The Milwaukee Cupcake Company, Milwaukee, WI

Posted on
Jan 13, 2013

Once again, I wax poetic about baked goods.

Do you ever have moments of extreme clarity?

I’m not referring to those times when the skies above you are cloud free, or when your skin is looking absent of blemishes, almost to the point of vulnerability. No. I live in Seattle, and I eat lots of cake. My clarity does not manifest itself in those terms.

I speak instead of those moments where you realize precisely how you feel about the world around and your role in it. There’s no ambiguity, there’s no confusion.

I see it happen every day, in ways small and large. Regulars ordering lunch or a drink without missing a beat. Couples running to meet each other in the airport without a second of hesitation – nary a flicker of doubt flashes across their faces (which admittedly, are obscured by the ensuing making out).

Moments of clarity.

“Yes, I’d like dessert.”

“Yes, I want to marry you.”

“Yes, I’d like more dessert.”


“Yes, I’d marry you again.”

I had a lot of those moments in Milwaukee. I can’t really say why. Perhaps it was something about the place – a sort of lovely, down-to-earth American town that showed little sign of avarice or pretension. It exuded a kind of quiet confidence.

“Here I am, this is what I have to offer. Like it, or don’t. Either way, I’ll be fine.”

It was easy to have moments of clarity in a setting like that.

And so when I first heard of The Milwaukee Cupcake Company, there was no hesitation. No second-guessing.

“We are going there,” I told my husband.

The facade to The MCC isn’t fancy or elaborate. It’s a storefront inside a large brick building, amongst several others. The cafe is massive – it also seems to serve as the unofficial lobby for the rest of the building – and in one corner is the cupcake kiosk, offering full and miniature versions of the desserts.

The lobby-like interior.

The gentleman working there was surprisingly grumpy for someone who spent his days surrounded by cake. I’m unsure if he is a proprietor, or a manager, or just some poor lost soul who was unhappy with how his life turned out. In any case, he surely was surly.

It was actually quite comical, given how counter-intuitive it was. Like seeing a cranky circus clown or a super ill-tempered cheerleader.

I wanted to grab him by the front of the shirt and hiss, “Why are you so irritable? You have the best job on the planet. DO YOU HEAR ME? YOUR EXISTENCE IS ENVIABLE.”

Then I realized that Rand says that same phrase to me on a daily basis, and I’m as crotchety as ever. So I kept my mouth shut and surveyed my options.

Also pictured: some primitive precursor to a cell phone.

In those spheres of life that rotate without connection to sugary confections or my beloved, I tend to take longer to make a decision. Shopping for clothing requires several long hours of research online before I even set foot in a store. Ask me to make dinner plans, and you’ve basically agreed to starvation. And I won’t even speak of what happens when Rand tells me to pick something to watch on TV.

But when I looked at those treats? Clarity.

“I’ll take a miniature red velvet and a pumpkin,” I cheerily told the grumpy gentleman behind the counter (He’d started to grow on me. I wanted to befriend him. His new nickname would be “Chuckles.”)

I know what you’re thinking: Girl, miniature? Seriously? But there were TWO of them, so please do relax. I’m still the woman I was, I promise.

Plus, as you can see, two miniature cupcakes just about equal one big cupcake, but you can get twice as many flavors. TWICE. AS. MANY.

The cakes were moist and spongy – I’d even go so far as to say delicate. They tasted incredibly fresh – I suspected barely more than a few hours old. My red velvet was on the bland side (and rather forgettable), but the pumpkin was perfect. Inexplicably called the “pumpkin spice latte” (Really? Whither the latte?), it was gently spiced and the ideal accompaniment to the dollop of cream cheese frosting and wedge of pie crust on top.

It looked like it was wearing a small hat. This pleased me.

Rand got a peanut butter and chocolate cupcake: diabetic shock in a little paper liner. There was even half a full-sized Reese’s pressed into the top.

I took a tiny nibble, and it was rich and flavorful – I’m not a chocolate lover, but this would do just fine.

Rand liked it, too.


We left the shop, and I already knew where we were going next.

See, just prior to getting cupcakes, I had one of those moments of clarity I mentioned. We were walking down the street and I spotted a shop filled with delightful treasures: shoes and boots and handmade jewelry.

“I want to go there,” I said, pointing across the way.

“The shoe-store?” Rand asked.

I nodded.

“We’ll go there in a minute,” he said, gesturing to the cupcake shop, which was just a little further down the road. “First cupcakes, then we’ll get you some new shoes.”

I stared at him, and before I was able to blink even once, the words left my mouth: “I’ve never loved you more.”

Without a second of hesitation, without a moment of thinking about it. Just clarity.

And cupcakes.

And Rand.

Holy crap, do I make good decisions.

Leave a Comment

  • I am finding your latest blog a little hard to believe. So what you are trying to tell us is that your man suggested, and encouraged, you to sit down for not one, but two, cupcakes (little ones, I understand that, but two nevertheless), let you have some of his, and, then, also went shopping with you and bought you shoes! It sounds way too good to be real. I think it is a sugar induced illusion. Show us the shoes to prove it!!!!

  • Geraldine, you are one of my favorite writers. You have a unique way of turning the simplest of experiences into some of the most amusing ones I’ve read. “His new nickname would be ‘Chuckles'” made me chuckle. You are brilliant! When you finally write a book, I hope to attend one of your book signings. You’ll have a few of those, won’t you?

    PS. You and Rand make a beautiful couple. I’m guessing there are no ripples there (such as the ones you described in a previous post), and that gives some of us hope…that maybe, just maybe – honest people aren’t completely extinct.

  • Did Rand do something bad he’s not telling you about? Maybe his stunning niceness is his way of trying to atone.

  • Please forgive my Monday morning cynicism. Not pretty. Let’s just give Rand his props without any searching for ulterior motives. OK. I’m going back to bed so I can start the week over with better attitude.

  • Everywhereist

    Um, have you guys read my blog before? This behavior should not be at all surprising coming from Rand.

  • Kristina Cline

    This is it, This is my favorite. Hands down. Most Favorite Blog Posting EVAR.

  • Christina

    Moments like the one you described above is what makes the ripple in a relationship worth it all.
    There is something magical when you have a flash bang moment in your head and it is reconfirmed why you are with the person next to you. It’s the little things.

  • Becky

    I have been waiting for a post on Milwaukee for quite some time. Having been born here, moved away for 10+ years and now raising my family here, you are correct in your assesment of our city. We know people make fun of our cheeseheads, our beer, our “little” town by a big lake-but we LOVE it. We don’t care what people think of us-we just are.

  • In my world, where there are carbs, there is clarity. Which explains my current state of total fuzziness … I’m off to eat something made of flour and sugar. PS- The pumpkin would have been my first choice for sure. Glad to hear it delivered.

  • Sssssh… puhleeze… no more Milwaukee / Wisconsin posts. We are trying to keep our “small-waukee” a S-E-C-R-E-T, Geraldine.

    P.S. For your next visit: Over Rand’s shoulder in the top picture is the entrance to Coquette Cafe, one of the best “french restaurants” in the city. Yep, we have “french restaurants” here — but… sssssh… that’s a secret too.

  • Shelby

    Hi there! I just found your blog today while researching a number of blogs for my social media class. I have to say, this was the post that sold me. Witty humor, cake, travel and adventure all wrapped in one…where have you been all my life! I’m so glad I found your blog and look forward to reading it!

  • Oh my gawd I would sooooo order that peanut butter, chocolate cupcake that Rand got!

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