My Imaginary Food Truck

If I had a food truck and decided to serve only one item, what would it be?  An article in the July/August issue of Saveur about Portland, Oregon's food truck scene sparked my imagination.  One vendor said she wanted to start her business out slowly by perfecting and selling only one dish, the national dish of her country.

Would my one food be sweet or savory?  A bread truck seemed the obvious choice, but sell just one type of loaf? 

If I went the savory route, I decided I would sell spaghetti and meatballs.  Everyone ought to have a good marinara sauce in their repertoire.  Then if all went well, I could add bread, salad, dessert...

If I took the sweet route?  Cake, I thought, because a simple cake can be breakfast or dessert.  My truck could be open morning through afternoon offering coffee and cake.

Either way, sweet or savory, the single item had to be a year-round option, no swapping out to meet the season.  Consistency seemed critical to making one dish well.

This week I tried out both of my imaginary food truck options.  For now, the simplicity of cake wins.  I could see myself with a mountain of these little upside down cakes, putting them in paper sacs, as customers placed their orders.  Not too many choices to make, no hemming and hawing except for deciding how many they think they can eat. 

I have been making this vanilla cake recipe from Donna Hay since Olivia turned two.  For years it was her birthday cake until chocolate ruled.  We make it in a round cake pan and cover the top with a powdered sugar design.  The upside down berry cake recipe calls for the cake batter and raspberries.  I used a mix of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.  I substituted half the flour with whole wheat pastry flour to give this a little more nutritive value for breakfast.  I did not notice any sacrifice in lightness or flavor whatsoever.

Upside-Down Berry Cakes
adapted from Off The Shelf 

8 oz. butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
10 oz. fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or a combination

Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and creamy.  Add the vanilla and eggs and beat well.  Sift together the flours and baking powder, and fold into the butter mixture.

Grease 18 muffin 1/2 cup muffins tins and place a small handful of berries in each.  Spoon the cake batter over the berries into each tin and bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden.  

Cool in the tins for 15 minutes, then carefully invert onto a wire rack.

Note:  Do your best to divide batter equally among the cups.  I had a more difficult time removing the cakes where the batter rose beyond the rims.  Loosen the cakes completely before removing from tin.