Sunday, 6 December 2009

December 6th: McVitie's Jaffa Cake Bars

Kcal 129 Fat 5.5g Fat(sats) 2.8g Carbs 18.8g (per bar)

My review of the original McVitie's Jaffa Cakes is one of the most popular pages on this site and it little surprise given their popularity amongst us Brits. Jaffa Cakes have to be one of the most iconic British snack foods and I don't know about you but any other supermarket own brand Jaffa Cake copy cats never quite match up to McVitie's original biscuits. Having extensively covered the cake bar market over the last few months one of the most requested product reviews I have received recently have been for these McVitie's Jaffa Cake Bars. One of the most commonly discussed things around Jaffa Cakes are whether they are cakes or biscuits? Described as 'dark chocolate with a light sponge and orange center' it surely can't be argued that these Jaffa Cake Bars are biscuits!

I do love my £1 promo deals at the moment and bought a pack of 5 of these on that very offer in my local OneStop shop. Aesthetically I was pleased to see the consistent use of the Jaffa Cake branding and liked the fact that each bar came within singular foil wrappers. Taking the bars out of the wrappers I was met with some familiar Jaffa Cake scents which was a mixture of cocoa and sweet orange fruit influences. As well as being relatively impressed by the presentation of the product on the whole I just wasn't completely down with the cake bar format. It had all the same layers of Jaffa Cake, it smelt like a Jaffa Cake but it just didn't seem right not in the iconic disc shape of norm which took some of the appeal away for me.

As you can see from the picture above the outer layer of 'dark chocolate' was very thinly implemented especially in comparison to other cake bars I have tried recently. One would think this was a decision made on the basis that the dark chocolate might be too strongly flavoured for the average consumer if implemented more generously, though personally I felt the semi-sweet cocoa flavours lost relevance in the greater presence of the sponge and orange filling layers. Indeed the sponge below was light and fluffy as described, however didn't ever go beyond delivering a flour led sweet taste and cloyed due to the chocolate failing to provide enough moisture when melted. Of course the most distinctive and enjoyable flavours came from the orange centre which was sweet and fruity and left a zingy orange aftertaste in the mouth. One of these at a time was probably more satisfying and that three separate Jaffa Cakes but having said that the cake bars were certainly less fun and playful to eat.

Overall whilst these Jaffa Cake Bars retained many of the pleasant things of the originals they for me just lacked a little of the Jaffa Cake magic. Although these Jaffa Cake Bars tasted pretty much the same as the original Jaffa Cakes I felt that they just couldn't match up in terms of looks or the amount of fun they were to eat. As discussed at great length on the review last year there are hundreds of way to pick a part and dissect a Jaffa Cake but these Cake Bars can't quit boast the same level of playfulness. I guess in a way the original cakes (yes they are cakes as well...don't get me started!) aren't the easiest product to consume and carry 'on-the-go' so I can possibly see that having the option of one of these Jaffa Cake Bars at hand would be advantageous in that instance. In the context of the cake bar market though these simply can't match up to some of the other options out there from the likes of Thorntons. Certainly a product for the Jaffa Cake nutters but not a must try by any means.

7.2 out of 10

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