The Montage Beverly Hills may just have the best desserts in the United States.
Last week, the luxury hotel's pastry chef Richard Ruskell was named the "Best Cake Artist in America" after taking the top spot on the Food Network's Last Cake Standing -- and now he's looking to make the hotel as much of a Beverly Hills baked-goods destination as Sprinkles.
"We're starting to launch a line of cakes to go in June called Richard Ruskell Cake, and then if they want to order a specialty cake we'll be able to do that too. We're just waiting for the packaging," said Ruskell, who also accommodates special-order birthday cake requests at the hotel's Scarpetta restaurant. "I don't think that many free-standing restaurants are going to bake cakes for someone's birthday," he adds.
Currently, his most popular desserts at Scarpetta are the warm chocolate cake and the budino. "It's a butterscotch salty caramel pudding that we put little hazelnut crispy pieces in."
The chef was actually eliminated from the show in a previous episode but was brought back to compete in the finale. He won with a duo of cakes that included a wedding cake covered in crystal sugar. "And we lit it from inside so that it actually glowed," he says.
He won $100,000 in the challenge, which he plans to use to create a website of how-to baking videos. In the meantime, he'll be teaching a series of one-hour dessert-making classes ($50 a class) at the hotel on the last Wednesday of every month starting May 25.
Ruskell is now in the midst of planning what may be his dream creation: the cake for the final taping of All My Children.
"When I heard it was going off the air, I contacted someone and said I need to make that cake," says Ruskell, who once pursued a career as an actor and appeared as an extra on the show. "It's going to be a family-tree cake with all of the different families that make up All My Children as particular limbs on the tree, and I'm going to put on as many names from the history of the show as I can squeeze in there. I may put the names of the villains down where the roots are. It's going to be huge."