WILLIAMSTOWN - A taste of Brazil has been added to the cake mix in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Leandra Michael of Williamstown is baking and decorating cakes for her new business Barillo's Cakes and Sweeties.
Her scones, coffee cakes, brownies and cupcakes are sold at Pepi's Cafe/Seattle Coffee in Grand Central Mall on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Leandra Michael of Williamstown with a cake she baked for a recent high school graduation.
Michael can be contacted at 304-210-7978 to order one of her custom cakes.
A native of Petropolis, Brazil, near Rio de Janeiro, Michael arrived in the United States in September 2004 and moved to Wood County last July. She is married to Carey Michael, a teacher at Waverly Elementary School.
Michael said cooking has been one of her passions since she was 8 years old. She started baking chocolate cakes and pastries for family and friends in Brazil and later branched out to bake for others.
The "Barillo" in her business' name comes from her great-grandfather Barillo who lived in Italy.
Michael took baking classes in Atlanta to learn about American products and tastes. She lived in Atlanta before moving to West Virginia.
Michael said she fills her cakes with fresh fruit, including strawberries, peaches, pineapple, coconut and plums, a typical baking style in Brazil.
Two or three layers of her cakes are filled with fresh fruit and chocolates, caramel and vanilla cream.
Cakes baked in Brazil are moist because of the layers of fresh fruits, she said.
She also makes cupcakes, pastries and chocolate candy.
Michael said she wants to open a bakery in a store someday. Her Williamstown home now serves as her bake shop.