by Susan Ellis
Nicole Reed launched Cocoa Van Cupcake in July. The business sells cupcakes and whole cakes online, and delivery is free.
In explaining the appeal of the hand-held dessert, Reed says, "Everyone can have their own individual cake in the perfect portion, and it allows me to be creative."
Emphasis on the creative. Among Cocoa Van's cupcakes for the holiday season: Gingerbread with citrus icing, eggnog with nutmeg buttercream, and peppermint candy cane with mint buttercream.
Frugality led Reed to baking seven years ago. She and her husband were married in December, and in January, it was time to celebrate Brian's birthday. He requested his mother's apple cake. It was the first cake Reed had made from scratch. "And I've been baking from scratch ever since," she says.
Reed is particular about her ingredients. She uses Valrhona cocoa, freshly zested citrus, and sweet buttercream, and Cocoa Van's offerings are seasonal: fresh berries for desserts in warmer months, and nuts and spices for fall and winter.
The cupcakes for December — in addition to the ones mentioned above — include red velvet, cocoa van, and pumpkin spice ($27 per dozen, order can be for two flavors). December's cakes are a three-layer toasted coconut cake ($42), carrot walnut cake ($39.50), and apple bundt cake with caramel glaze ($38).
Orders for cakes and cupcakes require 48 hours notice. For Christmas, cakes and cupcakes ordered by 2 p.m. December 21st will be delivered on December 23rd.
Whole cakes and cake by-the-slice as well as a selection of cupcakes and brownies are available at Trolley Stop Market (where I tried the fantastic pumpkin spice cake with nutmeg buttercream), and Reed is currently considering opening a retail space later in 2011.
To order: cocoavancupcake.com.
Cocoa Van on Facebook.