The first time I went to this magical place was to decorate a cake for A’s 1st birthday party. I’ve always been mildly obsessed with cake decorating shows and competitions on the food network, so being able to go to Duff’s Cakemix was like a dream come true. I pretended to be a professional cake decorator for a couple of hours and the result was actually pretty impressive.
I recently revisited with A to make some Father’s Day cupcakes. And by make, I mean decorate…because the beauty of Duff’s is that they bake DELICIOUS cakes and cupcakes and then provide you with a workshop full of fondant, frosting, candy toppings and tools to make some magic.
I will be honest…I was a little skeptical as to whether this experience would be a fun afternoon activity or a stressful headache as some seemingly enjoyable activities can become with a toddler. But, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun we had.
We got six cupcakes (opted for half chocolate and half confetti flavored). I let A select the decorations. We ended up with three tubs of frosting – purple, green and orange, 2 hunks of fondant – red and yellow, chocolate chips covered in sprinkles and some multicolored sprinkles. (In hindsight, the sprinkles were a huge mess, whereas the chocolate chips were perfection! If you are dealing with chubby little fingers, pick toppings that can be picked up one by one and gently placed in the frosting or it will be a MESS!)
Next we headed over and picked out our tools. We got an array of cookie cutters for the fondant (butterfly, heart, flower, hippo, elephant, star, etc.) a pizza cutter type tool and another random stick that I’m really not quite sure is used for but looked like it might be fun to poke into the fondant.
Then we went to town! I let A put all the frosting on first, then followed his efforts to smooth the frosting clumps out onto the cupcake. Once they were all frosted we rolled out the fondant like play dough and A started cutting out shapes. We put the shapes onto the frosted cupcakes and then were ready to add our chocolate chips and frosting.
After all was said and done, we had some very (toddler) man-handled cupcakes that looked adorably homemade, and plenty of fondant left over for A to play with while I paid. There may also have been some extra frosting that was happily licked off the popsicle sticks used to spread it on the cupcakes.
At around $40. for an hour of decorating and 6 cupcakes, it’s not a bad deal, especially if there is a birthday or special event to make a sweet treat for. But it would also make for a great affordable playdate location especially if you have some buddies to split the cupcakes with and each kid can decorate 1 or 2.
Oh P.S…the BEST part of all is that they clean up everything when you are done. Because let’s be honest, as fun as it is to bake and decorate at home…baking with kids is MESSY, so anytime someone else does the cleaning means less stress and headache for mommy!
8302 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90069
*On the corner of Melrose and Sweetzer
*Limited parking in the back of our building and metered street parking