Last year we were so fortunate to have a cake made by Charm City Cakes (@charm_citycakes). I was thrilled to be able to see the shop and get a nice tour from these extremely nice people. I got to thinking that it'd be a great idea to do a little Q&A with Mary Alice, the manager of Charm City Cakes. We love Mary Alice and I'm so happy that this was able to happen. If you missed the episode here it is. (skip to 6:21 for the Avett part)
How did you first hear about the Avett Brothers? What was your first impression?
I heard the Avett Brothers for the first time on WTMD, 89.7, which is Baltimore's independent public radio station "for music lovers". The track was "Talk on Indolence". I am big into vocals and harmonies, so when I first heard Scott and Seth singing together it stopped me in my tracks. When I looked them up and got a couple of their albums it was love at first hearing. I'm glad their name starts with A because I rarely have to scroll very much on my iPod, since I listen to them practically constantly at work and in the car. :)
What gave you the idea to have the Avett Brothers on Ace of Cakes?
It was actually a whole bunch of things that happened at once! Their management had contacted our production company, at the same time that I got an email from their merch guy (who I met when he toured with Nashville Pussy and they came to visit) and then Joe emailed and it was like a perfect explosion of everyone wanting to be at the same place at the same time. When I found out that they had agreed to actually PLAY for us in the bakery, I nearly hyperventilated.
Who are some of your other favorite artists? What is your favorite song right now?
My other favorite musicians/bands are J Roddy Walston and the Business (a local band from here in Baltimore), a singer named William Elliott Whitmore, and Clutch (my brother's band, but honestly I'm not just saying that! I really like their music). My favorite song right now? Good lord that's impossible as that changes on the hour. I've been listening a lot to Mika's 2nd album this week - "We Are Golden" is a great song to get your day started with.
Do you play any instruments yourself?
I took piano and voice lessons as a kid, and played Clarinet in elementary school. I can read music pretty well but I haven't played an instrument in years, though. I tried guitar but I couldn't translate playing with two hands in a line (piano) to playing chords.
What is your favorite place to eat in Baltimore?
My favorite place to eat in Baltimore is Annabel Lee Tavern. It's the most quintessential Baltimore restaurant and it's an ode to Edgar Allen Poe, one of my favorite Poets. The food is exquisite and the prices are incredibly reasonable. The owner Kurt is fantastic and his Chef, Mark, knows his way around a steak like nobody I've ever known.
What is your favorite thing to cook for yourself?
Pizza! I love making home made pizza dough and cooking it on a stone, especially on a cold winter day. We love really simple toppings - just garlic, olive oil, spinach and mushrooms, with fresh home made mozzarella and parm on top. Sometimes a splash of truffle oil if I'm feeling extra sassy.
How long did it take to make that amazing cake for the Avetts?
Adam, Geof and Anna worked on the banjo - Adam baked it, Geof did an amazing job on carving and decorating, and Anna handpainted the face. It's always hard to say exactly how long any cake took, when people are working simultaneously on it, but from the moment Adam started to the moment Geof finished was probably 16 hours of work.
If you could make a cake for anyone in the world who would it be for?
Oh my gosh, that's a hard question. Believe it or my answer to this question, had you asked me 4 months ago - we actually already made a cake for! You'll get to see who I'm referring to - It's coming up on the season 8 finale of Ace of Cakes - stay tuned. But I guess if I had to pick now....I would say my Grandfather, who lives up in Maine, which is a little far for us to deliver a cake. But I'd love to create a cake for him. I'm not trying to be overly sentimental, he's an amazing guy one of my heroes and I wish I could teleport a super awesome cake to him on his birthday.
Thanks Mary! We love you!