In 2014, Jillian Butler opened her corner-shop-cakery, “Jillians Cakery”, in Surry Hills. After years of hesitation and deliberation, she finally built up the courage to “put her money where her mouth is.” The trained pastry chef had spent many years in between hospitality and corporate roles, plying her trade as basically any imaginable hospitality role.
Jillian’s cakes are homely, the vintage style of her cakes is no coincidence. Some of Jillian’s recipes are steeped in family history and personal childhood memories as she grew up spending periods of her life in-between Dallas and Sydney. The Pecan Pie is her Mother-in law’s recipe; they had a pecan tree in the backyard, picking fresh pecans and baking them in to a pie; the pumpkin pie is her father’s recipe, it is all very close to home.
There is an honesty and authenticity to the approach Jillian brings to her cakes. Jillian’s cakes are made from real ingredients, the stuff that should go in to a cake, for example her carrot cake has half a kilogram of carrots in it; it’s the real deal.
“I bake from a place of comfort and I bake what I know, and present it how I know, there is a vintage feel to what I do, that’s where the nostalgia of my recipes comes in for me.” Jillian explains.
“Growing up around all these smells and flavours, of course there is a little bit of that in here.”
The skills that Jillian has learned and the recipes that have been passed down to her are also being transferred to her staff and trainees. The didactic aspect of being a shop-owner and head baker is something that is relished in the shop, helping others in their pursuit of pastry perfection is part of the job.
“You know if I have someone in my kitchen, and I can teach them one new thing, a new caramel, a new icing technique, whatever it is, It’s really great to be able to show someone something and be responsible for them learning.” Jillian tells.
“Jillian’s Cakery” is a combination of an old school sweet-pantry and a New England, seaside antique cake-shop, with dark timbers and coastal blue hues rustically painted around the store. The vintage, American leaning aura is what sets Jillian’s apart. Where most cakeries are European in influence, Jillian’s relies on her true-to-self ethos that is replicated in her cakes.
“Here in my kitchen we bake all day. That’s why I have an open kitchen so that people can see that we bake all day and everything that’s made in this shop is made by the people here, from scratch.”
Make sure to come in to try the crowd favourites, the red velvet cake, the devils food chocolate cake and the carrot cake are just a few. They are sweet, they are decadent and Jillian wouldn’t have it any other way.