Known throughout the Central Valley as The Cupcake Lady, Troyce Fraga has certainly earned the moniker emblazoned on the side of her bright-pink delivery truck. Her first batches of cupcakes came shortly after her first steps as an infant, and the recipes she has perfected since those early days have gone on to win state-fair ribbons and local acclaim. These recipes draw inspiration from cocktails, candies, and even Mexican cuisine, resulting in flavors as diverse as minty mojito and horchata.
These days, throngs of dessert lovers sprint after Troyce’s cheery delivery truck as it drives along a route of Central Valley destinations such as Turlock City Hall, Latif’s Restaurant, and Emanuel Medical Center. When she isn’t packing marshmallows and raspberry preserves into her specialty cupcakes, Troyce dumps the gooey fillings out the window to slow down cars driving too close for comfort. Those lucky enough to be around when her truck stops can sample buttercream frostings and classic cake flavors such as red velvet and triple chocolate. In addition to her fresh-baked cupcakes, Troyce’s truck shuttles cake pops, whoopie pies, and cupcake parfaits to parties and other catered events.
Since debuting in Taiwan in the 1980s, sweet tapioca pearls have traveled the world, jockeying for the title of America’s next taste sensation upon landing in California. Made of sweet potato, cassava root, and a hint of brown sugar, each pearl is soft on the outside and chewy on the inside, much like a nerf ball filled with creamy mashed potatoes. Tapioca Express captures the gems in more than 100 frosty, fruit-flavored bubble drinks and velvety milk teas—crafted from authentic ingredients imported from Taiwan and hand-selected tea leaves—in flavors such as mango, lavender, almond, and smoky oolong. The pearlescent bubble drinks pair with a menu of Taiwanese snacks, including fried steam buns and crispy calamari rings and combo entrees such as curried chicken and braised pork ribs.
Mocha Magic has served up locally roasted coffee and homemade café fare in a sun-bathed modern space since 1994. Behind the café counter, sandwich makers layer sourdough and croissant with honey baked ham, smoked turkey, and fresh produce accompaniments. At breakfast, patrons can jumpstart the day with freshly baked scones and muffins, but are discouraged from jumpstarting a car by pouring espresso drinks directly into the gas tank.
Having evolved through more than 1,000 frozen flavors since 1953, Baskin Robbins engages sub-zero palates with a rotating selection of classic cones, seasonal scoops, and cool cakes and pies. Customers can nuzzle old favorites such as pralines 'n’ cream, or smash faces into the most recent flavor of the month, superfudge truffle ($2.39+), a treat that explodes with more chocolate than Candy Land's stockpile of warheads. Ice alchemists at Baskin Robbins can also transmute ice cream into shakes ($4.19+) and fruit blast smoothies ($4.39+), or caffeinated cappuccino blasts ($3.99+) blended with ice cream, coffee, and electrified caramel syrup. A line-up of freeze-baked ice-cream cakes and pies includes crowd-pleasers such as the Grasshopper pie, a frosty disk of mint-chocolate-chip ice cream, fudge, and whipped cream, held together by an Oreo-cookie crust. Visitors may also pick up hand-packed pints ($4.49+) from the grab ‘n‘ go cooler, to be enjoyed at home or impulsively consumed in the parking lot.
At Ice Cream Company, chilled cream serves as a stage for showcasing local and seasonal ingredients. Each day, the spotlight shines on more than 25 homemade flavors ranging from classic vanilla and chocolate to exotic varieties such as coconut, swiss-chip orange, and raspberry cheesecake. Scoops tango with mix-ins such as hot fudge and Heath bars to form 100 types of milkshakes, which can be thickened with malt powder or fresh bananas. In addition to building ice-cream masterpieces, visitors can construct sandwiches from a choice of breads, cheeses, meats, and more spreads than a 1,000-page magazine.
Loard’s Ice Cream beguiles ice cream connoisseurs with more than 40 flavors of cold culinary comfort. Experience the tastes of fall without sautéing leaf piles by slurping up regular-sized scoops of pumpkin or maple-walnut ice cream crafted with cream from local suppliers ($2.50 each). Popular concoctions such as cookie-dough, bubble-gum, and ube-taro-root ice cream color tongues’ opinions on nothing-but-dessert diets, swaying them to beg for milkshakes for breakfast ($3.85), double scoops for lunch ($3.85), and kids’-sized scoops for post-cardio workouts ($1.90). The punch cards unlock further treasures of Loard’s loaded menu, including ice-cream-free italian sodas, shaved ices, and freshly made cookies.