Monday, October 14, 2013

Store-Bought Cupcakes... Below Par?

Good as Fresh?

Riddle me this: What's a cupcake lover supposed to do after hours? Even the best cupcakeries have to close eventually, don't they? Fear not, fellow cupcakeaholics: DC Outlook is here to set you straight on store-bought alternatives; and surprise, surprise... they're not all duds.

7-Select Chocolate Cupcakes: As far as copies go, 7-Select's take on the Hostess classic comes mighty close. Moister than most packaged cupcakes, and the top icing is thick and chocolaty. Affordable too ($1.29 for a pack of 2.)

Grade: B-

7-Select Chocolate Cupcakes

Hostess Frosted Orange CupCakes: There's a reason why everyone else copies Hostess... They're the best, no contest. Tons of delicious filling, soft cake and the ultimate topping (great texture, even better taste.) The only knock? They cost $1.79 per pack, but still worth every penny.

Grade: A-

Hostess Frosted Orange Cupcakes

Little Debbie Chocolate Cupcakes: An obvious Hostess impostor (right down to the white squiggle stripe) Little Debbie's version may look like Hostess, but it sure doesn't taste like it. Nice filling, but the icing rings flat. Dry cake & smaller too, but still packed with calories (430 for a pack of 2.) Suggested retail: $1.29 per pack is reasonable; but a bargain at CVS for $.99.

Grade: C+

Little Debbie Chocolate Cupcakes

Mrs. Freshley's Cupcakes: Yet another Hostess impostor, at least Mrs. Freshley has the good sense to make her squiggles look different. As for taste, right on par with 7-Select (pretty moist, with lots of filling.) Only catch? You have to visit the Exxon gas station on Connecticut/Porter to get 'em.

Grade: B-

Mrs. Freshley's Cupcakes

Sara Lee Chocolate Crème: With Hostess "back in the picture," Sara Lee decided to join the fray with a new line of boxed snacks. Individually packaged, 8 to a box (on sale for $2 at Safeway) Sara Lee's cakes are small but sufficient. They're not as moist as Hostess, but I have to tip my hat to their top notch (and plentiful) cream filling.

Grade: C+

Sara Lee Chocolate Crème Cupcakes 

Tastykake Cream Filled Buttercream Cupcakes: Color me disappointed at Tastykake's icy cakes... these suckers literally stick to your teeth. The cake was dry, and the icing tasty; but something's wrong when so much icing gets caught behind your front teeth. $1.69 for three small cakes... Bordering on overpriced.

Grade: C

Tastykake Cream Filled Buttercream Cupcakes