Danielle Sass is the sass and the baker behind the food truck Sassi Cakes. She founded her baking business in 2011 and added a food truck, of which she speaks very fondly, a few years later.
Her original idea was to travel around Buffalo streets with a cake and ice cream truck, but when food trucks became popular she took that route and focused on cupcakes. Now you’ll find her parked at food truck events or catering parties and weddings.
I caught up with her to hear about her recipe for sweet success.
Question: How did you start baking?
Sass: It was a hobby in college. I actually got diagnosed with skin cancer in college and I always wanted to open a business and I said, “Why not now? You never know what’s going to happen in the future.”
So I started full force doing farmers’ markets to get my name out there and friends and family started asking for orders. We weren’t even going to be a food truck. We were going to do cake and ice cream and go around like an ice cream truck because I always wondered why they didn’t have both (cake and ice cream) and then food trucks became a thing and we jumped in and it worked out perfectly.
Q: Was it a challenge to get the food truck going?
A: It was 2013 and we redid her, me and my father, entirely by ourselves. It was about eight months to finish so she was up and running in 2014.
Q: Do you always call the truck “she” or “her?”
A: Yeah – today she had a little problem with her radiator and I talked to her and said, “You’re going to be OK.” Believe it or not, this truck never lets me down. Today was a rare moment.
She’s an old vintage from 1974 and I swear they made them better back then. She was a milk truck back in the day, which is really cool. Then they turned her into an ice cream truck. It was ready for the junk yard when I got it. We were able to completely strip her and get her up and running.
Q: Is cookie dough your most popular item?
A: Yes - it’s a chocolate cupcake with cookie dough on top and topped with a chocolate chip cookie. Then we have our wild berry cheesecake – it’s a graham cracker crust with almond cake and cheesecake frosting, topped with blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.
Our bite size minis are popular. They’re $1 and you can get a box of eight so you get a variety pack, which everyone seems to love.
Q: Is the food truck industry getting competitive?
A: This year is the most food trucks I’ve ever seen. I think we’re up to 50-something, but at the same time some of the food trucks are starting to get a storefront, brick and mortar, so it’s kind of evening out or they’re keeping the truck for deliveries or catering.
Q: How do you balance the food truck with your catering business?
A: We’re actually only on the truck three days a week and then we cater full-time so that’s our main business. We do full displays and themes – showers and weddings. We do graduations and birthdays at personal homes with the truck. People are doing individual boxes with a thank you note for party favors - it’s nice and different.
Q: Are you always trying to come up with new flavors?
A: Yes! A lot of our customers will send us flavors like the Earl Grey Tea - that’s a vanilla almond base with tea ground into it and the frosting is pure lavender.
Some of my friends came up with cookie dough and Reese’s and my boyfriend came up with maple bacon. So they’ll give me ideas and I’ll turn them into creations.
INFO: Sassi Cakes, sassicakes.com, 909-2600.
*Read Elizabeth Carey's interview with Tommy Cowan from Doc Sullivan's: