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We’ve had a birthday in our house recently. Normally I always bake a cake but for some reason this year my ten year old daughter who tries so desperately hard to pretend she is at least three years older decided she wanted a shop bought novelty cake. Most of the shop bought cakes I’ve purchased in the past have either been very dry or very small for the money spent out so I was a little wary when she stated her intentions. Off we popped to Tesco and I was amazed when she picked out a Chocolate Caterpillar Cake that only cost £4.99 compared to the huge array of others that were a lot more expensive.
I can remember having a cake very similar to the one Amber picked out, for my birthday when I was a child. However in those days supermarkets didn’t mass produce cakes so my poor old Mum who wasn’t the world’s best cake maker had to trundle off to the local bakery and order one, probably costing her a small fortune in the process.
You’ll find the Chocolate Caterpillar Cake on the shelf with all the other novelty cakes and he’s instantly recognisable by his bright green rectangular box with a funky picture of a cartoon caterpillar on the top. We bought the cake on the 17th May and the sell by date was the 31st so these are ideal if you have to shop ahead and can’t get out near to the celebratory date. The box proclaims we’re going to get a massive 12 servings for our £4.99 but Mr. Caterpillar isn’t very large so I’m not expecting miracles, especially with the horde of gannets that reside in our house.
Of course Mr. Caterpillar is made from a Swiss Roll and a chocolate one no less. Amber has good taste and is obviously following in her mother’s footsteps with her craving for anything remotely chocolate flavoured. The cake is covered in a rippled layer of proper milk chocolate on top of which is drizzled piped lines of darker chocolate and the top of the caterpillar’s back is covered in bright Smarties, although the ingredients listing lists these as sugar coated beans so sorry to all you Nestle avoiders but as this is a Tesco own branded cake I wouldn’t imagine that there is anything from Nestle in its contents. Along with the sugar coated beans there also a feast of sugar coated chocolate drops and for anyone who dabbles with a bit of baking, these look to be of the Supercook variety in that they are tiny pieces of milk chocolate covered in a tear droplet shaped shell of hard brightly coloured sugar coating. You might think that’s enough decoration but Tesco seem to have really pushed the boat out with their economically priced cake and have even slung some milk chocolate sticks on Mr. Caterpillar’s back for good measure. Mr. Caterpillar even has hobnail boots on to create the impression that he has feet. Six of them in fact, and each boot is formed out of thick icing and coloured brightly to contrast with the sugar coated morsels that decorate the rest of his body. The caterpillar’s face is formed from edible icing and is quite plain compared with the rest of the cake but he has a jolly little face and looks sickeningly cheerful too so we’ll excuse them for this one minor blip in his presentation.
We were all surprised at how thick the chocolate is as it cracks invitingly when the knife slices through to reveal the cake beneath. The Swiss Roll beneath is a rich dark chocolate colour and looks quite spongy. The cream in the Swiss Roll is generous too, no stingy old portions here, just a nice thick filling of chocolate fondant cream. Mmmm, I’m starting to think this old caterpillar is going to taste quite nice contrary to my initial misgivings. The Swiss Roll which makes up 46% of the entire cake is actually really tasty and has a light spongy texture with no hint of dryness or rubbery chewy pieces at all. The chocolate fondant is not horribly sweet and sickly, instead it had a rich chocolate creaminess without being cloying and complements the sponge cake beautifully. Of course the piece de resistance is the chocolate coating s it has a rich creamy texture and is gloriously smooth with no grainy aftertaste, although because of the chocolate overload it was difficult to discern between the milk and dark chocolate coating due to the fact that the plain chocolate only consisted of drizzles. Tesco made a wise decision with their decoration as the sugar coated sweets provide that bit of contrast texture wise and add a bit of crunchiness to a cake that would otherwise be a bog standard chocolate covered Swiss Roll! If I have to have a gripe it will be that the iced boots are too sweet and sugary but as I’m not an icing lover you’ll have to bear with me. Everyone else in the house thoroughly enjoyed them and had my pieces as well so for someone who likes icing they will no doubt be lovely.
Soooooo, the burning question? Did we get 12 portions out of Mr. Caterpillar? No we didn’t. Had Amber been having a party this year the cake would have been out of the question as it really only serves six people although we are all hearty eaters. That aside though, the children both loved it and us adults were quite happy with it too.
Unfortunately Mr. Caterpillar does contain wheat, egg, gluten, milk and soya and he is also made in a factory that produced nut based products so those with allergies will not be able to enjoy him although he is suitable for vegetarians. A slice (this is according to the packet where they are basing a slice on a 1/12th of a portion) provides the consumer with a whopping 248kcal and 13.2g of fat so considering we all had double that it’s quite frightening. As we’re not likely to be buying the cake very often I don’t feel quite so guilty but it is hugely fattening due to the sugar and chocolate contained therein.
All in all we liked our chocolate caterpillar and it made a pleasant change to taste a shop bought cake that wasn’t dry or rubbery. Considering that Mr. Caterpillar was so cheap I would thoroughly recommend him for small children – and big adults!
Pictures of Tesco Chocolate Caterpillar Birthday Cake
This is one of the cakes that has stayed in our family for a long time xx
jesi 11.02.2008 21:44
l bought this for a '2nd birthday' party and shared it out between the 15 kiddie-winkles aged from 1 to 5 years old ~ nice skinny slices
. . . . ~ ! ♥♥ ! ~ ........................................................... ~ jes ~ ! ♥♥ !
fabfrog5 03.05.2006 13:08
weeee! i love the caterpillar cake! ive got no cake this year though! :( x