TOMBALL, Texas – When you hear the name Count Dracula, you might immediately think of the legendary tale from Transylvania. Although Dracula was a fictionary character, Transylvania happens to be the same region where Kürtőskalács, also known as chimney cakes, originated from.
Although you won’t find any vampires today, one thing you might find is the recipe of chimney cakes dating back to the cookbooks of Countess Maria. This sweet treat eventually popularized and became a common wedding cake throughout Romania.
The sweet treat eventually made its way to the United States within the next three centuries and in 2018 was introduced to the greater Houston area by Dracula’s Chimney Cakes.
In 2014, the owner and founder of Dracula Chimney Cakes, Gabriel Toma, and his wife arrived in the United States for a better opportunity. Hoping to achieve the American Dream, Toma landed a job in corporate America but soon left to find his real passion in the cooking industry.
“Working for somebody else is not as easy and with less money,” said Toma. “Here you’re in control of your future. You have a lot more work, but you have a little more money.”
With a background in hospitality and service, Toma experimented with the chimney cake recipe and provided samples to his neighbors, observing their body language to see if this product was ready to be introduced to the public.
“It wasn’t the product that was going to make people go crazy,” said Toma. “I kept trying.”
After some trial and error and extensive research on the recipe and equipment, Draculas’s Chimney Cakes was born in November 2018.
Toma shared how they started working with festivals, farmers’ markets and coffee shops around Houston. Soon the Transylvanian tasty treats began getting some buzz and brought thousands of visitors to its social media accounts.
Sweet and Savory
Aside from its rich history dating back to the late 1700s, these unique bites are not as common in Texas or around the country. In fact, Toma stated about nine locations across the country can do something similar to Dracula’s Chimney Cakes, but nothing close to its unique flavors and experience.
For first time customers, the owner suggested trying a cinnamon chimney cake, which is his best seller or the walnut with cinnamon, which is his personal favorite and is considered a traditional chimney cake.
If you want something a little savory, the owner recommended the brisket chimney cake panini, a new addition the food truck added recently.
“That’s my number one seller on the menu,” said Toma.
His passion for baking and cooking led him to the discovery of new recipes, such as adding barbecue to its signature chimney cakes and even venturing into street tacos.
The owner said, “I like to keep my audience on their toes and surprise them with something new.”
Toma’s goal is to help local businesses by partnering with them and adding unique bites to his menu.
“I believe that local small businesses have a lot to contribute to the economy,” said Toma. “It’s good to be a part of something bigger.”
Toma and his wife hope to expand the business and reach a larger market not just in Houston, but around the country. His goal is to continue serving the community and be a part of something bigger than just his business.
“The bigger question I asked myself, ‘What can I do 5, 10, 20, 30 years from now?' That’s what’s going to keep me moving,” said Toma. “This is my passion. This is what I love to do.”
The food truck is located at 403 East Main Street in Tomball, Texas. For more information about Dracula’s Chimney Cakes and hours of operation, you can visit its website at dccakesusa.com.