First up: Inspired Foods' cake mixes! Vanilla and Chocolate.
I apologize for having no pictures of the final product.
Upon first look, the cake mixes looked pretty good. They promised no sugar, using only Stevia to sweeten the mix. So far, so good.
The ingredients were few, mostly flour and Stevia and rising agents, which I think I could pull together from my pantry in the same amount of time it took me to put together this cake mix. However, if you are really pressed for time and just cannot make it to your pantry, these are good.
Now, I made the mixes vegan, so I'm not sure what they are like using what the recipe calls for (eggs, milk, butter, vanilla). I used egg replacer powder instead of eggs, rice milk, and Earth Balance buttery spread instead of butter.
To me, they both had an odd consistency, but it could be that I did not do a good job of making vegan substitutions. It was more like a pound cake than a regular cake. My mom made a vanilla cake non-vegan as well, that one turned out similar. They also had that Stevia aftertaste, although it wasn't very strong. The vanilla definitely had a strong vanilla flavor, although that comes from adding 2 tsp. of vanilla extract and not from any flavoring in the mix. The chocolate, in my opinion, was much better than the vanilla. It had very little of the Stevia aftertaste and a strong chocolate flavor!
The Daisy Rating
Next up: Fearless Chocolates!
All images from their website, Fearless Chocolate and their Facebook page, Fearless Chocolate.
I was exceptionally excited about trying these chocolates because A) I have never tried a raw chocolate bar and B) most raw chocolate bars I have seen are extremely tiny and ridiculously high in price. These, however, are reasonably priced at $5.99 a bar. And the bars are about the size of your typical chocolate bar.
Let's start with a little background about the company. Fearless chocolate bars offer 2 -3x more antioxidants than your typical organic chocolate bar. Why? Because their chocolate is raw and unroasted, silly! All chocolate is sweetened with an unrefined rapadura (whole cane sugar). All of their cacao comes from Brazil, and 1% of profits from each chocolate bar is donated to different people or organizations doing good for others. Their packaging is also recycled and eco-friendly (it bio-degrades in 6 months)!
I was sent three different bars to review: their Dark as Midnight 70% dark chocolate, Exploding Coconuts 70% dark chocolate, and Sweet & Hot (Hibiscus and Ginger) 70% dark chocolate.
Dark as Midnight was simply that: DARK! It was delicious, and although I'm used to a lighter dark chocolate, it was really good. It had a fruity quality to it that made this very enjoyable. It also uses only two ingredients: cacao and rapadura!
Exploding Coconuts was very similar to Dark as Midnight, just adding some raw shredded coconut to the mix. This bar was sweetened using coconut palm sugar instead of rapadura, as well! Also very delicious, with a subtle hint of coconut. Smooth and delicious. Honestly, this raw chocolate has definitely surpassed my expectations for a raw chocolate bar!
Finally: Sweet & Hot. Not to end on a sad note, but.... I did not enjoy this flavor. The Hibiscus is just too strong for me. I'm not into floral flavors, so this really threw me for a loop. The ginger flavor was great, but I would much rather have just ginger in the chocolate and omit the Hibiscus altogether. This was awkward, and I Couldn't eat much more than one very small piece.
Overall? These chocolate bars were great! Not to mention that the top right corner of each bar looks like an elephant took a bite out of it!
The Daisy Rating
I'd rate the chocolate itself a four, but I'm giving an extra half a daisy because I love the company's packaging, eco-friendliness, and cute little mascot, among other things.
Phew! That's a lot of chocolate!