Phila. Cupcake Truck is back in biz

A long line waits outside the Cupcake Truck at JFK Plaza in Center City on the morning of Aug. 25, 2010.
A long line waits outside the Cupcake Truck at JFK Plaza in Center City on the morning of Aug. 25, 2010. (Peter Mucha)
Posted: August 25, 2010

Vanilla Vanilla. Banana Nutella. Chocolate Caramel Buttercream Pecans.

The Cupcake Truck was back in business today, serving up such flavors and half-dozen more, to a line of salivating citizens at JFK Plaza this morning.

Yesterday, Kate Carrara's converted postal truck was driven away by an L&I official, who claimed she pulled into a prohibited spot in University City, she recounted to a squad of reporters hungry for an update.

Her data-analyst husband, Andy, filled out a form and paid $200 to retrieve the vehicle, which still had hundreds of cupcakes in its fridge.

Such as Red Velvet. That's the best-seller, Kate Carrara said. And Chocolate Chocolate Ganache. "Absolutely delicious. Rich," said a waiting customer, Philadelphia web developer Georgia Spangenberg, 32, recommending a flavor she'd tried.

The Cupcake Truck, with its multicolored lettering, pulled up next to the Fairmount Park Visitors Center across from Suburban Station shortly after 10 a.m., and immediately a line began to form. A permit to be there was displayed inside the truck.

This morning's inventory was 400 cupcakes, but by 11 a.m., most of them were gone.

The information dispensed by the city just isn't clear, said "the cupcake lady," explaining the dispute.

"It's very confusing, and I'm a lawyer," she said.

She left the family practice in the Scranton area about a year ago, disenchanted with the profession. "I never knew if I was helping people or hurting people," she said.

So she turned her love of baking into a business, choosing cupcakes because they were enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Since such sweet treats aren't everyday fare, she took a nomadic approach, scheduling a variety of locations - colleges on Tuesdays, JFK Plaza (Love Park) on Wednesdays, Broad near Callowhill (home of both the Inquirer and the School District) on Thursdays, Clark Park on Saturdays.

In some areas, like Center City and part of University City, the city regulates vendors strictly. Once, L&I did warn her about a spot in University City so she left, she said.

Yesterday, she thought she was outside the forbidden zone, but clearly not everyone agreed.

"I pulled up and they were waiting for me," she said about a trio of badge-flashing L&I inspectors - although she could have said the same today about customers and the media.

She and her husband hope to soon persuade City Council to create a kind of roving vendor permit, good for clearly designated roving spots.

The cupcakes are her own creations, crafted in a kitchen near 42d and Woodland in Southwest Philadelphia to have that "homemade taste," just the cupcakes she learned to make from her grandmother, Mary Leniah, of Archibold, Pa.

Beer cupcakes with Bailey's frosting were one of the more unusual confections.

Ron Abel, 53, of Prospect Park, came over from a law firm where he's a word processor. He recommended the Red Velvet.

"They're awesome. You should try them," he said.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|