Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Product Review: Crumbs Bake Shop cupcake mixes

Crumbs Bake Shop Cupcake Mix - Red Velvet and Cookies n Cream - made November 16, 2014 and January 18, 2015
Just to "mix" things up a bit (haha), I like to throw a product review in here and there. Disclaimer that I don’t work for these companies, don’t know anyone who works there, am not being paid for this and my opinions are my own. And I’m not shy about sharing them.

So….let’s get the “but it’s a box mix” thing out of the way. Yes, I’m prejudiced against box mixes. BUT, not all box mixes are created equal so I do occasionally make an effort to be open-minded about their use. There are the mass produced ones you can find at the grocery store that have an inferior list of ingredients, none of which will ever be found in my pantry (imitation vanilla extract, I’m looking at you). Ooh, see how quickly that snobbery kicked in? Then there are the ones that are a bit more high end, have real cocoa, flour, sugar and all good things blended together and placed in the same package for ease of use. I typically try out those mixes when they represent a less expensive option to the real thing.
Case in point, I love the cupcakes I once received as a gift from Crumbs Bake Shop in New York City. They were gorgeous and delicious. I looked them up once to either order for myself or send as a gift but once I got a gander at the shipping cost, I hurriedly closed that browser window before my mouse finger did an inappropriate and expensive twitch over the shopping cart icon. I was rather resigned to not having a Crumbs cupcake again until or unless I visited NYC. But, the same friend who once sent me the Crumbs cupcakes surprised me again for another birthday with a Crumbs cupcake mix. They make cupcake mixes! Turns out you can find these at Target in the baking aisle for $10 a box. Yes, that may seem expensive for a packaged mix that makes 12 cupcakes but it beats $90+ for 12 cupcakes shipped from New York to California. Just sayin’.
She had given me the red velvet one and when I made them, they were actually pretty good cupcakes. Enough time had lapsed that I couldn’t quite compare them accurately to the ones from the Crumbs Bake Shop itself but still, it was a good cupcake. It didn’t taste like a mix, it had good flavor and great cakey texture so I was happy with it.
Subsequent trips down the baking aisle at Target started showing the prices for the Crumbs cupcake mixes coming down recently and, depending on the Target, they started having clearance price stickers on them. At first it was a regular price reduction to $7.99. Then I found one with a clearance price of $5.68. At that point, I splurged on the Cookies and Cream one. They also had a Peanut Butter Cup cupcake mix as well as a Birthday Cake mix which I interpreted to mean vanilla cupcakes with colorful sprinkles. I’m not fond of sprinkles, colorful or otherwise, and I’m indifferent to peanut butter so I stuck to the Cookies and Cream.
The package comes with a packet of Oreo-cookie looking cookie pieces that you mix into the frosting and then you’re supposed to add your own Oreos to the top of the frosted cupcakes. I didn’t want a big hulking half-Oreo dominating the top of the cupcake so I bought a pack of mini Oreos to delicately place on the highest mound at the center of each cupcake. As with the red velvet, I thought the Cookies and Cream cupcakes tasted good. Each Crumbs cupcake mix comes with Crumbs Bake Shop cupcake liners, the packaged mix for the cupcakes and the packaged mix for the frosting. For each mix, you generally just need to add your own oil, mix, eggs, and, depending on the frosting, cream cheese and more milk.
While still a bit pricey to me at $10 for a box mix sold at Target, it’s more reasonable at the sale and clearance prices. I don’t know if Target putting them on clearance signals the beginning of the end for them carrying the line so if you want to try them, I wouldn’t wait too long to snag a box.

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