August 17th: Heavenly Cakes Lavender Shortbread / Smartie Pants Brownie

Heavenly Cakes are a good company and do you know what all good companies do??? They practice the philosophy of Kaizen :-) Kaizen!? What the devil is Kaizen young Jim!? Please ... allow Wiki:

'Kaizen (改善?), Japanese for "improvement", or "change for the better" refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement' ...

Indeed at it's basic principles Kaizen is all about companies maintaining a competitive advantage by constantly improving on what they already do - thus creating effencies and/or a better product/service. If I haven't bored you tears already please bare with me on this one as I believe this highly relevant to the reviews today. Heavenly Cakes Lavender Shortbread and Heavenly Cakes Smartie Pants Brownie - Were these cakes to be Kaizen successes or Kaizen squibs!? Let's find out shall we :-) ...

Heavenly Cakes Lavender Shortbread

I've come across lavender flavourings in confectionery products before and I have to say my experiences have not been successful. The two that stick out in my memory are the Lindt and Hotel Chocolat chocolates which frankly I remember being ruined by the said flower. Suffice to say I thought this had all the makings for the first ever Heavenly Cakes failure - a Kaizen squib so I should say. Well colour me totally and utterly wrong, this not only exceeded my expectations, but well and truly took my expectations, gave them a good stamping on and then threw them back in my face and made me feel like I don't know what I'm talking about :-) This shortbread was wonderful, and the lavender influence was expertly integrated both visually and in flavour. Small lavender bud heads were dispersed among the biscuit giving a great visual impact and aesthetic standout with what looked like little purple seeds. Taste wise a small amount of lavender oil purely enhanced the gorgeous buttery shortbread and created the most subtle of sweet floral, blossom honey like flavours. The older generation of my family (thats a nice way of saying the old geezers haha!) thought this shortbread was epically good and said they preferred it to the plain Heavenly Cakes Shortbread they had tried previously.

8.8 out of 10

Heavenly Cakes Smartie Pants Brownie

Whilst I was a little unsure about the Lavender Shortbread before trying it, I had no qualms with the philosophy behind this Smatie Pants Brownie whatsoever. The prospect of  'Milk Chocolate Brownie mixed with naturally coloured Smarties' had the philosophy of Kaizen written all over it - Heavenly had in effect taken their fantastic brownie from before and made a subtle tweak to make it even better. It sounds very simple, and sure it was! Again as I thought above in the shortbread review, I thought enhancements had been made to the aesthetic presentation and of course the taste. The Smarties employed on the top of the brownie gave the cake greater visual standout. It still wasn't up there with some of the 'food-porn' visuals of say a Billionaire Shortbread, but the multi-coloured pieces on top certainly added a little interest and colour. Taste wise things also felt like they had me taken on a notch with the maturation of the sweet, sugary candy shells to the richer, chocolatey cake brownie providing just another layer of variability to the overall experience. Smartie Pants or just plain smart? Decide for yourselves but take note - not many products ever reach the JCM 9.0 mark!

9.0 out of 10

Overall from my opening load of waffle you probably tell I was exceedingly happy with both of the cakes featured today and was in favour of both the minor enhancements that had been made on the originals. Whether or not the shortbread is suitable for a younger audience is up for debate - explaining to little Timmy what the purple bits in his biscuit are is probably more hassle than it's worth, however for mature audiences I think you would be on to a winner. The Smartie Pants Brownie gets all round thumbs up from me. Simple,  if you don't like Smarties then pick them off :-D I'm sure the rest of us will happily eat them for you. One of these days these guys are going to send me a cake I don't think is all that special, it's got to happen eventually. For the minute I'll continue to be wax lyrical over the excellence they continuously deliver - I can't say anything other than the truth now!