Rating store-bought cupcakes
-- oh, the things I do for public good!
By Michael Sharp
October 31, 2007 | Is there anything better than the
rich creamy heavenly cloud of goodness that is found
in a Hostess cream-filled chocolate cupcake? It's hard
to fathom, but I decided it was a question that needed
to be answered. The goal: find the best cream filled
chocolate cupcake available. The candidates: my beloved
Hostess, Mrs. Freshleys, Snack Away, and Little Debbie.
I heroically tasted each one of these cupcakes, consuming
what felt like a month worth of calories, to spare the
reader from this arduous task.
I started with the Hostess cupcake, it being
my reigning favorite. The name Hostess instantly filled
my mouth with saliva. As I examined the cupcake closely
I noticed the perfect white loops that send signals
to the brain of quality. Upon further scrutiny I noticed
forgivable imperfections; the chocolate frosting was
cracking because of its rigidity and the cream filling
was oozing out of the bottom.
I probably could have spent more time analyzing the
Hostess's near perfect appearance, but my raging taste
buds couldn't resist it any longer, and I bit in to
the cupcake. Immediately my papillae were overwhelmed
with sweetness. I was surprised that the cake, although
the nice medium chocolate strength that I like, was
somewhat dry. The cream was a good whipped texture,
but a little too sugary for my likings. The chocolate
frosting was brittle, but had a good rich flavor.
Overall the cupcake was a delectable treat, but not
perfect. I then looked at the nutritional label and
realized I had just eaten 180 calories, with 6g of fat
and 22g of sugar. It cost 31.25 cents per cupcake.
I then moved on to the Mrs. Freshleys. The
Hostess was going to be a hard act to follow. The price
was similar at 31.33 cents per cupcake. Although it
looked somewhat stubby and had flattened white loops,
when I bit in to the dessert it was moist and rich.
The cream was denser and had more of a vanilla taste
than the Hostess. The frosting was the best part. It
was rich and creamy and fudgy and wonderful. I realized
why this treat was so delicious as I read the nutrition
label and found that this product was packing 220 calories,
9g of fat, and 26g of sugar.
After realizing this experiment was going to make
me fat, I decided to open up a Snack Away cupcake
whose name gave me an illusion that I could just cram
my face with cupcakes all day without any repercussions.
Snack Away cupcakes boast only 5g of sugar and an impressive
9g of dietary fiber.
As I opened the package, I realized that a critical
control point was left out of the development of this
cupcake; they didn't factor in how to keep the frosting
from coming off the cupcake when taking off the package.
This was too bad, because as I stuck my finger in the
frosting and took a lick it was excellent. The cake
was somewhat dry and chewy, but acceptable. The cream
filling was dense and not too sweet, and probably my
favorite cream filling of the four cakes that I tasted.
There was a hint of the sucralose aftertaste that people
who consume Splenda are accustomed to, but for a reduced
calorie/fat product, this cupcake was very acceptable.
The next cupcake was the Little Debbie. It
was by far the cheapest product, costing only 21 cents
per cupcake. These cakes were slightly different, as
some people know. They are hexagonal, with large white
loops and waxy looking chocolate frosting that covers
the whole cake. I decided I didn't like the complete
frosting covering because it left chocolate marks on
my hands as I ate it. I also did not like the flavorless
and dry cake texture or the cream that tasted too much
of shortening. The overall chocolaty flavor was not
very chocolaty, but the nutrition facts weren't bad:
only 190 calories, 4.5g of fat, and 18g of sugar.
Each cupcake had its own particular strengths and
weaknesses. It surprised me, but I would have to say
that the overall best-tasting cupcake was the Mrs. Freshleys,
with Hostess coming in second, Snack Away third, and
Little Debbie coming in last. However, if I was worried
about health, or at least getting a buttload of fiber
from my desserts, I would have to choose Snack Away,
providing they fix their frosting removal problem. If
I was on a strict budget I might choose Little Debbie,
although after this experiment I am more likely to choose
no chocolate cupcake at all. I found out that consuming
four, rich, sugary, cream filled cupcakes is enough
to even make me feel like heaving.
Cupcake stats summary:
-- Hostess: 31.25 cents, No. 2 taste, 180 calories
-- Mrs. Freshleys: 31.33 cents, No. 1 taste, 220 calories
-- Snack Away: 33.33 cents, No. 3 taste, 140 calories
plus 9g fiber
-- Little Debbie: 21 cents, No. 4 taste, 190 calories