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"Cake Boss" made Carlo's Bakery famous, but the New Jersey bakery was a staple for Italian pastries 100 years before the show aired -- here's why

Published by Business Insider on Fri, 15 Nov 2019

Carlo's Bakery opened in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1910.The shop launced to international fame in 2009, when owner Buddy Valastro debuted his extraordinary cakes onTLC'sCake Boss.But Carlo's was considerd an institution for Italian pastries in New Jersey long before the show aired.Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.Following is a transcript of this video.- Taryn Varricchio: A cake like this isn't found at any ordinary bakery. But these multitiered, over-the-top creations are a signature at one historic shop. The shop is featured on "Cake Boss," a TV show about Buddy Valastro's family bakery. But its fame goes far beyond extraordinary cakes. This is Carlo's Bake Shop, and it's been a staple in Hoboken, New Jersey, for 110 years.Customer: It's just absolutely a go-to institution. They're open early, they're open later, and when I need them on a holiday, they're still here for me.Taryn: We're in Hoboken, New Jersey, which is not that far from New York City, and this small town is known for one bake shop: Carlo's Bakery. They're famous for their amazing cakes, but they're also known for some really good pastries. So, before we head inside, we're gonna meet up with the Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro, to learn a little bit more about this 100-year-old bakery. Let's go.Carlo Guastaferro opened Carlo's Bakery on a quiet street in Hoboken in 1910. About 50 years later, Carlo's sold the business to Buddy's father. Bartolo Valastro moved the bake shop to Washington Street in 1989, where its iconic maroon and white awning hangs across from Hoboken City Hall today. Buddy worked closely with his father as a kid, rolling out dough, icing cakes, and piping hundreds of cannoli. But halfway through high school, everything changed.Buddy Valastro: When I was 17, I lost my dad, and my dad was grooming me to be the next boss, right, of the bakery. I was kinda, like, in limbo, but then one day I was just in my car, I was driving, and I said, you know what, I don't care. Whatever I gotta do, I'm gonna make this place successful. I am not, this is not my last stand. This is me, my family, my employees, everybody counted on me to rise to the occasion and make it happen.Taryn: Buddy saved his father's beloved recipes and made a promise to put this small-town bake shop on the map. It took a few years for Buddy to master fondant, but once he had, he began designing cakes other bakeries couldn't compete with. Since 2009, he's been known as none other than the Cake Boss, the celebrity TV baker that launched the Carlo's empire.This is two weeks' worth of ingredients. Only two! Incredible.Buddy: I bet you, if we go to the bakery today, at any given time, we'll have people from 10 different countries.Taryn: Wow. And what do they come to get' Do they just get any of the...'Buddy: The lobster tail and cannoli are our best sellers, for sure. You're coming in from Chile, you're not taking this giant, five-tier cake that's moving and spinning.Taryn: Right.Buddy: But you can get a cannoli or a lobster tail.Taryn: Although "Cake Boss" helped Carlo's achieve worldwide fame, the shop was loved by locals for many decades prior. Customers praised their traditional Italian pastries. Before the show aired, Carlo's was selling thousands of cannoli a week. Among the best sellers are their signature lobster tails.Customer: I've been coming to Carlo's for about a decade, maybe longer, and I love to, like, pick up a dozen cannolis or a dozen lobster tails, or sometimes six of each, and bring them to the office when we're expecting a bad day. Everyone always gets excited by them.Taryn: Lobster tails are very thin, shell-shaped pastries filled with Bavarian cream. How difficult is this to make'Buddy: This is the hardest Italian pastry to make, by far. OK' Not even a question. The start is always the hardest part.Taryn: This, right here'Buddy: 'Cause you gotta get it perfect, 'cause you gotta still be tight, but it has to be greased, otherwise the lines will stick to each other.Taryn: I'm just shocked it's not ripping.Buddy: Yeah, so it's a balance of how much you pull without it making it rip. So we're gonna go there and we're gonna pull it back a little, right' Then this is it. So now you gotta kinda stretch it so you have air underneath, right' See how there's air underneath the dough'And then what we're gonna do, we gotta open each one of these by hand, OK, and then...Taryn: There are so many thin layers in one lobster tail. Buddy: It's crazy, right'Taryn: It is pretty nuts. And then it looks like a shell!Buddy: It is! All right. Now, that's a Carlo's Bakery lobster tail, baby!Taryn: Thank you.Buddy: That's yours. Salute.Taryn: Salute.Buddy: OK' Gotta get to holding.Taryn: This is gonna get messy!Buddy: No, you gotta do the squat!Taryn: Oh.Buddy: You gotta belly, the belly squat.Taryn: Oh, my God.Buddy: So you don't get it on you. [crunching]Taryn: Ooh! It's, like, a refreshing cream.Buddy: It is.Taryn: It honestly is.Buddy: You get that, like, almost ice-cream cream, like, cream in there. You got that crunchy texture.Taryn: The flakiness is...Both: Incredible.Buddy: Incredible, right'Taryn: The layering and the crunchiness that you get with that.Buddy: We take so much pride in this, and I'm glad that we shared it with you.Taryn: You can't imitate this.Buddy: Never duplicated, baby!Taryn: Love for Buddy's pastries and elaborate cakes has allowed the Carlo's empire to grow. Today, the shop has locations all across the country, from California to Nevada to Texas.Buddy: I remember being with my dad, I was probably about 16 years old, and he was looking at a magazine, and he was like, "Son, can you imagine one day if our wedding cakes are in magazines'" And I turned around to him, and I said, "You know, Dad, one day me and you are gonna make this bakery a household name." And it's like, you know, after all this, it's like, wow, I'm pinching myself.Join the conversation about this story
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