Since starting to work in a large office environment its quickly become apparent that almost every week there is someones birthday to celebrate. What do birthdays mean!? Well of course they mean cake ... more often than not chocolate cake :D Today 'Bits n Bobs' explores some of the current cake options out there on the UK marketplace today. Competition is fierce with the likes of Thorntons and Mr Kipling doing the rounds - take a look at my mini reviews below to see who won out.
Thorntons Chocolate Mini Cakes
Kcal 188 Fat 10.5g Fat(sats) 3.5g Carbs 21.4g (per cake)
'Chocolate sponge cakes topped and filled with chocolate buttercream ganache, finished with dark chocolate curls and cocoa powder'
When it comes to cakes and the like, Thorntons tend to do pretty well here on ChocolateMission. To prove that point I only need send you in the direction of some of their previous reviews. Although I wrote the reviews years ago, their Chocolate Brownies (See HERE) and Millionaire Shortbreads (See HERE) are still commonly found in my shopping basket. Whilst both of those products previously mentioned are often found on the cake aisles famous £1.00 deals, one product Thorntons never seem to discount are these Chocolate Mini Cakes. Priced at £1.80 (thereabouts) for six cakes, I last week bought a few packs to take in to the office to test them out on some unsuspecting guinea pigs.
My photograph above wont be doing these cakes justice, but these looked superb out the pack, and did truly resemble miniature versions of a much grander sized chocolate cake. Cutting straight to the chase, these cakes were absolutely superb, and met with all seals of approval from all six of us that had the pleasure of eating them. The main reason cited for this unanimous 'thumbs-up' was the layering involved in the cake construct. Starting from the bottom upwards the cakes had a layer of sweet chocolate sponge, then a moist layer of divine buttercream, then another layer of sponge, and then lastly another layer of buttercream that included chocolate sprinkles and curls which gave each bite a terrific crunchy sensation. The cakes were texturally delightful, and delivered a plethora of rich, non-overpowering cocoa and cream flavours.
Overall I can only use one word to describe these chocolate cakes and it would be the word 'Superb'. I (we), loved everything about them - the mouth feel created by the different layers, the chocolatey taste, and even the minor details like them being the perfect size to satisfy a serious bout of the munchies. In my opinion, Thorntons are a company desperately in need of a new sense of direction. If I were devising their strategy going forward, I would stick to the premium line chocolates and target consumers at lower price points with delightful cake offerings like these. Highly recommended.
8.9 out of 10
Mr Kipling Chocolate Slices
Kcal 132 Fat 6.4g Fat(sats) 2.6g Carbs 16.7g (per slice)
'Chocolate sponge baked with milk chocolate chips and topped with plain chocolate chips'
Chocolate cake offering number two comes from that famous old man Mr Kipling, who recently attempted to delight me with his 'Exceedingly Good' Chocolate Slices. I would love to claim that my bargain hunting skills were called in to action again, but in actual fact I ended up buying this off promotion at their usual price of £1.45 in Waitrose (oooooh get me, aren't I a posh shopper haha!). The 200.0g box contained six individually wrapped slices - more than enough to get plenty of POVs from my colleagues.
The individual packets that sealed the cakes sported the Mr Kipling branding were nice looking, though aesthetically the slices themselves weren't the most exciting. It was nice to see a good distribution of chocolate chips dispersed across the top of each cake, though in truth the plain looking fingers weren't the most stylish looking, and this proved consistent when it came to the taste. Flavour wise these simply didn't offer that much in terms depth of flavour and chocolate richness. The cake constituents had a nice thick viscosity to it, however taste wise it was all a little dull with the direction of the taste predominantly taking a generic sweet vanilla cake type path. This could have all been helped by the chocolate chip pieces, however they were relatively flavourless in their contribution to the taste and were most notable for the differentiation they brought texturally.
Overall, unfortunately for Mr Kipling, these cakes were consumed a day after the Thorntons' ones above, so it was almost like he was behind the eight ball before he even started. Quite simply these Chocolate Slices didn't match up to the Thorntons cakes, they were more expensive, smaller, not as visually striking and of course most importantly didn't taste as nice. Mr Kipling is a great British brand but I'm afraid the old man has been outwitted here - stick to the Fondant Fancies chap!
6.2 out of 10
Fabulous Bakin' Boys Double Chocolate Muffins
Kcal 258 Fat 14.0g Fat(sats) 2.1g Carbs 29.7g (per muffin)
'Chocolate muffin with real chocolate chips'
I wont even try and attempt to boast about having any elite bargain hunting skills with these muffins - I swear its harder to find Fabulous Bakin' Boys products off promotion rather than finding one of their deals :D Indeed I bought these muffins priced at £0.74 in my local Sainsbury's supermarket (half price down from £1.49). This small expense bought me four muffins which collectively netted to 255.0g - a rather generous (and ultimately satisfying!) 64.0g each.
Presentation wise not one of my colleagues had anything to say about the product. The box and cellophane packs fundamentally just did the job they were functionally intended to do, though there were small mentions made about the nice smells that emanated from the wrappers. Focusing on the positives first it was felt all round that these were very satisfying in regards to curing hunger, and two of my co-workers said they were the 'perfect size for a mid-afternoon snack'. Taste wise these muffins were richer and more chocolatey than Mr Kiplings Chocolate Slices, however they lacked the differentiation of the Thorntons Mini Cakes and could have done with some sort of filling or chocolate syrup/buttercream to create more interest.
Overall these Fabulous Bakin' Boys Double Chocolate Muffins were met with the sort of luke warm reception that leaves me thinking I wouldn't buy them again. I don't wish to put anyone off them, however Like the Mr Kipling Chocolate Slices they are ultimately totally outshone by the Thorntons Mini Cakes. Price wise they may be able to claim that they are one of the cheapest offering in the chocolate cake sector, however we are talking pence rather than pounds here so I would strongly suggest it is worth just paying a tiny bit more for a much higher quality product.
7.2 out of 10
Have I missed out a chocolate cake offering that I should have reviewed? What do you make of the three products above? Let me know by dropping a comment.