I love baked goods. When I travel, it basically ends up being a tour of all the best bakeries and cake stores in that country. I read guides and blogs on pastries. I make lists of cake shops to visit. I also love making baked goods myself. I bake pretty wicked double chocolate chip cookies (even if I do say so myself) and a growing repertoire of cupcake flavours on a regular basis. I’m also the keeper of the family’s secret passionfruit sponge recipe. However, there are some baked goods I just don’t get. I don’t like them. Never have and probably never will. Yet, they are very popular. Why? I don’t know, but here’s my top (or rather bottom) ten. Feel free to object – perhaps something you love is on my dis-list…
Mince pies – it’s less than 12 weeks until Christmas. Myer has their Christmas trim shop set up already. But there’s one part of the festive season I won’t be looking forward to, and that’s mince pies. I think it’s the mixed peel and dried fruit in them that I don’t like, because I also don’t like Christmas cake or pudding. My sister always disliked them too, until she went to the UK. Over there they eat mince pies (in the freezing cold weather) piping hot with thick cream. I’m unconvinced but she swears that the hot UK version completely turned her on mince pies.
Coconut ice – logically I should like this slice. It’s pink and white. It’s super sweet. I love coconut. But there’s something about the extreme sweetness I just don’t like. Plus it’s all so same-y. There’s just one texture, just one flavour, no levels or layers of interest. In addition, I think I feel misled by this slice. Half is pink and half is white, suggesting there’s two flavours there, but it all tastes the same!
Jaffa cake – chocolate and orange is a combination I really dislike. I don’t like my beautiful chocolate despoiled by orange’s bitter oily intenseness. Also in this category is any kind of chocolate/mint cake combination. Really, who likes toothpaste flavour with their chocolate cake?
Mega muffins – I love muffins, but I often find that the giant ones are really disappointing. Unless made somewhere reliably good, I won’t buy them. What tends to happen is that the baker puts three blueberries at the top of a huge muffin. Based on the appearance of the top of the muffin, you (rightfully) assume the muffin is choc full of juicy moist blueberries. In fact, there’s only those few on the top and the rest of the muffin is just stodgy plain cake flavour. It’s like somewhere in the past there was an official allocated number of berries/chocolate chips etc per muffin and that allocation has not been adjusted upwards to take into account the new jumbo sized trend in muffins.
Jelly slice – I know this is an Aussie favourite, but I don’t get why people go for this one. It’s wibbly, but not in a good way. It’s a weird texture combination. Plus, being a jelly top it’s typically not vegetarian friendly. I know, I know, you can kick me out of the country now…
Lemon slice – while we’re on slices, lemon slice is another popular item I have no love or time for. There are so many delicious slices out there people! Caramel slice, hedgehog slice, brownie slices, even those oatmeal Anzac type slices. Why go for the plain as plain lemon slice option? Plus they’re often quite dry on the bottom with sickly sweet icing on the top; an uninviting prospect.
Pumpkin scones – does anyone actually eat these? Besides your great aunt? What is the point in putting pumpkin in a scone, besides making the scone the colour of radioactive American cheese?
Pumpkin pie – I have nothing against pumpkins, but pumpkin pie is another item I can’t get into. I spent a Halloween and a Thanksgiving in Louisiana a few years ago, so believe me, I gave this American treat a go. I tried homemade ones, I tried slices from bakeries and I also tried two flavours of pumpkin pie made by Wholefoods. Nothing. It’s a pie crust with weird goopy (or in some cases jelly-like) custard the colour of baby spew.
Carrot cake – carrot is a vegetable. Don’t put it in a perfectly good cake. And don’t try to make the crappy vegetable cake better by wasting delicious cream-cheese icing on it. Plus, carrot cake sounds sort of healthy, but with the amount of sugar put in it to make it taste good, and all that cream cheese icing, it’s a really deceptive choice. Go home carrots, go back to where you belong!
Sticky buns or coffee scrolls – I’m talking about those big doughy wheels covered in icing, sometimes featuring sultanas. I don’t really understand why anyone likes these. It’s just bread that tastes mildly of cinnamon, covered in extremely average icing of the plain or instant coffee flavour variety. Lame.