hide captionEach morning, Sean Moore loads up a 1969 Ford Vanette with cupcakes made at a bakery he co-owns with his wife. Once he finds a parking spot, he tells his customers through social media sites where he is — and how long he'll be there.
The cupcake craze is merging with the social media phenomenon, and the result is: cupcake trucks. Most major cities have these vendors, who rely on Facebook and Twitter to connect with customers.
In Denver, Sean Moore is known as "the cupcake guy." Each morning he loads up a 1969 Ford Vanette with sugary cakes made at a bakery he co-owns with his wife, Denon. Then Moore bounces over Denver's streets looking for customers.
hide captionThe Denver Cupcake Truck sells dozens of cakes every day for $2.75 each.
The Denver Cupcake Truck sells dozens of cakes every day for $2.75 each.
Once he finds a good parking spot, near active businesses with a lot of people walking by, Moore sets his cupcakes on the counter and opens for business.
"Then I pull out my computer and basically link up with all my social networks and let them know where I'm at and how long I'll be here," he says.
Within just a few minutes, customers are responding online, either praising that he's nearby that day or cursing that he's too far for them to travel. During a recent stop in Denver's Highlands neighborhood, John Skrabec was one of the lucky ones.
"I work around the corner," he says. "I'm always on Facebook because I use social media for my business — real estate."
The Denver Cupcake Truck sells dozens of cakes every day for $2.75 each. The goal is for the truck to bring in $1,000 a day to supplement the bakery.
hide captionDenon (left) and Sean (right) Moore have turned to social media to help sell their cupcakes out of a truck. Their goal is to bring in $1,000 a day in the truck to supplement the bakery.
Denon (left) and Sean (right) Moore have turned to social media to help sell their cupcakes out of a truck. Their goal is to bring in $1,000 a day in the truck to supplement the bakery.
To make that happen and to ensure their $25,000 investment in the truck pays off, the Moores have turned to social media. It's much cheaper than traditional advertising.
"There are downsides to it," Sean says. "We spend hours updating our blog, updating Facebook, updating everything."
But the benefits are worth it, Denon says. The truck has boosted business at their bakery, and she says social media is good for market research. Customers suggest places to park the truck, and the Moores always have new flavor ideas.
"Everyone wants bacon," she says skeptically. "But, you know, Elvis loved bacon, banana and peanut butter … "
She's planning an "Elvis" cupcake soon. Meanwhile, she has tried maple bacon cupcakes, and they were a big hit.
Maple Bacon Cupcakes
Yields 24 regular-size cupcakes.
The Cake Batter
Sift together and set aside: 2 cups of flour 2 teaspoons of baking powder 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Set aside: 3/4 cup of buttermilk (room temperature)
Blend in electric mixing bowl until fluffy: 1 1/4 sticks of butter (room temperature) 1 1/2 cups of sugar 4 ounces of fried and drained bacon (Be sure there is very little bacon grease.)
Add to butter mixture and blend until fluffy and light: 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract 3 eggs (room temperature)
Gradually blend 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then add 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix until fully incorporated, follow with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until completely incorporated. Add remaining buttermilk and blend until completely incorporated, then add the remaining flour until smooth. Do not over blend or blend on a high speed.
Place in lined cupcake pan. Bake at 350 degrees until tooth pick comes out clean and cake springs back when poked gently with finger.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
In the bowl of a electric mixer cream together: 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) 8 ounces cream cheese
Once creamed and not lumpy, mix in: 1 teaspoon vanilla 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Once thoroughly combined add: 6 cups of powdered sugar, sift if sugar is lumpy
Mix on medium high until light and fluffy, about 7 to 10 minutes