Let them eat cake.
If you want to read the PG version of this review, check out boston mamas. This is the NC17 version.
Today I'm going start off by describing what kind of parent I am. Here goes.
I'm the parent that refuses force my kids to listen to "kids/family music". My sons like anything with a down beat or a BPM of about 80 and up. (if you are a DJ or a club kid, you will understand that). I'm THAT parent that doesn't shark my kid. Translation - I don't constantly play with my kids and I let them figure out answers to their problems. I don't hover over every little thing they do. When you ask me how I am, I don't answer with "WE are all fine over here". I say "I'm great, how are you?" I'm that parent that has a subscription to Sirius and listens to Howard Stern in the parking lot of my kid's nursery school, while waiting for him to come out of the building. (yes of course I turn it off when he comes in the car) And...I'm the parent that gives my kids sugar.
I can hear the gasps of the crunchy, organic-loving parents now, but I got news for ya, the more you fight it, the more your kids will binge on it later on. I'm not hear to preach my feelings on kids and their diets. My husband is a chef and we eat everything over here at our house. My older son's first food was brie and his second was prosciutto. On his first birthday we let him eat cake, and a lot of it. We buy mostly organic, free range, local and clean food. We are HUGE fans of farmer's markets. But my biggest pet peeve is when someone will offer me a piece of something and say, "would you like an organic apple, carrot, raisin, etc etc." Not simply, "would you like an apple". I don't give a flying fuck that you need to tell me that you're are giving me something organic, just give me the damn food, would ya?
Now, here's the thing. I'm a firm believer in moderation and with that, I will state for the record that I'm now an avid reader of labels and I believe the arch enemy in all of our diets is High Fructose Corn Syrup along with food dyes and other chemical shit none of us "common folk" can pronounce. So needless to say, shopping for food is becoming a bit of an nightmare because that crap is in just about EVERYTHING. We are literally turning ourselves from carbon into corn.
My oldest son, Robert's birthday is coming up and I don't want to assume my husband should have to make the birthday cake yet again. Besides, the cake he made last year for Robert was so rich and dense the only people that really ate it were the parents. It was way too heavy for the little ones. So what are we to do, or rather what am I to do? I LOVE box cake...it rocks. It's super easy to make, tastes awesome and is a fave of all kids everywhere. But have you read the back of one of those suckers? You need a fucking PhD to pronounce half of what's in there.
So when I was presented with the opportunity to review Naturally Nora's organic boxed cake and icing mix, I thought "cool, I'll do taste test play dates and if we like it, we'll use it for Robert's birthday party". I must admit I was a little hesitant in the beginning because I'm a huge of the boxed stuff, but I was willing to give it a try.
Here are a few tid bits about Naturally Nora products. Her product line consists of five cake and four frosting varieties. Cheerful Chocolate, Sunny Yellow, Alot'a Dots (which is yellow cake with little bits of color - similar to your typical confetti style cake mix, Cookie Cookie (which is yellow cake with bits of chocolate cookies, and Surprising Stars (basically the same as cookie cookie but with chocolate cookie stars instead of actual bits) These mixes contain NOTHING artificial. Zip, zero nada! They contain no artificial anything, no colors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup AND, there is no dairy or soy in any of the mixes. Either milk or soy products can be used in preparation. Naturally Nora supports school fundraising through it's Bake Great Schools program. They actually donate cakes and frosting to local parent-teacher organizations.
I decided to make Nora's Cheerful Chocolate cake and icing and her Surprising Stars mix as well. Making her cakes are super easy. You simply add eggs, oil and a little bit of milk. Mix and bake. That's it. I will say that there is a lot more oil to add than in traditional cake mixes but if you were to make a cake from scratch the amount is about the same. I used a stand up mixer but you can beat it by hand and get the same effect. I'm a big time fan of raw batter so I started out tasting that first. Delish for sure. My husband freaks out every time I pull that stunt, thank god he had no idea how much raw cookie dough I ate when I was pregnant. Anywhoo, the batter itself is not as dark and rich as your average boxed cake mix, but I would chalk that dark visual to extra potent chemicals. So in this case, lighter is a good thing. The actual finished product came out light and chocolatey. Not too heavy, not too rich. I guess you could describe it as a cocoish chocolate taste. My son and his buddy Grace seemed to dig it. They had a little taste but were pretty set on waiting for the icing. So, that was the next step.
The icing was really easy, just 6 tbs of melted butter and a few tbs of milk, mix and that's it. The finished product was super rich. Chalk that up to almost a full stick of butter. The icing spread on super smooth and had nice peeks. Even my husband was impressed. (man that sounded like a bad 50's commercial) The kids ate them up. Well, Grace ate them up, my son was more into licking the icing. That's a 4 year old for you.
Creating the Surprising Stars cake was exactly the same, except you had to add the little cookie stars into the cake batter before baking. The only disappointing part of this cake is I was hoping the cookies would add an extra "crunch" to the cake, but they really just blend into the cake itself. I felt like it was more for appearance than flavor.
I really loved Naturally Nora's cakes. I love that there is literally 8 ingredients in this product. Yes...8! The leading cake mixes have more than 20, and let me tell you, nothing in them is natural. I have to say I would definitely serve it at my kid's party in May. It will have to be Cheerful Chocolate though, or I will have one pissed off 5 year old on my hands. So let your kids eat cake, especially if it's Nora's.