When Monica Castillo-Gonzalez heard about the Betty White Challenge, a viral fundraiser asking Betty White fans and animal lovers to support shelters and rescues, she knew she needed to be part of the campaign.
The owner of Momo’s Cakes, a Monroe home-based business, started making “Betty Bombs,” a ball-shaped chocolate shell filled with flavored cocoa powder and marshmallows. When covered with hot milk, the chocolate melts and mixes with the powder and marshmallows creating a rich cup of hot cocoa.
Hoping to encourage her customers to participate, the 40-year-old posted this message on her Facebook page, “In honor of the legendary woman, we are offering Betty White bombs all day today…These are (Betty) White chocolate cocoa bombs with Golden (Girl) sprinkles and a pink chocolate rose. Remember, $1 from each Betty Bomb sold will be donated to Save Monroe Strays.”
“I definitely wanted to do something in honor of this legendary woman and it was such an honor to be able to do this and help a local shelter,” she said. “I ended up selling 46 Betty Bombs and donated $75 to Save Monroe Strays. I plan to continue supporting this organization with future fundraisers.”
Castillo-Gonzalez started Momo’s Cakes in 2010 while living in McAllen, Texas before moving to Michigan. The independently owned and operated business specializes in custom cakes and cupcakes for any occasions.
“If you have something to celebrate, our goal is to make your celebration special and sweet, without any judgment ever,” she said. “We also offer other treats such as cookies, brownies, chocolate covered Oreos, hot cocoa bombs, and, on occasion, Mexican sweet breads.”
The 40-year-old started creating cakes by accident when her aunt needed help decorating a cake for a baby shower.
“She wasn’t too familiar with fondant but needed some fondant safari animals to use as toppers for the cake. She came by my house one morning for a coffee date and mentioned needing these, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It is similar to playing with Play-Doh, and I was very used to that with my two boys,” she said. “We sat and talked for a couple of hours, and by the end I had made a lion, giraffe, zebra and elephant. I uncovered a talent that I had no idea ever existed in me and found a love for creating things with my hands.”
Over the years, Castillo-Gonzalez has had some unique custom order requests from life-size Disney characters Anna and Elsa of Frozen to a cake resembling a roll of toilet paper for someone celebrating their 50th birthday.
As her business grows, she hopes to open a store front, a Mexican-style bakery with the help of her mother-in-law. Along with the custom cakes, the duo will offer authentic Mexican sweet breads.
“I have been very blessed to be able to run this bakery from home, starting in a little corner of my kitchen and now expanding to a dedicated space, but with the Michigan Cottage Food Laws as they are, I am limited in what items I can offer and my yearly sales as well,” she said.
Giving back to the community in which she lives is important to Castillo-Gonzalez and she hopes to share information about Icing Smiles, a non-profit organization that provides custom cakes and other treats to families that have been affected by the critical illness of a child.
“I know there are plenty of families in the area that can benefit from this little bit of sweetness and I would love to get the word out,” she said. “I love being able to create. Being able to take a ball of white fondant and turning it in to a cartoon character or making a bouquet of flowers out of a bowl of buttercream, is just the best feeling of accomplishment for me. And then, when I get to see the smiles on the children’s face when they see their cake, that’s what truly keeps me going.”
Lisa Vidaurri-Bowling is a contributor to The Monroe News.
Owner: Monica Castillo-Gonzalez of Monroe
Business started: 2010
Services: Independently owned and operated home-based business specializes in custom cakes and cupcakes for any occasions
Hours: By appointment, call (956) 458-2654
Email: [email protected]
This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Business profiles: Momo’s Cakes joins Betty White Challenge