* Prices may differ from that shown
When I first saw Mr Kipling's Trifle Bakewells I couldn't imagine how a trifle could be turned into a cake if I am honest! As they were just £1 in Iceland, I decided to buy a pack and find out. For this price you get 6 Bakewells, with each one being about the size of a standard mince pie, or the Mr kipling Apple Pies, if you have ever had those. They are packaged in a similiar way too, with silver foil cases inside a card box. I wouldn't say the box is anything special but it does the job of keeping the Bakewells in one piece.
WHAT ARE TRIFLE BAKEWELLS?
These little tarts, if that is the right word for them, certainly look like miniature trifles sitting in a pastry case. The topping is yellow, but isn't actually custard. It is a "custard flavoured" layer sprinkled with a few coloured sugar strands. Underneath is a layer of sponge and raspberry jam which is where the Bakewell connection comes in. I think the tarts would have the potential to look really colourful and attractive with this design but sadly they don't. The "custard" does not look a natural yellow colour to me and the sugar strands are sparse and pale, even faded in appearance. Some of the tarts had hardly any on. If I bought these again, which is unlikely, I would be tempted to add some more sugar strands of my own, for more colour if nothing else.
To me, these taste as disappointing as they look. The first flavour I associate with traditional Bakewells is that of almonds, the second raspberry jam. I was suprised therefore not to see almonds specifically listed amongst the ingredients. I presume they are represented under the word "flavouring" though as this is one taste that you can't miss when you take a bite. I wouldn't recommend this for those who have only a mild liking for almonds, especially as the Bakewells also smell strongly of the nuts. Sadly, the raspberry jam has next to no taste at all. I think the layer is just too thin to make an impact. I understand that real fresh custard could not be used in a product that wasn't going to be kept refrigerated, but I think the imitation topping here could only just pass as custard taste. It has the texture of thick icing, which does complement the crunch of the sugar strands at least. The sponge is ok, quite light in texture with a sweet taste. It is supposed to be vanilla flavoured, but I couldn't detect any hint of that, probably because the strength of the almonds. As for the pastry, I thought it was bland. Individually the layers are disappointing. Combined as they are when you take a bite, they are no better. In fact, they are so sickly sweet that I couldn't face eating another one which is unusual for me! Overall, I think the idea of these tarts sounds something really unusual and tasty, but they are disaapointing in reality.
SOME GOOD POINTS
The box states that these are baked using free range eggs which is a positive factor for me. I would never buy any eggs that were not free range, but it can be hard to tell what eggs are used in the ready made cakes that I buy. Knowing that Mr Kipling has adopted a free range egg use policy makes me more likely to buy a product from their range, even though I won't buy this particular one again. They are also suitable for vegetarians.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THEM?
I think it is an inspired idea to combine two favourite British cakes/puddings and I really wanted to like these. I won't buy them again because I think there are better quality cakes available for the same price that would be more to my taste. If Mr Kipling added more jam, and toned down the sickly sweetness, I might change my mind! If you really like almonds, and have a sweet tooth, you may well find these more to your liking. If you do, £1 for 6 represents good value. I have seen them for sale in supermarkets other than Iceland, although for slightly more than £1, with my local corner shop being the most expensive at £1.50.
Nutrition wise, I don't expect a cake to be low fat or healthy generally. These are no exception with each Bakewell containing 8g fat for example. I would therefore not recommend them to those on a diet anymore than I would recommend any other cake. At least none of the fats are hydrogenated though!
Baked in the Britain with 100% British wheat flour.
Contains nuts traces, wheat gluten, soya, egg and milk.
[This review is also on Ciao under the same user name.]
"Trifle Bakewells, that's different", said my friend as I picked the box up from the shelf, his voice containing the same balance of curiosity and trepidation that had run through my mind as I reached for the box. But as I love Cherry Bakewells and I'm the kind of person for who curiosity will always triumph over trepidation, the box ended up in my basket.
However, I'm not stupid, so when offering my friend a Trifle Bakewell as we both took one with our tea on returning home, I waited for him to bite into his first before trying mine. The expression on his face didn't give me an awful lot of hope and after finishing it, he turned to me and said "they're definitely different." Different isn't always a bad thing and it's not always a good thing and with Mr Kipling's Trifle Bakewells, it's a little of both.
My first experience wasn't an entirely pleasant one, as on opening the box and ripping open the plastic wrapper, I was met with a fairly strong smell of vanilla. This wasn't great for me as I'm not a huge fan of vanilla. Admittedly, the box described the product as having "Vanilla flavour sponge", but I wasn't expecting the smell of it to be quite so strong and it made me worry that I was going to get more of a vanilla taste than I would ideally have liked.
The cakes do look the part, however. The yellow topping sprinkled with hundreds and thousands has a trifle look to it. It's perhaps a little disappointing that the hundreds and thousands always seem to be concentrated mostly in the middle of the cake rather than spread over the surface as would happen if they were applied to a trifle by hand, but I can live with that. As with their cherry variant, these bakewells are a couple of inches in diameter by an inch deep.
Biting in, my first disappointment was that the custard topping was not actually custard at all, but a yellow coloured icing. I can see the benefits of this, as if they had been topped with the same kind of custard Mr Kipling uses in its pies, most of it would undoubtedly end up all over the cellophane wrap, but it does detract from the essential trifleness of the cakes.
The overall tastes when biting into one of these are vanilla and sugar. The custard icing appears to have some vanilla essence in it, which could explain the strong smell when you open the package and the cake does as well. The icing and the hundreds and thousands are so sweet that the combination here means you can barely taste the jam that hides in the bottom of the cake. Indeed, the only way you ever manage to get a decent taste of the jam is if you eat around the outside first (an old habit of mine developed over many years of eating cherry bakewells around the cherry) and just have one final bite where the jam is thickest. When you can taste the jam, it adds another layer of flavour and gives the cake that something extra it lacks on other bites.
The feel of the cake underneath is fairly typical for Mr Kipling bakewells, being more like a scone than a sponge. It gives a nice solidity to the bite that isn't there with the icing and also holds together quite nicely without crumbling, unlike many of their fruit pies.
Overall, I found these to be an interesting diversion from the cherry bakewells, but they were too sweet and too vanilla tasting to really appeal to me. Given that each one contains 192 calories, 8 grams of fat and around 20% of an adults' recommended sugar intake, this isn't a bad thing. These are certainly not fit for anyone on a diet or needing to watch their sugar intake. They are also unsuitable for anyone who needs to avoid gluten, eggs, soya and milk and may contain nut traces. Unless you're a big fan of vanilla, I wouldn't recommend these and I will certainly be sticking to my favoured cherry bakewells in future, particularly as Sainsbury's price the Trifle Bakewells at £1.50 for 6 and the cherry variant at £1.35 for 6. For me, Mr Kipling's Trifle Bakewells are definitely not worth the price of my curiosity.