Saturday, 5 January 2013

Cat and the Cream Artisan Cakes

Okay, I know it's traditional to diet at this time of the year, and if you're trying to do so, look away from the screen now!! If not... feast your eyes on this, all ye dairy free, egg free, soya free and wheat free folks! Before too long, you stomachs could follow... if you are in reach of Ocado, or the Whole Foods Market, that is!! 

Drool! Drool!
Apologies (once again) to those of you who cannot get Ocado, just yet, for the hot news is, that Cat and the Cream will soon be supplying Ocado with their Vegan Artisan cupcakes.

Amazingly enough, although they look like the kind of cupcakes you can buy in fancy bakeries, these days, they are (as I have already mentioned) free of all sorts of stuff - most noticeably, for me, soya! So many Vegan products use soya as a substitute, that I was gobsmacked, that these don't!

This one (pictured above) I bought today from The Whole Foods Market cafe, in Clapham Junction, whilst out for a bit of a jaunt with my lovely lil' sis'. It was arranged last week that we would rendezvous, and so we did - taking ourselves and Baby off to Clapham. I was in need of a mood boost, having had a stressful week (which began with a broken boiler) and this trip soooo did the trick. The chocolate cake pictured here, definitely helped!!

I first came across Cat and the Cream on my birthday. The Hub lacking not the skills, but certainly the time, for cake-making, bought me a selection of three of their Artisan cupcakes. And, complete with a singing candle, these made up my birthday cake!

I had wondered where on earth The Hub had got to, the morning of the Saturday before my birthday. It wasn't much fun being left with a fretful Baby, to get on with things by myself, whilst he was meant to be out last minute shopping, for my birthday present. Well, it turned out that he had trekked all the way into Clapham, to obtain these little beauties: 

Decisions, decisions, which to choose?
The three he chose were a Chocolate Mint and Raspberry, a Chocolate and a Pear, Hazelnut and Chocolate Chip. There was another available, at The Whole Foods Market - Chocolate and Banana - which looks yummy, but is a complete no go for me (unless I want to give myself severe gut-ache) as it contains cashews.

I didn't eat the cakes all by myself, you might be relieved to know, but I certainly sampled each of them - in the interests of research y'now!? Now, everybody's tastes are different, so what appeals to me, might not appeal to you (and vice versa, of course) but this is what I made of the three cakes...

The Pear, Hazelnut and Chocolate Chip appealed least to me, visually speaking, due to the brownish lump perched on the top, next to the hazelnut. Now, I do love hazelnuts, but that cake didn't cut it for me, partly because it contained huge chunks of pear, which made it a bit soggy and partly because I didn't find much chocolate chip in mine. However, the brownish lump on the top (praline actually) turned out to be the most divine thing I had tasted in a long while. It was kind of fudge-like and gorgeous.

The Chocolate, Mint and Raspberry (the one with pink icing on the top) was obviously the prettiest cake of the three. It sounded like quite an interesting combination. I'm not a foodie, but I was quite intrigued as to how raspberry and mint would interact with one another. I wasn't convinced by the idea, but I needn't have worried about the two flavours competing against each other as, to be quite honest, the cake didn't taste as strongly of either flavour, as I thought it might. In fact, come to think of it, I didn't taste much chocolate either.

My favourite cake of the three, which is probably no surprise to those of you who know me quite well, by now, was (yes, you've guessed it) the Chocolate! I had wondered whether all that frosting on the top might be rather artificial tasting and far too much, but au contraire! Actually, the cake was perhaps less sweet than it might have been, which left plenty of room for the sugariness of the topping, which I really enjoyed. 

When I first tried the cakes, I wasn't sure whether, ordinarily, I would have paid the price for them, but obviously I did as I bought one today (as a treat, mind you)! However, today I willingly paid the price, and thought it worth it - just because I could walk into a cafe, sit down with a drink and a cake (just like everyone else) and know that it was safe!!

Originally, I referred to the cakes by Cat and the Cream as gluten free. I thought they were, because the Hub (who first bought them) is usually careful about checking labels. However, it has been brought to my attention by Gluten Free Mrs D that these cakes are not strictly gluten free. 

Investigating Cat and the Cream's website, I discovered that although they believe they are careful to eliminate all traces of gluten (they describe their recipe as 'gluten free') they cannot be 100% sure that the ingredients that they use are completely free from cross-contamination. 

I ate them, and (as far as I know) didn't come to any harm, but then I have not been diagnosed as a coeliac. However, if you are coeliac, or sensitive to gluten, you may want to consider carefully how safe the Cat and the Cream's statement makes you feel. This advice, from the FSA, may help you make your choice. 

Since I didn't come to any harm sampling the other three cakes, The HUb has treated me to another, since they are now available through Ocado. It was Chocolate, Coconut and Raspberry with Chocolate Icing. Very nice it was too - in fact the nicest flavour so far, in my humble opinion. Just as well it wasn't for a special occasion, though, as it arrived a little squashed!!

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