Fad or Future

From cupcakes to chocolate: Heinz's saucy collaborations

Can brand collaborations deliver game-changing products or do they risk just being gimmicky?

16 October 2019

Forget the English fry-up, what about a baked-beans-flavoured cupcake? This isn’t a pipedream but a new partnership between Heinz and cupcake specialist Hummingbird Bakery.

To mark Heinz’s 150th anniversary celebrations, Hummingbird Bakery has raided the condiment cupboard to create a number of limited-edition baked goods.

There are five cupcakes in the line-up, made with some of Heinz’s most famous products. The Tomato Ketchup Cupcake, for example, gives Hummingbird Bakery’s best-selling red velvet a saucy reboot, bringing sweetness to the sponge. It is also topped with a cream cheese frosting.

The Salad Cream Cupcake pairs a salad-cream-flavoured sponge and frosting with crushed meringue and chopped strawberries, while the Good Mayonnaise Cupcake features a rich chocolate sponge studded with dark chocolate chips, using mayonnaise with a splash of buttermilk to lend it a moist texture. Its then topped with chocolate cream cheese frosting and drizzled with melted white chocolate.

It wouldn’t be Heinz without baked beans, right? The Heinz Beanz Cupcake uses the heartiness of the legumes in their tomato sauce mix to give a carrot-cake-like sponge, according to the Hummingbird Bakery.

“The tomato sauce gives sweetness to the whole mixture, which pairs wonderfully with the maple syrup cream cheese frosting,” it added.

Last in the line-up is the Cream of Tomato Soup Cupcake. The soup is combined with the sponge mixture, adding moisture and a natural sweetness as well as an ‘orange sunset’ colour. This is finished off with the aroma of basil, which is incorporated into the frosting.

“As an American bakery in London, we fell in love with the idea of working with an iconic brand like Heinz and our bakers were up for the challenge,” said Tarek Malouf, managing director and founder of the Hummingbird Bakery. “We also loved the idea of taking these world-famous store cupboard essentials and transforming them into sweet treats.”

The cupcakes are selling for £3.25 each to takeaway or £3.90 to eat in. But if you miss our, fear not, full recipes are also available on the Hummingbird Bakery’s website.

Baking beans into chocolate

But Heinz hasn’t just left it at cupcakes. Another collaboration with Fortnum & Mason chomps into the chocolate side of things. Fun fact: the luxury department store were the first stockists of Heinz tinned goods, buying up the lot back in 1886.

Fortnum & Mason has created an exclusive Heinz Baked Beanz Truffle – giving the greatest excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast. The truffle is made with baked beans and sourdough toast, with flavour notes of tomato ganache. A white chocolate shell and toasted bread crumb provide a sense of ‘beans on toast.’

It also previously created Heinz Tomato Ketchup Caviar for the celebrations.

So does Sparkie have a hankering for Heinz in a different format?


Sparkie says:

I think the cupcakes might be a little too weird for the average customer. I can understand mayonnaise, it’s just replacing the eggs and fat in a regular recipe with a different format of eggs and fat. It will get some curiosity. Some people enjoy the weirdness of it, but products like these have no longevity unless they are better than the standard way of doing things. But the standard is based on hundreds of years of development so I can’t see this as being that game changing.

To do this type of collaboration, I think the product choice has to make logical sense. It’s a good idea in theory, but I feel that the execution on this one is pure gimmick. They also probably know that though.

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