be launching the sale of “Cake Boss” cupcakes.
“Cake Boss cakes are made with high quality ingredients from Dawn Foods and are based on Buddy's personal recipes,” says Bushetto.
In back of the canopy-covered tables where the cakes were being passed out, other Dawn Food Products employees were busy opening hundreds of boxes of cakes (four cakes per box) stacked on pallets delivered throughout the day by truck.
Like so many others, Hoag was walking to work minding his own business when he started noticing one person after another pass him by with a cake in their hands.
“I’ve never seen the “Cake Boss” show, but his cakes taste pretty good,” he said.
Brian Dockray, a paralegal from Cranston, was on his way to work and also noticed the commotion.
“There were people with cakes everywhere,” he says. “I had no idea what was going until I got there and saw that it was from that TV show.”
Joseph Fiyod of Providence said he waited in line to get a cake so he could share it with his grandchildren, while Raisa Edwards decided to stop by and grab one before her shift at Cilantro Mexican Grill on Weybosset Street.
But it wasn’t the cake as much as it was the chance to shake hands with Valastro that got Mary Celletti out of bed at 3 a.m. She made the trip with her daughter, Kerri Hall, and her two children, who are all fans of the show.
The show follows the operations of Carlo’s Bakery, a family-owned business in Hoboken, N.J., owned and operated by siblings Buddy Valastro (to whom the series' title refers), Lisa Valastro, Maddalena Castano, Grace Faugno and Mary Sciarrone. The show focuses on how they make their cakes, and the interpersonal relationships among the various family members and other employees who work at the shop.
But Buddy doesn’t stop there. The TLC TV network recently sent out a casting call seeking a bakery that Buddy can “whip into shape” for the reality show “Bakery Boss.” The show is looking for “ a bakery in serious need of help and sends interested business owners to a website www.bakerybosscasting.com , for more information. A quick check of the website reveals numerous comments from fans, those who bake as a hobby and those who own struggling bakeries seeking Buddy’s golden touch.
Some of the messages on the site are similiar to this: “Hi Buddy! My name is Chelsey and I'm from a small rural community in eastern Ill. I am interested in having my very own bakery ...” Or, “I have made over 1,000 cakes. I don't take pictures any more. Would like to own my business doing cakes. Need advise as to college courses you would recommend for me ...”
However, it was the “Cake Boss” fans in Providence who were able to see Buddy face to face on Wednesday.
After getting their cakes, Celletti and Hall were the third in line by 5:30 a.m. for the chance to meet the “Cake Boss” himself who arrived about mid-morning to pose for photos and sign autographs.
“We love him,” says Celletti. “He’ a phenomenal cake maker and the Italian family dynamic on the show is something we can relate to being Italians ourselves.”
“It’s pretty exciting because he’s a celebrity and we really like the show,” says Hall. “Not to mention we got some free cake.”