I was heading Baltimore to confer, converse and otherwise hob-nob with my fellow counselors. I usually try to sponsor some kind of event while I’m there, and I had the perfect plan--an afternoon tea, featuring a Charm City Cake.
My daughter is insanely devoted to Ace of Cakes, the show that features this bakery, which has created cakes that blow your mind, and blow up--no, literally (look at www.charmcitycakes.com). Since Charm City is based in Baltimore, I figure I would buy a cake, grab a photo op with Chef Duff, and all would be well-
-and all would have been well, if I had ordered the cake a year ago, and picked up deposit bottles along the highway from Detroit to Baltimore. I went to the Web site to order the cake--a month ahead, just like I would at the local bakery--and found that the next available Charm City Cake date is November 9th. I also discovered that the quality of the cake and the genius behind its design costs you at least $1000.
Am I miffed? Yeah--at myself. It should have dawned on me I wasn’t the only guy on the planet who watches the show; if I was, there wouldn’t be a show. Duff’s cakes rule so much, people from states that don’t even border Maryland will order ahead and pay to have a cake delivered from several states away.
What might this have to do with college? Watch and learn, rising seniors!
- Planning ahead rocks. You don’t need to worry about your ACT scores when you’re in eighth grade, but if seniors haven’t taken the ACT or SAT, now is the time to do that in order to get it done by October. That may seem a lifetime away, but twenty thousand of your closest personal friends will be taking the test, and if you wait too long, you may end up taking it at Patterson Park High School. Can you say Good Morning, Baltimore?
- To find your wallet, follow your heart. I’ve never seen Cake Baker on the list of lucrative careers. That’s because it isn’t--unless you see something in it that no one else does, and you have the strength to give oxygen to that vision. Chef Duff might or might not own a Bentley, but he sure owns the cake baking industry. Don’t believe me? Name ten professional athletes. Now, name 10 professional cake bakers, besides Duff. ‘Nuff said.
- Quality drives price, not the other way around. The Charm City Web site shows you why the cakes command the price they do; great stuff deserves commensurate pay. Keep this in mind when you college hunt--start with the qualities of the college, and when you find one that blows you away like Chef Duff’s Nightmare Cake (under Gallery), paying for it becomes a goal, not an obstacle--there’s a huge difference.
- Value your friends. Genius that he is, Duff can’t do it all by himself, so it’s a good thing he’s tight with his friends, who happen to work at the bakery. Moments of Sturm and Drang sometimes seem larger than life--especially during college app season and senior year--but the seas are calmer if you’ve got a crew who knows how a bilge pump works, and you know how to return the favor.
Making it to college, let alone a career, is almost never a cakewalk, but the lessons of Charm City can get you to your college graduation party in style.
Just be sure to order the cake early.