I have a confession: I am an monarchy apathist. I honestly could not care less. I’m not by any stretch pro-monarchy, but neither am I really a republican; I have ever so slightly too much of a sentimental attachment to the royal family to really fall into the anti-camp. So when it comes to occasions such as this, I can neither get into the spirit of things nor can I work up the energy to do what as my more staunchly republican friends do and use it as an opportunity to protest. I spent the entire royal wedding day in the university library studying for my exams – not as an anti-monarchist gesture, just because I’d honestly forgotten.
My interest in the Diamond Jubilee therefore extends to one thing and one thing only: the myriad array of different food products (not to mention ordinary food products in special wrapping – I bought a large bar of Dairy Milk today just because it came in a Union Jack) that supermarkets have been trotting out. More specifically, Tesco’s Jubilee Cupcakes.
As best I can tell, they did four varieties of these, but I never did get around to trying the Jam Splatter cupcakes. But going by the other three flavours, I doubt I missed all that much. So here are the three I did try, ranked from ‘worstest’ to ‘bestest’.
3. Ice Cream Sundae Cupcake
These? Thoroughly disappointing. To start with, the packaging claimed they were decorated with chocolate flakes (as an ice cream sundae should be), but as you can see, that is clearly a chocolate button. For shame, Tesco. Then again, going by the product page on their website, they were supposed to be topped with actual flakes, so I suppose I must blame the staff at my local Tesco who did the finishing. For shame, local Tesco. It wasn’t even a very nice chocolate button.
Other than that, these were mostly just basic vanilla cupcakes. The coloured balls on top were a nice touch, I guess, but Tesco’s basic vanilla cupcake just isn’t particularly nice. It’s kind of bland and something about the texture is ever so slightly off – a bit too chewy, maybe? The frosting is also nothing special, and there was way too much of it, but that goes for all of these.
I’m not really sure what I was expecting an ice cream sundae cupcake to be, given that actual ice cream cupcakes need to be stored in the freezer, but if you can make birthday cake icecream I am sure you can make an ice cream sundae cupcake. All in all, good presentation, disappointing cake.
2. Custard Cream Cupcakes
The other two varieties were the really fun ones, and far more interesting than their ice cream-y brethren. For one thing, they actually do taste like what they’re supposed to! Unfortunately, I neglected to photograph mine, so have Tesco’s photo instead.
These ones have a really gaudy presentation, which I’m not sure what to make of – they don’t exactly look like custard creams, but there’s still something weirdly fitting about them. The frosting most definitely does taste like the filling in a custard cream, though I think the flavour could be more pronounced. However, the cupcake has all the usual problems – this is why I doubt I missed anything with the Jam Splatter cupcakes, I suspect the jam would not have been very nice and the base would have been slightly-off vanilla – and the biscuit crumbs on top don’t really add much.
Still, though, points for actually tasting like what it’s supposed to taste like, and it’s certainly exceedingly British.
1. Bourbon Cream Cupcake
I am completely in love with these cupcakes and most put out that they have to go away. They should make these all year round. I’d buy them! It’s nice to finally see a British equivalent to a Cookies and Cream cupcake.
My only real complaint here is that the biscuit crumbs on top are generic chocolate biscuit rather than actually tasting like a Bourbon Cream, but then again Bourbon Creams are not the most exciting-tasting chocolate biscuit in the world, so perhaps that was for the best. The frosting is fantastic – everything the Custard Cream frosting should have been but wasn’t. It really does taste just like a Bourbon Cream filling. And on top of that – or inside that, rather – they have a chocolate syrupy filling!
Thankfully, Tesco’s basic chocolate sponge is far more palatable than it’s vanilla. It tastes remarkably like the Co-operative chocolate sponge, actually – I suspect foul play at work. But aside from the possible nefarious inter-supermarket recipe swapping, this is a really good cupcake and I am sad to see it go.
So, that has been a completely inane review! Hopefully someone will enjoy my thoughts on supermarket own-brand baked goods. Until then, though, I have a novel to write, and hopefully much blogging to do.