October 14th: McVitie's Penguin Cake Bars

Kcal 132 Fat 7.5g Fat(Sats) 3.7g Carbs 15.0g (per cake bar)

If you have been paying attention to the site recently you will be aware that the battle of the cake bars is in full effect at the moment with Thorntons and McVitie's Galaxy bars all attempting to take the crown of best in the market. When I was a kid the Penguin bar was a firm favourite of mine and at times when the Kit Kat supplies were running low I often happily settled for one as a fair substitute. Today however I took a closer look at the Penguin brands cake bar offering, which came described as 'milk chocolate covered cake bars with a layer of chocolate cream.

Apologies if it seems like I am carrying on about price in my latest reviews but a pack of five of these cake bars cost me only a bargainalicious 45p from Tesco as they were on a half price deal. In regards to presentation they looked almost no different to the usual Penguin bar multipacks and the red outer packaging held different colour inner wrapped bars (red and light blue displayed above). Personally I like the classical Penguin outer packaging branding etc but I have to say that the actual product was pretty plain and boring aesthetically. In addition to not looking the most spectacular product going the cake bars also failed to generate much interest with their smell. A gentle chocolaty aroma could be detected when the film wrappers were opened though it was nothing that really got my anticipation up.

As unexciting as the build to eating one of these cake bars was the taste did little change my mind. By my reckoning the textures of this cake bar were just about right - the outer chocolate was thick, the cake was firm yet spongy and the chocolate cream was portioned nicely to add a great deal of needed moistness. Unfortunately where the textures were pretty good the taste didn't quite measure up and on the whole I was pretty disappointed with the product in this sense. The chocolate simply didn't have anything special about it with its musty, milky, sugary flavours that lacked an authoritative cocoa note to its taste. The chocolate used on these bars seemed far more sugar based than the other cake bars I have had before from Galaxy and Thorntons. The taste was in no way repulsive but at the same time in terms of chocolate quality the standard I would saywas pretty low.

Overall having tried some other brands with more distinct tasting chocolates I guess these Penguin cake bars were always going to struggle. For a cake bar that was purely chocolate flavoured the poorer quality ingredients used were exposed in the taste and the greater amounts of sugars and lower cocoa implemented in the recipe very much shone through. I haven't had a proper Penguin bar for years though I can imagine that the greater flavours generated by the biscuit base slightly make up for the lack of flavour from the sponge; I guess this is something I can explore in a future review. In relation to cake bars I have to say that whilst these were relatively good value for money and provided a pleasant enough snack but if it is quality in terms of taste your after your better looking at some other alternatives on the market. Cadbury's attempts at this cake bar niche are coming up next!!

7.3 out of 10