Value Cake Mix: The Results Part I

I have to be honest, for just over 20p a packet I wasn’t holding out much hope for the Sainsbury’s Basics Sponge Mix (22p) or Morrisons Savers Sponge Mix but nonetheless I was keen to see the results. Some of my harshest critics are my colleagues – they’ve eaten enough of my cakes over the years to know what’s a hit and what’s a miss.

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Morrisons Savers Sponge Mix

For those who aren’t that confident when it comes to baking, these mixes are absolutely all you need to make a cake.  Although a quick glance in the ingredients listing I see a few I’ve never heard of, let alone pronounce (Diglycerides and Glucono Delta Lactone) and there’s a warning that the mix could contain nuts.

All that’s needed for each packet mix is a medium egg and 5 tablespoons of cold water.  A bland Victoria sponge wasn’t what I was after so I experimented by attempting a rainbow bundt.  I used three packets, two with colours (bake-safe pink and lilac).  Following the instructions I mixed the contents and poured all three into the greased bundt tin.  Baked in a fan oven at 180C it took 35 minutes to bake before the skewer came out totally clean.

Multi-coloured Bundt

Value Cake Mix Bundt
Value Cake Mix Bundt

The cake looked great, but it’s all about the taste. The verdict wasn’t great but not a total write-off, generally it was felt to be a little on the dry side, although the sponge was light, a few said it was “tasteless”.  I think this would be better if it was actually made into a sandwich (as suggested on the packet), with an added teaspoon of real vanilla bean or a scraping from a vanilla pod.  That, with a good slather of seedless jam and a nice dollop of buttercream, all finished off with a shower of sugar would transform the mix.  For kids parties these would turn out perfect fairy cakes with icing or a swirl of chocolate butter cream piped on top.

What I think we all agreed was they you’d be hard pushed to buy a home-made sponge, enough for 6, for under 70p.  I’ve also written up Part II, baking the mix as the manufacturers suggest – the results, compared with a home-made sponge are surprising.

Marbled Value Cake