I’m not sure if I’m the only person that watches Food Network on freeview, but in case I am I’ll give it some context. Food Network as the name would suggest features a selection of food programmes for 21 hours a day and fills the other three with some teleshopping. It’s intriguing in its scheduling in that it shows some great programmes like vintage Nigella, Jamie and Delia in the day when people are at work and can’t enjoy them and then in the evening when people are free it shows a stack of dreadful programmes like Barefoot Contessa featuring the endlessly smug, misinformed and irritating Ina Garten; Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives presented by a chap called Guy Fieri who only knows how to shout; Bitchin Kitchin for which I have no words and also Ace of Cakes featuring Duff Goldman a beardy, cap wearing baker who creates cakes that look incredible but I always suspect taste a bit dry and bland. It is Duff who has created this weeks product, a packet cake mix which is usually only stocked in the US, but which you can pick up on Amazon or in Harvey Nichols. As I’m not crazy about funding tax avoiding corporate giants, I spent my money at the Manchester branch of the temple to middle class consumerism Harvey Nichols.
The history of cake mixes on this blog has not been good, first there was the Mary Berry disaster then the Jane Asher fail so I wasn’t full of hope for Duff. The picture on the box didn’t even make it look like that nice and presumably that is the ideal version of the cake so it was a real toss up as to how this would go.
The box is surprisingly heavy and on top of whatever sachets I would find in there, Duff also required me to provide one and a quarter cups of water, four egg whites (a bit extravagant I thought), and a third of a cup of oil. So with everything in place it was time to bake.
I opened the box to find just one sachet of white powder dotted with brightly coloured flecks (the confetti). I was a bit dissapointed to be honest as that meant I had spent £5 on a bag of flour with some mini sweets in it. There was no topping or icing sachets – I was just getting the basic sponge and anything I wanted on top of that was at my expense. The instructions are pretty specific telling you first to mix all the ingredients and then “Beat 2 minutes at low speed or 450 strokes by hand” I can’t say I was in the mood to count to 450 so I dug out the electric mixer. The resulting mixture looked like a bowl of sick from a toddlers birthday party, a sort of food colouring flecked thick slurry. This was then poured into the baking tins and 30mins later the cakes were ready.
Now as there was no icing provided and as I don’t really like icing anyway I decided to eat the sponge cakes as they were, this probably meant they would be more boring than they are intended to be, but it also means I can judge the product Duff put in the box without any extra things getting in the way.
The cake was OK as packet mixes go, but as cake goes it wasn’t so good. The sponge was light and airy with a crumbly texture and the bright coloured flecks were fun but ultimately it was too sweet. It had a mechanical, pre packed pound shop cake flavour to it and I fear that after a long haul flight from the US, a £5 price tag, four egg whites, a big dose of oil and 40 minutes of my time I won’t be eating anymore of Duff’s cake. I’m left feeling poorer, wasteful and unsatisfied and I won’t be returning to Duff’s range in a hurry.
Duff Goldman Conefetti Premium Cake Mix – £5