With a background in nutrition and a flair for the whimsical, Danaë Smale makes sustainably sourced wedding cakes that are real works of art.

By Courtney Runn 

Photo by Paige Vaughn

Danaë Smale has temporarily traded in her paintbrush for a sledge-hammer for her latest project: building her dream bakery. The brick-and-mortar location of Feathers & Frosting opens this spring in downtown Round Rock, Texas. The location will not only serve as a co-working space and studio for her cake workshops, but will double as a coffee shop featuring cake-and-cocktail pairings.

“[It’s] like a cheese-and-wine pairing,” she explains, “but way more fun!”

Photo by Danaë Smale

Ever since she was a 4-year-old with a baking hobby, Smale imagined one day owning her own bakery. She started her first business—a cookie-on-a-stick enterprise—at the ripe age of 7 and discovered her love for baking and decorating cakes in high school. After teaching herself via YouTube videos and cake-decorating classes at craft store Michael’s, Smale won first prize in a statewide cake competition and made her first wedding cake as a teenager.

She studied community health in college, thinking a career in health care would take priority to her baking side hustle, but her degree only lent more depth to her real passion: cake. In 2016, she opened Feathers & Frosting, a company with a “light and airy” name she hoped would draw fellow whimsically minded clientele.

With her background in nutrition, Smale bakes with local and organic ingredients. From gathering carrots at her local farmers market for carrot cake to achieving her cakes’ signature rich taste with honey from Austin Honey Company, Smale not only cares about giving her clients the best ingredients possible, but also savors supporting other small-business owners and stimulating the local economy. Her cake flavors—lemon and rosemary, Earl Grey and lavender, blood orange and thyme, to name a few—are sophisticated yet playful, reminiscent of the reality-TV cake shows featuring elaborate flavor profiles she grew up loving.

Blue cake photo by Penelope LAmore / Headshot by Kate Zimmerman Turpin

Though she’s busy becoming Central Texas’ newest cake-and-cocktail connoisseuse, bohemian brides need not fear. Smale’s true love remains wedding cakes. From sparkling geode cakes to elegant water-colored cakes to subdued black cakes, Smale is not ready to retire her artistic flair quite yet.

Photo by Melissa Glynn

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