In 2015, Laura Reiley of the Tampa Bay Times reported that the number of food trucks in the Tampa Bay area rose from 13 to over 150 in the span of four years. Liz McComas, a native of New York now based in New Port Richey, is the operator and head baker for one of those trucks, LizzieCakes. Despite the name, McComas makes more than just cakes.
“Nobody does what I do,” McComas said. “I’m primarily known for my cheesecakes, my cakes, my pies, my cookies.”
Remarkably, she does not have any formal education in baking. She graduated from Parsons School of Design in Greenwich Village, New York in 1986 with a degree in communication (graphic) design.
She took professional cake decorating classes because of a personal interest in baking, and was shortly approached by someone to work as a baker in a traditional brick-and-mortar bakery.
When that offer fell through, McComas took it as a sign to follow her dream and open a mobile bakery. LizzieCakes debuted in April 2013.
“I’m happy with the mobile (shop) because I get to travel around and share my stuff with people in all different areas,” McComas said. “I’m based out of New Port Richey. Most of the people here (USF) would never try our stuff there.”
She went on to say that almost all of her work occurs in Hillsborough and that she visits USF two to three times a month. LizzieCakes has developed its own fan base, with devout supporters following the truck to its various locations.
The mobile bakery is particularly known for its banana pudding cheesecake. It won the 2013 Food Truck Wars Tampa Delectable Dessert Award.
LizzieCakes, as well as other Tampa Bay food trucks, books its events through a promoter, Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally. The schedule for many of the food trucks in the area, as well as each of their menus, can be found on their website. They also hold a food truck seminar every other month for prospective food truck owners.
McComas had some cautionary words of advice to dispense to anyone planning to start their own food truck business.
“If you own a food truck — as hard as you think it’s going to be — it’s even more work than you think,” she said.
On the other hand, she did mention that if she had help, she would consider opening a second baking truck or even an entrée truck.
“There’s a lot more to it than people realize, but it’s a lot of fun,” McComas said. “I love seeing people’s reactions when they first have something that I make.”