Sailing to Cupcake Island
If I owned a 34-foot Catalina—and let’s just pretend for a moment that I do—I would set sail immediately for a spectacular place where sugar is the main ingredient in every meal and everyone throws multi-colored sprinkles instead of white rice at the bride and groom.
Of course, since I live in Omaha, Nebraska, I don’t need to sail on the ocean to reach a destination where having an all-day sugar high is considered a good thing. Cupcake Island—launched in 2005 by Shirley Thelen Neary and Ed LeFebvre—is located just a few miles down the Papillion Creek at 120th & Pacific Streets and can be easily reached not only by sailboat, but also by a horse, riding lawn mower, or golf cart.
I think it’s always a good sign when a little bell rings when you open the door of any business. As I entered the store on a recent visit, the bell tinkled as the glorious smell of freshly baked cake greeted my nostrils. I breathed in deeply—like I had just been hooked up to oxygen after gasping for air for days—and smiled. I stared at the glass display case in awe because at Cupcake Island, the flavors change as often as I change my mind.
In addition to offering traditional flavored cupcakes, Cupcake Island sells Raspberry Delight, Carrot Cake, Boston Crème, and Peanut Butter Cup cupcakes. As I carefully chose six cupcakes from the potpourri of deliciousness for my friend’s birthday dinner that evening, I watched the cupcake guru behind the display case as she lined the cupcakes in a beautiful little row inside a pink box. “Anything else?” she asked as I handed her my debit card.
“Just the recipes for all the cupcakes,” I muttered as I grabbed the receipt, “and make it snappy.” She just smiled knowing that I already knew she would be forced to kill me if she divulged the ingredients. I clutched the box to my chest, hurried out the door, and slid into the driver’s seat in my car. I gently placed the cupcake box on the seat next to me and buckled the seatbelt around it, knowing I couldn’t count on the airbag to save the lives of six little cupcakes should I accidentally rear-end a bus. I’m proud to say I made it to the first stoplight before I opened the box and sniffed. That moment was the beginning of the end.
First, I decided to indulge myself with a tiny bit of frosting from the Raspberry Delight cupcake. Then I ate the peanut butter cup off the top of the peanut butter cup cupcake. About three blocks further down the road, I took my first bite of the Boston Crème cupcake. I licked all the sprinkles off the Devil’s Food Among Us cupcake, but it turns out, I was the only devil among us.
A few minutes later as I rang my friend’s doorbell to deliver her birthday cupcakes, I looked down in horror just as she opened the door and exclaimed, “Ohhhhh, cupcakes from Cupcake Island! I love that place!” She took the box out of my hands and looked inside. It wasn’t pretty. It looked like the cupcakes had just fought in The Battle of the Bulge, but quite frankly, the only thing that was bulging was my stomach over my jeans. “Ohhhhhh,” she exclaimed again, but this time it sounded so different when she said it. “I see you tried some of the cupcakes on your way over.” I gazed inside the box and noted the mangled mess as she wiped the frosting off my nose with her finger.
“It’s okay,” she replied as she reached behind her and pulled out her own pink box. “I bought a half-dozen this morning…just in case.” I grinned, reached in the door, and hugged her really, really tightly because she had just saved the day. Unfortunately, the cupcake box she was holding received a bear hug too.
I’ve never eaten a cupcake off of someone’s belt buckle before, but I can honestly tell you that it still tastes just as good.