Main Campus Confection

Philly’s famed cupcake truck will now visit Main Campus every Thursday.

Philly’s famed cupcake truck will now visit Main Campus every Thursday.

Insomnia Cookies has a new delectable competition on Main Campus – a cupcake truck, located at the corner of 12th and Montgomery streets.

Courtesy Buttercream Philadelphia The Buttercream Philadelphia truck, which features traditional flavors of cupcakes, such as vanilla and chocolate, to never-before-eaten varieties like blue velvet and Guinness flavors, will stop at Main Campus on Thursdays, noon to 2 p.m.

The white truck, covered in large, rectangular multicolored shapes that resemble oversized sprinkles, brings with it quantities of confectionery goodness. The cupcake truck, known as Buttercream Philadelphia, is a traveling food truck that goes all over the city to serve up fresh baked goods.

The truck will visit Main Campus every Thursday from noon to 2 p.m.

“Baking, I would say, is my art, my vehicle to make people happy,” Kate Carrara, the owner and founder of Buttercream Philadelphia, said. “I always think about what people are going to respond to, what’s going to make them smile.”

Carrara didn’t always start out baking velvety, frosting-covered cupcakes in Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s buzzing baked goods entrepreneur, nicknamed “The Cupcake Lady,” was once an attorney, graduating from the University of San Francisco Law School and working at her grandfather’s law firm, Lenahan & Dempsey in Scranton, Pa. Carrara worked there for two years, where she was known as “The Deposition Lady,” she joked.

She said a friend told her Austin, Texas had a baked-goods truck with late-night pick-up and delivery options, and someone in New York City was on the verge of starting up a similar business. Carrara said she figured she’d take a shot starting the same type of business in Philadelphia.

“I was defending hard things, hanging around people who were fighting … I don’t miss that at all,” Carrara said with a laugh. “Now I’m surrounded by people that smile and wave at me all day, and I did not get that response with my brief case.”

Once she heard about the truck in New York City, she quit her job and looked frantically for a truck, which would be the first step in starting her business.

Carrara made the mistake of posting a drawing of the cupcake truck on Phillyblog before she even had a truck. Then, Carrara got extremely lucky, she said, with a Craigslist post about a mail truck.

The current truck, covered in sprinkles and a clean white-cream color, wasn’t always cupcake transportation material. The former mail truck was in a warehouse, covered in graffiti, so Carrara gave it a sweet and sugary makeover.

Carrara was not able to put an oven in the Buttercream Philadelphia truck, since it did not have much room. She found a place she could bake out of at J. Cabot Catering, located at 301 Callowhill St., but she is working on getting Buttercream a space of its own in 2010.

As everything fell into place, Carrara saw her new career begin.

Carrara said that while she was at law school, she had an interest in human rights law and humanitarian efforts, which is why she is collaborating with a student contact at Temple to work on a “Cupcakes for Haiti” charity.

“I’ve reached out to the truck in San Francisco, the truck in New York, and we’re going to try and have a day, or several days, where proceeds go toward relief for Haiti,” Carrara said. “It’s nice to pull up to things and events. It lends to helping get the word out to people.”

“I can really use my truck, my Twitter and my following to get people to [do] stuff that I think is important,” she added. “Maybe that’s a little power trip-y/Oprah-ish of me, but if I could get my customers to care about important issues, maybe the next stop for me is a book club.”

Josh Verlin, a sophomore broadcast journalism major said he appreciated Carrara using her truck to help the efforts to aid Haiti.

“It makes me more interested in buying a cupcake,” Verlin said.

Cupcakes are $2 each, and Carrara allows customers to buy as many as six cupcakes per order. Buttercream offers everything from “vanilla vanilla,” a yellow cupcake with vanilla frosting, to red velvet and cream cheese frosting cupcakes. Last Thursday, Carrara had a blue velvet cupcake special.

“I was terrified,” Carrara said about starting Buttercream. “I have a very supportive husband who had gotten a job at Morgan Stanley, which a couple of years ago was better than it seems like it was in the last year. He had the stability that gave us the benefits and all, but even that wasn’t stable.”

Carrara’s business is still up-and-coming, at least on Main Campus.

“I would definitely go to [the Buttercream Philadelphia truck], but I think they should have more hours open,” said Danielle Utianski, a freshman psychology major. “If they don’t, I don’t think I’ll be able to take part in the potential deliciousness, which is rather disappointing.”

Utianski added that if Buttercream was to expand its hours of operation when visiting Main Campus, she’d love to try all types of cupcakes the truck has to offer.

“I actually heard about the truck and I have yet to check it out … Cupcakes are a great snack but insomnia cookies is stationary,” said Ashley Pro, a sophomore broadcasting, telecommunications and mass media major. “Unless the cupcake truck parks itself [at a known location] on campus, I’m not sure it will be successful.”

Carrara assured that once the temperature outside gets warmer, Buttercream will look into expanding its one-day-per-week Temple visit from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“People ask if I [miss being at the law firm], and I say ‘no’ because I’m so much happier,” Carrara said. “If you don’t have integrity and passion for what you do, life is really hard. And when you do have it, it’s like, ‘Oh I only have $10, but I don’t care.’”

Josh Fernandez can be reached at

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