Chocolate orange and carrot cake are the flavours of the season it seems. Every man and his basket have got on the choc orange hot cross buns bandwagon this year (stay tuned for the last in that series very shortly!) and all of a sudden the carrot cake craze is popping up. Hoorah! The humble carrot cake has been vastly under appreciated until now, and it's lovely to see such a summery flavour appearing on a shelves - it certainly makes a welcome change from dulce de leche/salted caramel everything. What's even better is that these companies are filling these products with cream cheese. I always find that cupcakes are a bit lopsided on their ratios. Yes buttercream is tasty (when done right) but the cake should always be the star of the show, and somehow it gets lost under showy icing when part of a cupcake. That's why I think filling cake is a better concept. Anyway, as soon as @productsinstore alerted me to the new Tesco muffins the hunt began.
The first store I visited wouldn't sell me any because they were "waiting for a manager to set them up" (your guess is as good as mine) but fortunately the nice manager that I found in the bakery department of Hereford's smaller Tesco retrieved me some from the freezer. Thank you kind sir! The four pack cost £1, and I just prayed that they were better than their Christmas Red Velvet muffins.
"Spiced carrot cake with a tangy cream cheese centre."
The muffins were a decent size and colour, speckled with sugar crystals on their tops.
I sliced through and discovered how close crumb it was. Was that all of the filling? I thought M&S were stingy, but this was ridiculous, there could only be a teaspoonful of cream cheese at the bottom there.
The cake was well spiced with a strong cinnamon flavour and a slight warmth from the ginger. There were hints of carrot throughout, but it wasn't as prominent as one would expect in a home made version. The texture was soft, but it was so moist that it was claggy and almost raw in places.
It wasn't just the cream cheese that was missing either. Where were the raisins at? Surely a carrot cake has to have dried fruit in too? Humf. One of the qualities I love most about carrot cake is the plump raisins that break up the texture and burst in your mouth as you munch.
I did enjoy the sugar crystal topping however, which reminded me of country cake (albeit without the raisins).
As for the cream cheese at the bottom, it was fairly good, but its location and meagreness meant that it was impossible to enjoy some with every mouthful of cake.
Tesco' Carrot Cake muffins are kind of the anti-cupcake I suppose. Let's hope M&S carrot cake muffins are better, and if not I'll be sticking to their buns.