Decorating Cakes in Preview of Los Angeles Food and Wine

Set in Downtown LA, the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival (August 22-25, 2013) is a four-day epicurean event showcasing the finest in food and drink culture throughout Los Angeles and culinary personalities from throughout the country.  As we get ready for the third annual event, a preview event was held at Duff’s Cakemix on Melrose Avenue where press and bloggers were invited, along with chefs, to decorate cakes and mingle with some of the participating chefs. As a preview for LA Food and Wine, this event was a great reason to finally go inside Duff’s Cakemix Bakery and DIY cake shop, which I have been wanting to check out.

Duff's Cakemix

We arrived and were greeted with wine and grilled cheese sandwiches by Chef Eric Greenspan (Owner of The Foundry on Melrose and The Roof on Wilshire), who will soon be opening his much-anticipated Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese. Lucky us, we enjoyed Greenspan’s 2008 Grilled Cheese Invitational Gold winning “The Champ” – grilled taleggio cheese and short rib sandwich served on raisin-walnut bread with an apricot caper puree. Yum! Yum!

Greenspans Grilled CheeseGreenspans Grilled Cheese SandwichesEric Greenspan enjoying his own sandwiches

We were then invited to sit down with a partner and were told to decorate a cake in the theme of “classic California cuisine.”  What is classic California cuisine? So many things came to mind……sushi, tacos, hot dogs (Pinks / Dodger Dogs), burgers (In-N-Out)…..but while these are all classic “LA” items, we decided that true California cuisine is salads. So, we got to work.

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Now that we had the idea of a Kale Salad, the next question was, “how do we do this?”  We had access to fondant in multiple colors, frosting and sprinkles, as well as cookie-cutters and other tools in all shapes and sizes. We found a cookie-cutter for leaves and started making them with green fondant. However, we had to be creative and make all the other ingredients by hand…..and it was a lot harder to do than it looks.


As the leaves were made, we also made little cherry tomatoes, cubes of cheese, shredded carrots and then I tried to do radishes by rolling and cutting the pink and white fondant together but it ended up looking like fish cakes (at least that was Chef Duff’s comment).  In the end, our cake did look like it had a salad on top and we were very proud!

Our Cake 2 20130801_200750

However, another team was picked as winners for their cake. They also made a salad….but they decorated their cake as a classic Cobb Salad, invented here in LA, with hard boiled eggs.

Cobb Salad

Here are some of the creative decorations other teams made:

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Decorating cakes is a lot of fun but not as easy as it looks. It was also a little intimidating with the talented Duff Goldman walking around checking out our cake decorating “skills”. But, he was very complimentary of our creations. This is definitely a great place for groups of all sizes and would be especially fun for birthday parties, bridal showers and baby showers.

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Duff’s Cakemix
8302 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 650-5555

Want to meet Chef Duff Goldman, Chef Eric Greenspan or others? Don’t miss Los Angeles Food and Wine! Tickets are currently available and can be purchased here, including full- and half-day packages, as well as specialty ticketed events throughout the city. With all of the great chefs, food and wine involved, this is an event not to miss!

Jet Tila, Duff Goldman, Erica Greenspan, Ricardo Zarate, Jonathan Grahm