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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)

oh My,My,My I love the first!! but I know Dulce de Leche is my guilty pleasure aaahhhh!!

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterGloria

Oh god, how I love pink cookies, they used to be a total guilty pleasure. Then I moved from Seattle to San Diego, and they don't have pink cookies anywhere. I miss them.

ding dongs~
ding dongs.

May 2 | Unregistered Commenterbonnie

Oh man- I forgot about those animal crackers. I used to love those!!
Hey- I live in Seattle too!

May 2 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany

Add me to the list of people who love the pink and white animal cookies! And I also have to second the ding dongs.

The other one I have is it's-its. Especially with the mint ice cream. But, don't get me wrong, the vanilla ones are good too. :)

May 3 | Unregistered CommenterShabneez

I have to say, those Ice Cream Cupcakes sure look inviting...

Ditto on the Snow Balls! But, they must be Pink!

Inspiring post...:) as usual.

May 3 | Unregistered Commenter~~Louise~~

great post. all of this stuff looks amazing!

May 3 | Unregistered CommenterJerri

Yellow pages shows two DD locations in Seattle. And did the one in Crossroads shut down? Sad!

Hi there

Have just found your blog and it is yest another example of all the great food blogs that are out there! I just don't have time to read all the blogs I have saved at this stage! I started off blogging myself and have just set up www.ifoods.tv which is a place for foodies, bloggers and chefs to hand out and share their recipes, photos and food videos. Would love to see you there sharing some of your great photos! Keep up the great work on the blog, have bookmarked it so will be a regular reader!

My guilty pleasure? Two words: Dairy Queen.

Those frosted animal crackers are so ghetto but soooooooo addictive....they are like toddler ghetto heheheheh.

OK - you & my daughter would be best friends! You just named breakfast, lunch & dinner for her. My guilt pleasure is sneaking Halloween candy from my kids bags after they go to sleep (he, he!). Then, I do it again at Valentine's Day. I love those bite-sized reeses & snickers - you can eat 30 without even knowing it... just the mess of wrappers surrounding you as evidence of your crime.

xoxox Amy

I'll take one of each with a big glass of milk!

I come here to revel in the glory of treats that are lovingly baked and frosted, and leave craving them. That definitely makes your blog a guilty pleasure!

May 4 | Unregistered Commentersurcie

Oh yummy! Just in time for the ice cream cupcake roundup -- did you hear about how stef from cupcake project will be cohosting it along with scoopalicious (you can read about it on her blog: http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2008/04/enter-ice-cream-cupcake-roundup.html)?! A bunch of us will be making these this month -- so exciting! I'll let you know when I've posted my recipe for ice cream cupcakes :D.

May 4 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

hershey's chocolate ice cream!!

May 4 | Unregistered Commenterbunny

Man, who could resist these guilty pleasures! My guilty pleasures would have to include caramel cheesecake, chocolate brownies and Tim Tams!

May 4 | Unregistered CommenterCakelaw

First of all, you already know I love you Jessie, but that you love Dunkin Donuts Vanilla Kreme Donuts -- they are my sister and my favorites...SO YUMMY. And so freaking hard to find.

And Sophie beat me to the punch, but a while back Cupcake Project asked us to do a Ice Cream Cupcake Roundup for the month of May -- you can see it here...http://scoopalicious.blogspot.com/2008/04/ice-cream-cupcake-roundup-with-cupcake.html
I had never heard of Ice Cream Cupcakes or thought of the idea before she suggested but the idea is a genius one! What could be finer.

When you are on the east coast, let's grab my sister and head to the dunkin donuts for the donuts...we might have to try a few shops though!!!!

Owl Chick: Yes, they are so good! What is this miswrapped almond roca business? Never heard of it!!

Susan: Oh, no--no separating. We bit all those delicious layers all at once.

Gloria: Oooh, a good guilty pleasure.

Noisy: Oh no!! You have to come back! Or call Mostly Muffins to find if they sell them to anyone in San Diego!

Bonnie: Ding Dong, the witch is dead...but how sweet those treats are!

Brittany: USED to love them? I currently love them! xoxo where in Seattle?

Shabneez: Shabneez: I have never heard of it's its?Wow, sounds good!

Louise: OF COURSE! Pink is of course the superior color!

Jerri: Thanks!

Myrnie: Yes, yellow pages does show that. But when we emailed the corporate headquarters (oh yes, we did) we learned they are no longer around! That was about 6 months ago though--maybe one has reopened or come back? Oh to dream...

Private Chef: Thanks!

Wandering: OOOH good one!

Obsessive Foodie: Totally toddler ghetto!

Amy: Oh what is it about those "Fun Sized" candies that make you feel so un-fun after you've eaten 40 of them?

Surcie: Awww, thanks!! It's really a glorified celebration of our guilty pleasures I suppose!!

Sophie: Now that I know about it I am OBSESSED!! SO awesome!! I can't wait, please do let me know!

Bunny: Ohhhh yes!! In a bowl or on a cone?

Scoopalicious: YES! You're right! They don't have them at all of them! In NJ we knew to go to one location because they always had better Kreme than another...and then some don't have them at all. An elusive treat. And the Ice Cream cupcake idea--sheer genius. I can't wait to see that deliciousness!!!


May 5 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Oh, and as Cake Gumshoe Bridget adds: everyone has them whether they be a secret pop-culture addiction or knowing all the words to huey lewis and the news' "Hip to Be Square". I have no qualms about mine: Wild! Berry Pop-tarts. This delectable flavor debuted in the late 90's with wacky purple and blue frosting and a unnaturally violet jam filling. Reading the ingredient list reitorates the fact that what your eating is pure chemicals. Mmm... Chemically delicious My eyes use to light up when I saw this hard to come by flavor and if the mood is right I will devour the whole box, only to walk away pretending that it never happened. Today I am happy to say after a near decade long battle I have finally kicked my pop-tart addiction, but then again they also ceased production of Wild! Berry flavored Pop-Tarts.. coincidence?

May 5 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

If you go to the Almond Roca headquarters in Tacoma, they have a little shop in the parking lot where they sell the mis-wrapped Almond Rocas as well as other "factory discount" goodies.


Ooh. They'd probably be good smacked up a little and mixed into cupcakes, huh? :D

May 5 | Unregistered CommenterOwl Chick

That photo of the ice cream cupcake almost made me go weak in the knees...that is incredibly delicious looking!

My guilty pleasure is actually really embarrassing. Please don't loose ALL respect for me over this.

Occassionally...I like to take a tablespoon of salty butter...dip it into golden syrup...and eat it right off the spoon. *Covers face in shame* "I am not an animal! I'm am a human being!"

Ice cream cupcakes? Why is this world trying to put me into permanent fat pants?! I've never had GP2, but I'm with you on all the rest. My guilty pleasure is rice krispy treats with peanut butter on top. Yes, I'm 10 years old...I just made a batch!

May 7 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Ditto on the Rice Krispy treats with peanut butter - is there any other kind?!

May 7 | Unregistered CommenterJoan


Back when I was more of a stoner and less of a vegan I would LOVE those really soft sugar cookies covered in frosting of every color you get at the supermarket in the plastic container. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Dear God, I need a vegan version.

ALSO during the same period of my life I could eat a whole box of Count Chocula cereal. The stomachache was totally worth it.

ah, sweet memories...

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