“ Brand: Jane Asher / Type: Baking Aids „
I have always enjoyed making cakes, especially with my son, however some times making cakes from scratch can be time consuming and a bit like hard work, so therefore I often buy kits. I bought this after my son spotted it in a local supermarket, while we were browsing in the baking aisle. The price does tend to be quite high usually over £2, I feel this is quite a high price tag for this type of kit however I have seen it on offer in various supermarkets at times. My advice buy when on offer not at full price.
The box is made of cardboard, which can easily be recycled. It isn't too flimsy and can take been bashed around in a trolley and the back of the car quite well. The box is dark blue in colour, like a tube of smarties.
The front of the box features a large Jane Asher logo, a large smarties logo, and the words funny faces under both logos. There is also a picture of 3 cakes that are already made up and decorated. There is also each cake contains information, calories, sugars etc. There is also a circle in the bottom right hand corner which states that this kit makes 12 cupcakes, the prep time, baking time and that you'll need to add one egg and some water. This is handy as you know what you need, how long they take etc just from first look of box.
The back of the box has a small note an picture from Jane Asher. All the directions on how to make and the decorating instructions are also featured on the back of the box. There is also another picture of cakes made up and decorated. These pictures are handy as they give you ideas of how you can decorate your cakes.
On the right hand side of the box, there is an ingredients list, storage instructions, Jane's hints and tips, and their guarantee, a few websites are also listed.
On the left hand side of the box, there are some pictures of other sets in the range, that I have yet to try, nutritional information and the contact information.
Inside the box, there is everything you need to make your cupcakes except an egg and some water.
12 cake cases
and some icing facial features, including noses, eyes, glasses etc
Making and Baking-
The instructions for making and baking are really easy to follow, and are divided into a step by step guide on the back of the box. If mixing with a wooden spoon the mixture does seem to remain quite lumpy, even if you do add a little more water like suggested, better if mixed with an electric whisk.After making up the sponge mixture I didn't feel mixture seemed a lot to fill 12 cases, but we divided it evenly among them anyway. Once cooked they did rise quite a bit, but I still felt they were a little on the small side, however this does seem to be the case with similar kits to this. I have found that the Betty Crocker kits are much better when it comes to the size of the cakes.
This is the part my son loves, however there isn't nearly enough of the icing facial features. Some of the cakes end up with just a few smarties on them as facial features run out quite quick. My advice would be get some more mini smarties or other cake decor, some of the cakes don't miss out and it keeps the kids happy.
Otherall a good kit for a rainy day, something to do with the kids. The funny facial features let the kids get creative. They are a little bit pricy so my advice would be to shop around to get it at a good price. The cakes are a little on the small side which is good for the kids but will only be one bite for daddy. Wish Betty Crocker did more kid friendly kits that were a bit more fun, as I have found her kits to be of a better taste and quality. These cakes taste pretty good but nothing outstanding.
I had told my son that perhaps we could go bowling this weekend but it was so cold that I decided staying in and keeping warm was a better option, especially as we are both suffering from this cold bug that just won't go away! My son was disappointed with my decision but we agreed some baking would be a nice compromise and so we headed to the Coop for some supplies. Once in the shop my son spotted the Jane Asher creations smarties funny faces bun mix and wanted to buy this. Normally I make my own buns but I allowed him this decision and we bought the kit. It cost £2.15 which I feel is slightly expensive if I am honest.
The product is basically an all in one bun making kit in which you are provided with all you need to make your buns bar an egg and water. The kit will make approximately twelve buns. The kits are a good idea to have for rainy day activities for your child though just in case you don't have all the things in to make your own cakes!
The product comes in a thin cardboard box which is mainly blue with smarties all over it. The Jane Asher creations label and the smarties logo are the most prominent on the front along side a picture of three of the buns which are ready made and decorated. On the back of the box we are given all the instructions to make the buns.
When you open the box you will find twelve small white bun cases, the dried sponge mixture in a sealed bag, icing sugar in a sealed bag, a small box of mini smarties and a sealed pack of a few icing features to stick on to the buns such as smiles, eyes and glasses.
To begin my son placed all the bun cases on to a baking tray. He then poured the sponge mix into a glass bowl and I cracked an egg into this. My son and I used a hand mixer to mix the two together but the mix still seemed to stay very lumpy. We carried on with the instructions adding two table spoons of water and mixing again. I have to say the mixture did smooth out more here but there didn't seem to be much mixture at all, and certainly nowhere near as much as if I had made the mix myself to make twelve buns which was a little disappointing.
We spooned the mixture into the cases and put them in the pre heated oven for approximately twelve minutes. At this point the buns had risen nicely and were around ¾ of the way up the bun cases. They were a lovely golden brown colour.
We allowed the buns ten minutes cooling time before decorating them with the icing I had mixed up. I have to say I was very disappointed with the amount of things you are given to decorate the buns with and the product could really benefit from being given a few more of the icing features to use with the buns as there is probably enough for around half of the cakes. My son did really enjoy decorating the buns though as it was something he could do himself and be creative with which is nice.
The buns, whilst on the small side compared to my home made buns, taste ok and it was a nice activity that my son and I could do together. I do prefer our own home made cakes but doing it this way was much quicker and something that made a nice change. I think I would use this product again and I would also like to try some of the other Jane Asher creation box sets too-particularly the rolo brownies! Yum!
In summary I think this kit makes quite a nice activity to do with young children and so I award it four stars, losing just one star for a slightly high price tag.
Thank you for reading my review.
I have bought these cake mixes on numerous occasions whilst out shopping. The packaging is very eye catching and it was actually my four year old who first stumbled on the packet, whilst I was in my local Home Bargains. However the mix is not just available from Home Bargains, like my son found out recently whilst we were walking around our local Asda. I have also seen the packet in Tesco too.
So what is it you are buying. Well to put it bluntly you are buying a packet with all the ingredients to make 12 cup cakes, with smiley faces on them, made of smarties and other edible parts. When I first bought these they cost about £1.00 in Home Bargains. The last price I paid was £1.89 in Asda. So from going for 8p a cake, it is now costing me about 15p a cake - a bit pricey I think.
So what's in the box
You are also advised that you require water, medium egg, bun tray, whisk. There is also an idiot proof recipe that even I can follow.
Taste and Presentation
Well I suppose it all depends on how good a cook you are. Let's not forget, this is a pack of ingredients. If you don't follow the instructions correctly, you won't be left with nice cakes. Personally mine have always turned out okay. A nice golden colour with a light sponge taste. The children also love licking the bowls and decorating the cakes.
I could quite easily provide all the ingredients for a fraction of the price, and there must certainly be a high mark up profit on this particular product. I personally feel that 'Jane Asher Creations' have cleverly used the brand Smarties to make this product marketable. It is a good product. The recipe is easily read and it tastes well. But in future I may well buy the ingredients separate. It would work out a lot cheaper!!
I got this Jane Asher cake mix for my 2 year old sister to have her first go at making cakes. It was only 79p from Home Bargains and I thought that was a pretty good price because this mix makes 10 cakes and they're easy enough to decorate for a 2 year old even if the finished results don't look as good as the ones in the photo Dooyoo have got up! lol
You get a bag of powdered cake mix, a bag of white icing powder, Smarties and eating paper eyes, mouths and glasses. I think there might have been some eating paper noses but I can't quite remember now!
They're dead easy to make, you just have to add an egg to the cake mix and give it a good stir and then put the mix into the cake cases that come in the box. It's a good idea for the grown up to put the cake mix into the cases because they're not very stiff and if you drop the mixture on the side of the case it might collapse on itself.
They bake in about 10 mins and when the cakes have cooled down you have to make the icing. This is easy as well but make sure you don't put too much water in because it will get too runny and then won't be much good. You get more icing for these cakes than you usually get in these mixes and it's got a nice flavour and sets pretty quick.
You need to put the Smarties and eating paper on just as the icing is setting to stop them being pulled down into the icing. My sister had mad fun making faces out of Smarties and eating paper glasses, she laughed like mad when she saw the smiley mouth made out of eating paper and that was her fave cake out of all of them.
The cakes taste proper nice. The sponge is light and has got a yummy vanilla flavour, the icing is just majorly sweet and doesn't taste of much apart from that. They do taste nicer than most of these kids cake mixes and more like proper cakes instead of just a powder that you add water to.... even though that's what they are! lol
The main thing is that it's got my little sister interested in cooking her own stuff, she didn't get to do much really but loved decorating them and I reckon I had a load of fun too!
**You bought what?
Being a domestic Goddess and complete earth mother I was, last Tuesday, to be found whisking and whirring and beating organic ingredients to form a fabulous birthday cake for my son - which this year had to be a snooker table!!
Always game for a laugh I had accepted the challenge (providing he helped!) and whilst dashing round the supermarket in search of green food colouring (bang goes the organic!) my daughter spied a brightly coloured box in the home baking section, decorated with smarties and bearing the words: "Jane Asher Creations..." (don't think this bit caught her eye) ".. Smarties Funny Faces" (ah - that must be it!)
Envisaging a few hours ahead in the kitchen I consented to buying the aforementioned box although normally I would have proclaimed loudly something like: "We could make twice the amount from scratch for that price and they'd be a darn sight tastier and have less colourings and chemicals in..." etc etc. On this occasion some independent kitchen chemistry sounded quite attractive and what with the green colouring I could hardly play the organic card!
** How many pennies did it set you back?
I parted with £1.75 (plus of course I paid for the food colouring!!) and my 9 year old and I headed home to get started.
** Who buys these sets?
I have always assumed that these home baking products were aimed at children but that may be because I am very blessed in having had a Mum who taught me to bake from scratch and so it''s alien to me to have half the job done for me. However, reading around online, it is clear that these are really useful products to all ages and they certainly cut down on the washing up!
** What do I get for my dough?
Inside our brightly coloured box we discovered 13 paper cake cases - a bakers' dozen so I suspect we were supposed to have 12;
1 packet of cake mix;
1 packet of icing sugar;
1 small box of Smarties;
And some edible decorations shaped as eyes and glasses and funny moustaches which delighted my 9 year old (and me!)
The box doesn't list the contents but it does tell you that you will also need:
1 medium egg;
whisk or mixer.
My daughter helpfully pointed out that it didn't say you needed an oven or a mixing bowl although to be fair it does state the "baking time" on the front so they were half way there.
** How long is all this going to take?
I'm writing as fast as I can!
** No - I mean the baking activity.
Oh, sorry. Well the packet states:
Preparation time 10 mins
Baking time 15 mins.
I was in the same room as my 9 year old (we only have one kitchen!) and assisted with the hot oven part, but apart from that I more or less left my daughter to her own devices. With the reading of the instructions and finding equipment it probably took about a quarter of an hour to prepare, plus 15 mins baking, 5 mins cooling and 10 mins decorating. If the time guide is to get an idea of speed then you could probably prepare in 5 mins or so. If you're after a lengthy time filler activity then you could spin out the stirring and putting out cases and take all afternoon!
** How does it work?
There are 6 stages to the instructions on the box which begin with oven temp; progress through mixing the bag of cake mix with an egg; adding water; stirring a lot and loading the cases which are then put in the oven.
15 mins later you retrieve the cakes from your hot oven and mix up the sachet of icing sugar with a little water (this is an exact science and does not need to be undertaken by a 5 year old wielding a jug full!) until runny but not watery (see brackets above!). As soon as your buns are cool the fun with the faces can begin.
Actually it would be wise to wait a minute or two between putting on the icing and adding the fancy decorations as when the icing has a slightly sticky skin the smarties and paper icings are less likely to be gobbled up by a quick-sand of gooey icing. (My advice not Jane's do choose your guru.)
** Enough with the art - what did they taste like?
Well, I have to say at this point that I am a baking snob and had anticipated the worst. In addition to the cake, though, I confess I had to eat my words. These buns (sorry "bun" cos of course I only had one!!) were in fact very light and fluffy and did not have an artificial taste at all. Perhaps this is down to the using a real egg rather than re-constituted dried egg in some products. The cake mix appears to contain sugar, wheat flour and veg oil which is not far from the "from scratch" version. The icing plaques were not over sweet and the overall effect was pretty stunning. At 105 cals per bun they're not going to add too many pounds.
** So, you'd buy them again?
Much less weighing out
Much less washing up
More likely to rise as exactly measured
Easy to follow instructions
Jolly packaging which makes you feel artistic and creative
Tasty and light
Great fun to decorate
Entertaining or insulting faces possible - great for parties or pressies
Can be made with little assistance by a 9 year old (who has had some baking experience but I'm not sure if this would have been necessary other than as a confidence builder)
Guilt at not being made from scratch (or maybe that's my own psychoses)
Expensive (occasionally on offer)
It is possible to attempt to bake the icing bag rather than the cake mix as they are labelled in a rather small font!
Very moreish - the faces have their own "Eat me" expressions
** Any other business?
At this point I note that on one side of the box Jane Asher has a handy hint - if you add finely grated zest of lemon or orange when you ad the water to the cake and ad some juice to the icing you'll have lemon or orange flavoured cup cakes. Thanks for telling me now that I've done the rest Jane! Still I guess there's always next time...!
I picked up Jane Ashers creations smarties funny face cake mix for just £1. I say just a pound but when I started buying ready made cake mixes I could pick Green's character cake set for less than 50p when they were on roll back in Asda I'd have to swap characters from time to time but I wasn't bothered but over the past two years these have shot up in price to a staggering £1.70 or more. So when I spotted smarties funny face cake mix for just a pound I snapped it up. I wasn't particular swayed by the fact Jane Asher name was on the box. Jane Asher is an actress who has developed a second career as a cake decorator and cake shop proprietor and is most famous for her baking. But it wouldn't have bothered me who's name was on the box.
So its a typical rainy summers day I have my almost 3 year old to entertain do smarties have the answer?, will they keep my little one amused and stop him from moaning about not going out? Time to drag the box out and give them a go.
Jane Asher creations smarties funny faces is a fairy cake mix with icing, sugar decorations and smarties. The box is quite large for a ready mix cake box and has the famous nestle smarties logo on the front and examples of the funny face cakes you can create. In the bottom on the corner on the front of the box is a preparation time 10mins and baking time 15 mins as well as the nutritional content of each cake, 105 calories, sugars 18.8g fat 2.2 saturates 1.1g and 0.3g of salt. Not exactly for dieters.
On one side of the box is a huge list of all the ingredients that I'm not going to bore you with but will point out it may contain traces of nuts and eggs. The other side of the box as the nutritional compass with all the nutritional information you might require. The the back of the box contains what you will need to make the cakes, which is water, 1 medium egg, bun tray and whisk or mixer.
Now I had a problem with my mixer, I managed to submerge it totally in the sink while washing it and water got in to the electrical part so I decided best not to plug it in a kill myself over some buns so I had to grab my trusted wooden spoon and use good old fashioned elbow grease to get the job done. I wonder if perhaps I would have had better results had I been able to use my mixer.
The back of the box also displays the instructions on how to make the cakes and how to decorate the cakes. These are broken down into 6 simple steps for making and 2 simple step for decorating. Steps1 & 2 preheat oven to 180 and put the bun cases onto a baking tray. No problems here just a reminder to watch the kids when the oven is on. Step 3 empty cake mix clearly marked into a bowl add the egg and whisk for 1 minute or mix well with your wooden spoon. Simple enough but my son decide to start eating the cake mix before I'd even managed to add the egg. He also insisted on breaking the egg so I had to fish out bits of shell before stirring. Step 4 add 30ml of water and continue stirring until creamy, step 5 put 2 teaspoons of cake mix into each cake case, we only managed to fill 10 cases not the full twelve this may have been due to my son helping himself to the mixture while my back was turned. The step 6 Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until golden brown, then place on a cooling rack to cool down. My son sat in front of the oven watching them rise bless him while I started on the washing up.
Well I was pretty pleased with the results the cakes did rise as promised and look very appetising. We waited about 10 minutes to let them cool down before working on fun part of decorating. Again the instructions are on the back of the box step 1 in a jug mix icing sugar sachet with 3 -4 teaspoons of water adding extra water drop by drop until runny but not watery. I always use less water and add a drop at a time as I hate watery icing. I was surprised how much icing it made there was plenty for all the buns. Step 2 Pour the icing onto each cake then add the funny faces and smarties. The funny faces are edible icing sugar and the smarties are those tiny mini smarties which I don't really think taste of smarties but they are the perfect size for the cakes.
My son adored decorating the cakes there was plenty of icing and decorations to play around with and we created some very funny faces. Which I was proud of.
So the product was easy and fun to make but what did the finished results taste like. Well they were in-fact quite nice. The sponge was soft tasting well like sponge cake and the icing tasted good too. I enjoyed them so did my son and our visitors. Thumbs up all round.
Far better quality and better value for money then other products on the market in my opinion. I will certainly be buying these again they were a big hit with my son and myself.