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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Product Review: Naturally Nora's Surprising Stars Cake Mix

I'm addicted to reading food blogs. But even in the blogosphere, I'm a picky eater. In real life, I wouldn't eat shrimp - much less shrimp with it's head still on and dripping with wasabi. So I don't want to read about that, either. I prefer Bakerella and Gourmet Mom On-the Go. You know...real food. And lots of cake.

A little while ago, Gourmet Mom had a contest giving away a year's supply of cake mix and frosting mix. (Well, a year's supply to normal people...might have lasted me a month.) The mixes were from Naturally Nora. I'd never heard of those so I checked out the official site. These are all-natural with no preservatives, no dairy or soy and kosher to boot. Sounds good but what really got me intrigued were the choices: Sunny Yellow, Cheerful Chocolate, Alot'a Dots, Cookie Cookie, and Surprising Stars. I was immediately hooked.

I didn't win the contest but I did go to Amazon and ordered the Surprising Stars, thinking I would use it for the Boy's upcoming birthday. Because a cake with stars in it? How cool would that be? His head might explode over all the awesomeness.

I baked the cake as soon as we got back from our camping trip - the day before the Boy's party. And that's when I realized I was out of milk. Ordinary cake mixes require oil, water and eggs. Naturally Nora's require milk (or whatever milk substitute you use), eggs and oil. Oops.

Before making it, I dug out one of the little stars in the mix. It didn't photograph well but it looked like a chubby little star, a little smaller than a pencil eraser (but much tastier). Adorable!

The true test of any good cake mix is how the batter tastes. And Naturally Nora's was delicious! When I finished licking off the beater, I was eyeing the mixing bowl, weighing the costs of getting batter on my forehead against the benefits of getting more of that batter. After baking, the cake looked good. It didn't rise really high in the middle, leaving the sides thin, like a lot of commercial mixes are prone to do. Then I took my cake leveler to it, preparing the layers for stacking.

Hrmmm...where are the stars? It looks more like globs. A little disappointing. To cheer me up, I ate the trimmed-off piece of cake. Oh my...this could give your mother's scratch recipe a run for it's money! In fact, Naturally Nora's tastes much like homemade. Very moist without being too soft, firm without being crumbly. Absolutely fantastic.

Tastes fabulous - before and after baking.
Great texture.
Fun flavors. I am definitely going to try more of these!

Stars are gone once it's baked.
Difficult to find at your local stores.
(and be sure to check for milk before you make this!)

Overall, I give this mix 8 out of 10. It would have scored higher if the stars didn't go supernova after baking. And I will be trying the other cake flavors...just not sure about those frosting mixes...


Amanda said...

Thanks for the review!!!! Tell us after you try the others:)

Heather said...

Supernova. You got the funny today!

SO said...

I was totally wondering if the stars would come through the baking process!

Emma said...

I guess chocolate blog cake didn't get good marketing reviews ;) I wish they were sold locally. Thanks for the info.

Emma said...

I meant GLOB. I think I am getting dyslexic or something.

Nat said...

I've never heard of Naturally Nora. It sounds yummy. My little man will be four in a few days. He wants a tiger cake. Any suggestions? I would have you make it, but I'm not sure it would ship so well! :)

Jillybean said...

It does sound yummy.

A word of advice, to get the last of the batter out of the mixing bowl use the Pampered Chef Skinny scraper.
Don't get the batter on your forehead, it's very difficult to lick it off from there, and you wouldn't want to waste any.

Bonnie the Boss said...

I had never heard of this either. Thanks for he review! It looks like some fun cakes. I hope they are all this good.

Kristie said...

Sounds like some yummy cake! And I like the names of the mixes! Thanks for the great review!!!

Jo said...

You are making me want to make a homemade cake. Stop that!

Tipi said...

if I squint like this and turn my head like this
I can see stars!

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