A truck for the sweet tooth

Lawyer-turned-baker and business owner Kate Carrara grew up baking with her Irish grandmother.

After 10 years working in law, Carrara quit her job to follow other dreams.

Now, Carrara owns a store in South Philly and a bright blue 1988 U.S. mail truck – in both of which, she bakes and sells cupcakes.

“Baking came very naturally to me,” Carrara said. “My grandmother would teach me how to make brownies or cookies and yell at me to keep my hair away from the beaters.”

Since opening her cupcake truck, Buttercream, in the Summer 2009, Carrara has traveled around Philadelphia to share her desserts. Carrara, a Scranton native, is coming to Main Campus because she said she has ties to Temple.

“Temple was the cool place in Philly,” she said. “I come back because the kids are all my favorite and they all are down to earth.”

Carrara frequently modifies recipes she finds online to make them “taste better” and said many of her best creations have been accidents.

Carrara is a “scratch” baker, meaning she only uses real ingredients and bakes in her shops every day.

“No short cuts, all real butter and milk – everything my grandmother taught me to do,” Carrara said. “If you’re going to have a treat, it should be made with real ingredients and it should be satisfying.”

Buttercream currently offers cupcakes, cookies and other treats – called “fancies” – at varying prices.

“Red velvet with cream cheese is a best seller, and the cookie dough fancy also does really well,” she said. “We are hoping to make ice cream sandwiches with the homemade cookies for the summer.”

First-time Buttercream customer Ann-Marie Phillips said she would come again.

“I got the vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream and it was delicious,” Phillips, a junior biology major said. “It was definitely better than any cupcake I’ve ever made.”

Carrara said her business is doing well. The truck’s Twitter handle, @ButtercreamPhl, has more than 11,000 followers.

Carrara said baking makes her happy in a way law was never able to.

“It’s still stressful, but making people feel good makes me feel good,” Carrara said, “It really makes people happy in a way that nothing I’ve ever done has.”

“I always think the truck itself is happiness personified,” she added.

Nina Depaz can be reached at depazc@temple.edu.

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