If you've ever seen The Food Network show "Ace Of Cakes", you probably became a fan of Duff Goldman's pretty quickly. Not only is he a funny, laid-back guy who hired all his friends when he opened his cake shop, he's masterfully talented at baking and decorating amazing cakes, which have been ordered by everyone from engaged couples to the people who put together the huge Hollywood premieres for the "Harry Potter" films.
What struck me most when watching the show, however (well, besides how much I wanted some red velvet cake), was that as an artist, I was fairly itching to try my hand at decorating a cake. All those cool piping tips and tools they use don't look too intimidating, and how much fun would it be to create something so lifelike that people could eat? While I sadly never went much beyond getting creative with store-bought icing for my daughter's birthday cake, some very lucky L.A. people are going to get their chance to learn how to do what Duff and his team do every day.
Goldman has just opened a shop called Duff's Cakemix, which is right next door to the L.A. location of Charm City Cakes. At Duff's Cakemix, aspiring cake artists can buy a pre-made cake in their choice of several flavors and, armed with an arsenal of various tools and decorations, go buck wild with whatever their hearts desire in the form of icing, fondant, and toppings like jellybeans and sugar flowers. They can even take an airbrushing class to learn how to make their cakes look a little more professional.
Duff says his shop is different from--and better than--other DIY joints like paint-your-own-pottery because the creation isn't something that will just gather dust in a drawer somewhere.
"With the pottery places you've got this plate sitting around for a while," he says. "With this, you make a cake, you take it home, you invite a bunch of friends and you eat it."