Imagine a place very much like Color Me Mine and Glaze Fire, but instead of painting pottery, you decorate cakes. Skip the part where you have to make a mess out of your entire kitchen, or the part when your temporarily impressed friends taste your cake, make a face, and then ask why it’s so hard for you to follow a basic recipe. Instead, let the professionals handle the baking, and you handle the beautifying.
Duff’s Cake Mix on Melrose lets you choose between a small cake or half a dozen cupcakes to frost, mold and decorate. You can decorate with a maximum of two people per cake, so I’d start recruiting the Marth Stewarts in your life to tag team with you. Like Color Me Mine, you pay for the cake and then pay a separate “decorating” fee. We went in the middle of a weekday, mostly because weekends are crazy booked and I was too inpatient to wait two months. The staff was young and incredibly friendly. We chose to decorate a cake, and we were told to choose whether we wanted chocolate or Funfetti. Unfortunately, we were not high off Anesthesia after getting our wisdom teeth pulled out, then made to believe that there was a zombie apocalypse by our two older brothers who scared us into choosing Funfetti over chocolate. Clearly we made the better choice in choosing chocolate! (You may not have understood that reference and that’s okay. Just make sure to come out from under that rock you’ve been living under the past month).
Then we we’re told to choose the color of our cake. My friend Christine and I had plans to meet our friend, Chris, for dinner later that night to celebrate his 23rd birthday, which is actually today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRIS! So we decided to decorate the cake for him. Naturally, we chose hot pink, and had the idea of making a fondant princess crown to put on top of it. If you know Chris, you’d know that our choices are a perfect expression of who he is.
The next step was choosing our fondant and frosting colors. We were allowed to choose
five total. You have to pay extra for every extra fondant or frosting you want, which you could always do later on if you run out! Don’t let your hungry eyes do the buying. Start with what they give you and if you want more, go back and have at it! The cakes are pretty small, so five was extremely reasonable. We did a lot with what we were given and we even had extra fondant left over. There were definitely a couple empty spots left on our cake where we could’ve filled in with our remaining goodies, but we got to the point where our fuel burned out and we DGAF’d and called it quits. After the staff gave us a couple of suggestions on how many of each we should choose, we ended up with four fondants and one frosting, mostly because it seemed like you can do so much more with fondant. It was like Play-Doh, but edible, although I’m pretty sure that didn’t stop me from eating Play-Doh when I was a kid, or glue. I really liked glue for some reason.
Then you get to choose two types of candies from the Goodie Bar. If your cake is going to be severely goodie friendly, you might want to get more frosting than we did, because you need to use it as glue to keep the candy on. All you need to do with your fondant creations are dab a bit of water behind it and stick it to the cake. We had a hard time deciding which two candies to get, so after we chose one and battled with committing to the second, they told us that we can comeback later on and see what we wanted then. We didn’t end up using much candy to decorate though. Instead we ate the chocolates while we decorated with fondant, then went up to choose our second goodie, but based our selection on what we wanted to eat next, not decorate with.
They also had different colors of glitter, which is not part of your decorating package, so you’d have to pay extra for it, which we did. They took the cake to the Airbrush Booth and covered it in pink glitter. It came out looking like a cotton candy prom dress. Then she brought us the tray of our “art supplies” and pointed us to the shelves covered in stencils, decorating tools and decorating ideas. Warning, just because the ideas are there for you to look at, does not mean attempting those ideas will result in something that looks just like the example, or even slightly similar to it.
Christine and I decided to veto the elaborate fondant creations, we could have totally made Simba out of fondant if we wanted to, so instead we used the stencils to spell out Chris’s nickname and then made a fondant princess crown, which we then decorated with white frosting.
When we ran out of ideas that fell within the guidelines of what Chris’s interests were and what was easy to make, because God knows our patience lasted 10 minutes into decorating, we decided to use the fondant to make mini, unattractive, turtle resembling versions of ourselves, because we realized that WE were a few of Chris’s favorite things! Then we stuck a toothpick through our heads and pierced them into the cake so they’d stand up tall. I made the one on the far right, which is supposed to be Chris. The one in the middle is the beautiful artwork of Christine Mardikian who wanted to be the one to make me, and decided to begin what would be the kick-start to my lifelong insecurity about my nose, so when I made her on the far left, I decided to give her big lips as revenge. Why I thought that big lips were a good way to reap my vengeance on fondant Christine, I will never know!
What’s cool about the fondant is if you get primary colors, you can mix them to make secondary colors. So if you got red, blue and yellow, you can use some of each to also make purple, orange and green! So don’t buy purple or green if you want more of a variety of colors. Sadly our purple turned out more poopy colored, and Christine ended up mixing a secondary with a primary making a crappy brown type thing that we ended up wasting, but I like to forgive and forget.
They also had a bar of toys to decorate your cake and cupcakes with. There are toy balloons, and different rings, and Happy Birthday signs you can add to your creation, but it’s extra, so of course you have to dish out the cash. I think the toys are mostly for cupcakes, but I tend to overdo things and ended up with a very bright, obnoxious cake. If Christine hadn’t stopped me, I would have bought one of each toy and rammed it into the sides of the cake. YOLO.
It was empty, so we were able to stay for three hours, just long enough for the sweet sweet smell of fondant to get you high as a kite, but normally I think you have a set amount of time. If I’m not mistaken it’s between an hour to an hour and a half. So don’t be late, and don’t waste time when you get there! Fondant is more intricate and making things with it can take more time, so think about what you want to do with your cake so after you choose your supplies, you can get straight to work! Just keep in mind that things could add up very quickly so calculate what you’re getting. You don’t pay as you go, it’s more like a bar tab. They keep it open till you’re drunk off decorations you probably didn’t need, and when you’re finished, you pay and leave regretting the choices you made and wishing that you had stopped buying things four superhero rings ago.
If you’re half way through decorating and realize that you haven’t opened one of your fondants, but want to switch it in for another color or for a frosting, just go up to them and let them know. The same thing works if you don’t use a package of frosting and want to trade it in for more fondant.
The decor inside of Duff’s Cakemix is VERY cool and it even has a glass window standing in for a wall between where you are and their location next door where they’ve displayed some cool cake prototypes. It’s a great place to go and get creative, digressing from the common pottery painting hot spots. It’s innocent, fun and super hands on, plus you get to eat your cake after! You can either take a friend for their birthday and have them decorate their cake, decorate a cake FOR your friend and take it to them after, or just decorate a cake or cupcakes because you just want to decorate a cake or cupcakes! Does there really need to be a specific occasion other than the pure satisfation of making a penis head out of fondant? Just make sure there aren’t any kids there! They tend to roam around and ask questions. So if theyre pointing at your smiley face fondant penis, you don’t want to have to explain what it is.
They also have different kinds of cool candles, just in case you need to sing happy birthday there, or have to take the cake to go!
If you want to go on a weekend, make sure to make reservations MONTHS in advance! Have fun and decorate obnoxiously, because no one likes the pretentious professional who’s sculpting the Kardashians out of sugar.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRIS AND MAY YOU HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TO!