Find Us

CakeLove’s Warren Brown Brings His Sugar Rush To National Harbor

By Jordan Wright

Jordan and cakelove's Warren Brown

Jordan and cakelove's Warren Brown

Warren Brown is on a mission. 

The eponymous all-American baker, owner and founder of CakeLove and Food Network star, has plans to get you into the kitchen.  A graduate of Brown University with a Bachelor’s degree in history, and of George Washington University, where he earned his law degree and a Master’s in Public Health, Brown dropped his law career like a bad debt in 2000 and followed his life’s calling by researching and refining the art and science of baking. By 2002, he had opened his first CakeLove shop in the District.  Brown is an impassioned advocate of “pure food” and natural ingredients, and delivers devotion to his craft and his customers every day. Last Friday, I caught up with Brown outside his newest location at National Harbor. I found him to be a gentle and droll man, generous of spirit and dedicated to sharing his knowledge with others.

JORDAN WRIGHT:  Congratulations, you’ve just opened your seventh location in the Washington area. What’s your next project?

WARREN BROWN: I’ve been talking to a woman who has an existing ice cream shop, Maggie Moo’s, in the downtown area around the Metro Center. The idea would be to partner in one shop.

JW:  A lot of your fans were introduced to you and your cakes through the Food Network with your show “Sugar Rush.” When did all that begin?   

WB; We started in 2005 and continued until 2008. They still broadcast episodes late at night.

JW: Are you interested in doing more television?

WB:  Right now I’m running my business, I call it the “World of CakeLove” and I’m writing my second book. The theme is the United Cakes of America. There are recipes for 50 cakes, one from each state.  Some states actually have an official state cake, like Maryland has a Smith Island Cake and Massachusetts has the Boston Cream Pie. Utah has scones that are like fried dough. I’m doing my own twist on the traditional recipes and, for instance, in the case of Louisiana, I’m creating a cake that has sweet potatoes and pecans in it too.

Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks

Photo by John Arundel/Local Kicks

JW:  How far along are you?

WB:  Basically I’m editing and getting ready to prepare for the photography for the book. I want to get historical props together that will reflect the different states. I would love to photograph my Mississippi Mud Cake out in the bayou perched on a cake stand.  That’s the beauty of having your own business. When you have the vision in your head and you can actually get it out, it’s very liberating.  Otherwise you’re in the cage of your own brain.

JW:  I love the concept of your book. Did you come up with it?

WB: Yes, and I loved doing the research on it. I studied American History and I’m a news junkie and have a history of reproductive heath education to teens in Rhode Island and Los Angeles.

JW: Can you tell me about some of your early food memories?

WB: We had a Charm-Glo gas grill and we would cook hamburgers and hot dogs outdoors. My mom showed me how to work the grill and let me cook whenever I liked. In Cleveland where I grew up every year there was a “rib-off”, a food contest, and I used to spend the whole day by myself walking around, buying tickets and eating ribs. One year I decided I could make my own barbecue sauce and make the ribs at home. I followed the recipe from the grill book. I was amazed that it had ketchup in it! After a while I began to change the recipe and play around with the ingredients and then I would season the ribs themselves.  My mom always had us help cook for Thanksgiving and other family holidays too, but I didn’t start baking until 1999. cake_loveI really liked the response I would get from people when it came to desserts. I noticed it was really different. They would get so excited to try my desserts.

JW:  Who taught you to bake?

WB:  I read a lot of books on baking. I bought a book called “How to Bake” and then I looked at the bibliographies of other books to find the common denominators. I read Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking”. I wanted to understand the dynamics of baking, the science of it and the fundamentals. Bruce Healey’s “The Art of the Cake” really inspired me. LOCAL KICKS:  I understand that you’re very involved with Kid Power DC.

WB:  We have a project called “Cookie Time”. It helps to expose kids to civics and the arts and to expand their knowledge in those areas. We have a joint project that is essentially us, taking the kids and showing them the recipes, and teaching them how to make cookies, and then they sell them on the street to fundraise. They get to go around the country and show other kids how to bake cookies. Recently they went to the Dominican Republic to teach kids down there. It teaches them entrepreneurism and how to be self-sufficient. I remember that during the recent Presidential Inaugural they were outside selling cookies in the freezing cold.

JW:  Would you like to tell me anything that I haven’t asked you?

WB:  I love to talk to people about food. I want people to get into the kitchen. That’s my goal. I’m interested in public health. That’s my background and education. There is so much disease and morbidity in the country and I think a lot of it could be wiped out if people would spend more time in the kitchen. Because it invites the family in and you have more talking and sharing. If you’re in the kitchen cooking you develop a natural curiosity about things around you. You want to ask more questions because you begin to understand that your food came from somewhere.  It’s the same principle of why we want to expose kids to so many things, so that they can have an appreciation for it…like the arts and ballet.

JW:  Tell me about your upcoming Mother’s Day event.

WB:  I’ll be doing a food demo on stage at the Gaylord National Hotel. It’s a cake demo and tasting…sort of like Baking 101. We’ll go through making two different cakes and then we’ll taste them and understand the different elements. I’ll explain about the different flours and their protein content and mix the batter and then talk about the results to expect…like the structure of the cake, and the flour and the addition of potato starch, which we use and which is very common in European baking. We’ll talk about the different baking temperatures too. I’m looking forward to it. Contact the writer at [email protected]. For tickets to Warren Brown’s “CakeLove Your Mom” event, or the VIP Family Cupcake Decorating” class call 301-965-2000. Or go to

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.