REVIEW: Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Cake Mixes (Confetti Cake and Chocolate Lover’s Cake)

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Funtastic Confetti Cake Mix

It goes without saying that the internet has given us many beautiful things. Memes, for instance, provide a necessary distraction from work, school, or the ads at the beginning of YouTube videos. Likewise, I’m not sure if I could survive a day without having my lame Baltimore Orioles spring training observations liked by random strangers.

But all these things pale in comparison to the internet’s greatest gift: the proliferation of mug cake popularity.

I used to be firmly against the mug cake. For starters, they’re just not practical. I like my cake after exceptionally large dinners with my belt loosened and eaten while sipping coffee. From what, may I ask, do I drink coffee from if I’m eating cake in my coffee mug? The cake pan?

And then there’s the issue of measuring out ingredients and having things like flour, eggs, and oil on hand. Frankly, I’m lucky if I have leftover McGriddles in my fridge. The odds of having all those ingredients in my apartment are worse than maneuvering a modified YT 1300 light freighter through an asteroid field.

That said, Duncan Hines new Perfect Size for 1 Cake Mixes are doing a lot to change my thinking, thanks largely to a dummy approach that involves nothing more than a few tablespoons of water and a mug. Thankfully, I do, in fact, own a sink.

The new mug cake packets come in 18 flavors, which, let me be honest, is more cake than anyone really needs. So it made sense to start with the essentials: A birthday cake flavor and something chocolaty.

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Funtastic Confetti Cake Mix 2

The Confetti Cake is surprisingly good —- much better than your standard Pillsbury Doughboy Funfetti, if you ask me. I got notes of a strong vanilla and buttercream element throughout the cake, which was light and fluffy yet still moist. The little bursts of sprinkled sweetness provide a great touch, especially when you consider that you don’t have to eat them at a ten-year-old’s birthday party. My only complaint is that there’s a slight aftertaste and grittiness of uncooked flour.

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Decadent Chocolate Lover s Cake Mix

Weary of the uncooked flour, I upped the cooking time by a whopping ten seconds on the Chocolate Lover’s Cake, which I imagine was inspired by all the past cake’s on Pinterest which were made for somebody’s DH. That, or the marketing folks ate it and proclaimed it to taste like the love child of a chocolate chip muffin and chocolate angel food cake. In this they were spot on. There’s a lightness and airy structure to the crumb, but there’s definitely a moist, rich element that explodes with little morsels of semisweet chocolate. This cake was excellent, even sans frosting.

Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 Decadent Chocolate Lover s Cake Mix 2

Certainly, my mug cakes weren’t Pinterest quality in appearance, but I can live with that. In fact, since the Perfect Size for 1 Cakes only take about a minute to make, I plan on ditching cake porn altogether and investing even more quality time with memes while, as they say, having my cake and eating it too.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pouch – Confetti Cake – 270 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 30 grams of sugar, and 3 gram of protein. Chocolate Lover’s – 300 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 380 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 32 grams of sugar, and 4 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.50 each
Size: 4-pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Confetti)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Chocolate Lover’s)
Pros: Incredibly easy to make, even for the most kitchen averse people. Moist yet fluffy cake element combines best of muffin, poke cake, and angel cake worlds. More time for memes.
Cons: Varieties do not include chocolate eclair or pumpkin cheesecake. Undercooked cake has gritty texture and aftertaste. Will explode if you add to much water.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Cereal Splashback Ice Cream

Ben  Jerry s Cereal Splashback Ice Cream

If you think about it, cereal and ice cream are like kindred spirits. They’re both eaten in bowls with spoons, they’re satisfying while watching cartoons or high, they aren’t as good if they sit in a bowl for too long, and they both have the letter C, two E’s, an A, and an R.

Ben & Jerry’s Cereal Splashback Ice Cream pays tribute to childhood cereal favorites. Of course, not MY childhood cereal favorites, like Banana Frosted Flakes, Waffelos, C-3PO’s, and Rainbow Brite Cereal. They’re currently Scoop Shop exclusives and the idea is to recreate cereal and milk with ice cream and Ben & Jerry’s magic.

The three Cereal Splashback flavors are:

Froot Loot — cereal milk ice cream with a crisp fruity cereal swirl.

Frozen Flakes — cereal milk ice cream with a crisp cereal swirl.

Cocoa Loco — chocolate cereal milk ice cream with a crisp chocolate cereal swirl.

Ben  Jerry s Cereal Splashback Froot Loot Ice Cream

The only one that really tastes like its cereal counterpart is Froot Loot. Every time I eat it, its aftertaste reminds me of Froot Loops. But it’s a bit odd that it doesn’t happen once I put it in my mouth.

As for the other two, the Frozen Flakes swirl has a sweetened corn flakes vibe to it, but it doesn’t make me think of Frosted Flakes. And while Cocoa Loco has a nice malt flavor that goes well with the chocolate ice cream, it doesn’t taste like Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Krispies, or Cocoa Pebbles. This disappoints me because chocolate cereals are my favorite.

Ben  Jerry s Cereal Splashback Cocoa Loco Ice Cream

With that said, these flavors do please my palate. Well, to be more exact, the swirls bring me joy. The cereal milk-flavored ice cream tastes like a sweeter, richer vanilla ice cream and the chocolate cereal milk one is like a slightly toned down chocolate ice cream. They’re good, but not great. But also, let’s be real, they’re there to complement the swirl.

The cereal swirls are gritty like a cookie butter swirl. There aren’t any whole cereal pieces, but when you scoop out a portion of the swirl and chew on it, it crunches like a cereal piece. And depending on the spoonful, you’ll get one of two textures, either slightly soggy cereal or crispy cereal. That is some crazy Ben & Jerry’s voodoo.

Ben  Jerry s Cereal Splashback Frozen Flakes Ice Cream

If I had to rank the three Ben & Jerry’s Cereal Splashback flavors, I’d put Froot Loot number one, Frozen Flakes would come next, and Cocoa Loco would be last.

While two out of the three didn’t truly taste like the cereals they’re trying to emulate, because they’re all really sweet, all three did something else for me as I ate them.

They took me back to what I like to call The Golden Age of Breakfast Cereals. A time when cereals were super sweet and they probably had as much sugar as a candy bar. A time when cereals with movie tie-ins weren’t all oat pieces with marshmallows. A time when cereals came in shapes like Gremlins, Batman signs, Nerds candy, ice cream cones, and something Mr. T would wear around his neck. A time when a dog and cat kibble maker also made human kibble, but called it cereal. A time when cereals were, as Tony the Tiger says, gr-r-reat.

Disclosure: I received samples of all three Cereal Splashback flavors from Ben & Jerry’s. It was not required by Ben & Jerry’s to write a review and receiving free samples did not influence my review in any way.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 scoop – Cocoa Loco – 230 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 21 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Frozen Flakes – 230 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 21 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Froot Loot – 240 calories, 140 calories from fat, 15 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Froot Loot)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Frozen Flakes)
Rating: 6 ouf of 10 (Cocoa Loco)
Pros: Froot Loot’s aftertaste taste like Froot Loops. Frozen Flakes comes close to tasting like Frosted Flakes. The different textures of the swirl. Ben & Jerry’s magic. Banana Frosted Flakes. Reminds me of The Golden Age of Breakfast Cereals.
Cons: Cocoa Loco not tasting like any chocolatey cereal. Disappointing for those who like a lot of mix-ins. Available only at Scoop Shops. Banana Frosted Flakes being discontinued.

REVIEW: Hostess Twinkies Frozen Dairy Dessert Cone

Hostess Twinkies Frozen Dairy Dessert Cone

Earlier this year Hostess turned their iconic crinkle-wrapped sponge cake into an ice cream. As good as that was, let’s be honest, it needed a bowl AND a spoon, which is so much more effort than snack cake annihilation should require.

Suffer no more America, we now have before us the Twinkies Frozen Dairy Dessert Cone. No utensils, no dishwashing, and hell, if you play your cards right you could even use the wrapper as a napkin to get the creamy fiesta off of your face. This latest and greatest piece of American innovation combines golden sponge cake crumbles and creamy frozen dairy dessert all packaged in the classic ready-to-devour sugar cone.

Hostess Twinkies Frozen Dairy Dessert Cone 4

The initial bites are delicious and very reminiscent of the Twinkie ice cream tub that was decked out with sponge cake pieces swimming in a pool of creamy, almost greasy cake ice cream. The top of the cone is the only part of the dessert that has the cake, which imparts not only added texture but a bunch more flavor as well. The cake combined with the fluffy yellow “ice cream” is fun and very much like eating the much loved (or hated) snack cake.

Hostess Twinkies Frozen Dairy Dessert Cone 5

Beneath the initial layer of yellow fluff is a layer of white fluff, which is noticeably less flavorful and exciting than the way the cone started. It’s hard to tell if the lack of flavor is due to a different profile within the cream itself or the absence of cake, but it’s no less much less intriguing to the tongue.

The next layer is yellow, but it coincides with the top of the cone which also has a thin layer of chocolate inside. So there’s an extra crunch and chocolate flavor that accompanies the frozen dairy, which makes it a more exciting chew. And, like all good Nestle cones, this one finishes with a piece of chocolate wedged in the bottom, which puts an exclamation mark of “YUM” on the very last bite.

Hostess Twinkies Frozen Dairy Dessert Cone 3

This cone is good. From top to bottom it’s fluffy, sweet, and whimsical like something from an ice cream truck, albeit not the highest quality. The use of frozen dairy as opposed to real ice cream gives it a much lighter feel, both in your hand and on the palate than the usual Drumstick. It also makes scarfing more than one of these a pretty reasonable task.

Hopefully, Hostess can figure out how to put the Twinkie into pill form so I can just sit back, relax, and pop them ‘twinks on the low.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cone – 220 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 21 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 4-pack
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: No need for utensils. Instant ice cream injection. Fun sponge cake pieces. Chocolate at the bottom of the cone.
Cons: White frozen dairy may lack flavor. Needs more cake pieces.

REVIEW: Peeps Mystery Flavors (2017)

Peeps Mystery Flavors (2017)

I remember stumbling upon last year’s Peeps Mystery Flavors and I was very much caught off guard.

Not one, not two, but three new flavors that I get to try and guess?! COUNT ME IN. I fell in love with the buttered popcorn one and so this makes me very excited to see what Peeps has in store this year. What would be the new buttered popcorn for me?

There are again three flavors to guess and while the packaging has stayed similar the Peeps are now speckled with bright color flakes. This adds a whole another layer of complexity as it ties the colors directly to the peeps giving you another reference point to lead you to the correct flavor or just throw you off completely.

First up is my favorite, Mystery Flavor #1 of 3.

On first whiff, there is a predominately maple kind of scent like straight maple syrup, perhaps even a hint of caramel as well. Biting into the Peeps, I love how the sugar and flakes on the outside mix together with the squishy marshmallow inside.

However, the flavor doesn’t get any stronger, which is disappointing. I still taste maple but then also think these could be coffee too, but definitely with some creaminess. I really enjoyed these but am completely stumped by the flavor. They could be waffles or pancakes or cappuccino or latte but what I keep coming back to is maple syrup.

Peeps Mystery Flavors (2017) 2

Next up is my least favorite, Mystery Flavor #2 of 3.

After opening it I got a serious blast of fruitiness, but not sure which one yet. Eating the Peeps, made me think instantly of orange. These had a lot of flavor and were sweet, but also tart. There may be another flavor in there but these tasted exactly like those orange fruit slice candies. It can’t be THAT simple, though, can it? Maybe these are blood orange or something. Plain old orange would be a serious missed opportunity.

Finally, Mystery Flavor #3 of 3.

Smelling these I got fruitiness again but distinctly a lemon-lime scent. Eating them, yep, lemon-lime was coming in very strong with sour notes, too. However, the flakes are yellow and green, which seems way too easy, unless that was on purpose to trick us? Brand mashups are all the rage recently, so maybe these are in fact sour Sprite flavored. Let’s go with that!

(Nutrition Facts – 5 chicks – 140 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 32 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.19 each
Size: 3 oz./10 chicks
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 7 out of 10 (#1 of 3)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (#2 of 3)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (#3 of 3)
Pros: The fun that mystery flavors bring. Colored flakes upping the confusion factor. Sugary outsides and marshmallow insides joining together in perfect harmony.
Cons: Two-thirds of the flavors seem to be fruit based. Not finding my buttered popcorn successor. The agony that will take place until the flavors are officially revealed.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M’s

Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M's

One of 2016’s biggest snack breakthroughs was the expansion of the Peanut M&M’s line. America voted between three new flavors, with Coffee Nut coming away the victor.

Coffee Nut got my vote, but really enjoyed Honey Nut, and even found Chili Nut to be a decent and novel idea. Coffee Nut has now become a candy rack mainstay, and it looks like Mars isn’t stopping there. Say hello to Strawberry Nut M&M’s.

I found it at my local Rite Aid. I was in there with intentions of buying a greeting card, which is the most tedious shopping experience known to man, so finding a new Peanut M&M’s flavor was a very pleasant surprise.

The store sold only a “Share Size” bag, which reminded me of my crippling loneliness. Hello darkness, my old friend.

I asked the first woman I saw if she would like to split the bag with me and she proceeded to mace me.

Once the sting wore off, I tore the glossy paper bag open and met a waft of that familiar stale, almost peppery chocolate scent you always get from M&M’s. This time, however, there was a nice underlying strawberry smell.

Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M's 3

I’m always fascinated by the color selection when a new M&M’s flavor comes out. With Strawberry Nut you get red for the outside of the strawberry, pink for the inside, and green for the stem. Way to sneak in there, Green. I’m not sure anyone would have felt bad if the stem and leaf of the strawberry weren’t represented in color form, but who knows, people complain about everything these days – present company included. On to the taste!

I’m torn of what I thought of the strawberry flavor here. On one hand, it wasn’t very powerful, so while tossing back a few at a time, it started to taste like I was eating normal Peanut M&M’s. On the other hand, if they did go overboard with the strawberry, it would have been way too sweet and artificial tasting. I guess I’ll never know. I found the strawberry to be quite subtle. It was noticeable, but don’t expect too much.

Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M's 4

I did some surgery on a piece with my teeth to isolate the chocolate because I thought the shell and peanut were masking the strawberry flavor, but even that wasn’t all that strawberry-ey(?).

Still, the flavor was nice. That’s the best I can tell ya. If these were in the running last year, I would have ranked them 3rd, just ahead of Chili Nut. I probably wanted more strawberry, but I love Peanut M&M’s, so it’s hard to complain when something tastes like slightly different Peanut M&M’s.

Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M's 2

So, while these weren’t a grand slam, I commend the fine people at Mars. I appreciate them branching out the peanut line, as Peanut M&M’s are FAR superior than regular ones. Instead of giving us twenty regular M&M’s flavors a year, keep pushing this peanut line.

It’s also great to see Mars dive more and more into the fruit world. I know they made Cherry M&M’s, so here’s hoping Cherry Nut isn’t too far off. As a lover of those chocolate oranges, I’d be all for an Orange Nut. (don’t say “go nuts,” don’t say “go nuts.”) Go Bananas!

Oh, Banana Nut!

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 pack (46 g) – 240 calories, 110 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 3.27 oz. bag
Purchased at: Rite Aid
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: The more Peanut M&M’s the better. Strawberry isn’t crazy powerful, but it’s there. M&M fruit flavors. A potential sign of more flavors to come? Gimmie Banana Nut!
Cons: I probably would have picked these third in the new flavor contest. No one to share your Share Size bag with. Limited Edition. Greeting cards are awful. Macing is no laughing matter.