What does one do to amuse themselves over Independence weekend in Los Angeles? How about baking a cake at Duff's Cakemix on Melrose. I've been peering in the windows of this fine cake studio on my daily walks and was recently invited to come along for the ultimate cake decorating experience.
Cakemix is the brainchild of reality TV star Duff Goldman. Duff opened the 2,400 square foot DIY cake decorating store on the exclusive Melrose Avenue back in 2012 and the store has been buzzing ever since. It is located next to Charm City Cakes West, another business venture of Goldman.
Having baked my own cakes, breads and indulgent treats for fun over the past few years, I thought I knew what to expect but on arrival to Cakemix I was overwhelmed with the endless options available. I opted for a regular sized confetti cake with vanilla filling. This is a vanilla sponge cake with sprinkles baked INSIDE.
I then decide on colouring and choose yellow, my favourite colour. You may also choose red, pink, green, blue and many other colours of the rainbow. Next up is the fondant which comes in blocks ready for rolling and cutting, I can't make my mind up and impulsively choose purple and white. The studio assistant suggests mixing the two together to create a lighter lavender coloured fondant.
At the end of the production line appears a display of glass jars filled with every topping you could ever imagine. This is called the goodie bar and includes various candies and chocolates. I go for lego blocks and jelly beans which I start nibbling en route to my table. Creative juices flowing and I begin work on my cake. Staff are on hand to offer advice, suggestions and assistance. I'm intimidated at first by some of the creations displayed in store, I can't possibly compete with any of those other designs, or can I?
Opting for a simple kitsch design, I start by rolling out my fondant and cutting the letters out for my cake. Inspiration hits and before I know it I'm adding 'Gas & Gander' to the cake along with a cute purple and white cupcake - thank you to the talented baker who moulded this for me! Fondant a plenty, I finish the design by adding lego blocks to the side of the cake and add my last jelly bean (I ate the rest already) to the top of the cupcake as a little cherry.
Finishing my cake, I decide to head next door to check out Charm City Cakes West. This establishment is known for outlandish designs, inspired and delicious cakes and yummy flavours. I'm greeted by a life size Incredible Hulk cake and a team of extremely friendly people who all sit around one table, it's clear that there is a great working dynamic here and a strong bond between team members. Everyone has a smile on their face and although I can imagine it must be stressful from time to time, the creative professionals keep it together. I start thinking about what my cake requirements would be. It seems that anything is possible here.
I pick up my cake and carry it back to where I'm staying. Friends are waiting anxiously at the door for my arrival. Forks at the ready and we all tuck into my big yellow, vanilla and sprinkle filled, purple and white covered, candy topped creation. It doesn't last long and already my friend's are on the phone making reservations for their families and friends. Word is spreading fast and I'm already thinking about my next visit.
If you need a cake and don't have time to decorate then you can make use of Duff's Express Cake service. The team can whip up something simple for you at your request or you can make an appointment at Charm City Cakes for a more specific design and creation.