“ Brand: Marks & Spencer / Type: Cakes „
I purchased these cupcakes yesterday as I was having a couple of friends over and I wanted something to give them for dessert.
The cupcakes look really gorgeous when you see them in the box. The pink strawberry icing on the top has little sugar flakes which make it sparkle a little bit. This is probably what brainwashed me into buying them and spending £2.99 for 4 cupcakes!! I don't think I actually checked the price before I got to the till so it came as a bit of a shock but I thought they had to be amazing for that price. I do normally love cupcakes so thought I'd get them anyway.
So I gave one to each of my friends and I has one as well. Well on the first bite the taste is really lovely. You can taste the strawberry in the icing straight away and the sponge on the bottom is light.
Taking another bite I got to the strawberry filling in the middle of the sponge. This is very sweet and after the second bite the sicklyness of the cake actually starts to get to you. I managed to finish mine but my guests could each only finish half of their cakes and then had to leave the rest as it was making them feel a bit sick due to the sweetness of the icing and the filling combined.
*The presentation is brilliant
*The sponge is really delicious
*So sickly it is extremely difficult to finish in one go
*High in calories
I really think that M&S could have done better with these cupcakes. Perhaps if the strawberry centre was removed the cupcakes would be less sickly or if the sweetness and flavour of the icing was toned down a bit then eating these cupcakes would be a much more pleasant experience. I really really did enjoy the first bite but after that it was a struggle to finish and I'm not sure I really enjoyed eating it at all after that.
Over the last couple of days I've been helping my future sister-in-law (FSIL) with an outdoor photoshoot, as she's a stylist for a national newspaper and was doing a feature of 3 different styles that you could have in your garden. One of the styles was for kids and featured a lovely wire cupcake stand, so we had to go and buy some cakes to fill it up and make it look fantastic.
We both knew Marks and Spencers had these new cupcakes, as we'd seen them in the shops and my FSIL had tried to get some for her birthday party recently, but M&S said that they were struggling to make them fast enough due to the huge demand. So we were expecting them to taste spectacular due to all the hype!
The cake stand could hold 23 cupcakes, but as each box of M&S cupcakes costs £2.99 for a box of 4, which we thought was very expensive, we decided to get just 4 boxes and hoped that would be enough for the photoshoot.
We had looked in Waitrose at their boxes of cupcakes, which were a similar price, but they didn't look nearly as impressive as the ones from M&S.
The cardboard box has a large window so you can clearly see the cupcakes in all their sweet glory. They are sat in a plastic tray which stops them moving about too much in the box and we managed to transport them safely without ruining any of the delicious looking frosting which had been swirled into a perfect dome.
The Strawberry & Vanilla flavour ones have a light pink frosting with glittery sprinkles and I suggested we get some of the Raspberry and White Chocolate ones too for a slight colour contrast as they have a darker pink frosting.
They certainly did look very impressive in the wire cake stand and we had to wait for the photographer to finish taking pictures before we could devour any cakes!
When something looks so appetising your taste buds must go into overdrive as they expect whatever you're going to put into your mouth to send them crazy. So I eagerly took a large bite into a cupcake, taking a good mouthful of the soft, creamy strawberry frosting and the light, fluffy, vanilla sponge. I expected my mouth to then be saying "ooo" and "aaah" and maybe even "wow", but to be honest the cupcake was nothing special and I was pretty under whelmed. My next bite consisted of the rich strawberry compote, which is in the centre of the cupcake, and this coupled with the frosting was just a bit too sweet and was pretty sickly. Everyone who tried them was in agreement about this and overall the cupcakes were disappointing for the price that they are.
These cupcakes are good for a party as their good looks will impress your guests, but I don't think they're worth the money and it will be more satisfying and easier on the pocket by making your own - just got to go and find some edible glitter!
Some nutritional info per cupcake:
20.4g fat (of which saturates 10.5g)
Contains: cow's milk, eggs, wheat, gluten.
Made in a factory that uses nut ingredients.
Well now it's official. Marks and Spencer are feeling the pinch. Or rather their customers are, especially in the Food Hall. The reason I know this is because the latest idea from the men in suits is a new collection of cakes with which to attract their customers.
I often walk the aisles of my nearest M&S and like to keep an eye out for anything new in their Food Hall. Thus I first noticed their new range of cakes in a prime difficult-to-miss location right inside the entrance about a fortnight ago.
The cakes in question are all cupcakes, with four in a box. I managed to desist for a few weeks, but last week, knowing we were having friends over for lunch the next day, I succumbed to a box of their appealing Strawberries & Vanilla cupcakes.
Unfortunately Dooyoo don't have a picture uploaded (there is only a limited range of M&S food available to buy online).
The packaging is a square cardboard box, identical to most of the M&S cake range if you're familiar with them. The top, front and back is in a rather fetching pink colour, with the two sides being a creamy colour, in keeping with the flavours of this particular set of cupcakes. Strangely, the overall look seems retro 1950's to me. There is a plastic window pane on the top so you can see the cakes inside.
Both sides of the box boast these cupcakes are: "A marriage made in heaven... Moist cupcakes with rich strawberry compote centres and lashings of strawberry buttercream on top".
The back of the box contains the usual information about the ingredients and nutritional values. Open the box and the four cupcakes are sitting in a little plastic tray. The idea of a cake with a genuine fruit puree in the middle was rather novel and one of the reasons I was keen to try these particular cupcakes in the range. The other was because these really are visually appealing. The spongecake is topped with big swirls of strawberry buttercream and the buttercream is sprinkled in pink (although the box says it's purple) glitter. I'm a sucker for some glitter.
I found there was only the slightest aroma of strawberries and vanilla, but this mixed well and certainly wasn't overpowering when you first open the box.
The best part, of course is the taste. The cake is deliciously moist and the flavours lived up to my expectations. You haven't seen anything yet though, until you get to the strawberry puree in the middle. The compote is extremely gooey and starts to ooze out straight away.
The cake was wonderful. The pink buttercream and strawberry compote not only makes the cakes look extremely attractive, but the taste of the strawberries balances out what would otherwise be quite a sweet but ordinary sponge cake. I should also point out that M&S have used actual seeds from Madagascan vanilla pods to make these. Quite how different the cakes would taste with ordinary vanilla essence I couldn't say, but the makers have certainly gone to more effort than most do to make their cupcakes genuinely tasty.
One of the stranger ingredients though is the inclusion of rapeseed oil. This is apparently a very popular ingredient in American cakes due to it's ability to bind better with the flour than butter does, which is denser. Although I can't say that this made any noticeable difference to the texture of the cakes or made them any more oily than other cakes I've eaten recently it would possibly go some way to explain why the cakes tasted as moist as they did.
~ Any drawbacks? ~
Despite the claim on the box that there are no artificial colours, flavourings or preservatives (even the eggs used are free range), the carbohydrate and fat content are worrying. Each cupcake contains a whopping 44% of your daily recommended allowance of sugars and 52% of your recommended saturated fat allowance. These cupcakes are not for the feint-hearted!
There is also the usual disclaimer that this has been made in a factory which uses nut ingredients for those with an appropriate allergy.
~ Conclusion ~
When they were first introduced in the middle of April, they were discounted and cost £2.50 per box. Having ventured past them again today, the offer has finished and they are now £2.99. This is somewhat expensive, although for an occasional treat I can see myself buying them again. M&S have put a lot of effort into making this a very attractive range by using the best ingredients they can, and overall the price is worth it.
Others in the new cupcake range include their Chocolate 'blackout' cake which apparently has a chocolate ganache centre, and a Raspeberry and White chocolate cake. I've yet to try these, but the chocolate one sounds very tempting.