When certain concepts are trendy, everyone jumps on the bandwagon. No sooner did the word “cupcake” make home cooks shiver with delight did news spread, and in a matter of months, trendy cupcake boutiques, recipes, and artistic renderings of cupcakes were the new “it” treat. Of course, all flash-in-the-pan products fall wayside to the trickle-down effect. In the case of cupcakes, they were first relegated to children’s birthday parties and baby showers. Their prices went up as did their twee factor, and as they got to be a more exclusive, “artisanal” item, varieties were made so that the novelty of cupcake trendiness could be available to the general public. Basically, a roundabout way of explaining why these Cupcake Bites are cheap and awful.
I was sold on the retro-looking “new, with sprinkles!” endorsement on the box because I am a pretty pretty princess. They’re pretty unattractive out of the bag, though. Small orbs, no bigger than a pea, with ice cream sprinkles haphazardly mashed onto a chalky, greyish coating. According to the box, they’re along the same lines of Cookie Dough Bites (same company, in fact) and have a wheat-based center with a candy coating. And sprinkles. Don’t forget the sprinkles.
While I give kudos to the company for explicitly stating that the chief ingredient is “white birthday cake,” I can’t help but shudder at how unappealing these are to eat. I’m still not sure why a company called Back to Nature makes these Frankensteinian creations with artificial flavorings. That being said, eating these is a bit purgatorial. I can nosh them with no enjoyment or sentiment, knowing that they’re absolutely terrible and really not caring. They inspire my most indifferent tendencies with a bland flavor. Bland is the kindest thing to say, though. Opening the bag, I was struck with a clinical, powdery scent, like the coating on a pair of medical disposable gloves. That alone was so unappealing that I almost didn’t eat these at all.
The texture of these is really offputting. While the appeal of an element of graininess was desired in Cookie Dough Bites to mimic the sandy, sugary texture of actually eating cookie dough, the same is present here and feels disgusting consumed out of context. The graininess makes me feel like I’m chewing on a tablespoon of pure granulated sugar mixed with greasy shortening. There’s no cake flavor to speak of and the mushy, irregularly textured center is a far cry from the fluffy, fragrant plushness of actual birthday cake. There were quite a few sprinkles in each bite which threw off the ratio of sprinkles to cake and turned them from a garnish to an ingredient. Those of you who have eaten raw sprinkles know that they taste kind of gross, with a crumbly, chalky waxiness and a strangely fruity sweet aftertaste, like that of an artificial sweetener. These were terrible. As a child I’m sure I would have been attracted to the bright pastel colors and sweet flavor, but there’s nothing appealing about them now. Even for a dollar, I’m pretty miffed.