Cupcake seduction

Manjula Padmanabhan | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on October 28, 2016

BLink_HTE Eps_ 92

Bins’s big, tall Viking friend, Birk comes by this morning with a cupcake. For me. There’s a background to this story. It begins with Bins two weeks ago, breezing into the house with chocolate on his moustache. “Oooh,” he says, eyes rolled up in rapture, “I have just had the best little round cake EVER.” Using a technical term such as “cupcake” is too sissy for him. “It was.. ahhh. I cannot describe. It reminds me of my childhood. In Paris. By the Seine.”

“Never mind all that,” I say, resisting the urge to remind him that he hated his visits to France. “Where is MY cupcake?” He turns his pale blue eyes towards me with a puzzled expression.

“For YOU? There is no little cake for you! It is from Birk. He got it from some very special place, nearby to his house. A bakery shop for very rich people, because it is very expensive and so ... so ...” He kisses his fingertips, trembles with delight and sighs. “Alas, he could only afford one. And it was for me.” He shrugs and moves off humming softly.

Needless to say, I discuss the matter with Birk. He’s a good-natured guy and promises to bring more cupcakes the next time he visits. Which happens to be this morning. It’s a gorgeous sunny day and we’re sitting out on the front steps. I have brought out two saucers and a pair of forks. He hands me a small white box containing my cupcake, but I can see that he has a plastic bag full of further white boxes. Just as I open my box, Bins strolls up the driveway.

“Oh ho!” he says, “what’s this? A little cake?” But sounds of the external world have faded away for me. Inside the box is the chocolate-flavoured equivalent of pure nirvana. I can taste it by sight alone: rich black cupcake, filled with cloud-white cream, topped with a thick blanket of silky fudge-lava icing. I take it out with tender care, place it on my saucer and dip into it with my fork. In the distance, as if through a veil, I hear Birk say to Bins, “I brought some other stuff for us. Want to try?” I do not hear Bins’s response because the first forkful is in my mouth: Divine! Ooo.

I must have shut my eyes because, when I open them again, there is Bins scowling in my direction. “It is very rude,” he says, “to eat something nice all by yourself. You will be sick. It is not healthy for the soul.” I look across at Birk, who is smiling shyly, as if he’s baked the cake all by himself. “It’s a really great bakery. Italian. They make everything fresh each day.” He’s brought a number of other pastries, but only one cupcake.

Bins is looking like a thundercloud with a toothache. “You should try these,” says Birk to him, offering what looks like a combination of apple strudel and croissant. “Not in the mood,” growls Bins, stomping off into the building. “Wow. I didn’t even know he wanted one!” says Birk looking surprised. “Please don’t disturb me,” I murmur, my voice thick with cream. “I’m still eating.”

Manjula Padmanabhan, author and artist, writes of her life in the fictional town of Elsewhere, US, in this weekly column

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Published on October 28, 2016
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