There’s a new superhero in town, and she’s baking the world a better place…one cupcake at a time.
Also known as Tia on her days off, the Cupcake Crusader is a one-woman deliverer of sweet treats to hungry, sugar-crazed dessert lovers everywhere. Or at least in Chico, California. Filling an old-fashioned bakery truck with all kinds of delicious cupcakes, she drives around to various spots throughout town to sell her wares and impart joy to the world.
As soon as I heard about this miraculous mobile cupcake truck, I just had to find out more about the woman behind it. With cupcake names like “The Red Tornado” and “Veggie Hitman,” I knew there was a story behind it all.
When did you start baking?
I started the business last October but I’ve been baking for a while. I got really into it in high school and thought about going to culinary school but decided not to and went to SF State instead. It’s kinda funny I decided not to be a pastry chef because I thought it would be too competitive so I went on to get a Masters in Library Science where there are NO jobs, so, so much for playing it “safe.”
Why do you like baking?
I love the creativity of baking, being able to put together new flavors, or create a theme around the cupcakes, that’s what I enjoy most.
Where do you get inspiration for new flavors?
I do a lot of internet searching. I haven’t yet come up with a flavor combination that ISN’T on the internet already. Mostly I pick flavors that I would want to eat and that might intrigue people. I like to make sure I have the staples but I like to play around with flavor combos for my weekly specials.
Why only cupcakes?
Cupcakes are the perfect single portion dessert. They are so versatile and perfect for selling out of a truck. Also, I’m not a professionally trained baker and decorating a cake scares me, cupcakes are easy.
What is your personal favorite flavor?
My personal favorite is the key lime. I’m not a big frosting person so the lime glaze is a perfect alternative.
Any secret baking tips that everyone should know?
Yes! It’s all in the eggs! I try to use farm fresh eggs from farmer’s markets when possible, they make the cake much more fluffy and give the vanilla cakes a rich buttery color because the yolks are so dark. Also, number one advice is not to over mix the batter once the eggs are added otherwise the cakes wont rise as much and wont be as fluffy.
Any advice for aspiring bakers?
One of the best things I did was figure out the science of the baking ingredients. They each have a purpose and baking is a precise process. Once you know their function, such as what is for leavening, or what is for flavor, or what is for consistency, etc. then you can start to play around and be creative with the flavors.
Why a cupcake truck instead of a store?
I like the mobile aspect of the truck, I can go anywhere that people want cupcakes, it’s a different concept for Chico and I’m just happy people have embraced it! I love the accessibility of the truck and using social media is really engaging for my business and the customers.
Is this a full-time job? Can you support yourself on this, or is it just a fun hobby?
This is my full-time job and I am solely supporting myself with the truck right now. Business has steadily picked up since October so I’m hoping it stays that way.
What are your other hobbies?
Oh my, I’ve been so busy lately I can’t even remember a time when I had hobbies. I love anything with animals, this past year I raised ducklings for the first time ever. I bought a mating pair and hatched their eggs to give to my mom and stepdad for their new farm.
You have some pretty awesome names for your cupcakes; where do you come up with them?
I’m not sure, I just draw from comic book heroes and villains I have heard of, and my mom came up with some of them.
How many cupcakes do you bake a day?
I bake 8-10 dozen a day except for Thursday Night Market I triple that amount.
How many cupcakes do you sell a day?
I’ve been selling out everyday. I just recently increased how many I was baking because I was selling out too fast.
Do you ever get tired of baking?
I do, I’m not going to lie, ha! It can be tedious which is why the weekly specials are so “special” they help break up the monotony! I can’t even remember the last day I didn’t bake something, but since I am a new business, I guess that’s a good thing!
I think so too!!
If you’re now craving a cupcake too, then check out her site for the schedule of where she’ll be. Check out her facebook if you want a hint of what special flavors she’ll be baking each day! Do you have a lot of friends? A party or graduation? She makes special deliveries for all your entertaining needs!! (All the girls here at the warehouse are dying for a visit!)
Fellow Chicoans, you know where I’ll be on my lunch break. If you’re not in Chico, then it’s time to make a special trip to our lovely town for a cupcake and a dress from LuLu*s!!!