A TALENTED Blackburn cake designer who produces these stunning stunning creations has revealed how she learnt most of her skills watching YouTube videos.

Maryam Layla Yusuf, who lives in Audley, said she always had a passion for baking and started her business ‘Cakes by MLY’ two years ago.

The 19-year-old said: “My parents are always there to help when I need them or when I’m super busy, I wouldn’t be here without them.

“At the start of my baking journey, I had learned all the basics of cake design off YouTube tutorials. I learnt a lot of my skills from my talented mum too.

“I have had the opportunity to take on a lot more orders and balance business as university is much better as teaching is online.”

She says it can take her three to seven hours to produce a cake and during lockdown it was difficult to stay motivated.

She said: “With a lot of practice, I have been able to see huge improvements in my design as the weeks go by.

“On a more positive note, lockdown has made the cake industry flourish as many people see a sweet treat as something to look forward to. “The small business community is amazing and has boosted my motivation a lot.

“My heart goes out to businesses in the catering and wedding industry as it has been a very difficult time for them, and the poor couples who have lost out on a lot - it has definitely been a trying time for many people.

“That being said, a lot of people have still managed to have small celebrations for weddings, birthdays and other occasions within their households.”

Maryam said she did not have a favourite design. “It is impossible to pick only one cake design as my favourite. I love them all. Every cake is unique and beautiful in its own way, as cliche as that sounds, it’s so true. All my customers have the opportunity to work alongside me to completely customise their cake, so no cake is ever the same.

“There has been a few occasions where I have had to turn down cake requests as the requests have been impossible.

“A lot of my customers send me my own designs of previous cakes and then change a bit to make it more personal. Most are usually pretty, floral girly cakes, which is more my speciality.

“I am not really a fan of doing novelty cakes. I mean, they are amazing, but they are not really my style. I have made a few novelty cakes in the past which turned out great. So I wouldn’t completely rule them out.”

Despite the challenges Maryam said she would be looking forward to post-Covid weddings. She said: “I think they will be much smaller and intimate now. I have not taken any weddings orders for the future yet, it seems pretty uncertain, but hopefully brighter days will be coming soon.”

You can view some more of Maryam’s designs on Instagram Cakes by MLY