Frosted Fantasy: The Creative Cakes by Josué Luciano Are TikTok Favorites

Known as the Cake Guy at Grandview Bakery, his sweet designs have gained more than a half-million Tik Tok followers.


If you think the sights from Mount Washington’s overlooks are sweet, head a few blocks up Shiloh Street to Grandview Bakery.

Cake decorator Josué Luciano, known online as The Cake Guy, is an internet celebrity thanks to his elaborately decked out pastries. The 32-year-old self-taught artist, who uses Swiss meringue frosting as his medium, has more than 531,000 followers on TikTok. Fans all over the world are captivated by his designs, which range from multi-tiered masterpieces and colorful, pop art “slices” to those with dark horror themes.

Luciano’s Wednesday Addams-inspired treats went viral faster than you could snap your fingers; his LGBTQ cakes are the edible equivalent of Pride flags.

His employers, Darrin and Cathi McMillen, who purchased and renovated the bakery in 2019, are happy he came along with the business; Luciano’s social media influencer-status is the best kind of advertising.

Luciano“It’s amazing; he has a thought and turns it into a cake,” says Darrin, who’s been a professional baker since 1989. “He makes me think outside the box and has given me a different perspective. We mentor each other.”

Luciano often has to explain the story behind each outlandish dessert, many of which reflect internet fads.

The Puerto Rico native grew up drawing but wasn’t necessarily a fan of baking: Too much science, not enough creative expression, he thought.

Luciano started decorating cake pops as a hobby but soon realized he needed a bigger canvas than a bite-sized treat. After moving to Florida to attend college, he applied for a cake decorator position at a supermarket — and that’s when his sugary obsession started.

“I’d be up at 3 a.m. looking at thousands of cake pictures, trying to see the techniques they used,” says Luciano, a lifelong fan of cartoons.

A lot of his cakes are 3-D tributes to animation, most notably Disney flicks and Pokemon characters.

Several years ago, when his older sister asked him to visit Pittsburgh to celebrate their shared birthday (May 28), Luciano fell in love with the city — especially Mount Washington.

Together with Tiffany Roman, Grandview Bakery’s wedding cake decorating aficionado, Luciano sees frosting as an artform. Even the 15 to 20 small cakes he frosts each day for the display case are whimsical, with simple balloons, flowers and artisan sprinkles made in-house and available for sale.

Cake Stitch 2

His first “Wednesday” cake took more than 6 hours, but the design has been in such high demand, he’s got the process down to a tight 2 hours. Folks from around the globe contact the bakery for made-to-order cakes.

Since Grandview doesn’t deliver, customers have traveled across state lines to pick up their pastry. You can also place an order with Luciano directly in person, online or by phone. Most people give him the go-ahead to let his imagination run wild; he just asks that orders are placed at least a week in advance.

Last June, Duncan Hines asked Luciano to whip up a cake to celebrate Pride Month. He’s brainstorming more ways to taste the rainbow in 2024, including confections based on the drag-queen dresses he loves. Many of his creations are donated to local churches or nonprofits.

Luciano, who insists he’ll never stop learning, works long hours by choice and posts daily photos and tutorials as he hones his craft. He encourages his internet followers to give cake decorating a whirl; the dessert in front of them might just be the best sight they’ve ever seen.

“I never thought so many people would look up to me,” he says, humbly. “A lot of people have supported me from day one. I really, really love my job.”

Categories: PGHeats