“ Brand: Mr Kipling / Type: Cakes „
With my love of special edition cakes - well, cakes in general, really - it makes me nervous to think how close I came to missing out on trying Mr. Kipling's Festive Bakewells this year. Apparently they have been around at this time of year since Christmas 2009, but this was the first time I'd seen them. Even this time, it was only by chance, as I had happened to pop into my local Sainsbury's instead of my usual Asda and saw a huge display of these at a discount, as I imagine they had bought too many.
This would suggest that the cakes haven't sold as well as hoped, but just because something is perhaps unpopular doesn't mean it's not very good and as I'm a huge bakewell fan, as well as instantly curious when I see something a little new or different, I had to give them a try. This curiosity has bought me recent successes, like Mr Kipling's Black Forest Whirls as well as failures, like Mr Kipling's Raspberry Candy Cane Slices. So far over Christmas 2012, the Mr. Kipling seasonal range has balanced out and this could be the product to tip them either way for me.
First appearances go well for the Festive Bakewell, as whilst the bakewell top itself is coated with the standard white icing, there is a beautifully made icing holly leaf in the middle of each one. The white icing does seem to be sitting a little lower in the pastry case than with is usual with a Mr. Kipling bakewell, which does take something away and the pastry around the edges looks a little darker than usual, which made me wonder whether there was a slightly greater mix of wholemeal flour used to make them.
There's not a great scent to these bakewells, but that is fairly standard, although you can get a slight hint of the jam coming through if you sniff hard enough. The pastry is a little crumblier than I would like, being a little clumsy, so the first thing I usually end up doing after taking a bakewell from its foil case is to brush myself down before taking a bite.
Despite their impressive presentation, the taste test doesn't offer an awful lot. The pastry seems to be a little drier than usual for a Mr Kipling bakewell, which would explain the crumbly nature of the pastry when removing them from the foil. That apart, it's fairly standard with the buttery taste of the pastry and the sweet sugar of the icing combining to provide interesting taste and texture combinations as you bite into them.
Where the Festive Bakewell succeeds taste wise is at the bottom. Instead of the usual cherry, Mr Kipling has filled these bakewells with a plum and raspberry jam. This means that at the bottom of the bakewell, there is a much more rounded taste sensation that I have come to expect from the normal cherry bakewells. I still feel that there is insufficient jam, especially as the pastry seems to be drier than usual, but because it's made from stronger flavours you can at least get a decent taste of it for a change, even if there isn't enough to help ease the dryness of the bakewell as a whole.
The major problem with these Mr. Kipling Festive Bakewells is that they simply don't offer anything different enough to seem entirely worthwhile. Yes, they are presented well and the jam in the bottom offers a slightly different taste to usual, but that's about it. For something that is only available for a few weeks of each year, it would be nice to think that there would be a little extra thought and effort going into them, like with the Black Forest Whirls, which were amazing. Like the Raspberry Candy Cane slices, these look good, but there is more style than substance, although these are at least not as bland as the slices.
I bought mine for £1.50 for 6, which isn't a bad price, but when the normal Cherry Bakewells are £1.40 for 6, these aren't special enough to spend extra money more often than the once it takes to satisfy curiosity. As ever, those with gluten and diary intolerances should stay clear, as should those on a diet and diabetics, as one of these bakewells has nearly 20% of an adult's saturates and sugars intakes. Curiosity can be a harsh mistress sometimes and whilst I'm glad that Mr. Kipling has managed to redeem himself slightly after the let down that the Candy Cane slices were, I do think these bakewells could and should have been a little more special than they turned out to be.
Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewells are a big favourite of mine- so I was quite excited to see a festive version of this old favourite on sale in Morrisons recently.
What you get is a box of six individual cakes each in a foil cake case but instead of having the token cherry (or half a glace cherry) on the top of each, in this 'Festive' version- there is a picture of Santa on a blue background. Anyone who hates cherries and who used to take the cherry off the top of a cherry bakewell should revel in this amendment. I like the glace cherries from standard bakewells, so I wasn't too sure if the loss of the cherry would work at first.
I thought the Santa motif would just be a little piece of rice paper placed on the top of each cake, so I expected the Santa decoration to fall off when the cake was cut in half (I cut my bakewells into quarters as odd as that sounds as then you get miniature slices- it makes one small cake fell like it has gone further than it has when you eat one...!). But, to my surprise, the santa motif seems to be part of the topping so it neatly cut into quarters along with the rest of my cake.
The other notable difference, is instead of a cherry jam layer, there is a festive plum jam layer. This is a subtle difference, but it is noticeable and it is a very good change- as it gives the cake an extra sweet kick.
Nutritionally- you are looking at approx 200 calories per cake and 8g of fat- it is a treat after all. So you wouldn't want to go eating a whole box...
Overall- I would definitely recommend people try these whilst they are still on sale. If you are a fan of Cherry Bakewell cakes, then you will love these- you may miss the cherry on top- but the plum jam makes up for the loss.
I am assuming these will soon be taken off sale as they are a Christmas oriented cake product- the good thing is I have seen them selling for £1 for a box of 6 cakes in Morrisons (compared to £2 for a box of 6 in Sainsburies). I just hope they bring them back next year- maybe with a snowman motif or a reindeer? Mr Kipling has lots of scope to keep these going as a seasonal product for many years.