Layer cake, lots of it, with excess frosting. I don't care what it looks like or where it's been. If it's moist and it's got icing, I need a fork.
The mere thought of cake makes me absurdly happy; I don't give a damn if anyone thinks I have the culinary discernment of a 4-year-old. Nyyaaaaahhh!
About two weeks ago, on the way to Shaw's to get groceries, I suddenly realized what's been missing from my life (besides a salary, a career, a professional wardrobe, a driver's license, a Shetland sheepdog, a trust fund, a swimming pool, a Conemara pony, and maybe a published book).
So instead of being my usual self-righteous, self-denying, healthy-eating prig self, I went straight back to the bakery and found a chocolate-frosted golden cake, trimmed with ridiculous turquoise roses. It appeared to be waiting for me. It was half price. I was almost giddy with high spirits as I brought it home, and haven't looked back. Except when we run out and I need to get another one.
The cakes at Shaw's are pretty but they are never sophisticated, and I like that. I'm not crazy about that combination in, say, movie starlets who aspire to Broadway, but it's perfectly okay for cake. Shaw's cakes revive the old-fashioned birthday-cake tradition of decades past. They do not contain pepper, rosewater, vegan or soy ingredients, bacon, or any of the other weird stuff people put in cakes these days.
Shaw's also makes cupcakes, of course, and they're good, but there's something about the presence of a layer cake that makes it superior to even a dozen cupcakes. Cupcakes disappear in a few quick bites, whereas eating cake with a fork lets you take your time and savor each bite. Cupcakes, being super-trendy, bring out the snooty connoisseur in me, whereas a wedge of cake reawakend the blissful schoolgirl.
Knowing that our prize awaits us at the end of the day helps me make healthier food choices the rest of the day. It also makes me feel just guilty enough to hit the gym or jog around the Charles most days of the week. I don't drink, smoke, or gamble. I'm saving recreational drug use for my 80s and 90s when I'll need it most. A big, fat slice of cake and a tall glass of (skim) milk is really all I ask of the world these days.
But if you want to send along any of the other stuff on that list of mine, please don't hesitate to do so.