According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary: “guilty pleasure – noun, something pleasurable that induces a usually minor feeling of guilt.”
I was lucky last week, to be in a Sprinkles Cupcakes shop on a Thursday. They have the carrot cake cupcakes on Thursdays.
When the push of an exhausting Autumn day in the city is harder than the pull of a gentle breeze and a blue sky touched with auburn and apricot leaves, remembering to observe the beauty of a moment can be difficult. Since beautiful days are still offered to us for free, on occasion, I spent a part of one last week, taking a long walk around streets and architecture that help me to think and sometimes create, and I pointedly took a look and a listen. It made for a nice respite. During my walk, I stopped outside Sprinkles Cupcakes on Walton Street, and realized I needed a cupcake. And some coffee. Together. I needed to sit at their lovely counter with the little felt cupcake tops under glass, leisurely eat my cupcake, drink my coffee, look out their window, and people watch. But here is where the phrase “guilty pleasure” (nothing minor about it) shakes me, slaps me hard, and tells me that I should know better.
It’s right; I should. My exhausting day involved job search issues and some financial fear, so I walked on by. Stopping not far away, I thought for a moment, rationalizing that this would be lunch, and as lunches go, not very expensive at all. I longed for the day when rationalization would play no part in a cupcake decision, then turned around, went inside and decided to have my first taste of their carrot cupcake to go with my brew. And, oh yes! I can write about it, I thought. My longtime mission to find the best carrot cake was suddenly weighing heavily on my mind, and I was eager to dethrone the winner so far (by default) — a heavy, overly spiced and mediocre specimen that does the trick, in the absence of a true contender. And yet although it was the best I had found, it couldn’t possibly be the best. Not if there was anyone, anywhere with a bit of finesse, trying. It is now such a distant second, that settling for it would make my heart ache.
I am a carrot cake connoisseur. Ask anyone who has seen the look on my face when spotting it on a menu. I’ll always give one a try, but I won’t come back if it’s seriously lacking. Sprinkles’ carrot cupcake is now number one on my list. I love the lightness of the cake, the subtle spice, the smooth cream cheese frosting. I haven’t perfected a carrot cake, yet. Someday I might. For now, I’m satisfied with my pumpkin and banana cakes with cream cheese frosting, my vanilla topped with chocolate, my lemon syrup soaked pound, and my double chocolate. Yes, I am serious about my cake, and I’m not sure why I haven’t tried harder to perfect a carrot one — but I don’t have to try anymore. Now I know where to get a perfect rendition whenever I need it. And when you really need it, a small indulgence that inspires a rhapsody earns its place above guilt.