HANFORD — The Cupcake Route has opened in the Hanford Mall providing shoppers with a new snack option.
Hanford residents with a sweet tooth may have noticed that the famous pastel blue and green Cupcake Route truck hasn’t been making the usual rounds, but it has found a new permanent home in the mall.
Owner and baker Dolores Banuelos cooked up around 1,500 cupcakes on opening day, Sunday, June 2. She fired up the oven at 4 a.m. that morning and it didn’t stop churning out the tasty confections until about 8 p.m. that night, she said.
“With the truck, you load up and you go and you sell out and then you just drive off,” Banuelos said. “Here, I can’t close the shop down.”
Each day, the shop, located near the food court, offers a variety of cupcake flavors. Some of the best-selling favorites like Oreo explosion, strawberry shortcake and tres leches are permanent staples. But each week, there will be a few new cupcakes on the menu, as well.
Friday, red velvet, chocolate peanut butter, Twix-flavored and vanilla caramel were among the made-from-scratch, delicious cupcakes offered.
Banuelos even got to experiment with a spur-of-the-moment flavor that she said would never work in the Cupcake Route’s truck — chocoflan.
“I always said, 'If I ever have a shop,' I’m going to try making it and today was the day,” she said.
In the truck, the flan would slip off the cupcakes at the first red light, she said, but thanks to the new permanent space, the baker is free to experiment with new flavors, toppings and textures. Two dozen chocoflan cupcakes sold out in the first hour of business Friday morning. She’s also perfecting a spicy mango cupcake recipe.
Banuelos, and her daughters, bake about 1,000 cupcakes a day for the shop and for use in the truck which makes rounds around the Valley three or four days a week. She said the goal is to sell out every day.
“I’d rather sell out. I don’t like to sell a cupcake from the day before — we never do. And I don’t like to throw away cupcakes. It hurts to see them go. I’d rather just sell out and bake fresh every morning,” she said.
Originally from Turlock but now a Hanford resident, Banuelos is a fan of sweet treats and has always enjoyed baking birthday cakes and other confections for her children and their friends and classmates.
“It was fun for me and I loved eating them, too, and it just turned into a business,” she said.
Beginning as a home business, Banuelos eventually invested in the iconic pastel truck that makes rounds in Kings County, Fresno and the Visalia/Tulare area.
The truck has stopped supplying cupcakes within Hanford city limits due to a City ordinance that requires food trucks to move locations every 10 minutes. Banuelos hopes that lawmakers change the rule.
"Not just for us, but for all the food trucks," she said.
Originally called The Cupcake House, Banuelos was forced to change the name of the business after a dispute with a similarly-named business headquartered states away.
“My only fear was my customers and 'are they going to get confused by the change?' You know what? They didn't. Not at all,” she said. “In the long run, I think it’s better.”
With business flourishing and long lines of returning customers forming at the mall, Banuelos has plans for a second truck and an official grand opening celebration, though a date has not been set yet.
The mall location is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The Hanford Mall is located at 1675 W. Lacey Blvd.
To stay up to date with the Cupcake Route’s ever-changing menu and food truck location, visit www.facebook.com/TheCupcakeRoute or follow @thecupcakeroute on Instagram.