When it comes to baking and decorating cakes, Mike Elder is as close to a culinary star as a person can get in Clinton, Missouri. Or, closer to home, Kansas City -- where Elder gets, he says, "99.9 percent of my business. I couldn't survive if I was only making cakes for the residents of Clinton."
Fat City first introduced readers to Elder -- a former auto mechanic turned cake stylist -- back in the summer of 2009, before he became the undefeated three-time champion of the TLC Channel's Ultimate Cake-Off series. Now he's working on creating a pilot for his own TV show.
Elder is no longer in business with his mother, Cheri, with whom he started decorating cakes about a decade ago. He now has his own business, Black Sheep Custom Cakes, which sounds a hell of a lot more butch than Cakes By Cheri & Mike, his Mom's old bake shop. Cheri, says Elder, is now retired from the cake business.
Elder is juggling three business ventures right now: his custom cake operation, which still creates wedding cakes and big specialty creations; traveling around the country creating spectacular cakes for charity events (including his upcoming "Icing on the Cake" fundraiser -- a sugar art show and exhibition -- for Kansas City's Newhouse, at the Overland Park Sheraton on April 17); and producing his own TV series.
"I'll be filming a pilot in the next two weeks," Elder says. "We're going to have to produce and edit it quickly to get it in the hands of TV executives before pilot season in Los Angeles. I don't want it to be like the other cake shows, like Cake Cop or The Next Great Baker. I'm thinking of more of a creative show, with me making the big, crazy stuff that I do for charity events that actually help people."
Elder plans to pitch the show to TLC, the Food Channel and Oprah Winfrey's new OWN network.