I say Duncan Hines. You say Pusha T’s verse: “That white frost on that pound cake so your Duncan Hines is irrelevant.”
But, contrary to rap music’s opinion, Duncan Hines is pretty relevant with all its innovative drops. It just made money moves into the frozen aisle with its new Gooey Bakes line with four new products:
Chocolate Chip Cookie – a chocolate chip cookie with melted chocolate chunk and chips with a super gooey center.
Confetti Sugar Cookie – a confetti sugar cookie with a super gooey center and with melted confetti chips and sprinkles.
Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookie – an oatmeal cookie loaded with melted butterscotch-flavored chips and a gooey center.
Double Chocolate Brownie – a double chocolate brownie with a gooey center and loaded with melted chocolate chunks.
I was only able to find two of the cookies, but if the other two taste half as good, that would still be pretty dang tasty. Between the two cookies, I favored the more true-to-form chocolate chip one. The latter was delicious and festive, but more like a vanilla confetti cake than a sugar cookie.
I was amazed by how easy this made it to have a “fresh” cookie. It was just a minute or so of microwave time. To be precise, I preferred 1 minute 15 seconds for the more melted chunks in the choco chip one, and one minute was fine for the other.
So, you may be wondering what’s different with this and the “Perfect Size” line? From my vantage point, it’s THAT, but even EASIER – no need to add/mix ingredients.
But, because it’s heated up in the microwave, there weren’t any crispy edges. I prefer cookies with crispy edges and gooey centers. That said, the chocolate chip one’s texture feels more like a slightly under-baked cookie, whereas the confetti one is like a cake.
Note that it wasn’t quite as fluffy or risen as Duncan Hines’ mug cakes, but it didn’t seems as cookie-like to me. Also, another gripe was that the confetti chips added nothing; they melted down into white blobs that I thought was unmixed flour.
The size probably also contributed to the perception of cake because each of these babies has NINE servings. I wanted to eat both in one sitting by myself, but I failed. If you find yourself in a cookie surplus situation as I did, you can put it in the fridge overnight and microwave it for a quick minute when you want to consume it. It’s like new again!
Folks, we have entered a new era of cookie craze – from edible cookie dough to these new ready-to-eat frozen cookies – and I’m here for it.
Purchased Price: $3.89 each Size: 10 oz. box Purchased at: Meijer Rating: 9 out of 10 (Chocolate Chip), 8 out of 10 (Confetti Sugar Cookie Nutrition Facts: (1/9 cookie) Chocolate Chip – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. Confetti Sugar Cookie – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..
Not content with occupying half an aisle with its 150 flavors (slightly exaggerated, obviously, but have you seen how many there are?), Duncan Hines expands its Perfect Size for 1 cake mix line to include other established brands and fun toppings.
There are four flavors at the moment – Chocolate Chip Cake Mix with Chips Ahoy Cookie Pieces, Chocolate Cake Mix with Chocolate Candy Pieces, Cookies and Cream Cake Mix with Oreo Cookie Pieces, and S’mores Cake Mix with Honey Maid Graham Cracker Pieces.
They all have straightforward instructions like the previous mug mixes – it’s pretty much add water, stir, and microwave! One interesting thing is that while the official instructions tell you to sprinkle the toppings on after baking there is also a suggestion to try them blended in before nuking. I decided to do both and put some of the toppings in before and then sprinkled some afterward so that I could have the full experience.
This one had a nice and fluffy texture with good chocolate flavor throughout. Considering it’s a microwaveable powdered cake mix it’s not entirely fair to compare to a regular cake. It’s all about being economical and convenient, and this suffices in that regard. Sure, it could be a little more moist and flavorful, but it gets the job done.
I had a hunch the reason the toppings are added later is that the cooking process would affect them and that was the case with this one especially. The pieces added before blending in too well by turning into different colored elements of the cake. Those added later maintained their consistency and added a nice crunch. The chocolate pieces added a decadent touch and seemed evenly dispersed. In essence, this is like a very simplistic version of a dessert at a fancy restaurant in which it would be called Chocolate Chip Cookie – TWO WAYS.
Purchased Price: $3.19* Size: 2.4 oz. cup Purchased at: ShopFoodEx.com Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1 Container) 300 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 29 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
Candy Coated Chocolates
This one is heavy on the chocolate, like really, really heavy and almost to the point of being too rich. It’s a one-note chocolate cake with more chocolate. I’m sensing a theme here as the toppings seem to be the stars here.
The cake part, like the previous one, was serviceable as it was nice and fluffy, but a little dry. The bootleg M&M’s though are amazing in this one and make up for the mediocre cake. Whether you add them before baking or after, the heat melts them so that the insides are like molten chocolate. It’s like you’re digging for treasure and when you find one of the candies, it’s oh so satisfying. Again, the crunch adds another satisfying element when eating this. This one is a joyous textural adventure through chocolate.
Purchased Price: $3.19* Size: 2.4 oz. cup Purchased at: ShopFoodEx.com Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1 Container) 290 calories, 8 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 32 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
Not breaking with the trend with the others, this was also fluffy, but a bit dry. It has Oreo cookie crumbles as part of the batter with what seemed like white chocolate chips.
With the topping, there’s a little bit of a cookies and cream flavor, but this whole endeavor ended up tasting mostly like sugar to me even though it has about the same amount as the other three. The white chips weren’t large enough to stay molten, so they blended in and faded away, while the Oreo topping pieces weren’t as crunchy as I was expecting them to be. In a nutshell, this was a lightly chocolatey and creamy, but way too sweet cake.
Purchased Price: $3.19* Size: 2.4 oz. cup Purchased at: ShopFoodEx.com Rating: 6 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: 1 Container – 300 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 380 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 29 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
This one perplexed me. I prepared it in the same way as the others, but the cake here turned out to be a little gummy, which was very odd. It’s supposed to be a s’mores base, but I didn’t get any of that except for the little bits of chocolate.
There’s no graham flavor even though I added a few of the pieces and there’s certainly no marshmallow even if I did see a few white chips buried in there. The graham pieces were a nice addition that added a bit of extra flavor, but they were not as crunchy as the other toppings. Unfortunately, though, nothing could save this one as I couldn’t get past the weird texture.
Purchased Price: $3.19* Size: 2.5 oz. cup Purchased at: ShopFoodEx.com Rating: 5 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: 1 Container – 310 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 30 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
You’ll notice that three of four are all well-known brands. This is because Duncan Hines partnered up with Mondelez to gain access to their snacking portfolio that includes those three. M&M’s, though? It’s another company entirely, so I’m assuming it wasn’t worth the effort, hence why the generic candy-coated chocolates make an appearance.
I tried the toppings both as an add-in with the cake batter and afterward on top. Here are my suggestions for you: Chips Ahoy – Add them later as they pretty much vanish once cooked. Candy Coated Chocolates – Do what I did and put half before and half after. You will get a range of molten chocolate that’s glorious. Cookies and Cream – The batter already contains small bits of the Oreo wafer so save them all to add as toppings. Honey Maid – I would skip this one entirely but if you do partake, add the graham as a topping.
Regardless of the actual food product, one thing that’s a total upgrade with these is the single serve cup. With the boxed versions, you had to take the plunge on four servings and with so many different flavors to try one may end up with too many extras. Also, all you have to dirty up to indulge is a spoon whereas previously it was a spoon, mug, and measuring utensil.
*Editor’s Note: The cups were purchased from an online grocer, so the prices are slightly higher than they are at stores.
My inner kid could not resist when I learned Duncan Hines launched a Perfect Size for 1 Funtastic (yes, this is actually on the packaging) Color Changing Cake!
I particularly love products that I can sarcastically hashtag #Adulting and #PeakAdulthood. This cake is the perfect instance of such because I can eat two for dinner without anyone judging me. Yes, I am completely aware this was probably created for small humans and their fun after-school snack/activity with Dad, Mom, or sitter. But, hey I’m living my best life over here.
Unfortunately, I read the instructions after I left the grocery store, so I didn’t read the part about needing three tablespoons of apple juice. Ugh. I could see apple juice easily being a staple item for a household with a small human, but there are none in mine! I was also irked by the thought of having to buy an entire bottle for three tablespoons. However, I was pleased to find a much more manageable 10-ounce bottle at Kroger.
I pulled out one of the individual pouches and was surprised by the robustness of the packaging. I was thinking it would be paper, like a hot chocolate pouch, but I guess they’re serious about protecting the color changing magic. When I opened it, the contents looked and smelled like an unassuming vanilla powder.
As soon as I dropped in the first tablespoon of apple juice, I was delighted to see the white powder change to pink! Cue the Toy Story Aliens’ “OOOOOO.” Nowhere online or on-pack indicated when the Funtastic was going to happen, so I didn’t expect it so early!
But after some more mixing, the batter started to look like an unappetizing Pepto-Bismol pink. To compare, I also started a second mug with water instead of apple juice. The water version was also pink, but slightly less Pepto-like. It was also easier to mix. The powder seemed to congeal better versus sticking all over the sides of the mug.
Apple juice (rear) Water (front)
Out of the microwave, the cakes looked like pink Play-Doh. It was so convincingly Play-Doh-like because of the slight sheen from the steam that I almost thought I could smell that signature musk. But, it was just my mind playing tricks; it still smelled like vanilla!
With apple juice
It was also like eating a classic vanilla cake. It had a wonderful fluffy texture, wasn’t too sweet, and didn’t have a weird aftertaste. The water version was a bit fluffier and slightly less sweet than the apple juice version, which I preferred. So, if you don’t have apple juice handy, water will work fine!
Water (left) Apple juice (right)
I am impressed with Duncan Hines. They’ve institutionalized mug cakes and have made them foolproof. If you’re looking for any easy snack, meal, or dessert for yourself (or your booger monsters), this Funtastic color changing cake should make your short list!
(Nutrition Facts – 1 pouch – 250 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $2.99 Size: 4-pack Purchased at: Kroger Rating: 8 out of 10 Pros: Mug cake done right! Peak adulting. So fluffy! Works well with water also. Cons: Definitely not pretty – Pepto and Play-Doh pink.