Thursday, June 20, 2013

Product Review: Betty Crocker Gluten Free Baking Mixes

Disclosure: The prize pack pictured herein was provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.
 It has been a long time since I got an e-mail asking for me to review something, so when I first got the e-mail from MyBlogSpark saying that I had a new spark waiting for a yes or a no from me I was sort of in shock and hit the "I accept" button right away.  It's sad when you get excited over the prospect of your opinion being wanted.  But, I was excited at the prospect of trying the line of Betty Crocker gluten free mixes.
 Why?  Easy.  Even though I DO like to make pretty much everything myself, there are times when you just really do WANT the convenience of having a box of stuff ready to get thrown into a bowl, mixed with a few ingredients and shoved into your oven.  Especially when you have friends who eat gluten free for their health, like eating gluten free a lot for your own health and you are the ONLY one in your house that eats gluten free for their health.  I have gotten into the habit of making a recipe of gluten free pound cake from a tried and decent tasting recipe that I got years ago, but there is only so many times that you can pull the same cupcake from the freezer for this or that get together before things get...well...boring?
 So, I was excited to see what the new mixes would have in store.
General Mills through MyBlogSpark sent me a "baking kit" to get me underway.  Oddly enough, while the baking kit included a rolling pin, a pastry brush, a silicone spatula, a timer and a baking pan (seen above) it didn't include a coupon for a free baking mix.  
 But, not to be deterred, I went to the store to get a baking mix since I'd agreed to review one.  I wasn't thrilled when I saw the price on the gluten free mixes at the store, but decided to pick up the good old box of yellow cake mix to see what it had in store for me.  I went home, mixed up the cake according to package directions EXACTLY and waited to try the finished product.  Now, I even did this without checking the package nutrition label first (which, as anyone with any allergies in their house knows, that this is NOT easy to do) because I wanted to do this taste test "blind" to what was in it so I didn't bias the review by seeing that it had this or that in it.
Big disclaimer here.  I did NOT ice this cake before trying it.  I wanted to get a real and honest taste of what the cake tasted like without anything masking it.  So, this review is based on the cake and only the cake.
My opinion of the finished product was OKAY.  Do not get me wrong.  I have had far worse cakes in my time made from mixes.  When I first went gluten free I actually had quite a few of them before learning the ins and outs of gluten free baking.  This was not on my, "I will never, under any circumstances, pick up this mix ever again" list.  I would buy this mix if I was pressed for time, had run out of my favorite gluten free flours or had a friend who really just wanted a boxed cake mix for their birthday or something.
But, in blunt honesty, even though the finished product tasted okay, it didn't taste good enough that I'd overlook the ingredient list (which I checked after eating a piece of cake) to buy it again and again as a guilty pleasure.  It, like every other gluten free mix on the market, is made with rice flour .  While they did a good job masking the gritty texture of the rice was still there and the cake just came out tasting sort of bland, very sweet, a bit gritty and crumbly and it had an aftertaste.  And I could taste the potato starch they used.  My husband used the term, "chemical tasting" when referring to the strange aftertaste, but I really think it was the potato starch.
 So, final summary.  This cake mix isn't terrible, but it's also not great in my opinion.  But, I'm biased toward home made baked goods.
Have you tried the Betty Crocker gluten free mixes?  What did you think of them?

No comments: