Quick Stats: Duff Goldman, cake maker and chef
Daily Driver: 2010 Ford F-150 (Duff's rating: 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: see below
Favorite road trip: Los Angeles to Sonoma Raceway
Car he learned to drive in: 1968 Ford Mustang
First car bought: 1972 VW Super Beetle
Celebrity cake maker Duff Goldman recently made news as the official inaugural cake maker for President Obama's Commander-In-Chief Ball. The First Family, more specifically Sasha and Malia, are reportedly big fans of Goldman.
Chances are you know Goldman from his popular show "Ace of Cakes," which was on the Food Network for about a decade. But what you may not know is that he's also a renaissance man of sorts. Not only is this celebrity chef and cake maker a rock star in the foodie world, but he's also a graffiti artist, metal sculptor, and bass player for indie band Sand Ox and Elvis tribute band Danger Ace.
Beyond his cake-making empire, he's also a self-professed gearhead. He has roots in the Motor City, where his dad worked at GM.
Motor Trend caught up with Goldman at his new location on trendy Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood called Cakemix and Charm City Cakes West. He recently expanded here and now spends his time between Los Angeles and Baltimore, where his original Charm City Cakes is and where the show was shot.
"I am a freakish gearhead," he says, sitting at a table in Cakemix, which allows people to decorate their own cakes and cupcakes. "I will take your car apart and put it back together. I can totally do that."
Goldman's public appeal is apparent, as he's extremely affable in person. After just one afternoon, you feel like he's your best friend. You want to pull up a chair, have one of the tasty cupcakes he sells, and hang out for hours kibitzing about the things gearheads love -- cars, taking apart cars, California racetracks, and that signature Ducati sound.
These days Goldman's daily driver in Los Angeles is either his 2010 Ford F-150 or Ducati Monster 1100S.
2010 Ford F-150
"The only reason I'm giving it an 8.5 is because of gas," Goldman says. "It uses a lot of gas. The other thing too, the gas tank is so big that when I fill up the tank, because gas is so expensive, I have to go to a different gas station to actually fill it up. Most gas stations will only let you pump $100 worth of gas. I want to fill it up. Especially on a road trip, because stopping for gas takes time. It's a big ass thing. But I don't have to fill it up that much." It costs him about $130 to fill up.
But despite the gas issue, Goldman loves the F-150. "That is the best road-tripping vehicle I have ever had in my life, and I road trip like a motherf--ker." And he should know. He road trips everywhere. "I've road tripped all over the U.S. I've probably driven by myself east to west, west to east at least 12 times," he says. "The whole country and then chunks of it, for fun, for work, for everything. I love to drive. Seriously, a road trip in that is the best truck."
When he moved to Los Angeles, he drove this F-150 from Baltimore, loading up all his stuff in the back. He wasn't worried about anyone stealing his stuff during the trip. "A lot of times people just don't mess with stuff," he says. "I sort of think like a criminal. I was a graffiti artist and I would go to Braintree [Massachusetts], because Braintree was where they kept the trains." He's never lost that graffiti artist mind-frame, he points out.
He also transports his Ducati Monster 1100S in the F-150 when he's going to Sonoma Raceway for track days.
2010 Ducati Monster 1100S
"I love it. I love Ducatis. Mine has a dry clutch. Everyone's like, 'What's wrong with your bike?' I'm like, 'Nothing.''' He says this last word with relish, then lets out a big laugh. He has two more Ducatis back home in Baltimore.
2010 Ducati Sport Classic GT 1000
"That is the best road-tripping motorcycle I've ever owned," Goldman says. "It's awesome. When I first bought that bike, I broke it in in a couple days. I took four days off and I drove all over Pennsylvania. I drove from Baltimore. All over. Just for fun. Just drove around. I had a backpack, a wallet, a GPS, my charger, and nothing else." And he stayed at random motels.
2009 Ducati Monster 696
The Monster is his daily driver back in Baltimore. It was a very nice tip given by a satisfied client for a cake he made. He doesn't give it a perfect 10 because "it's not my 1100," he says.
Car he learned to drive in
Cars are in his blood. Goldman was born in Detroit, where his dad was an economist for GM and used to play racquetball with John DeLorean. "So we had some awesome stuff. We had all kinds of cars growing up. We had one of everything," he says.
His dad put himself through college reselling cars he bought and fixed. "He would get it, fix it up, sell it," Goldman says. "He put himself through college buying Rolls-Royces, fixing them, and selling them. He would buy them in England, ship them over here, he went to UCLA, fix them up - all the steering wheels were on the right-hand side. He would sell them here and make a ton of money."
Goldman grew up in Sandwich, Massachusetts, where he learned how to drive in his friend's 1968 Ford Mustang. While he was a hockey player in high school, he was also busy rebuilding cars. At 16, he rebuilt the Mustang, which had a 200-cubic-inch straight six-cylinder engine.
To buy his first car, he saved up money from working at Sandwich Pizza and at a diner called the East Sandwich Grill as well as his job as a roofer and framer.
First car bought
He saved up enough money to buy a manual-equipped 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle. "I bought that for $500 from some lady," he says. "It was on the beach, it was all rusted out, and I had to duct tape the floor back together. That's how I taught myself how to weld."
He promptly rebuilt the entire car. "It was white and shitty and gross," he recalls. "I fixed it, fixed the floor, rebuilt the engine, it was that flat-four. I could literally pick it up, put it on my table and work on it. Took all the chrome off, painted the whole thing black. Painted all the chrome hot pink, and then put a kickin' system in there. I had such a loud stereo in my Bug that the lights would dim with the bass. It was amazing! It was the best."
He also added some fun things to the Beetle. "My Bug had an 8-ball shifter," he says, with a grin. "I was kind of a delinquent as a kid and there was a guy who had a Jaguar -- this was the early '90s -- and there was the big Jaguar symbol and I ripped it off his hood and I put it on the Bug."
Unfortunately, the VW got totaled when he wasn't paying attention while making a left turn and he hit an oncoming car.
Goldman has rebuilt his share of cars besides his Beetle back in high school. Some belonged to friends. "I built a '67 Mustang that was a 289 that was a convertible and there were only a couple of these made. It had a power roof," he recalls. "The '68 Mustang was my friend Greg's. Then he totaled that. The '67 was also his and he still has it."
Goldman paid a total of $200 for a 1978 and a 1979 Jeep Grand Wagoneer for a project car. "One had no motor and one had no transmission. I took the transmission out of the '78 and put it in the '79, parted out the '78, got rid of it. The '79 used way too much gas, so I had to get rid of that, because I'm in high school and you don't have the kind of money to fill up a '79 Jeep Grand Wagoneer."
But it was fun while he did drive the finished Jeep Wagoneer. "They're awesome," he says. "I sold it to this guy who put a plow on the front, which was great. With the money I made from that, a friend of mine gave me an '81 Rabbit."