I had no idea what a Nanaimo Bar was when I saw this on the front of the Heavenly Cakes wrapper. I actually had to go and Google it to find out what flavours were involved. Of course, had I bothered to read the information sheet which came with my Olympic themed cake selection (probably a smart thing to do with the benefit of hindsight!) I would have found the very helpful and concise description from Heavenly Cakes; that the Nanaimo Bar was ‘a chocolate biscuit base, custard filling topped with plain chocolate.’
Heavenly Cakes Nanaimo Bar
The Nanaimo Bar is named after a city in Canada…called…yes, you guessed it, Nanaimo. Although the most obvious Canadian flavour (to me) is maple, as the Nanaimo Bar was created in the country and is famous for being Canadian (according to my 45 seconds of internet research anyway!) this definitely passes the ‘Canadian test’.
I must give you one piece of surprising and important news regarding Heavenly Cakes’ products, which might well influence anyone who is considering buying them. Having been eating these cakes over a series of days, I was becoming increasingly convinced that the serving size on the packet wasn’t accurate of what you’re paying for.
And after sticking this Nanaimo Bar on the scales, I was correct. Although Heavenly Cakes list the weight as 90g on this packet…it actually weighed 165g! The reason I said above that this surprised me, was that, in a day and age when even big companies like Cadbury are putting their prices up and being pernickety about product sizes (e.g. they’ve taken away ONE square from a bar of Dairy Milk) it is refreshing to see smaller companies trying to give their customers MORE for their money!
Wrapped with the obligatory Canadian flag, the Nanaimo Bar looked a little underwhelming compared to some of Heavenly Cakes’ more adventurous products. The two very dark layers of the chocolate base and chocolate covering are probably the stuff that most chocoholic’s dreams are made of, but it didn’t really do it for me…just a bit too one-dimensional. Mind you, that isn’t really a slight on Heavenly Cakes per se, more of a general comment on the Nanaimo Bar.
The Nanaimo Bar had a bit of a boring, uninteresting kind of smell as well- it carried a double chocolate hit, with the topping especially prevalent. The chocolate topping was much richer than the chocolate biscuit base, which offered a much less ‘full-on’ cocoa scent.
The intensity of the darker chocolate topping was probably because it was a damn thick slab of chocolate. That turned out to be problematic when trying to cut the Nanaimo Bar in half (to take photos…not to share!) as the firm and thick top layer wouldn’t cut easily, but the very soft middle layer was being squeezed out of the sides. ‘First world problems’ I guess!
I thought that the main positive was the filling. Snow white and incredibly smooth, it tasted like a (very mild) custard buttercream- it was creamy, indulgent and delicious. Although it could have done with far more ‘custardy’ flavour, the mouth-watering texture alone meant I could have literally just taken a spoon, scooped the filling out and eaten it all in one go.
The real negative was the base layer. Now I’d never eaten a Nanaimo Bar in my life so I can’t be sure if A) Heavenly Cakes’ base was bad, or B) I just don’t like the base in Nanaimo Bars. But I thought that the flavour was really OTT on the coconut front (there was a load of some kind of desiccated coconut in the base)- it was coconut overkill and that flavour really did dominate the whole cake. As well as the overly strong coconutty taste, the texture was just a bit too bitty for my liking- I was expecting a replica of the digestive biscuit base used in the Banoffee cake reviewed on Sunday, but whilst this was equally flaky, it became very gritty in the mouth and didn’t ‘go down easy’.
The top layer of dark chocolate was fine- it gave a pleasant richness to the cake with some really chocolatey notes. It was also nice and firm as mentioned above too- which was a nice textural difference to the very soft filling.
Essentially though, I didn’t like the Nanaimo Bar very much because of the base- however until I’ve tried more Nanaimo Bars in my life, I can’t conclusively say whether Heavenly Cakes’ Nanaimo Bar is bad, or I just plain don’t like the flavour combinations!
Despite the delightful filling, this just doesn’t do anything for me personally- the bottom layer’s unpleasant texture and flavour ruins what could be a really great cake. I’d LOVE to try the same top two layers, but with a Heavenly Cakes’ Brownie base instead…I think that would be great myself, with the fudgy brownie a little bit smoother and sweeter than the biscuit base here (although it would then cease to be a Nanaimo Bar of course).
Tomorrow, it’s Italy’s representative at the Heavenly Cakes’ ‘Bake-Olympics’ which will be reviewed, before the big day on Friday when our very own British cake will be looked at prior to the Opening Ceremony.
Ciao for now!