Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or requests. I love a challenge and welcome all your feedback!
billacakes (at) gmail (dot) com
What's Cooking At Billa Cakes?
Billa Cakes is the brain child of one hot mama: Me! It's named for my daughter Sybilla, who is my inspiration and motivation. I love baking and as an artist, it gives me an outlet for my creativity as well as an opportunity to help create memories for a lifetime.
Currently this is a hobby to gain experience, but someday I plan on making it into a full time gig! My training includes some classes from my local baking supply shops, the Food Network and the internet. I am a full time student in the School of Hard Knocks.
My hope with this site is to showcase my work as I develop my business and to share my learning experiences with others so they can learn too. Thanks for following along!
Here are some common phrases and words I use throughout this blog that might leave you scratching your head or wanting to know a bit more. Please reference this area, and if you are further confused, please feel free to leave a comment!
Your basic white cake that takes on other flavors very well. It's rich flavor and name is derived from the butter in the recipe. To make a chocolate butter cake, you simply substitute some of the flour for cocoa powder. Dark cocoa powder will impart a richer flavor and more intense color.
A sugar dough that creates the smooth look on many cakes. It's gotten a bad rap in years past because the taste was less than desirable with the available brands. Many decorators are willing to overlook it's taste and texture (which is very sweet and slightly chewy) for it's flexibility and versatility in the pastry arts. More recently, there have been several new contenders on the market with better tasting products, but the texture remains the same. The word has as many pronunciations as it does uses. I say "FAWN-dawnt" and others says "FAWN-dunt."
Marshmallow Fondant, or, fondant made from marshmallows. Does not dry as fast as regular fondant and has a much better taste too. The texture is almost identical, although MMF is a bit more stretchy. This can be made at home using nothing but marshmallows, powdered sugar, some water, and shortening (or butter).
A concoction made from cream and chocolate that creates that smooth chocolate finish on cakes such as a Sacher torte. Can be made with milk chocolate, bitter sweet chocolate, dark chocolate and even white chocolate. Typically used in cakes for fillings and covering the cake, but if you change the ratio of cream to chocolate, you can make truffles. Yum!
A buttercream icing made from egg yolks or whole eggs and sugar that is cooked to just before hard ball stage (basic meringue) and then whipped up with some butter. Very rich in taste and smooth, making it good for spreading.
A buttercream made from egg whites and sugar that is heated up until the sugar crystals are dissolved (cooler than hard ball stage, about 130F) and then whipped up with butter. Very smooth icing and good for spreading.
Like French buttercream, only it uses egg whites, no yolks. Supposedly holds up well in heat, I have yet to discover how!
A buttercream made from butter and/or shortening that is then combined with confectioner's sugar and/or some cream/milk. Easy to make and usually found in grocery store bakeries or the like. Best for flowers and decorations because of the shortening and high sugar content. Holds up to heat better than French or Swiss buttercreams, but has a grittier texture IMO.
A whoopie pie is two cake-like cookies that sandwich together with a marshmallow or buttercream type of frosting in between. The flavor variations are endless and they are very popular now. The name is supposedly derived from the phrases Amish children would exclaim upon finding one of these delicious treats in their school lunches. The traditional flavor is chocolate cookie with vanilla marshmallow frosting.