Layers Cake Studio creates realistic nostalgia you can sink your teeth into


Who hasn’t watched a VHS tape or a Spice Girls poster from the 90s and wondered – I wonder how that would taste with a little frosting or fondant? Based in Richmond Diapers Cake Studio, owned and run by Danya Smith, asks this question every day, with impressive results. From bright orange VHS tapes (Nickelodeon fans already know what I mean) to Walkman CD players to the Bop-It toy, Smith has managed to successfully recreate something from the childhood of every millennial that will will make you shout “I REMEMBER THIS!” Even better, you can eat it afterwards.

Smith spends her days as a popular content creator on your favorite social media addiction, but her decision to start making cakes that look like other objects originally came to her in 2017 when she really wanted to. make a birthday cake for her grandma after she moves in with her. After watching various YouTube videos and Food Network shows, it occurred to her that she could quite possibly pull it off. Considering she was a sculpting major at VCU, her guess wasn’t far off.

“I just kept working on it, and like I literally became obsessed with it,” Smith said. “I started making cakes for my mom’s friends and co-workers and just random stuff. It literally just kept growing from there. Last year I decided [to start] making the videos, which is actually something I did in college. I went to VCU for sculpture, among other things, and started doing video art. So I had the software and I had these lighting kits and stuff, and I was like, ‘Oh, let me just start shooting some videos.’ And then, a bit like baking. I just became obsessed with it.

With his TikTok account currently boasting nearly 42,000 followers and over 1.2 million likes, it’s safe to say that Smith’s decision to focus on content creation has paid off. Wanting something that gave her more creative room, she stopped taking custom orders in 2021 in order to focus entirely on her videos and content. In addition to TikTok, she also posts on Instagram, including behind-the-scenes footage of how she creates some of her designs.

That’s not to say she’s not entirely closed to working with other people. Various pop culture influencers and creators have requested cakes from her work, some of which we can’t even mention here because they’re still in the works. Although she is unable to fulfill orders from outside the region, she still remains busy with private orders, for which Smith is very grateful.

However, nothing tops it more than the official Spice Girls Facebook sharing their work.

“I was so lucky because it’s like I was just doing what I wanted to do, and then people found it and were like, ‘Oh, cool,'” Smith said. “I can’t complain, but I think the Spice Girls really blew my mind.”

@layerscakestudio It’s SPICE’s 25th ✨ anniversary! @SpiceGirls #spicegirls #90sgirl #zenennial #millennialsontiktok #90sbaby #90song #caketok #toutestuncake ♬ You are enough – Finally sleeping

When pop culture is your focus, the possibilities are always endless, and it doesn’t hurt that Smith loves what she does and is happy to be able to do it. Unsurprisingly, her to-do list keeps growing, as she constantly has a new idea or two up her sleeve for future projects, even if they involve recreating dodgy shoes.

“I don’t know if you’ve seen the Balenciaga crocs,” she laughed. “I’m dying to make a cake out of them, because they’re so weird. That’s kind of, for some reason, where my mind led me. I want to make Telfar purse so bad. I mean, what does that embossed logo look like, I just feel like it would look so cool in a cake.

Part of what makes her work so successful is her artistic training and her willingness to fully lean into the past skills she initially acquired for different things. The best example is her training in sculpture, which she adapted in order to make her cakes more realistic. Recently, Smith has also been creating her own silicone molds and working on different molding techniques. This led to one of his most fascinating recent creations – an old school Game Boy Color, cast in chocolate.

I grew up with a lime green Game Boy Color, but it never looked so good. Instead it just ate all my batteries on road trips.

“I just feel like things are getting more and more real, because I remember that I have access to these random skills that I learned,” Smith added. “I’m just obsessed with stuff, but it makes sense, because I literally went to school for sculpting because I’m just obsessed with stuff.

Smith’s process involves a very detailed timeline and a lot of in-depth research. When she has an idea, she doesn’t just research details about the product or cultural item, she also makes sure to research all the relevant dates related to it, such as creators’ birthdays, release dates and anniversaries. This helps her get the most traction when she’s creating a post.

With so many ideas running through her head, she’s never short of work, especially when collaborating with other designers. Smith has also been able to work with the craft video channel Craft Factory, which posts short craft videos on various social media and will usually send her a prompt for what to craft.

“I just made one, it was like a Bratz doll styling head, like the ones you could buy,” Smith said. “And I have a new project with them coming up; [I’m doing] a great soaker.

Smith also gets involved in local fundraisers when she can, including Richmond Bakers Against Racism, which raise funds for various organizations and causes throughout the year. Whenever they have a bake sale, she admits that she’s usually one of the first people to volunteer.

“They have these bake sales once in a while, several times a year, and they raise money for different organizations in Richmond,” Smith said. “They just had one a few years ago. [months] from. I made a nut cake with orange blossom and really messed around with the flavors, and it’s also really fun because I get to test things. I don’t have to worry so much about decorations and I can help them fundraise. So I really, really like doing that.

In light of all the creations she has created in her home studio, I had to ask the question that is probably the most annoying for any pastry artist. Where the hell is all the cake going?

“The funny thing is that a lot of people ask me. “What do you do with all that cake?” But the cakes are very small,” Smith said. “It looks so big on camera. But like, if you can see, in proportion to my hand, often the cakes aren’t bigger than my hand. So it’s really not a lot of cake to For example, if we have three people at home, it’s like two days of meals.

For more information about Layers Cake Studio, they can be found on Instagram @layerscakestudio and on TikTok, too @layerscakestudio.

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