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So Bad, So Sweet, So Good: An Exploration of Guilty Pleasures

Ice Cream Cupcakes

Occasionally, we're asked if we'd like to try new products. Generally these inquiries are mass emails from marketing or PR companies, and much of the time, we delete them--we generally like to sleuth the sweet stuff ourselves. But when we received an email last week from Philly Swirl asking if we'd like to try their new product, Ice Cream Cupcakes, we were...intrigued. Maybe it was the hint of warmth in the air, making us nostalgic for ice cream truck visits in the summer. Maybe it was just the sprinkles in the sample picture (cute!). But whatever the reason, we accepted the sample, which arrived in a container packed with dry ice (très dramatique)

Ice Cream Cupcakes
The cupcakes are comprised of several layers: a top whipped frosting layer, followed by a layer of ice cream, then anchored by a sponge cake layer, covered with a thin hard chocolate shell molded in the shape of a cupcake wrapper. The taste, while not fancy, is satisfying nonetheless--somehow eating them made us sort of giddy, in the same way that dixie cups for a class party or a visit from the ice cream man might. That is to say, insanely eatable, perhaps in the same way that US Weekly, while not fine literature, is insanely readable. A guilty pleasure. 
Of course, this got us thinking about the guilty pleasure. From grocery store birthday cakes to Twinkies to chocolate covered pretzels, we all have them. And since the Cakespy crew has been "tagged" several times to reveal some facts about ourselves, we thought we'd satisfy it by revealing five of our crew's various deep, dark, secret guilty pleasures:
Guilty Pleasure 1: Hot Chocolate from 7-11
Yes, it's made using water, and a powder. Yes, it's so sweet it actually makes your teeth hurt. But oh, that hurt is so, so good. And available 24 hours! Available at 7-11 stores everywhere. 

Lemon Bar from Tully's
Guilty Pleasure 2: Lemon Bars from Finales Gourmet Desserts

In Seattle, there's a wholesaler, Finales Gourmet Desserts, which supplies baked goods for a variety of cafes and coffee shops in the area. Though we don't have a complete list of where this particular treat is available amongst their accounts (trust us, we called and asked), it's usually a pretty safe bet that you'll find their dangerously delectable lemon bars at most Tully's locations in the area. These weighty bars have a bottom oaty crust, smothered with a thick, creamy lemon curd (which is delightfully devoid of the eggy flavor that can plague some lemon bars) and then topped with a layer of hard, ever-so-slightly salted crumbs which add a light crunch and a nice contrast to the sweet lemon filling. As a Finales employee tells us, they're certainly "not low-fat", but they certainly aren't lacking in deliciousness. Generally available at Seattle-area Tully's locations; tullys.com. 

Pink Frosted Cookie
Guilty Pleasure 3: Pink Frosted Cookies

Whether it's from a plastic box like the Lofthouse Cookies, singly packaged like the mighty Uncle Seth's, or homemade (slice and bake acceptable), we love soft frosted sugar cookies--especially when the frosting is pink. This is a simple cookie, deeply un-gourmet and yet amazingly satisfying somehow. True, sometimes they're so sweet they make our head hurt. But they always make us smile, and isn't that worth something? For more resources, check out our history of the Pink Frosted Cookie.

Guilty Pleasure 4: Vanilla or Chocolate Kreme Donuts from Dunkin' Donuts

Have you ever tried one of the Kreme filled donuts from Dunkin' Donuts? Well. If not, here's a hint of what you're missing. First, the puff of "Kreme" that comes out the top of the donut, a sweet, slick taste that envelops the entire mouth. Then, the bite of powdered sugar and carbohydratey goodness that is the donut. Then the combination of tastes, mingling in your mouth, which tastes something like a mother's love and slow death all at once. How sweet it is indeed. Of course, there's no pleasure if it's a "Bummer" Kreme Donut--one that only has the Kreme on the outside and a mere puff on the inside. Those are just cruel. Available at Dunkin' Donuts locations; dunkindonuts.com

Guilty Pleasure 5: Frosting-Smothered Animal Crackers

On the one hand, you may think this is too similar to the pink frosted cookie to have its own category. However, upon further thought, they really are different worlds. These crackers have a satisfying snap and no-way-can-you-stop-at-one quality which leaves them on their own turf. It's as if a cookie was shrunk down into elf form, and then smothered in a sweet coating that is half frosting, half nonpareil. Gorgeous. Available in most grocery stores.

Of course, all of this begs the question...what are your guilty pleasures?


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Reader Comments (58)

I'm with you all the way on 7-11 hot chocolate. My list would also include basically any raw dough or batter. Brownie, cake, cookie, it doesn't matter. I know it's not always wise to eat the uncooked stuff, but I can never resist.

I have never had a pink frosted cookie. But I'm totally gonna do a knock off version of those ice cream cupcakes.

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterjustJENN

You've given me a perfect roadmap for the weekend! As for guilty pleasures ... It would have to be Carvel Flying Saucers. They took the traditional ice cream sandwich and sent it into orbit. And, of course, I can't rule out reruns of "Wonder Woman" as a close second.

I am with you all the way on the frosted animal crackers..I don't know what it is about those! And of course...as noted in my blog...OREOS, I can never get enough of those!


May 2 | Unregistered CommenterC.L.

I like my US Weekly once in a while when I want to forget the problems of the world. Rice prices up the roof? I MUST eat my ice cream filled cupcake. Call it guilty pleasure for sure!!! But oh so good....

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterAran

I am right there with you on GP #4 - I knew it would be problematic when Dunkin Donuts started springing up like Starbucks around here (of course, now nobody makes their own donuts, so the chocolate kreme ones that I really loved, freshly made that day, no longer exist).

Another one for me is bottled Frappuccino. Forget the $4.50 versions at Starbucks, I'll take the coffee flavored sugar milk from the bottle at a gas station or vending machine!

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

Tasty Kake Butterscotch Krimpets!!!

Rolo candies kept in the freezer!!!

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterBMoreSweet

I am a Japanese. I send this site in search of joy to meet you from Japan. It is a Japanese site to understand it in various ways, but I feel joy about the encounter with you.

May 2 | Unregistered Commenternipsum

Raised, glazed donuts. Since Top Pot came into the neighborhood it has become dangerously easy to indulge in this. Top Pot's on my running route, so I literally run in on Saturdays and get donuts!

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi A

Oh man. That ice cream cupcake looks scrumptious! My guilty pleasure is The girls next door. oh wait...we're talking about sweet edible treats. LOL. Ironically I tend to be a salt guilty pleasure person. I could eat a whole bag of kettle chips by myself!

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterCB

I've been wanting a Dunkin Donut lately!

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterWendyB

I'm with you on GP 5. I also like the cheap vanilla wafer cookies, baskin robbins ice cream cake (the one that looks like a log) and I love the kind of hot chocolate when you go camping.

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterKrysta

That first ice-cream cupcake looks pretty darned good to me. I have to admit I'm not familiar with most of these. . . I'll try to keep it that way, based on how easy they are to eat!

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

Oh. My. Gosh. What a great picture of the Chocolate Kreme Donut! You forgot to mention the "powdered sugar mustache" you get from biting into the donut. That's a good look! Thank you for the distraction from work!!

i'm so delusional that i don't even think of my favorite fat-inducers as guilty pleasures anymore. nope, they're just pleasures. the day i turn down a toasted coconut donut is the day life ain't worth living. :)

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

Two words- Hostess. Snowballs. :D

I wish I could indulge in all of these guilty pleasures. Its a tough job and your the best ones to do it!

May 2 | Unregistered Commenterglamah16

Oh those frosted animal cookies...they used to be a necessity whenever my husband and I took a road trip. Other guilty pleasures... my favorite would probably be a vitamina. It's a smoothie that's popular in Brazil made with ripe avocado, milk, sugar, and a splash of lime juice. Yummy! Luckily, most of my family can't get over the "green" factor, so that leaves more for me!

I want an ice cream cupcake for breakfast NOW DADDY! (she says in her best Veruca voice)... But oh those frosted circus animals.... I lived on those in college. My blood ran pink and sugary.

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterEB

Oooh, the pink and white animal cookies - one of my favorites!! My guilty pleasure would have to be Little Debbie snacks. I grew up on them, and still have cravings for them at times!

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

I have never heard of the pink frosted cookie but I have a sugar cookie recipe that would be perfect to experiment with...And animal crackers? I almost forgot how much I used to love those things.

May 2 | Unregistered Commenterkellypea

My guilty pleasure is sugary cereals.. Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Golden Grahams.. you know, things that usually come with a prize in the box. :D

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia

SoHo: Yea! Go 7-11 chocolate! So bad, but so good. I am with you on the raw stuff too...sure, you know the risks, but it is so good!

JustJenn: Yes!! let us know how they work out!

T.W.: Ooh, the flying saucers are truly one of life's pleasures. I haven't had one in such a long time!!

C.L: Yeah, they're awful but so good at the same time, aren't they? And as for oreos--double stuf for me, please!

Aran: yup--we cannot deny ourselves these small pleasures!

Jenny: Ooh, good one--those are tasty, indeed!

Bmoresweet: Yes!! I love putting caramel candies in the freezer. Yum!

Nipsum Thanks I guess?

Heidi: Ooh, I'll bet your whole neighborhood smells of doughnuts!!

CB: Hey, that's ok! We all have our guilty spots. How about kettle chip cupcakes?

WendyB: Lucky you, you have DD by where you live! There are NONE in Washington State!! I stock up whenever I visit my parents in NJ.

Krysta: Yes!! Those ice cream cakes are amazing, and I love wafer cookies!

Ricki: Ha! Well, none of them are *good*--more like so bad they're good, like a teen movie or something.

Cupcakery: Ah yes! that is a tactile part of the experience, isn't it!?

Grace: Oh, no doubt about it, we have no problem letting sweetness into our lives. These are just the trashy ones we keep quiet about--our down-grade tastes for when a fancy macaron or pot de creme isn't satisfying that unfussy part of us!

StickyGooey: ooh, good one!

Glamah: Yes, it is tough to narrow down the treats. Alas, someone must do it! :-)

Myrnie: YEA! That smoothie sounds ridiculous tasty!

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Pink cookies are my particular weakness...weakness, because they are not even made of dark chocolate! But I love them!

Skor bars stored in the fridge are one cheap weakness...as are miswrapped Almond Rocas...cheaper than the regular tinned kind and local! Yay!

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterOwl Chick

We don't have to eat the three layers separately, right? Cause I want all three outrageously delicious textures in each outrageously delicious bite.

PS-There's an award for you over at my blog. So come on over and get it. :)

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