As of this week, my local Tesco is selling its Christmas cupcake range. Which has brought to me attention that I’d been planning to review its Halloween cupcakes – which it’s really much too late for, but I took photos and sampled the whole range specially, so I don’t want to waste my effort.
On the whole, with one exception I wasn’t really that impressed. Mainly because there was a sad lack of pumpkin cupcakes (or there was in my local, at least) – really, Tesco? No pumpkin flavour? For shame. In general I’d say the range lacked the joyful delight of the British Summer cupcakes, but I’m not quite sure why – it might just be that they weren’t as homogeneous and I like my baked goods to match. None of them used the standard vanilla sponge, which is a definite plus.
3. Trick-Or-Treat Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes
I feel like ranking these ones lowest is doing them a disservice, because my problem with them is this: I just don’t really like chilli. I tried these because I figured I might maybe like it with chocolate to balance it out, but nope – I found the chilli uncomfortably hot and while it didn’t ruin these for me I couldn’t face a second one, which is unusual. I made sure to get a second opinion since I knew I’d be biased and oddly enough they also said it’d be better without the chilli.
That said, they were exceptionally chocolatey without being too sickly – probably the upside of the chilli at work – so if you do like chocolate and chilli as a combination these would be perfect. Unfortunately I just can’t handle spicey things.
I also quite liked the idea of a chocolate-and-chilli Halloween cupcake. I’ve not see that particular flavour/holiday association before but it works.
2. Chocolate Orange Cupcakes
First of all, got to give these ones ten out of ten for the aesthetic. That is one eye-searing orange you got there, cupcake. And when you squint the chocolate curls look sort of like bats. Impressive.
But beyond that, while I definitely enjoyed these more than their sinister chilli cousin, I remember finding them disappointing, especially the frosting, which despite its lurid looks was actually quite bland. I really do like chocolate-orange as a combination most of the time (I have a recipe for chocolate-orange/orange sponge swirl cupcakes and they are delicious) but these were just boring. No cupcake with icing that orange should be boring.
1. Toffee Apple Cupcakes
These were far and away the highlight of the range. And I don’t usually like toffee-flavoured cakes!
The fudge pieces on top are delicious and had a great consistency, the frosting is lovely (I’ve never found a toffee or caramel frosting I liked before, so kudos to Tesco), and the sponge was surprisingly good – honestly, most of Tesco’s sponges are, it’s just the vanilla which is a let-down.
My only real complaint is that the frosting was a bit too heavy and overwhelmed the sponge – which to be honest would not normally have been a problem as it was only good relative to other mass-produced cupcakes. These are not the kind of cakes you buy for the sponge. However, as I recall the sponge was the source of all of the apple flavour so it was a mite unbalanced. I think maybe some apple flavouring in the frosting would have worked wonders.
That ends this piece of Halloween cupcake-related inanity. But never fear – I’m already planning a Christmas cupcake review.