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I decided to keep the children occupied during the cold weather we would bake some cakes for both tasty treats and an activity we could all take part in. I've often used the children's character cake mixes by greens due to the fact the children enjoyed it more with one of their favorite characters being involved in the mix. As we went to Tesco to buy the mix I asked the children which character they would like and they decided on postman pat. Although this was not made by the brand i usually use I thought at £1.89 to keep the children entertained was worth it. Also the box stated no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or hydrogenated fats which to me is a plus when coming to what my children eat. It does warn that it was made in a factory which handles egg and nut ingredients and contains wheat gluten and soya. Included in the box came a ready made cake mix, icing sugar, 12 cup cake cases and 12 hexagon wafferetts each with a different character from postman pat on them. All that we needed was a single egg and some water. On the back of the box are instructions with pictures that tell us exactly what to do. So we got home and began to follow the instructions. It told us to turn on the oven to 180c/350f to preheat the oven. Then next we are told to put the cases on a tray so my children enjoyed counting out the cases. Next we are told to empty the cake mix into a bowl to mix. Now there is no indication out of the two packets received with the pack which is which but you can tell by the color of them. So in the bowl went the cake mix. This is then the time to add the egg and on the packet it tells us to use and electronic mixer for a minute but this is where it disappointed me. To me the whole fun is for the children is to mix the mixture for the cakes so this is what I let them do. They took it in turns and got as many of the lumps out as possible while I whisked the rest out. The same with us adding the table spoon of water we are advised to whisk the mixture with a electric one but I opted to let the children mix again. Next comes the messy bit filling the cup cake cases with the mixtures. There was just enough to fill all 12 cases with minimum splashes so there could have been a bit more preferably to top each case up a little. Throughout this whole process I realized I had not smelt vanilla but assumed once baked I would be able to. In the oven they went and we are told on the box to leave them in for 12 -15 minutes so I decided to check on them at 13 to see how they were getting on. So i did so and noticed they were starting to over cook at the bottom end of there advisory and removed the cakes from the oven to cool. While this happened we made a start on the icing. Very simple open up the icing sugar and add a tea spoon of water and mix until smooth. Also to add water if needed which it was. By the time the children had finished the cakes were cool enough to ice. Again cue messy time they thoroughly enjoyed icing each cake and placing each wafer pride of place in the middle of each cake. We then left to cool and then taste time yummy. As we began to tuck in i could not smell any vanilla but thought maybe I would taste it but no after taking my first bite i was very disappointed there was no flavor and it was like chewing on carboard.Both me and my partner hid the evidence and told the children they were lovely to spare feelings. Over all i would never recommend this product. Although it was fun making them the finished product was very poor. This may have been due to me not using an electronic mixer but to me this is the best part for the children. Also there bottom part of the recommended time also meant the cakes were a little overdone. When removed from the oven there was no fresh cake smell and no aroma of vanilla. Finally when tasting the finished cakes they were awful and yes the children did enjoy them and loved the fact they had made postman pat cakes but i will never buy this product again. Ingrediants sponge mix 60% weat flour, sugar, vegtable oil, rasing agents ( sodium acid pyrophosphate sodium bicarbonate) corn flour icing sugar 40% suitable for vegetarians
With the wet summers that we have experienced over the last few years, a mum can never have too many "rainy day" activities up her sleeve. Sometimes you need activities that can kill a whole day, but often harder to find, are activities that can fill just a small amount of time. A filler. Baking is often a great thing to do with children. Even from an early age children can actually be helpful, they get to see how the food is made and best of all, there's something nice to eat at the end of it all (hopefully!). I do like to bake from scratch, but with an eager yet clumsy toddler acting as sous chef, sometimes a packet mix can be the best solution. Whilst being guilty of using the odd DVD of Peppa Pig, Bob the Builder or In the Night Garden to keep my toddler quiet whilst I get on with essential chores, I do try not to overuse TV characters. One reason for this is that I object to the huge cost of anything that uses the entertainment rights. Yes, I am very happy that my son adores Peppa Pig. However, I am not happy that a duvet cover or a plate with the character on, costs 3 times as much as one with an anonymous teddy bear on. One beauty of this cup cake mix is that you do not seem to be paying over the odds for the fact that Postman Pat is on the box and on the small cake decorations. His presence is enough to get the toddler interested but the cost does not completely wipe out mum's post office savings account! The cake mix costs 99p. All you need add is an egg, some water and however much it costs to heat up your oven for 12 minutes! Victoriafoods Postman Pat Vanlla Cup Cake Mix comes in a small, attaractively designed box. Pat is on the box in his Posty uniform (my box is slightly different from the one above) clutching a letter. (I'm glad Pat wears a smart uniform - my postman wears a red T shirt and blue shorts!!) There is also a picture of 2 of the freshly baked cakes with the words "serving suggestion" underneath. How else would you serve them?! Also there is the information that the mix makes 12 cakes and contains no artificial flavours, artificial colours, artificial preservatives or hydrogenated fats. Inside the box there is a packet of cake mix, a packet of icing mix, 12 bun cases and a sheet of Postman Pat waferettes. The preparation instructions are given very clearly on the back of the box. It really is very simple. You heat up the oven and put the bun cases into a bun tray. The cake mix is then put into a bowl and after adding one egg, beaten with an electric mixer for 1 minute. The electric mixer is absolutely fine to use, but to try and involve my toddler even more, I have tried beating the mixture by hand, but this has given far less satisfactory results. The mixture really does need an electric mixer to get rid of all the lumps. Some water is added and after some more beating the mixture is poured into the bun cases and then put into the oven for just 12 - 15 minutes. The preparation instructions are well written, simple and very child friendly. For instance we are told that when the cakes come out of the oven and left to cool, there should be no eating yet! Even the most impatient child can just about cope with waiting for the 12-15 minutes of cooking time, especially as a lovely cakey smell starts coming from the oven within about 5 minutes. There are instructions for making the icing. Perhaps it should be made clear that you need to add the water to the icing mix very, very gradually. A clumsy or shaky and can lead to overly runny icing very easily! The Postman Pat waferettes have various pictures of Pat, Jess the cat and the Postman Pat van, and are basically just put on top of the icing. Even my 2 year old can manage this bit without any disaster. And - the taste test. Well - I'll comment on the taste of the uncooked mixture first, because admit it - we all love that bit! This is lovely. Not overly sweet. You can really taste the vanilla. You can also taste however at this stage, if you haven't mixed properly. The lumps taste almost like small bits of ice cream cone. As for the finished product - well - it is perfectly acceptable. It's not the best cup cake you will taste, but then again, you haven't paid £3.99 per cake in a trendy London patisserie. To get 12 cakes from the mix, they perhaps are not going to be puffed up nicely to the top of the bun case as in the picture on the box, but they do rise and they are quite light. These cakes are best eaten on the day they are made. They go quite hard and tough by the second day. In fact the storage instructions on the box do advise you to eat within 24 hours. Not a problem around here! The product may contain traces of nuts and each cup cake, if divided equally, contains 76 calories. This is a good product at a good price. Children love Pat, children love baking. Most of us love cakes. And adults do not love paying a fortune for TV characters to come into their homes, so, well done to Victoriafoods of Lancashire.