Monday, September 28, 2009

Which Store Bought Milk Chocolate Icing Is the Best?

There comes a time in every baker's life in which dessert must be (gasp!) thrown together quickly. In these times of panic, it is sometimes necessary to reach for the comfort and ease of store bought icing. But which one to choose? No fear, Cupcakin' It Up is here!

It is a dirty job, but someone must finally answer the age-old question - Which Store Bought Chocolate Icing Is the Best?

This is the first in a series of sweet analysis of store-bought icings, in which texture, appearance, and taste are evaluated - look for the baby detective to identify the blog posts about cupcake science! I believe in the scientific method in my dessert rationalization, and thus three brands and three people are involved in the testing process. Each time, one non-sugar addicted person (usually a boy!) will be involved to level the sugar playing field and give more well-rounded results. Here is what I discovered...

Betty Crocker: two thumbs up, one thumb down
Appearance - most homemade-looking, light in color, powdery, dry cracked surface
Texture - powder-base tasting, grainy, rougher than the others
Taste - mild flavor, most milk chocolate tasting
Notes - The one sugar-adverse taste-tester loved this one so much that he licked the whole knife! My other taste tester, Christyn from Bead Up! loved this one because it tasted the most "milk chocolaty" to her and she dislikes dark chocolate.

Duncan Hines
: one thumb up, two thumbs down
*Cupcakin' It Up's choice!*
Appearance - smooth, medium color, thick to swirl
Texture - creamy, thick, easily spreadable
Taste - rich, sweet and creamy, great after taste that lingers on the palette
Notes - To me, the richness in flavor conjured the nostalgia for a simpler, yet vivid time - when my mom would make brownies with frosting during a thunder storm and we would watch old Disney movies... oh yes, I got all that from a knife lick. haha. To each their own!

Pillsbury (full sugar)
: one thumb up, one thumb down, one thumb in the middle
Appearance - syrupy looking, plastic-y
Texture - firm, choppy to swirl
Taste - cheap, very rich
Notes - Even though it was milk chocolate, it tasted rich - dark in chocolate but not in quality. It was like eating Hershey's over Cadbury or Ghirardelli. Although I am a fan of the white cake Pillsbury white cake and funfetti mixes and even their frozen biscuits, they just can't get the icing right or up to a high enough standard compared to competitors.

Pillsbury Reduced Sugar: three thumbs down! ick!
Appearance - plastic looking and terrible smelling
Texture - not as firm as its sugar counterpart but almost too fluffy airy, fake icing
Taste - tasted like rancid plastic, horrible after taste
Notes - Don't do this to your cake or your guests! I mean if you're eating cake/brownies/etc, go for the real thing!

What brand of chocolate are you a fan of? Stay tuned for the vanillas, buttercreams, and alternative flavors analysis in weeks to come!

1 comment:

  1. oh, i can just smell the sugar from these icing photos... i forgot which one we got awhile back, but it was a it plastic-y tasting... blech.