What’s could possibly top a season of indulgence?  How about a private holiday-themed tour of the famous Carlo’s Bakery Factory led by none other than Buddy Valastro?!

Known for his sweet treats and custom cakes, but perhaps made famous by TLC’s show Cake Boss, Buddy offered Pursuitist an intimate tour of the factory building that supplies his bakers’ dozen — all of his 13 bakeries — found in the Lackawanna Terminal in Montclair, New Jersey.  From here, delicious products are taken all over the country.

IMG_2527

If you’ve seen the show, you have a good idea what parts of the inside of the factory look like, because the show is filmed here!   Cake inspirations line the walls, and on every surface, artists are working.  Whether making ping pong table cakes, model car cakes, intricate flowers to add to cakes… Even the tiniest details look good enough to eat, and they should!  Everything is sugar (or sugar-like, but we’ll get to that in a moment).  Everything is edible.

IMG_2535

(Did you know that it takes about 15 hours for a single cake to be made, and it comes together from a variety of different teams, all with their own specialties.  That’s quite different from the approximately 10 minutes it takes to see one come together on the hit TV show!)

IMG_2531

After leaving the main decorating den, we were ushered past the Consultation Room, the only room in the building where cake is literally enjoyed all day, and end up in the Classroom.  This is where individuals that want to learn Buddy’s sweet secrets can sign up for any of the speciality classes that are offered weekends, and where Buddy tells us we’ll be learning the art of decorating the Gingerbread Cookie.

IMG_2554

But this is no ordinary gingerbread cookie.  It’s a brand new recipe.  And Buddy can’t wait for us to taste it to see if we can make out his latest modification.

You see, earlier this Fall, the reality TV pastry chef star announced his partnership with the brand Whole Earth Sweetener, a range of zero calorie and lower calorie sweetening products with ingredients sourced from nature.  Signing on as a Whole Earth Sweetener Brand Ambassador, Buddy has pledged to “Rethink Sweet,” and not only suggests how home bakers might use the products, but has worked to incorporate the sweeteners into his own Carlo’s Bakery recipes.

IMG_2553

“I’m a big advocate for moderation.  I don’t want to live in a world where I can never eat a cupcake again,” he told us.  “And I’m usually a nonbeliever, being from Jersey…” But when he made treats for his own kids with the Whole Earth Sweetener products and they “housed them without noticing the difference,” his interest was piqued.

And furthermore, he appreciates a challenge.  “I felt like a mad scientist trying to adapt my recipes… because these new products aren’t exactly a 1 for 1 replacement [for sugar].”  The type and amount differ recipe by recipe, but in his finished products and side-by-side comparisons, Buddy is pleased that most people could not tell the difference.

IMG_2528

“[No product will] ever cancel out sugar, but it’s true that we have to do something about our sugar intake for the future… In the end, I just hope you enjoy the goodies.  The ones with less calories and the ones with more.  Now we have both!”

And now back to the Consultation Room for more tastings…