- Associated Press - Sunday, June 24, 2012

You can build a bear, bottle your own wine, paint pottery — and now, decorate your own television-worthy cake.

Celebrity baker Duff Goldman, the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes,” on Thursday opened Duff’s Cakemix, a make-your-own-cake shop next to his Los Angeles bakery, Charm City Cakes West, where novices and professionals alike can dabble in fondant, cake tattoos and airbrushed designs.

“With the pottery places you’ve got this plate sitting around for a while,” he said. “With this, you make a cake, you take it home, you invite a bunch of friends and you eat it.”

Aspiring cake decorators can do as much or as little as they like, Mr. Goldman said. After selecting a pre-made cake or cupcakes — in chocolate, vanilla, marble, carrot, red velvet and a daily special — customers can cover it in fondant or buttercream or have one of the store’s employees do it.

Decorations will include sprinkles, sugar flowers, jelly beans and Mr. Goldman’s signature cake tattoos. Customers will get a tray of paintbrushes, piping tips, fondant tools and other gadgets. At a glass-enclosed airbrush station, customers can learn to decorate their cakes with graffiti.

“I want people to not only have fun, but to learn something, to see they can do something amazing and fun and creative and be successful at it,” Mr. Goldman said. “At the end of their two hours, I want them to look at their cake and run up to a random stranger and say, ‘Dude, look what I made.’ “

In a twist, Mr. Goldman will have some competition from TV’s “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro, who is introducing a line of cakes at bakeries and grocery stores this summer. Unlike Mr. Goldman’s line, Mr. Valastro’s cakes will arrive fully decorated and will include the “Badda Bloom” — a two-layer cake, one chocolate and one vanilla, with a layer of fudge and covered in bright green frosting with pink and purple flowers.

Mr. Goldman said his plans include roughly two dozen stores nationwide within the first two years, and a store in Tokyo later.

The Los Angeles store has 10 tables with 40 seats in the decorating area. Mr. Goldman said he expects a large part of the clientele to be children and teenagers as well as bridal showers and bachelorette parties. A small cafe will offer — what else? — cake and coffee for parents sitting out the mayhem.

“This is something that’s different and fun and cool,” Mr. Goldman said. “For the cost of movie tickets and popcorn and a soda, you can hang out and do a cake with your kids.”

Prices will start at $36 for a cake and all the decorating accessories, or $18 for four cupcakes. In addition, Duff’s Cakemix also will offer fully decorated cakes for purchase, Mr. Goldman said, and to-go kits that contain everything needed to decorate at home.

The store also will have a Duff’s Cakemix food truck that caters parties.

“Ace of Cakes” airs at 10 and 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays on the Food Network.

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