I’d heard that it was way overpriced. I’d read that the cakes weren’t delicious – dry and crumbly and lacking flavor. Some reviewers on sites I checked out called the staff inattentive and unfriendly, questioned the store’s sense of customer service. Yet, I hauled my birthday kid and her friends to West Hollywood anyway to give them the chance to decorate cakes in the studio helmed by television’s Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman – Duff’s Cakemix.
Even before leaving Long Beach, I knew at least one of the sentiments about the do-it-yourself cake shop was true – the place isn’t cheap. But for a special occasion, I didn’t mind overspending, especially if it meant I didn’t have to clean up afterward.
Regardless of word on the street (that being the information super highway), this place is fun! Sure, there was disappointment in myself that I hadn’t arrived with an idea in mind for my cake, which made choosing colors, shapes, and sprinkles a bit of a chore; but still – whenever I get into that artsy dimension, I bubble over with endorphins.
Really, it wasn’t about me – it was about my daughter and her friends, who weren’t just high off the sprinkles and fondant but the energy in the place, which started with the staff. Perhaps the crabby, snappy ones complained about by others were off the day we went. Or had been fired or were taking their meds; those we dealt with were nothing but pleasant and helpful. And patient, as my pre-teen crew was composed of dancers who among them did several hundred second turns on Cakemix’s polished cement floor.
The biggest test for me was the taste – I waited until home for that, not wanting to show the disappointment (or disgust) on my face should I hate it. I made the mistake of leaving my cake in the warm car when dropping off one of the girls, and when I opened it up to show her mother, I’d found that the top layer had slid off. After trying to repair it, I had no choice but to lick my fingers and was thrilled to taste the non-cloying, buttery frosting. After fixing it as best as I could, I placed my cake in the fridge to help it set some but could only wait about ten minutes before cutting a slice. Perhaps my palate is unrefined, unable to identify a terrible and drab cake when it meets one, but I quite enjoyed my red velvet treat from Cakemix. Expensive, yes – but you can’t put a price on some experiences. Actually, you can – but this was a price I happened to be willing to pay this particular day.
If you ever do the same, know that the place gets busy on the weekends. You can make a reservation, or take advantage of discount prices during their weekday happy hours. But do go, with a goal of creating, rolling, squeezing, and just going for it.
8302 Melrose in LA