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The bright orange van parked along Nicollet Mall doesn't look that conspicuous until you notice the cartoon cupcakes painted on its exterior, and the small tray mounted on its hood to hold the coffee fixings. The vehicle comes from St. Paul's Cupcake cafe on University Avenue and usually carries about a dozen varieties of the shop's signature confection. Classics like the Trademark, a chocolate mousse-filled vanilla cupcake, and Red Velvet are bestsellers, but we're extra partial to the flavors that pack in three times the fun, Triple Chocolate and Caramel Cubed. The treats are world class. No wonder Cupcake's pastry whizzes, owner Kevin VanDeraa and catering manager Alicia Hinze, were picked to compete on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars.
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