How my life changed in lockdown: From Shanghai to baking cakes

After having to travel home from her year abroad in Shanghai, Layla Ahmed, 22, enjoyed a cake filled lockdown

Layla Ahmed, set up Layered by Layla after falling back in love with an old hobby of baking

I started making cakes during the first lockdown. My year abroad in Shanghai got cut short and I was getting tired of being sat at home staring at four walls. I wanted to utilise the time I had to do something fun.

I have always enjoyed baking, but what influenced me to get started was the local bakery near home which had blown up massively.

I started watching their ‘how to’ videos and thought to myself, if they can do it why can’t I? I also love eating cake, so I guess that’s an added bonus.

I made a cake for one of my friends’ birthdays and they loved it. They told me to start selling them. I ended up putting a post on Facebook and started to get a flood of orders.

Starting my business in a pandemic did mean I struggled with some of the basics, even just as small as getting my hands on the right ingredients. I remember when all the stores had no stock in, I was hunting down flour and sugar like a crazy woman.

For me, the first lockdown was almost like a blessing in disguise. It gave me the confidence to set up my own business and I have now started doing some chef training.