I was innocently shopping in Tesco this afternoon and, before I knew where I was, found myself in the bakery isle drooling over cake ingredients. I maintain it can happen to anyone. Anecdotes aside, I came across something so fantastic and chic that I had to blog about it - James Martin, renowned English chef especially brilliant at all things sweet, and rather handsome to boot, has brought out his own range of cupcake and bread mixes, a delectable and fabulously presented line entitled James Martin's Bakery. Exciting stuff.
Obviously I had to buy and try, despite my usual trepidation when it comes to packet cake mixes - I wanted to see if he could surpass his dry, somewhat tasteless shop bought rivals. Excitedly purchasing his Raspberry and White Chocolate Cupcake Mix for an extremely reasonable £1.99, I rushed home to bake and devour them, and, if I'm honest, was very much looking forward to an easy ride of simply adding an egg and milk to powder and mixing into cupcakey goodness rather than slaving away creaming butter and sugar and all that nonsense. Everyone has off days, right?
As soon as I got the cake mix mixing (taking all of 30 seconds), a wonderful smell hit me, and it was from then I knew; this was no ordinary cake mix. The batter, despite looking like it would produce plain vanilla cupcakes, was infused with a gorgeous scent of raspberries which had family members practically running to the kitchen in search of
the smell's source. I'm not going to lie - it took every inch of my willpower to empty the batter into the cupcake cases rather than directly into my mouth. But I managed.
12 minutes later the golden beauties were risen and ready for the icing which was similarly lightning-fast to prepare, involving nothing more than melting butter and mixing with the icing powder. Again, this was no ordinary icing - a beautiful rosy pink colour and containing chunks of raspberry, it was deeply flavourful and fruitily fresh, allowing you to really taste raspberries rather than a cheap fruity imitation which always leaves my teeth coated in sugar and me sorely disappointed.
To top it all off, the gracious James Martin includes beautifully delicate white chocolate curls to finish the cupcakes off, making sure the end result is well risen cupcakes which are colourful and gorgeously finished off with a sprinkling of the chocolate curls.
Taste wise I was not disappointed; considering these are made as if from magic by adding liquid to powder and mixing, coupled with the fact that they are so cheap, I couldn't have asked for more. The cupcakes were soft and fluffy, and well risen, although, if I'm honest, still didn't taste quite as good as the real deal - home made cake sponge fresh from the oven will always have the edge I'm afraid. However, the icing was supremely impressive - it was really light and beautifully fragrant on the tongue, leaving me a very satisfied customer.
Overall, I would definitely recommend James Martin's Bakery products for both the novice home cooks and the lazy experienced ones. A great all rounder.