December 8th: 'Bits n Bobs' Christmas Cake Bar Special # 2

Last weeks 'Bits n Bobs' Christmas Cake Bar special drummed up so much interest from you lot, I this week decided to take a look at some more of the festive market offerings. If like me you aren't the biggest fan of mince pies, then I'm sure you will agree that all these different seasonal cakes are a welcome addition to our supermarket shelves. I don't know what you all think, but this year in particular there seem to be a load more limited editions this year - with likes of Mr Kipling, McVities and Burtons all throwing out seasonal flavours.

Today in 'Bits n Bobs' we touch upon offerings from Cadbury, McVitie's and good old Mr Kipling. Given I am reviewing so many today I will keep the words light, but wont skimp on the pictures :D As ever all your thoughts are very welcome - I wouldn't expect anything less than all your candid views :D

Mr Kipling Frosty Fancies
Kcal 106 Fat 2.7g Fat(sats) 1.2g Carbs 19.5g (per cake)
'Golden sponge with a vanilla flavoured topping, covered in fondant icing'

I found these on sale in my local Tesco marked on a £1.00 'special offer', which bought me eight individual cakes. My British readership will be aware that these Frosty Fancies are a variation on the iconic 'Frech Fancy' (familiarise yourself HERE), which is a cake that has been made by Mr Kipling since the dawn of time.

Suffice to say the presentation was suitable, yet lacking any real imagination, and the taste panel said they thought the cakes looked 'boring' and 'plain' compared to the original brightly coloured varieties. Taste wise the cakes weren't differentiated from the originals in any manner aside from the small portioning of vanilla topping versus the traditional buttercream. Experts told me (I don't ever eat the originals myself!), that the vanilla cream was superior as it was more flavoursome and less sweet. I would have perhaps been able to appreciate this myself had it not been for the near throat burning sensation caused by the icing and ever so sugary inner cake. These were fine, but certainly not a 'must-try'.

6.3 out of 10

McVitie's Penguin Yule Logs
Kcal 110 Fat 5.5g Fat(sats) 2.7g Carbs 10.2g (per mini roll)
'Chocolate sponge logs with a creamy filling'

If you thought my bargain hunting skills were being pushed to the max finding all these £1.00 deals then you are all going to be super impressed to hear that I found these on a £1.00 BOGOF offer! Indeed, just one single British pound got me twelve of these Penguin Mini Rolls. These were first introduced last year for Christmas 2009 - See HERE.

Wrappers aside these mini rolls looked absolutely identical to the Cadbury Mini Rolls, with the white icnoic filling peeking out of the swirled sponge layers. To make things interesting I did attempt to pass these off as Cadbury Mini Rolls with some work colleagues who I conducted a blind taste test with (I removed the wrappers!). Within a group of six, two of them remarked upon the fact that the outer chocolate wasn't Cadbury chocolate, and they said that they didn't think they were as nice. The other four were probably just being polite, as I similarly thought the more generic sweet milk chocolate made these a little less superior to the immediate Cadbury alternatives. Nothing horrible but stick with the Cadbury ones. Another point - where was the traditional dusting of icing sugar to create the traditional snow 'Yule' effect?

6.6 out of 10

McVitie's Galaxy Mistletoe Kisses Cake Bars
Kcal 147 Fat 7.9g Fat(sats) 4.1g Carbs 13.5g (per cake bar)
'Chocolate cake bar, with chocolate sponge, chocolate cream and caramel, covered with Galaxy chocolate'

Whilst the above Penguin Yule Logs were available last year, these Galaxy Mistletoe Kisses Cake Bars are a new 'innovation for 2010' from McVitie's. Price aligned with the rest of the market £1.00 bought me a pack of five of these - note these were biggest sized cake bars I have reviewed for a long while (each weighing 31.0g!).

Propositionally these were a simple cross breed between the Galaxy Mistletoe Kisses bar, and the normal Galaxy original/caramel cake bars - what on earth was there ever going to be here not to like? Well I'm pleased to say nothing at all. The taste panel loved these cakes, and there were several positive remarks about the extra chocolatey caramel moistening the sponge layer expertly. The outer chocolate was crisp to the bite and delivered the creamy sweet Galaxy experience that was expected with it's delightfully soft melting mouth feel. For a cheap Christmas themed cake offering I would recommend these.

8.1 out of 10

Cadbury Festive Cakes with Flakes
Kcal 120 Fat 6.1g Fat(sats) 3.1g Carbs 10.2g (per cake)
'Golden sponge with a layer of white chocolate cream, covered in Cadbury chocolate, dusted with icing sugar and topped with a Cadbury Flake'

Shock horror I had to pay a little more than £1.00 to buy these and ended up forking out a whole £3.00 for a two pack multi-buy deal. I don't think even Cadbury can claim these are a new 'innovation' for 2010 - I've even seen very similar cakes (minus the icing sugar) appear during Easter time down the years.

Before eating these I was little concerned that they were going to be more of the same in regards to the Cadbury Snow Star Cakes (See HERE), which were by all means pretty poor. Luckily my taste panel and I were in agreement that these Flake Cakes were superior to those last lot of Cadbury cakes I shared with them. The main reasons cited for the perceived superiority were the thicker exterior milk chocolate, the Flake piece and more subtle white chocolate filling. My own opinion was indeed that these were better, but they were still not as good as the likes of the Galaxy Mistletoe alternative above. Flake fans might think they are more than worth a look at.

7.3 out of 10