“ Brand: Royal / Type: Cake „
Mix-and-nuke cake mixes are never going to win prices for their gourmet results, but they can be quite fun now and again. I was attracted to this one for 3 simple reasons:
1) You only have to add milk
2) It has pieces of Milka in it
3) It was 49p. Again, that's 49p
I was in B&M Bargains a few days after getting home, and decided a good way to celebrate being back in the civilised world of microwaves and dairy products was by making a cake mix. I spotted the Milka branding on the packet so moved closer, and even when I noted it was mainly not Milka I thought it would still be worth a shot.
This is a Spanish / Portuguese product but for UK distribution they have added a sticker to the packaging, listing the ingredients and preparation in English. It should be noted that I've never seen these for sale in Spain...maybe that's how they've ended up on the shelves of my local cheap shop.
This is a mix even a complete simpleton could follow. It comes in the tub you're going to 'bake' it in, so all you have to do is peel off the top, measure out the milk, stir it in and then following the heating instructions for freshly 'baked' cake.
When you open it up you see a brown powder that looks a bit like cocoa though smells more like a synthetic low calorie hot chocolate. You need to add 240ml of milk which is a bit of a fiddly amount for most measuring jugs, so I went a smidge under the 250ml mark and hoped for the best. It doesn't say what kind of milk to use, so we used semi-skimmed as a compromise between full fat and fat-free.
The instructions say to pour in the milk and then mix for 2 to 3 minutes. I used a spoon and was intrigued by the different stages it went through, from dry powder to gloopy cake mix. I added all the milk even though it seemed a good consistency with only half of it in, on the assumption that the manufacturers should know what they're talking about. It then took a bit more mixing to make it nice and even, but it did thicken up nicely. Because you mix it in the supplied, disposable container, you don't even have any washing up afterwards, though because the box is quite compact I did have a few spillages as I carelessly slopped the mixture onto the worksurface. Due to the material of the box, you don't have to grease it or line it before use.
You put the whole thing, mix and container, uncovered in a microwave for 7 minutes. You don't have to remove it to stir or anything, so it's really easy. I put it on at an advert break, and by the time the programme finished it was dinging. You are advised that it may need an extra 30 seconds, but our microwave has a manual dial not a digital one, so it can be hard to be precise with times unless you use a separate stopwatch. I set it to something between 7 and 7 ½ minutes, and put it onto medium high as this microwave is rather powerful.
Even as we waited, a sweet smell started to waft out of the kitchen. It didn't smell bad at all for something that is at least partly artificial. When I went to check on it I found it had raised beautifully to fill the box and was lovely and spongy though clearly properly cooked.
This is a chocolate loaf cake with Milka chocolate chips. These are more like shards or gratings than normal chocolate chips, and blend into the texture of the cake when warmed up. I wouldn't say this had a distinctively Milka taste, but it did taste a step above generic chocolate sponge mixes, and had a proper chocolate kick to it, not just chocolate flavour. As packet mixes go, it's one of the better ones I've tried. At a push you could mistake it for home made, especially if you had things to it (see below)
This cake looked and tasted surprisingly nice for 49p (plus milk). It would easily feed 4 - 6 people, which makes it a great bargain and because it's a dry good you can just keep it in the cupboard for when you need a rainy day activity. I think it tastes as nice as plain supermarket sponges, and it's a great starting point to work from - we jazzed it up with cream, but contemplated both Nutella and ice cream. It is not as dry as I'd thought it might be, but since most things can be improved with cream or ice cream, we went for that anyway. It would also work with fruit (especially banana), chocolate sauce, sprinkles...anything really as although it's sweet it's not sickly so has room for add ons. I think next time I'll get some proper Milka and melt it down to make an icing or buttercream - now THAT would be a cake worth coming off a diet for.
The cake can be kept wrapped up in the fridge and eaten up over a few days. As with normal cakes, I found it nicer to refresh it in the microwave for a few seconds, to make it warm and gooey again.
Definitely recommended for its insanely low price and ease of use.