Wednesday, 17 September 2014

New Asda Surprise Piñata Cake!

Asda has long been my favourite supermarket for party cakes, and I suspect I'm not alone in my enthusiasm - my post on Asda's celebration cake range from last year HERE has consistently been my most viewed post week after week. Not only do Asda already have an extensive range of different cake styles and themes, but they also have a habit of releasing exciting new cakes, such as this stunning new Asda Chosen By You Piñata Surprise Cake! 

I was lucky enough to be sent the Asda Piñata cake to review and it really is as gorgeous as all the promotional photos suggested. This is a real showstopper of a cake and it's a complete bargain at only £10.00. Piñata cakes have been popular on baking sites and magazines for a little while now and there are plenty of excellent recipes online if you fancy taking on the challenge. However, I appreciate that there is this alternative for anyone who isn't so keen on baking, or let's face it, doesn't have the time to put such a cake together.

The idea behind a piñata cake is simply that it's been filled with lots of sweets in the centre, creating a wonderful surprise once the cake is cut into. The Asda Piñata Cake is fabulously decorated - I love the rainbow coloured swirls that cover the entire cake. They're so bright and appealing.

Once I cut a rather large! slice of the cake, lots of little chocolate beans were revealed. Even though I knew they were in there it was still exciting and my kids were enthralled by the whole thing. The chocolate beans have the same colour scheme as the outer icing which is a lovely touch too.

The rainbow swirls look so pretty on each slice!

Inside the cake is a three-layered vanilla sponge with sweet plum and raspberry jam filling. There is no buttercream in between the layers but I expect that is because there is so much frosting on the outside of the cake. The cake itself is fairly simple but it's a still a tasty vanilla sponge, nice and moist with the jam adding plenty of extra sweetness. The rainbow buttercream is super sweet and thick -  perhaps a little too sweet but perfect for a celebration cake.

It really is a stunner of a cake, especially for the great value price. I expect it will be extremely popular and I hope it will still be around in November/December when I have lots of family birthdays to celebrate!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Asda Piñata Surprise Cake

RATING: 10 out of 10.
Buy it again?: Yes!
Purchased: Available at Asda - check out their party cake range HERE.
Price: £10.00p.

Products sent for an honest review.

Review: Goody Good Stuff - Vegetarian Sweets

Goody Good Stuff is an all natural range of vegetarian gummy sweets which are also free from artificial colours or flavourings. There are eight varieties available in their range and I was sent six different sweets to review; Summer Peaches, Strawberry Cream, Tropical Fruit, Koala Gummy Bears, Cheery Cherries, and Cola Breeze. Several of these varieties are also suitable for vegans! The whole range is also gelatin free, fat free, nut free, soy free, dairy free and gluten free. 

Summer Peaches - These are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. They're based on traditional Fizzy Peaches sweets which were my favourite sweets when I was younger I still have a weakness for peach flavoured sweets but it's actually quite hard to find a bag of them on their own (without having to get a pick 'n' mix bag). 

The Summer Peaches sweets have a lovely appearance, quite plump and with a great peachy colour. The texture is excellent too, I wouldn't have guessed that these were vegetarian from the jelly like soft consistency. But the best part is the peach flavour itself, it's super sweet with a perfect fruity flavour. These are a 10 out of 10 from me and I'm sure I'll be buying these again in the future!

Cola Breeze: Classic cola bottle sweets that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

The Goody Good Stuff Cola Breeze sweets also have a great texture, very similar to traditional cola bottles but with a slightly softer chew. I actually prefer this texture compared to the usual gelatin based type. The flavour here is very good too, with a sweet cola taste balanced by the slightly sour coating (not too sour which is just the way I like them!). I really can't fault these either and alongside the Summer Peaches these are my personal favourite from the range. 10 out of 10.

Strawberry Cream, Cheery Cherries and Tropical Fruit are all suitable for vegetarians (but not vegans) and are also made with all natural flavours and colours.

Cheery Cherries: Don't these look adorable? I think they're perfectly named as cheery cherries! The texture of these is quite jelly like, and is slightly softer and less chewy than traditional gelatin sweets. The cherry flavour here is very strong and sweet, so much so that I would have assumed these were artificially flavoured. They have that classic cherry candy taste. I enjoy this type of cherry sweet so I liked the strong flavour here. 8 out of 10.

Strawberry Cream: These are very small sweets with a really cute shape - they look like little jelly puddings to me! They have a similar texture to the Cheery Cherries, quite soft and easy to eat. The flavour here is quite light, especially in the strawberry sweets. I could taste the creamy sweets more than the fruity ones. The combination is still very tasty and I think these would look great as cupcake toppers. 7 out of 10.

Tropical Fruit: This is such an interesting mix of sweets with a variety of unusual flavours (here in the UK at least). The texture is much firmer than the other sweets in the range with a chewier consistency. The flavours here are all excellent and very fruity especially the watermelon, banana, and pineapple. The two red ones tasted like a cross between citrus and berries, whilst the orange looking one had quite a peachy flavour. 8 out of 10.

Sour Koala Gummy Bears: I was also sent two little packs (25g) of Sour Koala Gummy Bears. Goody Good Stuff are known for their gummy koala shaped sweets but I didn't know they did a sour variety. 

They look like little bears! My kids were very keen to try out these Sour Koala gummy bears, as they like sour sweets a lot more than me, and sure enough, they both enjoyed the tangy flavour of the coating here. The flavour of the actual gummy bears is slightly sour too with a tropical fruitiness. 7 out of 10.

Overall the Goody Good Stuff range offers a great vegetarian alternative to traditional sweets. Although they're obviously not healthy as such, it's still good to have a range of sweets without any of the usual artificial nasties! 

The range is available at Tesco, Waitrose, Superdrug and local health food stores. Check out their website for all your local stockists:

Grocery Gems Verdict: Goody Good Stuff Range

RATING: See each description above.
Buy them again?: Yes, especially the Cola Breeze and Summer Peaches.
Vegetarians: Suitable for vegetarians.

Products sent for an honest review.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

National Cupcake Week: Custard Cream Cupcakes & Asda Best of Baking Goodies

This week (15-21 September) is National Cupcake Week and I was lucky enough to be sent a gorgeous Best of Baking hamper of goodies from Asda. They have a great selection of baking goodies instore from essentials to a wide range of fun toppings to decorate. 

I've been wanting to make some Custard Cream Cupcakes, based on the idea of Oreo Cupcakes (like these HERE), but with custard cream decorations. I thought the Asda Foil Cupcake Cases in silver and gold would be the perfect cases to use. I also received Asda Chosen by you Rainbow Hundreds & Thousands, Mixed Chocolate Curls and Glitter Writing Icing, all great value baking staples, a bottle of Asti Spumante and a sensational Asda Piñata Surprise Cake (more about that soon!).

Anyway, onto the cupcakes! To give these an extra custard cream flavour, I used custard powder in the baking mix and this Custard Cream Spread in the buttercream (you could also use vanilla extract in the buttercream instead). They're really easy to make and taste deliciously creamy!



For the Cupcakes:

250g Plain Flour
50g Custard Powder
200g Caster Sugar
225g Butter or Margarine
4 Eggs
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbs milk

For the Buttercream:

225g Icing Sugar
100g Unsalted Butter
50g Custard Cream Spread*
1-2 tbs Milk

To Decoration: 
6 Custard Cream biscuits cut in half.

 *If you don't have this spread just use 150g of the unsalted butter and add 1tsp of Vanilla Extract instead.

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • To make the cupcakes start by whisking the butter and sugar together until it has a creamier consistency.
  • Next add the eggs one at a time and mix until well combined.
  • Carefully fold in the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and milk until the mixture is smooth.
  • Cook in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
  • To make the buttercream mix together the butter, milk and custard cream spread (or extra butter and vanilla extract) until smooth and slightly fluffy. 
  • Sift in the icing sugar and mix slowly until the icing has the desired consistency for spreading
  • Once the cupcakes are cooled decorate them with the buttercream by piping it on or simply spreading on a thick layer.
  • Decorate with the custard cream biscuits that have been cut in half or whole ones if you like!

This was a very successful bake with everyone enjoying the vanilla and custard flavouring. The buttercream was quite sweet but it still worked well with the simple flavours of the sponge. My kids also enjoyed added some extra Rainbow Hundreds & Thousands to to the tops of their Custard Cream Cupcakes!

Asda have some great offers across their baking department (Betty Crocker cake mixes and frosting tubs are only £1.50 this week) and some delicious baking suggestions too. Take a look at their National Cupcake Week page HERE

I received an Asda Best of Baking Hamper. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

New Bounty Cookies (Tesco)

I was super excited when I first saw a photo of these Bounty cookies on Facebook - via Laura from A Daisy Chain Dream blog. I think my reaction was of the OMG!!! variety. Thankfully they seem to be easy to find and my local Tesco always has them in stock in the bakery aisle, along with the other new Mars branded cookies; Galaxy and Milky Way

There are four large cookies in each pack, with a hefty 215 calories each. They have a lovely golden appearance with a generous amount of milk chocolate pieces and flecks of dessicated coconut.

The cookies themselves have a good consistency, with a firm outer but soft and chewy centre. The dessicated coconut adds a further softness and chewiness to the texture, giving these a very moreish quality. Fellow coconut fans will be happy to know that there is plenty of coconut flavour within each biscuit. There's no mistaking the coconutty taste in every bite here. The milk chocolate chips have a lovely flavour too, and add plenty of extra sweetness to the mix. The combination of the plentiful dessicated coconut and the rich milk chocolate really does successfully recreate the flavours of a Bounty bar but in a cookie format. 

If you're a Bounty fan then you really need to try these!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Bounty Cookies

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition: 215 calories each.
Vegetarians: Suitable for vegetarians.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.30p for 4 pack.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

New Nutella & Go! (UK)

A big thank you to Rachel on Facebook who let me know via the Grocery Gems page that Nutella & Go had hit the UK. I've been on the lookout for it ever since and I finally spotted it in my local Tesco yesterday. Nutella & Go has been available in Germany. France and the US for some time already, so it's good news for us Nutella fans in the UK that it's now been released here.

At first glance the Nutella & Go may not seem too exciting; after all it's just a portion of Nutella with some breadsticks on the side. I think I was already assuming it would be just like KP Choc Dips, which have been around for ages with the same chocolate dip and breadsticks format. However, whilst Choc Dips are quite nice (especially for younger tastebuds), the Nutella & Go are far tastier. 

The breadsticks themselves have a golden appearance and crunchy texture, and have a slight hint of salt in them. This really helps to bring out the gorgeous hazelnut and chocolate flavour of the Nutella dip. Let's face it we're all here for the Nutella and not for the breadsticks! Thankfully, the portion of Nutella is very generous and there's no danger of running out of the dipping side! The whole thing together creates a different taste experience in it's own right - it's really not the same as eating Nutella on toast or on a waffle (insert your preferred method here...!). There's something about the crunchy nature of the sticks and the super smooth texture and sweetness of the Nutella that works together perfectly. 

Overall this is a lovely new way to enjoy Nutella and I can see why it's been so popular in other countries. The fact that it can be eaten whilst "out and about" is probably lost on me as I'm only likely to eat something like this at home. But I suppose if you need a Nutella fix whilst on the go then this is the perfect way to get it! 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Ferrero Nutella & Go!

RATING: 9 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition: 248 calories.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £0.84p.

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