I said that during January I would be looking at some lighter choices available on the confectionery market, so today I finally saw fit to give one of the most requested products ever its review - the Tunnock's Milk Chocolate Tea Cake. For readers outside of the UK let me fill you in ... these Tea Cakes are traditionally served with tea or coffee (hence the name duh!!), and are formed of shortbread biscuit bases, with marshmallow fillings, all of which are coated in a layer of chocolate. They are also available in a dark chocolate form, though today I tried the milk chocolate version.
Tea Cakes are a pretty common staple food in our house, but in the name of fairness this review was formed on the view of a single 24.0g piece. I have always been a proponent of Tunnock's packaging - it looks classical, and has huge retro appeal. The foil packages that covered the Tea Cakes looked great, but unfortunately offered little in they way of protection. I can imagine transporting these any distance as a snack could be quite a messy experience. I personally think the Tea Cake pieces themselves also looked rather appetising. When cross-sectioned all three layers were very distinct, with the marshmallow element looking particularly enticing. I wasn't all that taken by the smell of the product, it was extremely sweet smelling, and had little influence from the cocoa.
Anyone who has had a Tea Cake before will know that individually none of the different elements are actually that great tasting, it is more the combination of them all that delivers the enjoyable experience. The outer chocolate was extremely thin, however still managed to establish a reasonably strong chocolaty flavour base. If I was to have my own way the chocolate dome would have been far thicker in its presence, as this would not only have made it last longer in the mouth, but also would have delivered a more satisfying chocolate hit. I enjoyed the lightness of the marshmallow layer, it suited the extreme sweetness of its flavours, and avoided them dominating the taste. The most enjoyable element for me was the shortcake base that provided a combination of sweet, malty flavours and brought a degree of saltiness to the taste. Obviously due to the small size of the product it wasn't the most fulfilling snack ever.
Overall for only 106 calories the Tea Cake is a nice little option for those looking for a 'lighter chocolate product', though in my opinion there are a few little adaptions that need to be made to the classic design. I would love to see a better quality milk chocolate used, and portioned far more generously. The marshmallow and biscuit elements are both delivered well, though personally I would have liked a little more crunchiness to the shortbread. This is a product with a few shortcomings, though I would personally recommend it, as it is an all time classic.
7.1 out of 10