The Chronicle's Best of ballot is on its way and soon readers will be able to chime in on personal faves in Larimer County. But when the Best of issue hits streets on March 27, you'll notice more categories than on the ballot. These are editors' picks. This is our opportunity to comment. And we do so with the usual snarkiness of an alt-weekly, the newspaper form that invented the Best Of.
On a recent episode of Food Network's "Ace of Cakes," the reality show that follows the hipster staff of Charm City Cakes as they build the most bizarre confections, like this Chinese take-out cake. But as I somewhat guiltily watch the show, I've always thought that these cakes were more artistic than edible. I mean, it takes them days to make the cake; doesn't the cake get stale? And that fondant they use to sculpt can't taste too good. Apparently, this is the case, and the Baltimore City Paper pointed it out in their Best of 2007.
Best Form Over Function
This Best of so outraged the staff at Charm City that an entire segment of the show was dedicated to it. Never mind that the City Paper gave them Best Cake in 2003; they were appalled by the suggestion that fondant may not have flavor. They wanted to call and complain. They discredited the whole paper like a bunch of whiny reality-TV stars. I think the Best of award is clever. I suppose this news-bin cake will be the last. (Yes, that's really a cake.)
Charm City Cakes
2936 Remington Ave., (410) 235-9229, www.charmcitycakes.com
There's no denying that the carefully sculpted confections of Charm City Cakes are beautiful. Actually, they're more than that--they're daring, vibrant works of art, custom-made to charm any whim, no matter how formidable or bizarre. Name anything you want, from an elegant cake of broccoli and flowers, to a cake modeled after a Quidditch field, to an elaborate design that looks exactly like your pet dog. But beauty and presentation come with a price, and in this case, you'll pay with both your taste buds and your wallet. What's the point of buying a $500-plus cake if you'll feel guilty about consuming it? And fondant might be great for sculpting elaborate designs, but it's at best flavorless. An ordinary chocolate lump you've proudly baked yourself can just as easily satiate a desperate, price-conscious sweet tooth. Next time you crave a fancy cake, ask yourself what you value more--form or function?