Foodstirs Baker’s Club: Polar Bear Pals Cupcake Kit Review + Coupon
Foodstirs is a bi-monthly baking subscription box that ships baking mixes kits to your door! Co-founded by Sarah Michelle Gellar, this subscription is all about high-quality, pre-made mixes with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. They feature ingredients like organic heirloom flour, all-natural food dyes, and fair trade chocolate. It’s a great baking kit for families!
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About this Baking Subscription
The Subscription Box: Foodstirs
The Cost: $25.99 plus shipping, every other month.
COUPON: Use code MSA20 to save 20% off on subscriptions & more!
The Products: High quality, pre-made mixes and accessories to complete one baking project with no preservatives or artificial ingredients.
Ships to: The United States
Good to Know: Foodstirs ships bi-monthly. You should get your first box right away when you sign up, then they ship in August, October, December, February, April, and June.
It’s been awhile since my preschoolers and I have reviewed this box! The December Foodstirs kit is Polar Bear Cupcakes, and is available to new subscribers if you sign up in December. (If you sign up in January, you’ll get the next box, which is “Sweetheart” themed.)
As is usual for Foodstirs, this box includes everything you need except oil, eggs, yogurt, butter, and water. You’ll also need standard baking supplies like mixing bowls, measuring cups, and a baking tray.
Foodstirs mixes are all non-GMO, certified organic, and OU-certified kosher. They’re also ethically sourced, use biodynamic sugar, and are vegan (except for the pancake mix, although you’d need to make substitutions for eggs and dairy accordingly when you actually prepare the mixes). You can read more in their FAQ.
As always, the recipe and decoration are broken down into just six easy steps with pictures. I do find Foodstirs projects are usually pretty fun and easy; as my son has gotten older (he’s 4.5 now!) he’s definitely been able to take on more of the steps himself with supervision.
Each kit includes a card with nutritional facts, including the calories and ingredient listings for each component. As usual, the calories for the wet ingredients that you add (eggs, oil) are not included here, so you need to do that math yourself if you want a complete picture. (Spoiler alert: Foodstirs’ desserts are not diet food!)
The back of the nutritional fact card includes a fun activity to share with your kids, too. (We usually do these while we wait for things to bake!)
Packaged mixes are the mainstays of this box. This project includes a chocolate cake mix and a vanilla frosting mix as pictured above. This month they’re easy to tell apart, but when it’s vanilla cake and vanilla icing, you do have to be careful to read those labels!
The Foodstirs chocolate cake mix retails for $5.99 if you buy it individually. It would seem at first that the retail product is a larger package (it says it makes 18 cupcakes, vs the 8 servings in our kit), but upon closer inspection, both mixes call for the same amount of wet ingredients… so I believe they are identical.
Decorating the projects is a big part of what makes Foodstirs fun to do with kids! This month, we have some sugar crystal sprinkles, organic chocolate chips, and “decoratifs” made with natural coloring.
Foodstirs is also pretty good about including anything “special” you might need to complete each bi-monthly project. While we’ve had paper cupcake liners in past boxes, this box was packaged with 8 reusable silicone cups! Of course they also sent a pastry bag so we can complete the more detailed parts of the polar bear decoration.
Time for action shots!
My 4.5 year old loves “projects”, especially if he can eat them after we are done! He really surprised me with this box. It’s been awhile since we’ve baked together, so I taught him how to crack an egg into a small bowl, and he did great! We also talked about why oil floats on top of water (I measured both of those in the same cup). He needed a little help with the final steps of stirring the batter to get rid of the lumps, but otherwise this was all him. He especially loved ladling the batter into the baking cups.
I’m also very proud of how he used his flying fire rescue truck creation as a recipe card holder in the background. 🙂
Aha! Remember how the individual cake mix says 18 cupcakes, but our instructions said “makes 8 cupcakes”? As you can see, we had a LOT of cake batter left over. I poured it into a couple of mini loaf pans so it wouldn’t go to waste. I wish Foodstirs had maybe added some extra paper liners here because I probably could have decorated 18 cupcakes with the icing we mixed up, too. Instead, I had icing and decorations left over, which feels a little wasteful.
The cupcakes did puff up nicely in the oven! The recommended baking time was 17-20 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit, but mine needed a full 27 minutes before a toothpick in the middle came out cleanly. (The mini loaves needed longer.) Maybe baking these cups sitting on top of a baking sheet instead of in a muffin tin affected my baking time? I’m not sure.
After they cooled, we got to work decorating! In the meantime, I left to go out to lunch with a friend, and when I came home two cupcakes were missing… so we only decorated six.
Once again, I was impressed with how much my son could do himself vs last time we did one of these boxes! He put the first blob of icing down, and I smoothed it out. Then we sprinkled the clear sugar crystals on top, I dotted on the ears and nose with our piping bag, and he was in charge of chocolate chips. He found the sprinkles used for the tongue to be too hard to pick up and separate by color, so I did those.
In the end, they look pretty cute!
Although to be honest: I think they look a lot more like Norbert the Dog than a polar bear. That cute pink tongue!
While it was definitely not bad, I feel that Paul Hollywood would not have had very nice things to say about this cake. The recipe called for 1 cup hot water and 2/3 cup oil, and they just tasted oily to me. I thought about substituting apple sauce for part of the oil, but we only had apple-cinnamon on hand and I didn’t want to influence the flavor of the batter by introducing a new seasoning to the mix. The resulting cake was still on the edge of being too moist (even after baking for extra time) and we found it easiest to eat the cupcakes out of the liners with a small spoon, because they didn’t pop out cleanly.
I do like the icing, however (it’s mixed just with butter and Greek yogurt), and of course they got a big thumbs up from my son!
Verdict: We had a lot of fun with our Foodstirs project! These cupcakes were fun, appropriate for young kids, and a great way to spend some time together. The price tag, however, has increased since my last review, and I wasn’t thrilled with the discrepancy between the a-la-carte cake mix (18 servings) and the kit instructions (8 servings).
If you’re not super experienced in the kitchen, and are looking for organic & ethical ingredients and fun family projects with very little planning on your part, Foodstirs may fit the bill. It would also be a fun gift idea if you’re still looking for some quality-time projects to do with kids, or to gift to grandparents and doting aunts and uncles! Otherwise, if you’re a little more comfortable in the kitchen, you could get similar results for less by picking up one of their mixes (also sold in stores as well as online) and using tools you already have at home.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, if you sign up in December, this will be your first box.
COUPON: Use code MSA20 to save 20% off on subscriptions & more!
Value Breakdown: For one premium baking kit shipped every other month, the price is currently $33.98 ($25.99 + $7.99 shipping) or $28.78 for your first box with our 20% off coupon code ($20.79 + $7.99 shipping). Since the cake mix sells on their own site for $5.99, you’re definitely paying a premium for the accessories, decorations, icing, and instructions.
Kits typically have anywhere from 6 to 12 servings. This box has 8 servings (not including the extra batter), which means each serving would be about $4.25 all-in.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of Foodstirs?