11 Best And 11 Worst Cakes From Cake Boss

The "Cake Boss" boss Buddy Valastro has experienced his fair share of fame and controversy over the years, but through it all, he's kept baking at the now-famous Carlo's Bakery. A fourth-generation baker, Valastro grew up in the kitchen alongside his family. "My parents lived upstairs from the bakery, it wasn't just work — it was their lives and who they were," he told Community Maganzine.

Family remains central to Valastro's life and work. "Nobody's going to work as hard as your family or care the way that your family cares." His siblings, cousins, and children are frequently in the kitchen taking orders from Valastro or ogling at his latest creation. After 14 seasons and several spinoffs, Valastro is an expert at keeping viewers entertained by stretching limits and aiming higher than anyone thought possible. His cakes can be refined or ridiculous, but he puts his heart (and his back!) into each and every one we watch him make.

We took a look at the cakes that have come out of Carlo's Bakery over the years and found glorious masterpieces, as well as gross mishaps. While the Cake Boss thrives on over-the-top baking assignments, his extravagant flair can be detrimental at times, causing him and his customers more pain than profit. But when they work — and they usually do — his cakes are truly sights to behold.

These are the best and worst cakes we've seen on "Cake Boss." 

Best: Aquarium cake

When Buddy Valastro's niece asks for an "under the sea" themed cake for her Sweet 16, Valastro and his team set to work creating one of the most intricate and interactive desserts Carlo's Bakery has seen. In the center of the sprawling creation is a huge aquarium swimming with tropical fish and a handmade coral reef sculpture, and the edible underwater scene that surrounds it features cake-rendered sea creatures of all shapes and sizes. The team replicates the coral's jagged edges and variant textures with a combination of isomalt, modeling chocolate, fondant, and layered colorful frosting, all of which results in what they call, "the sickest coral we've ever done," and we have to agree.

The team adorns the towering cake with flashing lights, making the whole scene appear watery and rippling. To top it off, Valastro engineers a helicopter-like propeller that spins two cake fish around the entire structure. With both real fish and their sweeter clones, this cake is a masterpiece that mimics the majestic world under the sea. As Valastro said, "best cake ever."

Best: Sesame Street cake

When Buddy Valastro and his team are hired to make dessert to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street, Carlo's Bakery creates an entire city block out of cake. The final product captures each tiny detail of this beloved childhood show, from the cobbled sidewalks to the piles of garbage Oscar the Grouch calls home. Valastro wanted the cake to properly commemorate Sesame Street's emphasis on interactive learning, so the cake portrays not only the characters of the show, but the letters and numbers they teach viewers as well.

At approximately eight feet long, the team had to transport the cake in separate pieces and then put it all together. "That thing would never fit through the elevator!" Valastro said. It all paid off in the end, when "Cake Boss" viewers witnessed the whole cast of Sesame Street gathering around the table to take in the delicious miniature versions of themselves. "I'm trying to contain myself!" said Cookie Monster.

Best: Transformer cake

Buddy Valastro had to call in the troops for this one — the 7,000-pound Bumblebee model was made with an 8-10 person team and took the "Cake Boss" crew three days to complete. "This was the hardest cake I've ever done," Valastro claimed, but it was also his proudest accomplishment. 

Though the cake doesn't work quite as well as the real Bumblebee, Valastro got the chance to try out the next best thing — for research purposes, of course. "Driving a new Camaro really inspired me to go out of my way and make an awesome cake," he said after his test drive. The finished cake featured multiple moving parts and pyrotechnics; Valastro even hired a hydraulics specialist for this project to ensure the cake was safe (and not just to eat).

"I'll never forget when I was done," Valastro said in an interview with Parade. "It was about 4 a.m. I stepped back, I looked at what I made, and cried. I said to myself, I wish my dad could see what I made."

Best: NASA cake

For the 30th anniversary of NASA's Space Shuttle program, Buddy Valastro and his team made one of their most extravagant cakes of all time. The cake is impressive in itself: it contains each part of a functional space shuttle — an orbiter attached to solid rocket boosters and an external tank, frosted and seemingly ready for takeoff. But this cake is more than just frosting and fondant. As usual, Valastro couldn't resist going above and beyond (pun intended) expectation: this one flies. 

"The team equipped the cake with pyrotechnics and mounted it to a moving scissor lift to give it the illusion of blasting off." With its flaming engine and the American flag hand-painted on the side of the rocket, it's easy to forget this machine is edible. Thankfully, it never actually shot into space — Valastro's clever engineering allowed guests to see a rocket "fly" without losing their dessert to the stratosphere.

Best: Candy mountain cake

This "candyland wonderland dream cake" was created for Buddy Valastro's son's first birthday, so of course it had to be special. The first birthday celebration is a pretty huge deal in Italian families, and "Cake Boss" honored the day by constructing a huge candy mountain for Carlo. The gigantic sculpture was put together by installing plywood sheets haphazardly on top of one another and later covered with cake, Rice Krispie treats, and fondant, all of which created the illusion of a natural landmark. Towering above Valastro, the cake is probably large enough to house his young kid — and maintain a months-long sugar high.

To add to this cake's nature scene, the team made candy trees and sugary woodland creatures to hide in the mountain's frosted crevices. Ever the maximalist, Valastro added a chocolate river to pull the piece together. By installing a pump inside the hollow structure, Valastro kept the syrupy current flowing all through the party, making several sticky-handed kids very happy.

Best: Leaning Tower of Pisa cake

Buddy Valastro isn't all pyrotechnics and pizzaz — his technical craft and artistry is what makes his cakes so unique. There's no better cake to show off Valastro's fine-tuned detail work than the Leaning Tower of Pisa model he made for a wedding. The cake mimicked the Italian tower's medieval architecture down to each Corinthian column and capital. The couple who hired Carlo's Bakery stressed the importance of avoiding a "Falling-Over Tower of Pisa," but with the Cake Boss himself — and his team of skilled bakers — their worries were for naught. 

"It's like being an artist," Valastro told the New York Post. "You spend days painting a painting. When you finish it, you step back, you feel like you want to fall down, then you say, 'Look what I did with my God-given hands.' When I'm making cakes, I go into that zone, I don't hear nothing, I don't feel nothing, all my pain goes away." 

At over four feet tall, it wasn't quite as big as the real thing, but it certainly tasted much better.

Best: NASCAR cake

"We're talking about making a life-size racecar cake." When the president of the Retail Bakers Association approached Carlo's Bakery with this idea, Buddy Valastro was skeptical, to say the least. "You gotta be nuts!" he exclaimed initially. But before long, as Valastro is wont to do, he finds himself carried away with excitement and enthusiasm for the project, insisting that this cake isn't going to be "just any car." 

The NASCAR model includes all the bells and whistles of real racecars in cake form. The "Cake Boss" team built it by covering layers of pound cake and Rice Krispie treats with fondant, modeling chocolate, and 2,000 pounds of buttercream frosting. Under the hood (yes, there's a hood — one taken from a real car and wrapped in fondant), lay an edible engine. It took a team of 56 people four days to finish the masterpiece and ended up being the biggest cake Valastro had ever seen, let alone built.

Best: Life-sized piano cake

When Shenandoah Conservatory, a music school in Winchester, Virginia, wanted to throw a party for their donors who helped them purchase 94 new pianos for their music students, they knew the only place to turn was Carlo's Bakery. The task for Valastro and his crew? Create a life-sized piano cake to feed a party of 700 people

"We've done some huge cakes. This one's probably top ten," said Valastro. And it was no easy feat. The team was understandably nervous to drive a giant cake balanced on three legs all the way down to Virginia, so creating a stable base was key. And then there was the issue of covering their massive confection with one seamless piece of fondant to replicate the smooth finish of a Steinway. In order to get a piece big enough, Valastro had to fully climb on top of the counter to roll it out himself. They steamed "the heck outta this cake," according to Valastro to achieve that glossy shine. In the end, the team delivered an impeccable Steinway replica, complete with detailed sheet music and all 88 edible piano keys sitting atop a stunning gold base.

Best: Life-sized dollhouse

Buddy was approached by some local dollhouse collectors who were having an open house to show off their extensive antique dollhouse collection, and they wanted a special cake for the occasion. Valastro wasn't content to just make a life-sized dollhouse out of cake, his team also created several rooms filled with miniature edible furniture to fill up this tiny home. 

Using a molasses swiss cream filling for the structure of the house itself, the design team also sculpted a mini velvet sofa, a little dining table complete with a doily table runner, and tiny flatware. The kitchen had a fondant stove and a tiny coffee pot. And the proverbial cherry on top? They even made little paintings and portraits to hang on the walls, all out of edible, moldable fondant icing. 

According to Valastro, "This is a complete house, baby. We got everything in here, including the kitchen sink!" If the cake business doesn't work out, at least Valastro knows they can easily pivot to the construction business.

Best: Tax season cake

This "Cake Boss" creation drew from the most unlikely inspiration: tax season. Buddy Valastro's accountant friend asked him to make a cake for his CPA employees who were being overly taxed by a brutal tax season. What better way to honor a group of people beleaguered by the IRS than with a life-sized replica ... of themselves? 

Buddy built his stressed-out accountant using brown derby cake, which is made with whipped cream and fruit. And in order to achieve that lifelike look, he had his staff pose in various anxious ways so he could get the body language just right. While the size and scope of the cake is astounding, it's the attention to detail that really brought it to the next level, from the look on the cake CPA's face and the crumpled receipts to the container of Chinese food, the post-it notes, the lifelike office phone, and the laptop computer. Anything that can make taxes seem appetizing is a win. "The detail of the person is just fascinating. I can't believe what Buddy was able to do," said Michael Lee, Valastro's accountant friend.

Best: Gravity-defying coffee cake

The owners of a New York-based Colombian coffee shop wanted to celebrate four years of being in business so they asked the Cake Boss for a cake that not only celebrated the success of their cafe, but that honored their homeland of Colombia, the source of their one-of-a-kind coffee beans. Buddy incorporated their rich coffee into the buttercream and also built a cake featuring two giant burlap sacks overflowing with actual Colombian coffee beans. He cleverly pressed an actual piece of burlap into some fondant to give his confection that realistic burlap texture. 

His team also constructed a detailed Colombian sombrero and a coffee mug bearing the colors of the Colombian flag. But the pièce de résistance of this cake was the silver coffee pot seemingly floating in mid-air. This gravity-defying centerpiece really takes this cake to a whole new level. The secret? A metal pipe covered in molding chocolate gives the illusion of a stream of hot coffee pouring into the mug. Cafe owner Lili cried at the sight of the cake, and really what more could a Cake Boss ask for?

Worst: Hearse cake

While most of Buddy Valastro's wildest ideas become delicious works of art, the hearse cake ended up looking more creepy than cool. Valastro should have run for the hills as soon as his client said, "I have a special idea." Instead, after a quick, incredulous, "What are you, a putz?!" Valastro and the team get to work to commemorate the birthday of an undertaker.

This cake features a pink hearse (we're all hoping the trunk is empty) driven by a chocolate version of the birthday girl. The scenery surrounding the car is a strange combination of zebra stripes and psychedelic flowers, making for a dissonant aesthetic overall. 

While it was a thoughtful idea, some vocations simply aren't right for being depicted in the frosted world of cakes — and an undertaker is certainly one of them. Luckily, the birthday girl appreciated Valastro's work, but it's hard to imagine anyone else enjoyed biting into a corpse's preferred mode of transportation.

Worst: Toilet cake

Buddy Valastro's hometown plumbing company wanted to celebrate its 100th birthday in style. Naturally, they hired Carlo's Bakery and the Cake Boss crew to bake a toilet-themed cake for the big event. Valastro and his team decided on a life-size vintage model, complete with both frosting and flushing. 

"Weighing in at about 150 pounds, the cake — which has a pump that circulates water — features a range of realistic sound effects." The cake includes a tank full of blue piping gel to mimic water and tasty versions of the various mechanisms used to make toilets functional. Valastro even added a newspaper and toilet paper roll to the scene to make it more representative of a real bathroom — which might, in turn, cause you to pass on dessert. 

"I do some of my best thinking on the toilet bowl," he said. Although the team opted out of including edible feces in the dessert, biting into a toilet seat only sounds marginally more appetizing.

Worst: Wrigley Field cake

The cake version of Wrigley Field was impressive — at 400 pounds and 25 square feet, it portrayed the infamous Chicago baseball diamond surrounded by hundreds of miniature fans. And yet, it still ended up tossed in a Dumpster outside the park. The infamous baseball stadium was celebrating its 100th birthday, and Buddy Valastro was tasked with giving the Chicago Cubs the royal Cake Boss treatment. Over the course of four days, the team constructed a chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate fudge dessert panorama, complete with edible players and fans.

But apparently, this one looked better than it tasted — the cake contained many base parts that weren't mean for consumption, and sculpting fondant that's hard enough to chip a tooth. Luckily, Valastro doesn't harbor any resentment for the demise of his creation — the Cubs "loved the cake," he claimed in the Chicago Tribune. "They felt bad those pictures of the Dumpster came out, but what can you do?"

Worst: $30 million cake

Buddy Valastro cashed in on a diamond-studded wedding cake at a whopping $30 million, breaking the record for the most expensive cake of all time. While most of Valastro's cakes aren't cheap — prices fluctuate in the lower-thousands — this one was a whole new kind of extravagant. The bride insisted on adorning the cake with real diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, making much of the multi-layered cake inedible — that is, unless guests planned to sneak some of those riches out with them. 

Valastro admits the cake was pretty plain before the expensive decorations were added. He made a tiered vanilla cake with white frosting, and placed the jewels haphazardly into that blank canvas. Valastro claimed he wanted the gems to steal the show, but even diamonds lose their luster when you start to think about the kind of person who is willing (and able) to spend such an exorbitant sum of money on dessert.

Worst: Lisa cake

Apparently it wasn't Buddy Valastro's idea to render his wife in cake form, but he accepted the challenge nonetheless, and that seems to be where the Cake Boss went wrong. For Lisa's 30th birthday, Valastro sculpted her — down to the dimple in her chin, each curl in her hair, and the diamonds around her neck — from fondant and modeling chocolate.

"I just want to share with you my vision of you," Valastro said to his wife as he stepped back to reveal his creation. He claims it's his prettiest cake, thanks to the beauty of his model, but the thought of biting into a chunk of Lisa's arm ruins the sentimentality a little. Standing upright at over five feet tall, the cake's frosted eyeballs seemed to follow Valastro's party guests around the room. Luckily, Lisa didn't seem to notice, unless her excessive enthusiasm was merely hiding her horror (we wouldn't be surprised if that were the case). But hey — it's the thought that counts... Right?

Worst: Chandelier cake

When Ed, Buddy Valastro's party-planning customer, pitched a chandelier cake to him, Valastro's first question was, "Does it gotta hang?" "Chandeliers hang, Buddy," Ed replied. Valastro, looking dismayed, says what we're all thinking: "Cakes don't hang."

But soon enough, the Cake Boss team has displayed the cake — an upside-down tiered cake covered with blown sugar pieces and LED lights, all of which unfortunately resemble some sort of oblong virus — beside its blown glass counterpart, both of them hanging from the ceiling by large chains. Sadly though, the chandelier cake was not long for this world. As Valastro lowered his creation down to the ground so he could serve it to his guests, it crashed to the floor. "It just slipped right through my fingers," he said, the cake in pieces on the dirty floor. Thankfully no one was hurt by one of the shards of blown sugar that splintered from the masterpiece as it met its untimely end.

Worst: Ugly feet cake

A spa in Hoboken, New Jersey, was holding an ugly foot contest, and Buddy Valastro was hired to make dessert — what could go wrong? The cake could have depicted anything even vaguely related to pedicures — polish bottles, filing tools, even nail clippers. It could have just been a regular frosted cake (Valastro doesn't quite understand the "less is more" concept). But in typical Cake Boss fashion, Valastro and his team dreamed up the most ridiculous idea possible and put it on a cake.

The bakers carved two human feet – one before the pedicure and one after. Even if the foot is sparkling clean, no one wants to see it on their dessert plate. But wait, there's (always) more — this cake also featured, in gory detail, a pre-pedicured foot, complete with warts, yellowed toenails, and cracked heels. The fact that Carlo's Bakery was paid for this one is a feat in itself.

Worst: Bacon jalapeño pancake cake

Brownstone Pancake Factory in New Jersey asked the "Cake Boss" team to make a cake to help them celebrate International Pancake Day inspired by one of the many pancake creations on the restaurant's extensive menu. With so many sweet and delicious pancake options to choose from, this seems like it would be slam dunk cake. So which flavor did the team choose to emulate in their massive pancake cake? Bacon jalapeño. 

They built a cake that resembled a giant stack of pancakes and loaded it full of bacon and fresh jalapeño peppers (because they're spicier when raw.) They were NOT shy with how much spicy pepper they loaded inside this cake, prompting one baking assistant to exclaim, "That's too much! You're gonna kill somebody!" Even the owner of the Brownstone was a bit confused that out of all the pancake flavors they could have chosen — strawberry chocolate, salted caramel, banana, literally anything else — they settled on this flavor combo. To the bakers' credit, everyone did seem to enjoy the cake. But maybe next time stick to a flavor that doesn't require an excessive heat warning?

Worst: Coffin cake

During a Halloween episode, Valastro's team was approached by a woman named Betty who said she was a part of a crew (a horde? gaggle? a coven?) of actual vampires. She wanted a special cake for her "turning into a vampire ceremony," and naturally she needed a life-sized coffin cake complete with a man inside. You know, to symbolize a vampire's victim. The clincher? She wanted the cake man in the coffin to actually squirt blood when bitten. The double clincher? She wanted the man to look like Danny Dragone, one of Valastro's mustachioed bakers. 

Because this is "Cake Boss," the team took this odd request and ran with it, pulling off a final cake that was honestly a little too realistic. After delivering the cake to a cemetery in the dead of night, the team stood by and watched in shock and awe as the vampires descended on the cake and drank the "blood," which thankfully was just some sort of edible red liquid. In the words of Buddy Valastro: "Oh it's freaky."

Worst: Doomed sweet 16 cake

Some cakes aren't born bad, they just fall victim to their circumstances. Such was the case with this cake, which was made to celebrate a girl named Lexi's sweet 16 party. Valastro's vision for the cake was that each tier would tell a story about her life, from a beach-themed bottom tier, to a fondant Starbucks cup, cityscape middle layer, and even a signature Bloomingdale's shopping bag on top. 

Unfortunately, Lexi's life wasn't the only story this cake would tell. As it was transported down the stairs by Carlo's Bakery employees Danny and Cousin Anthony, the cake fell victim to gravity, tumbling down the entire flight of stairs as onlookers screamed. When Valastro saw what happened to his creation, he cried, "What did youse do?" But amazingly, Buddy and his team managed to rebuild the cake in an hour and a half, which means Lexi still got her cake and a truly sweet 16.

Worst: Pumpkin cake

Valastro was tasked with making a cake for a pumpkin carving company that specializes in over-the-top carved pumpkins. And in classic "Cake Boss" fashion, he took the theme and ran with it. The words "jack-o'-lantern" usually conjure up images of cute triangle eyes and maybe a toothy smile. But at Carlo's Bakery, apparently, a jack-o'-lantern means "the most horrifying face you can imagine carved into a pumpkin." 

Using modeling chocolate and fondant, the team created an impressive if disturbing cake, with lots of lifelike details that really did resemble the stringy, pulpy inside of an actual pumpkin. Unfortunately, the face they gave this jack-o'-lantern is so bizarre and, frankly, upsetting that it's hard to imagine anyone felt hungry after laying eyes on this baked beast. Like a cross between a Salvador Dali painting and Charlie Brown's worst nightmare, if they were going for scary, they knocked it out of the park. If they were going for appetizing ... pass.