Food-truck pastry secrets you can learn from
Food trucks, in one form or another have been around for a long time. From the mid-19th century chuckwagons that fed cowboys driving cattle across large swaths of land to early motorized trucks serving workers and students and the recent boom in more artisanal offerings, the mix of novelty and convenience clearly appeals to many eaters.
Whether baking and pastry arts professionals want to open their own food trucks or work in a brick-and-mortar location, they can learn a lot from the techniques established food truck proprietors use to create a variety of delicious desserts. Let’s look at a few tips and techniques from some of the most notable pastry and baking-oriented food trucks currently on the road.
The powerful appeal of cupcakes and other handheld desserts
Cupcakes mix the best parts of a full-sized cake with a number of other advantages like pre-portioned individual servings and a final form that’s easily stored, transported and handed off to a customer. Food truck owners focusing on these delicious baked goods know they have a good thing going. The Daily Meal’s survey of the best dessert food trucks in the U.S. found cupcakes are the most common type of sweet treat served from these mobile deliverers of delight.
Although the overall cupcake trend has a lot to do with so the number of cupcake trucks crisscrossing the country’s roads, the ease of handling and serving cupcakes – and similarly handheld desserts – is an important factor to consider. Take a cue from cupcake trucks – you can easily adapt your favorite cake recipes to this format and make transporting these treats a much simpler affair, whether you plan to feed 5 or 500 people. You can also start looking for ways to make other baked goods in smaller, easily carried formats.
Classics and innovative ideas
NJ.com’s review of New Jersey’s best dessert food trucks includes a range of trucks and cuisines from across the Garden State, offering a dizzying variety of desserts. Despite all the different types of food, presentation styles and business models, however, there seem to be two categories all of the trucks fall into: classic and innovative. Some trucks, like Cannoli World, offer a few new takes on a well-known indulgence but mostly focus on producing a high-quality version of it. Others, like Dags Dippers, have a similar dedication to quality but focus on a novel approach, in this case placing fruits and vegetables on skewers and coating them in a variety of sauces and dips.
What does this distinction mean for you? It’s an important reminder to have a clear idea of your goal whenever you get the itch to start baking. If you want to experiment, by all means get going – but have an idea of what you’re looking to get out of the process before you start mixing ingredients and putting pans in the oven. Similarly, when you set out to make a specific, classic dessert, make sure you have the right ingredients, pans and other tools on hand before you start work.
Pick one thing at a time to make exceptionally well
Many food trucks have a strong concept that’s clear in their offerings. Whether it’s packaged ice creams, doughnuts or slices of pie, you’ll find plenty of food trucks that focus on one or just a few desserts. This makes it easier to keep popular items in stock and perfect a process. As a home baker, you can use a similar approach by perfecting your version of your favorite desserts. You don’t need to just stick with one dish forever like a food truck, but you should develop your skills with each before moving on to the next.