Hannah Billings, M1, Class of 2023
My name is Hannah Billings, I am a first-year medical student who runs a local cake pop business, Cake on a Stick LLC.
From hobby to business . . . Cake on a Stick began as a creative outlet, paired with a passion for baking. After trial and (many) errors, techniques were perfected, and delicious masterpieces were made. While the process of baking is enjoyable, the real fun was in sharing with family and friends. And thanks to the encouragement and supportiveness of the early taste-testers, Cake on a Stick was born and it’s poppin’!
I have always loved baking. It is a stress reliever for me and allows me to be creative and make something delicious to share! I began making cake pops last December to bring to holiday parties. Once I got past the learning curve, I realized I really enjoyed making them and I could make a lot of different designs, instead of just the classic sphere. I found inspiration for new creations on Pinterest and Instagram. I began experimenting with different designs and flavors and would give them to my family and friends to taste-test.
I found I really enjoyed the entire process of making cake pops and trying out new flavors and designs. But, I realized it probably wasn’t super healthy to eat all of my creations. So, with the encouragement of my friends and family, I started taking my “test pops” to work and selling them. I did not realize how big of a hit they would be! I soon, people at work were asking me if I took orders. With this positive response, in such a short amount of time, I was inspired to design my logo and see if I could turn this hobby into a business. In January of 2018, I created a Facebook page for Cake on a Stick and started promoting my business on social media. First it was primarily family and friends ordering from me, but once the word of mouth got out, other people that I didn’t know began ordering for birthday parties, bridal showers, and even weddings. My business would not be what it is today without the help of my family and my husband. Their support and taste-testing skills have been crucial in the development of my business.
[One aspect that I like about baking and managing my business is that] I enjoy the feeling of creating something. Having an idea, or getting inspiration from a photo, and then being able to turn it into a reality. It has been really neat to be able to turn my hobby of baking into a business, or as I like to call it, “a hobby that pays for itself”. My favorite part though is designing an order and then seeing my clients face light up with excitement when they pick their order up. My second favorite part is getting to eat my mistakes; I won’t lie—cake pops are delicious.
There have been quite a few people in my life that have expressed concern about how to balance medical school and my business. My response to them is that I cannot study 24/7 and need some creative outlet to keep me sane and help me de-stress. In undergrad, I played collegiate volleyball, so that was my outlet. But now, my business fills that need. I do have to be conscientious about how many orders I can take on, but as long as I keep that in mind, balancing the two is not much of an issue.
There is actually quite a bit that goes into designing and creating cake pops. When a client contacts me to place an order, I first help them look for design inspiration…colors, characters, sprinkles, swirls, etc. Once I have that in mind, I bake the cake flavor that they have chosen, our most popular flavor is white vanilla. After baking, I allow the cake to cool slightly, but before it’s cooled to room temperature, I crumble it up and mix in some frosting. This forms a “dough” that I can then mold into whatever shape. After the cake pops have been sculpted, I then melt my chocolate and then dip the pops. Once the chocolate has set, I put the finishing touches on (edible paint, fondant designs, chocolate drizzle, etc.) and tah dah! It’s finished!
I have recently begun to go to local festivals and events as a vendor! It has been really fun to interact with the local community and watch them take a bite of my sweet treats! One of our new items we have created are pie pops, which have been a big seller at our recent fall festivals. Quite a few people have heard of cake pops, but they seem to love the novel idea of pie pops. Who wouldn’t love a mini pie on a stick?! Our current pie flavors include apple, cherry, peach, pumpkin, and s’mores. It’s been fun to watch my business grow and try different ideas!