I recently had a conversation with a friend about cupcakes. It had always been my understanding that 'cupcake' was a rather more neutral name for 'fairy cake'... Apparently this was an erroneous belief. 'Cupcakes', I learned, are defined by the extravagance of their topping. No mere plain icing, or chocolate, or fruit-slice-shaped jelly pieces. Cupcakes are larger than the average fairy cake (though not as large as the average muffin), and topped with positively opulent quantities of rich, buttercream icing and embellished with all kinds of interesting fancies... One look at a good cupcake should induce diabetes.
...Or at least, that's the general idea.
I must confess my complete ignorance of The Fabulous Bakin' Boys before seeing these two boxes on the shelves at my local Tesco. The packaging is certainly eye-catching, decked out largely in purple with magenta and white accents, and photos depicting what look to be fairly large chocolate cakes with an incredibly deep layer of chocolate-flavoured topping (Triple Choccy King Cupcakes), and light, fluffy plain sponge cakes with a suitable depth of the same chocolate-flavoured topping (Choccy Cupcakes). They both look really good in the package.
Then you open the box...
...And realise that the photos on the outside are basically 'actual size'.
The so-called 'King Cupcakes' are barely larger than the standard cupcakes, and those are pretty small. Closer, in fact, to the size of a traditional, modest fairy cake. Perhaps a little wider at the base, but otherwise nothing special. The depth of the topping doesn't compare favourably either - it may look deep (not as deep as the photos, but still acceptable), but the tops of the cakes have a shallow taper, so it's actually only deep around the circumference.
If that weren't disappointing enough, there's really nothing special about the sponges. The plain sponge easily lives up to its description, but the chocolate sponge is either similarly bland, or just not chocolatey enough to stand out against the topping.
To be honest, I'm a little confused by these products... They're 'cupcake' neither in terms of size nor presentation, almost as if they're just intended as a foundation on which one should build, rather than being a finished product in their own right. The packaging also spends a fair amount of ink expounding about its "new & improved design"... Really, who gives a monkeys about the packaging (other than the designers and the folks who paid them to design it)? OK, fine, trumpet about the cakes being packaged in a "recyclable carton"... but surely even that's redundant in this day and age..? Doesn't everyone know that cardboard is recyclable now, whether they make use of that feature or not?
Sadly this is one product whose only triumph is making me consider using my muffin tin to bake something sweet...