Bethany Clough

People line up for this cupcake truck everywhere it goes. Here’s why

When you need a cupcake, look for the new Haus of Cupcakes food truck

Haus of Cupcakes, started by Esmeralda Banuelos, is a new food truck visiting Valley locations offering daily-made cupcakes
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Haus of Cupcakes, started by Esmeralda Banuelos, is a new food truck visiting Valley locations offering daily-made cupcakes

A few years back, longtime baker Esmeralda Banuelos noticed the food truck trend taking off.

Maybe there was a way for a baker to get in on that action, she thought.

“I was wondering if there was such a thing as a cupcake truck,” she said.

Well, there is now.

She started one — a pink and turquoise cupcake truck called Haus of Cupcakes that makes stops in Fresno and outlying cities. She and her daughters, ages 17 and 20, sell 13 flavors of cupcakes from the back of the truck.

If you’ve followed her for a while, you might know the business from its former name, California House of Cupcakes. She’s in the process of changing it to Haus of Cupcakes to avoid confusion with another business.

You can find her in Fresno at the River Park Farmer’s Market from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, and again at the Saturday farmers market at River Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Keep reading for a list of all her regular stops.

As for the cupcakes, they come in all sorts of flavors. The strawberry shortcake cupcake is the most popular, probably because it has a tasty filling inside, Banuelos said. It’s followed by the Oreo explosion and tres leches flavors.

The cupcakes sell for $2.50 a piece.

It might seem like it would be hard to center a business around something so cheap, but check out what happens with her customers. The first time they come, they buy one cupcake, maybe two. The next time they come? It’s a dozen, or two dozen.

Like a doughnut shop, all the cupcakes are on display in a glass case. Customers pick the flavors they want, say three chocolate-peanut butter cupcakes and two banana cream cupcakes, for example.

The truck carries containers that hold one cupcake, on up to one dozen and two dozen.

To find out where Haus of Cupcakes will be, follow the business on Facebook. She posts her stops and flavors she will carry each morning.

Customers can also pre-order their cupcakes and pick them up at the truck. She posts her location and flavors each morning and asks people to pre-order from those flavors via Instagram or text at (209) 250-9563.

Banuelos was a little surprised at how busy the truck got after she launched.

“Every time we go, there’s always a big line,” she said. “We’ve been so blessed. Lines of people waiting for us everywhere.”

Last week at the River Park farmers market, she sold out of cupcakes.

She also makes a point of going to smaller cities, like Hanford, where she lives, and Lemoore, Visalia and Tulare. The mobility of a truck brings in more business than if she had a storefront, she said.

“Having a shop I would have to wait for people to come,” she said. Instead, “we go to all the different cities. It’s nice because it doesn’t matter how small the city is, we go to them.”

The business is based in Hanford. The cupcakes are all baked in her home kitchen, operating under California’s a cottage food license that allows home-based bakers to sell some foods commercially.

On a recent weekend she baked 900 cupcakes. She often gets up at 4 a.m. to bake and sometimes sells until 10 p.m.

Banuelos also does big orders for birthdays, weddings, and fundraisers where 20 percent of the profit goes to the cause. Sugar-free and gluten-free cupcakes are available too.

The business actually started in Modesto. When Banuelos and her husband moved to the area for her husband’s job at West Hills Coalinga, she continued it here. She got a new truck though, a process that took about six months because the truck needed to pass inspections in every county it sells in.

Haus of Cupcakes regular schedule:

Tuesdays: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., River Park Farmer’s Market, Fresno.

Wednesdays: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Lemoore All Star Cheer, 1500 Enterprise Drive, Lemoore.

Thursdays: noon to 3 p.m., Pitty’s BBQ, 240 North L Street, Tulare.

Thursdays 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Ashoori & Co. Jewelers, Visalia.

Fridays: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Les Schwab Tire Center, 330 12th Ave. Hanford.

Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., River Park Farmer’s Market, Fresno.

Details: (209) 250-9563.

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.