Even though Christmas feels like it was just yesterday, the world keeps on spinning, and stores have already moved on to Valentine's Day and Easter. Seriously, Easter. There are already pastel and Easter Bunny shaped sweets on the shelves as I huddle here clutching a cup of tea in my blanket cocoon for warmth.
While I was out taking advantage of Christmas stuff being 50-75% off (or more), I picked up a few of the more interesting Valentine's Day sweets to review. FYI, you guys should really shop clearance Christmas stuff. It's a great way to get holiday placemats, napkins, dishware, decor and non-edible stocking stuffers for next year dirt cheap. It pays to plan ahead!
Okay, enough frugality, let's munch on some cupcakes!
The packaging for these cupcakes follows the same format as other limited edition flavors, but this time we have a colorful red and heart-heavy design to suit the holiday. The layout is dynamic and busy, but the large white heart on the front acts as a resting point for the eye, as well as an emphasis on the product itself. It's almost like a spotlight, saying "you know you want this." They're right. I do.
On the back the box Hostess gives you two cut-out style Valentine's Day cards related to their products, which are cute, and I like the idea that this box is trying to give you more bang for your buck, but I don't think these will really work. It's a fairly obvious marketing ploy on their part, so unless you REALLY REALLY like their products, it'll likely be met with rolled eyes and maybe a little scorn. Now, if the other side of these valentine's were printed with a coupon, saving someone x-amount on Twinkies or something, it'd be a better marketing concept. That way the general consumer can either keep them for themselves and purchase more Hostess products, or you'd be giving someone, likely a Twinkie or Hostess fan, a way to save a little money on something they enjoy along with a silly novelty Valentine.
Inside the box there are 8 cupcakes, each one is a lovely dark chocolate color, and very moist looking, with dark chocolate frosting and a pale pink "doodle" icing shape on the top. The pink is a bit deeper and more vibrant in-person. I had a super hard time capturing it on camera, but it's a lot cuter in real life, trust me.
It smells...chocolatey. I can't smell any fruitiness, or hint of raspberry. Instead this smells really rich and chocolatey. Normally I'm not a huge fan of Hostess products, but after I fell in love with their Banana Twinkies, I've been keeping an open mind, and let me tell you, this one smells DAMN good! Like a sweet, fudge-y, brownie.
I took a bite, and sadly it doesn't taste as rich and fudge-y as it smells, but it's still pretty good.
The cupcake is very moist, leaving some greasy residue on my hands, and it has a complex dark chocolate flavoring that isn't overly sweet, which pairs nicely with the overly sweet and flavorful fudge-like icing. For a little processed chocolate cupcake, this isn't half bad! It's pretty on-par with most commercial cupcakes you'd buy in a grocery store bakery, maybe even slightly better.
Sadly, the pink raspberry filling is very lightly flavored, and it has a whipped texture that leaves your lips and tongue feeling kind of waxy. Almost like I put Chapstick on, but I didn't. The raspberry flavor payoff is minimal, you can only really taste it when you have the filling out on it's own, or take a bite with a larger creme-to-cake ratio. The main take away flavoring of this cupcake is sweet dark chocolate, which is great, but it's not what was promised.
Since taking these photos, I've shared these with my family, my b/f, and his family. (One of my goals this year is to avoid adding to my food hoard by spreading the junk food around.) Everyone has really enjoyed them, but most of them couldn't even tell that these were supposed to be raspberry flavored.
What we have here is a pretty great dark chocolate junk food cupcake, with a lack luster filling. I wouldn't re-buy this flavor in particular because of the lack of raspberry flavoring, but I'd love to see more dark chocolate based flavors in the future, like a dark chocolate banana.