For those who assume the sights from Mount Washington’s overlooks are candy, head just a few blocks up Shiloh Avenue to Grandview Bakery.
Cake decorator Josué Luciano, aka The Cake Man, is an web movie star because of his elaborately decked out pastries. The 31-year-old, self-taught artist, who makes use of Swiss meringue frosting as his medium, has greater than 512,000 TikTok followers. Followers all around the world are captivated by designs, which vary from multi-tiered masterpieces and colourful, pop artwork “slices” to darkish horror themes.
Luciano’s Wednesday Addams-inspired treats went viral quicker than you possibly can snap your fingers and his LGBTQ muffins are the edible equal of Pleasure flags.
His employers, Darrin and Cathi McMillen, who bought and renovated the bakery in 2019, are completely satisfied he got here together with the enterprise. Luciano’s social media influencer-status is one of the best type of promoting.
“It’s superb; he has a thought and turns it right into a cake,” says Darrin McMillen, who’s been an expert baker since 1989. “He makes me assume outdoors the field and has given me a special perspective. We mentor one another.”
Luciano usually has to clarify the story behind every outlandish dessert, which replicate web fads.
The Puerto Rico native grew up drawing, however wasn’t essentially a fan of baking. An excessive amount of science, not sufficient inventive expression, he thought.
Luciano began adorning cake pops as a pastime, however quickly realized he wanted a much bigger canvas than a bite-sized deal with. After shifting to Florida to attend faculty, he utilized for a cake decorator place at a grocery store — and that’s when his sugary obsession began.
“I’d be up at 3 a.m. 1000’s of cake footage, attempting to see the strategies they used,” says Luciano, a lifelong fan of cartoons.
A variety of his muffins are 3D tributes to animation, most notably Disney flicks and Pokemon characters.
A number of years in the past, when his older sister requested him to go to Pittsburgh to have fun their shared birthday (Might 28), Luciano fell in love with town — particularly Mount Washington.
Along with Tiffany Roman, Grandview Bakery’s marriage ceremony cake adorning aficionado, Luciano sees frosting as an artform. Even the 15 to twenty small muffins he frosts every day for the show case are whimsical, with easy balloons, flowers and artisan sprinkles made in-house and out there on the market.
His first “Wednesday” cake took greater than 6 hours, however the design has been in such excessive demand, he’s acquired the method right down to a good 2 hours. People from across the globe contact the bakery for made-to-order muffins.
Since Grandview doesn’t ship, clients have traveled throughout state strains to select up their pastry. Hungry? You possibly can place an order with Luciano in particular person, on-line or by telephone. Most individuals give him the go-ahead to let his creativeness run wild; he simply asks that orders are positioned no less than every week prematurely.
Final June, Duncan Hines requested Luciano to whip up a cake to have fun Pleasure Month. He’s brainstorming extra methods to style the rainbow in 2023, together with confections based mostly on the Drag Queen attire he loves. Lots of his creations are donated to native church buildings or nonprofits.
Grandview Bakery, which initially opened in 2011, didn’t shut down in the course of the pandemic, so it grew to become a beacon of hope for folks within the neighborhood. Right this moment, it continues to be a group hub, working each day with ample seating and goodies.
Luciano, who insists he’ll by no means cease studying, works lengthy hours by selection and posts each day images and tutorials as he hones his craft. He encourages his web followers to provide cake adorning a whirl; the dessert in entrance of them would possibly simply be one of the best sight they’ve ever seen.
“I by no means thought so many individuals would look as much as me,” he says, humbly. “Lots of people have supported me from Day One. I actually, actually love my job.”