I was slightly sceptical of these as they just seemed to be bandwagon jumping - eventually someone always comes out with the healthy version of everything, but in the name of blog research I finally got round to popping along to Selfridges yesterday to buy some.
There were two flavour combinations available - lemon and orange, or vanilla and chocolate. As readers of this blog know, we always opt for vanilla and chocolate so this was perfect. I paid my £5 and carried them home.
As you can see they like to remind you that these cakes are HEALTHY cakes. As if the lack of a giant wodge of buttercream isn't reminder enough.
First up the vanilla.
The vanilla cupcake contains 29% courgette and a lot of other stuff including rice flour (13%). I am not sure if it was the rice flour that made it taste funky, or as Manny put it HORRIFIC, but there was most definitely something wrong with this cupcake. It was VILE. I couldn't even swallow my first bite of sponge and rather disgustingly had to spit it into my hand. Their was an indescribably offensive taste to the cake and the texture was revolting - it kind of broke up in your mouth and was so unpleasant I just couldn't swallow it. I tried some of the fondant topping, which I thought couldn't be bad. I was wrong - it was repulsive. The ingredients include lots of stuff like agar, locust bean gum, glucose syrup - I'm not sure which of them made it taste overly sweet and really unpleasant but it certainly didn't taste like anything healthy.
More than three quarters of the cake ended up in the bin (Manny swallowed his bite!). So that's a cupcake with less than 180 calories - and I just saved myself all of those calories. Is this how they stop making you fat(ter)? by making them too disgusting to eat?
Next the chocolate.
The chocolate cupcake contains 29% beetroot and again to me tasted weird. Manny said it was chocolaty but I couldn't really get it at all, perhaps because chocolate is the 3rd last listed ingredient? In fairness cocoa powder is slightly higher, as the 5th last but still to me tasted incredibly wrong. The fondant again tasted odd and cloying and the texture of the cake was again flaky and unpleasant in your mouth. At least I managed to swallow my bite of this one. Manny ate it, but he also said it had a cabbage like taste. I asked Manny if he'd eat another of the chocolate ones and he said no, he also refused to take a second bite of the vanilla one to describe it further.
Also, both cakes seemed pretty stale to me - but that could just be the lack of any kind of moisture giving ingredient.
So there you have it - vegetable cupcakes are gross.
Execpt they aren't. I've made beetroot cupcakes before and they're delicious. I've bought courgette cupcakes that rock and let's not forget sprouts. And it's not the lack of things like milk and butter either - hello, Ms Cupcakes cakes are vegan and don't make me spit up. My opinion is that these cupcakes just try so hard to be healthy they've forgotten that the end product has to be tasty and edible. They may be healthy, but to me they seem like a fad, a way to make money off those poor Stylist readers who so want to eat cupcakes and be thin. My advice, if you're dieting don't eat cupcakes all the time but treat yourself to a proper one occasionally -these really are not a substitute for real cake. I really hope others agree and these horrific excuses for cake are off our shelves soon. However I have a horrid feeling magazines like Stylist and other fashionista types will keep them going. Although the one good sign that people may have more taste was that I was the only twonk buying these (there were lots of boxes of these going out of date v.soon unsold) while everyone else ooh'd and aaaah'd over Lola's display - how I'm kicking myself now I didn't go there instead!!
Finally, as you may recall our cat Angel LOVES cupcakes and usually we can't keep her away - however this picture speaks a thousand words.
When Pudding Cat refuses to move towards the cake you know you have a bad 'un!
*Btw I've called these cupcakes throughout my review as this is what they are marketed as. In my opinion they are fairy cakes - buttercream on top = cupcake, fondant on top = fairy cake.