In the Kitchen

Duh, It’s a Food Truck Full of Desserts

The pastry chef behind Sarcastic Sweets talks community, mobility, and mixing classic desserts with adult beverages

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Nina Reed relocated to Providence from Alaska to attend Johnson & Wales University. From there, she guest-starred on the Food Network’s Sweet Genius before starting her own pastry truck, Sarcastic Sweets. The truck features an extensive pastry menu with over 40 different types of cupcakes and specializes in desserts infused with wine, beer, and cocktails. But before you get to the sweets, she’d like to be up-front about her personality.

I love the name Sarcastic Sweets. Where did it come from?
I really wanted the name of my business to reflect the person behind the product. So when you come up to my truck, or come into my shop... you know, don’t take it personal, but everything is sarcastic and everything is sweet. One of my closest friends said that the customers “need to know who they’re dealing with, so you should let them know that you’re real sarcastic. [Service] might come with a little quip at the end.” So he came up with Sarcastic Sweets.

What made you decide to start a dessert truck instead of a traditional bakery?
I had a small online presence because of the Sweet Genius Food Network show I was on. I received some online orders, pick-ups, deliveries, as well as catering. I felt it was better to build a presence in the community by being mobile and readily accessible.

What does the Sarcastic Sweets dessert truck have to offer?
The dessert truck offers on-the-menu or made-to-order cupcake flavors, as well as various cookies and brownies. We also feature cake pop bites, specialty lemonade, hot drinks, and trifle mason jars. Our most popular items are our cocktail cupcakes. We can turn any cocktail into a cupcake.

Do you have a favorite event that you’ve catered?
I would have to say my favorite events to cater would be for the colleges. Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, Brown University, and University of Rhode Island are all great schools and they have supported my business. The students are very polite and friendly.

What would you recommend for new customers to try first?
If you’re an adult, I would recommend you try the margarita cupcake – any flavor of margarita would be great. That’s my favorite; I’m a little biased. But our most popular item (that isn’t a cupcake) would be the Oreo Madness Brownie. I try to rotate my menu every week, and I can’t seem to take that one off the menu.

Has being in Rhode Island influenced the business?
Since moving here from Alaska I have tried a lot of new things in Rhode Island, one of which would be Del’s Lemonade. So we feature a lemonade cupcake with fresh lemon rinds. It’s extremely popular. We garnish it with a pretzel stick. We also have a clam cake cupcake, for those who like a slightly different savory item.

Having a dessert truck must make it easy to hit it off with people.
I absolutely feel like having a truck helps me connect better with people. When I’m on the truck personally, the customer gets to ask the pastry chef directly any question they want. It also gives me an opportunity to express to people that we do parties, catering, wedding cakes; it expands our business. We’re more than just a dessert truck.