Top critical review
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A Good Cake With A Lot That's Fake!
on October 21, 2012
I am a rum cake aficionado and have tried many. Of course, the best are those you make yourself from scratch with love and lots of good rum. I gave Tortuga 3 stars because it seems to be a popular rum cake standard that consistently tastes good in comparison to similar commercial quality products within this group. Tortuga cakes are actually produced in Barbados with the company headquartered in the Cayman Islands and I imagine that this affects the steep cost of these cakes. Here is my critique of the pros and cons based on multiple purchases:
1. A moist cake with a clear rum presence.
2. Same brand is available in many popular flavors.
3. Contains Tortuga 5 year old aged Gold rum.
4. One of the most popular choices for rum cakes.
1. Tortuga uses many artificial colors and preservatives-e.g. Yellow 5 & 6, sodium propionate, artifical flavors, sodium alginate, polysorbate 60, propylene glycol and aluminum sulfate. In my opinion, this compromises the taste and integrity of the product, making it less than "natural". The box reads..."A Taste of the Islands" but it should read..."A Taste of the Lab!"
2. The amount of true rum is negligible at best-less than 1/2 of 1%, which in a 1 lb. cake amounts to .0008 oz. Add your own rum more generously!
3. To a discerning palate, these rum cakes taste as they are made-artificial-similar to the smell of a can of Play Dough when we were kids! A first glance at the cake tells you that the fluorescent yellow color does not exist in nature. Be sure to wear your sunglasses as you cut a slice or you will be blinded by the intense radioactive glow.
4. Freshness/Expiration/Use By Date: Another enigma! Look for the white square sticker on the side of the box. They use a Julian code to identify the date of manufacture of the cake. For example, "12233" indicates that the cake was produced on the 233rd day of 2012 (August 20th, 2012). Better transparency for consumers would be helpful as would a clear "Use By" date. (Remember that it took decades for most US manufacturers to put easy to read expiration dates on their products. The Islands are about 30 years behind us.
This is a 3.5 star product in my opinion. However, I have yet to discover a better tasting commercial rum cake. Make your own using a good recipe and great rum and pocket the savings. Hope this helps.