Help Save the Dessert Hearse

the Dessert Hearse
the Dessert Hearse
Deb Dawson

Imagine a food truck operated by the folks at Six Feet Under — or maybe Tim Burton, or Evelyn Waugh. (You pick.) This is probably the best way to describe Deb Dawson's mobile catering company, Desserts to Die For, which the Ventura-based baker operates out of the back of a 1967 Cadillac hearse. 

Dawson started her baking business after retiring from a 33-year career with the U.S. Postal Service. The San Fernando Valley native says she grew up with the Helm's Bakery trucks, and imagined her hearse as a kind of spooky version of the old trucks, albeit with pastries instead of loaves of bread. So Dawson got her cottage food license, found a hearse on eBay, started baking rustic pies and ta-da. 

But Dawson's near-fifty-year-old hearse is not in the greatest shape, and she says she's staring a Kickstarter to save the vehicle — and her business along with it. 

Desserts to Die For
Desserts to Die For
Deb Dawson

Dawson's hearse, technically a Cadillac Superior Three-Way Sovereign Coach that the baker found in San Diego in 2001 and drove home to Ventura, is not a quick-fix. "As the hearse gets worse and worse, I'm not sure if I can prevent it from rusting away. So I finally gave in and decided to seek outside help," says Dawson. "The goal seems high, but on an old hearse like this, just the windshield is upwards of $1,800."

Dawson's Kickstarter goal is $20,000 and she has under a month to raise it. But hey, it's just in time for Halloween, so we thought we'd help her get the word out.

Deb Dawson and her Dessert Hearse
Deb Dawson and her Dessert Hearse
Deb Dawson

Dawson has been baking for a quarter of a century, a skill she learned first from her English mother and then with inspiration from her local baking heroines. According to Dawson, that list started with Nancy Silverton — as it so often does — and then grew to include Sumi Chang, Roxana Jullapat and Zoe Nathan. Dawson says she has no regular menu for Desserts to Die For, but favors rustic pastries, fruit-based pies, and desserts with chocolate and nuts. All that's what you see in the back of the hearse, by the way; nothing too Halloween-y, at least not yet. 

For more information on Dawson's Kickstarter, check out this video. And for more on Desserts to Die For itself, go to her Facebook page.



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