It looks like it's true. Cupcakes are dead. While cupcakes used to be the default–nay, the only–dessert option at the various clustertrucks that roam Orange County serving fancy food in low-brow settings, now it's getting harder to find mobile cupcakes.
Last week, I was driving along Imperial Highway when I saw a sign-twirler advertising food trucks a mile south on Brea Blvd. (Congratulations, incidentally, Brea–we'll make a Santa Ana out of your beige sameness yet!)
While the clustertruck was surprisingly diner-friendly–several trucks, short lines, reasonable prices, decent parking–I was surprised to see Morsels Baking Company's Bakery Truck advertising cream puffs. I love cream puffs. I had a brief but torrid fling with Beard Papa when I lived in Santa Monica, until I realized it wasn't actually very good; I've experimented at home with them, but I find making pastry cream one of the fiddliest recipes in existence.
We each ordered one and then tried to figure out how to split them, because the one design flaw of a cream puff is that it is essentially required to be eaten by one person, very quickly. One was a banana-Nutella cream puff and the other was a special fresh raspberry cream puff.
Both puffs were quite good. They're large specimens, which is a nice palliative for the high price. The puff itself was dry enough–an odd statement given that baked goods are normally supposed to be moist, but approriate, because it means the puffs were slashed when they came out of the oven and didn't turn gummy. Are you listening, Beard Papa? The pastry cream was sweet and rich without being cloying, and I liked that both puffs had some whipped cream on top, which lightened the whole thing.
The banana-Nutella mix got a little bit lost in the sweetness of the pastry cream and whipped cream, but the bananas themselves added some texture; I'm not sure I tasted the Nutella strongly.
The raspberry cream puff, however, was simple and excellent, with a heavy drizzle of raspberry coulis and several enormous, plump raspberries. I was reminded of Ruth Reichl's experiences at Le Cirque in New York, when she was recognized and the raspberries were replaced with much larger specimens, except that a) there's no reason to recognize me because I am not exactly Ruth Reichl, and b) everyone was getting these huge berries. I wanted to go back and gorge on these cream puffs.
The Bakery Truck sells cupcakes (natch) and miniature Bundt cakes too; I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat them, because I am incapable of ignoring the siren song of cream puffs.