Thursday, 19 March 2009

The Worst Cake in the World?

Last week I posted about my alcohol-fuelled sugar binge, during which I bought a cake which apparently needed no refrigeration. On reflection I realise there's nothing new about that. The unrefrigerated shelves of supermarkets have been laden with cake-like foods for years. I suppose I was just surprised by just how much like a real cake this one looked on the front of the box, and therefore by the fact that it did not need to be kept cold.
In any case, all these thoughts were in hindsight. At the time, all I was interested in was getting cake. It was 11.30pm on a Saturday night, I had a skinful of booze, and I was in the midst of a cake frenzy. What brought me round was eating the thing. I had already eaten some chocolate bars and real cakes (these had been bought from another shop, and yes, were in the chiller cabinet,) so was unprepared for the assault on my senses of this franken-cake.

Seriously: it was so sweet, I could feel my toes curling as I ate. As I mentioned in the other post, even Mrs M's normally invincible sweet tooth balked at this one. This felt more like a science experiment than an exercise in baking.

click for larger image
The only comparable experience is one I had when I first visited the US at the beginning of the decade. As a child I had read Marvel comics, in which Twinkies were advertised. Bizarrely, as an adult this was the first piece of Americana it occurred to me to sample. As you can imagine, not quite what I had expected. The enticing images from the comic book pages turned out to have grotesquely oversold the reality, which was a sickly, greasy, chemical taste.

As you will know from previous campaigns, my focus has been around taking to task companies who claim to sell healthy food, yet introduce unhealthy ones by stealth or use misleading marketing to mask the true nature of their product.
Cakes for the Connoisseur
So the company selling this cake seems like a new challenge - not least because they have no web site or email address. They are a small company based in Huddersfield, UK, called "Cakes for the Connoisseur." Connoisseur of what?!, one might reasonably howl.

They were bought by another company in recent years, which itself was apparently bought by another, even bigger company. There has even been the hint of bankruptcy - but as far as I know, they are still trading. Of course, the fact that I was able to recently buy one of their cakes tells us nothing about this, since I suspect you could keep this kind of product on the shelves until doomsday without any material impact on the already-low quality.
So I think a new tactic is in order: subtle sarcasm. Can I convince Cakes for the Connoisseur that I love their cakes and enlist their support in convincing my nagging family that the ingredients are harmless?

Here is the letter I will hand write and send in the mail. I think hand writing it will be a nice touch, hopefully convincing them this is genuine:

Dear Cakes for the Connoisseur,

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your cakes and thank you for continuing to make them. I found your address on the back of the cake box and decided to write to you to say thank you for all the pleasure you have given me over the years. I always look forward to a cup of tea and one of your cakes in the afternoon. Since becoming ill I have not been able to get out much, so it's the little treats in life that make the difference.

My wife has been complaining that I should stop eating cake and has been badgering me about the ingredients in your cakes, so I also wanted to get your help. She says that they are all artificial and unhealthy. But I have read the box myself and they look fine to me - vegetable oil is obviously healthy, and so are eggs and wheat. These are also natural. She says the sugar is bad, but I thought we needed sugar for energy so this makes no sense to me.

So if you've got any information to help me keep the wife quiet I'd be much obliged and thanks again for your great cakes!

Yours sincerely,

Pete Harrison

As ever, I will report back on any replies.

p.s. I invented the name - signing off as Methuselah might affect the appearance of authenticity!

See Also:
Sugar Rampage Demonstrates How Alcohol Kills Self-Control


Asclepius said...

I am no connoisseur of cakes but do believe cakes should, as a minimum, have a shelf life - NOT a half-life!

BJ said...

I like the new tactic. Hopefully no one at the company does google searches on their company. Or at least those who do, don't talk with those who answer the mail.


My Year Without said...

I like the style of this letter. By being very "nice" I think you'll get a quick response.

Methuselah said...

Asclepius - nice, I may have to use that.

Joseph - I am banking on it. The absence of a website or email address that I can find has persuaded me they probably have a single, green-screened IBM in a back room they use for payroll...

Year Without - we shall see - I just hope they don't smell a rat...

Mickeyg123 said...

I was looking for C.F.T.C in a Google search after planning to buy there old yard in Huddersfield. I though you should know that the reason you haven't received a reply is because the company went bankrupt nearly two years ago. However I felt I should also inform you that Cakes for the connoisseur have never once made a cake! They were in fact a distribution firm. Going by the year your form was first posted Id say the creator of your named cake would of been Interlink Fine food however this company fell foul of the same fate as C.F.T.C. so I think you have hit a dead end!

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