Cake: it's a magic cosmic miracle 2014.12.17


David and I drove up to East Lansing with his parents on Sunday to visit his sister, Diane. Figuring Bob and Jackie would have a more intimate visit with fewer people around, and needing to get some food shopping done, soon after we arrived we zoomed off to the East Lansing Food Co-op to lay in supplies of some exotic spices and hippie freak beans and grains. 

When we reached the co-op, David jumped right in, scooping out the spices while I scoped the joint for something to eat immediately. I hadn’t realized how hungry I was until we were on our way down Grand River Ave. I get kind of mean when I’m hungry, so I was trying to head that off at the pass.

Right away in the refrigerated case by the door, I found some items that would work to stave off hunger and hateful behavior. I planned to circle back for them after helping David with the rest of his long list.

But, on my way to the bulk food section to help him, I was waylaid by the case of Zingerman’s baked goods. Holy cow! What excitement! Vanilla Cosmic Cake, originally priced something ridiculous for an individual serving, was now 30% off, making it less ridiculous, but still not very justifiable in the grand scheme of good healthy eating and fiscally responsible living. I put it in the cart anyway. 

Even though every fiber of my being wanted to open the little taped-down brown pastry bag to see what it looked like and start eating, I moved on to the packaged breads and added a Great Harvest oatmeal loaf to the cart before spying some Zingerman’s products pre-packaged in cellophane. 

More excitement! Zingerman’s brownies! I have a hard time visiting Zingerman’s Deli in downtown Ann Arbor without buying a package of four Magic Brownies. I finally had to have a good talking to with myself and made this rule: No more buying packages of four Magic Brownies unless there are at least four people who will be sharing the package. 

Magic Brownies are the most decadent things in the world: “soft, chocolate interior, toasted walnuts and a thin chocolate crust” made with basic ingredients: sugar, egg, flour, chocolate, butter, walnuts, vanilla, salt and baking powder, but it’s so hard to eat just one. And, here was a package of just one! I added it to the cart. 

Satisfied that I would soon be eating high on the hog, I joined David in the bulk section where I quickly bagged up the likes of adzuki beans and red quinoa before heading back to the more joyous sections of the co-op for the last couple items on the list: raisins and miso. 

Imagine my delight when I found “Hail Merry Miracle Tarts” not too far from the miso in the refrigerator section. It looked like chocolate tart heaven. I debated whether I should choose this instead of the mystery Cosmic Cake. I chose both.

But that Cosmic Cake. 

David thought it silly that I had purchased baked goods sight unseen, but it was from Zingerman’s; it was guaranteed to be good. I’d just polished off a small container of Pesto Pasta Salad so I felt justified in moving on to the good stuff. 

I opened the bag, expecting to find a piece of heavy cake somewhat like a honey cake.

“It’s a Ding Dong!” I proclaimed after spying the chocolate encased square of delight.

“Or a Ring Ding!” I couldn’t remember which. “A Ho Ho?”

Now that I saw what it was, I recalled that I had once purchased a Cosmic Cake at a café in downtown Jackson. I knew this was going to be good.

But David thought I was disappointed. He didn’t realize it was from Zingerman’s and thought I’d purchased some kind of mass-marketed cake not to my liking. 

Meanwhile, I had taken my first bite and was rendered speechless. He continued on about buying something without even seeing what it was.

“Don’t talk to me anymore,” I finally said. I was in a heavenly coma and couldn’t concentrate on his words. The crunch of the chocolate, the density of the cake, the lightness of the creamy center—the textures were as splendid as the flavor.

A few hours later, I examine the Miracle Tart. “We celebrate our pure ingredients” the label proclaims, but I must tell you—it’s not as wonderful a celebration in the mouth as the Vanilla Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s. 

OK, yes, true confessions here, I did eat the Cosmic Cake and the Miracle Tart in one day. 

The night is young; I may yet eat the Magic Brownie.

As my granddaughter Caroline once said, "Yeah! We eat cake all day."