Summer of 60 Pins, #28: Name Brands vs. HEB's Brands

Okay, I'll end your suspense. The second burning question of the day, for me at least, is: Do HEB brands work and taste as well as name brands in baking?

I am sold on King Arthur Flour and Land O' Lakes unsalted butter.

However, this recipe calls for cake flour, so I'm going with the Swans Down I usually use and The Baker's Scoop from HEB:
The Baker's Scoop wins in packaging. I like the word art look. But I didn't like the lumps or the box opening:
At HEB today, I passed two friendly manager-types conversing near the dairy section. On my left were three chatty employees in the electronics department. I took a deep breath, aimed my phone, and came out with a bad picture:
What you can tell is that the HEB cream cheese is 50 cents, while the Philadelphia is $2.04. That's a pretty big price difference. And I have never been brave enough to steer away from Philadelphia, but I grabbed the 50-cent brick and snuck off. I don't *think* they saw me. At least, no one asked me why I was taking pictures in cold areas. I even had an answer prepared: My mom asked me to get some ingredients for her, and I'm asking her which one she wants. Thanks to Mom for participating, even unknowingly.

A closer look of the cream cheese:
Upon opening, I found the Philadelphia to be softer, but they both mixed well in my KitchenAid.

Here are pictures of the butter, and look at that! The Central Market brand is 50 cents higher than Land O' Lakes! Plus, HEB has only been carrying the unsalted Land O' Lakes  in half sticks, and I like the whole sticks. HEB also had an organic brand which was also $3.98. 

A closer look at the butter:
And another surprise! Don't fall over... While J thought I was taking pictures of ingredients, I snuck in two of him, wanna-be-beard and all:

Here is the batter. This one has The Baker's Scoop cake flour, Central Market butter, and HEB cream cheese:
This one has Swans Down cake flour, Land O' Lakes butter, and Philadelphia cream cheese:
A comparison:
Right out of the oven:
I have to say, I was really surprised at this difference. The HEB cake on the right was fluffier and smoother, and the name brand cake on the left looked like a rock garden.

Rock garden:
Fluffy and smooth:
But after cooling, the HEB cake showed definite signs of falling:
Slices of cake from the top were pretty similar:
From the side, the name brand cake was denser and the HEB cake was still fluffy, even after falling while cooling:
The Taste Test: because you really want to see partially eaten food (scroll way down):
Quite honestly, I have to say I preferred the name brand cake because I think of pound cake as being dense. BUT, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the HEB cake. It's perfectly good, and I will be using it. Update: My sister-in-law noticed a difference in the cakes and preferred the HEB brands.

The Good: This is helping me get over my name-brand snobbery.

The Bad: Not a thing!

Summary: HEB brands work perfectly well in baking!

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  1. Have you ever used King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour? We also have a new Self-Rising Flour:

    Hope you'll give them a whirl! Happy baking!

  2. Allison, my husband calls me the biggest supporter of King Arthur Flour in Bell County! My canister might reject anything else! But the King Arthur Cake Flour was significantly more expensive than the other two choices. I will keep it in mind for the future. Thanks for commenting!


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