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The Definitive Colin the Caterpillar Taste Test - We Rank The Best Birthday Cakes

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The Definitive Colin the Caterpillar Taste Test - We Rank The Best Birthday Cakes

In what is perhaps the strangest feud we've ever seen, Marks and Spencer is at war.

Colin, the store's beloved caterpillar cake and a regular at children's birthday parties, has now found himself at the centre of a lawsuit against Aldi.

Upmarket supermarket M&S lodged a High Court intellectual property claim against the budget chain for their own caterpillar cake, named Cuthbert.

Cuthbert (left) and Colin (right) (Credit: Aldi/ Marks and Spencer)
Cuthbert (left) and Colin (right) (Credit: Aldi/ Marks and Spencer)
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The news stunned the public, with the Aldi social media team cracking jokes about the situation and even offering to work with Marks and Spencers to raise money for charity with their two caterpillar cakes (in a toe-curlingly awkward tweet, M&S declined their offer).

But Aldi isn't the only supermarket that has a Colin-alike, with each of the big retailers doing their own spin on chocolate covered Swiss roll. While Colin may be the original (he first wriggled onto shelves in 1990) there's several variations out there.

Tyla takes on Colin and co. (Credit: Kimberley Bond)
Tyla takes on Colin and co. (Credit: Kimberley Bond)

So here at Tyla, we've decided to put Colin and co. to the ultimate taste test. Yes, we've well and truly Bruce Bogtrottered ourselves by buying stacks of chocolate cake and eating them, all in the name of journalism.

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Armed with a palate cleanser (a cuppa), trousers wih an elastic waistband and a seriously sweet tooth, here's what we made of them...

Marks & Spencer - Colin the Caterpillar

Colin the Caterpillar (Credit: M&S)
Colin the Caterpillar (Credit: M&S)

Price: £7.25

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Serves: 10

Appearance: Who can say no to OG Colin? Simply decorated with Smarties, with bright chocolate button eyes, he's certainly endearing to look at. He may not be as showy as his counterparts, but sometimes less is more.

Chocolatey-ness: Colin is described by M&S as the 'extremely chocolatey sponge cake', and with its thick chocolate casing, lashings of rich buttercream and chocolatey decorations, it's not for the faint hearted. The chocolate is good quality - tasty, without being sickly - but having too thick a slice may make you feel nauseaous.

Cakey-ness: A fairly solid effort - the cake isn't too heavy (which is just as well, considering all the chocolate) but those who like quite thick buttercream will be disappointed as Colin has only a light sprinkling throughout.

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Rating: 4/5 - No-one is disappointed when Colin comes to your party - but he is a slightly more spenny guest for the amount you get.

Wiggles the Caterpillar was our winner (Credit: Sainsbury's)
Wiggles the Caterpillar was our winner (Credit: Sainsbury's)

Price: £6

Serves: 14

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Appearance: A slightly more jazzier take on a caterpillar cake, with 'Wiggles' decorated with sugars and chocolate shells. Wiggles also has a white chocolate face, although slightly smaller and slightly less perky than Colin's. The box also features a cut-out butterfly mask - a nice idea for any children celebrating their birthday.

Chocolatey-ness: So it may not be layered as thickly as M&S, but it's certainly sweeter. The third bite of my slice was enough to make my teeth feel itchy. Still, kids (and adults) with a very sweet tooth will certainly enjoy a slice of Wiggles.

Cakey-ness: The sponge is certainly heavier and harder than Colin, and again, exceptionally sweet. There's a far better effort on the amount of buttercream though, with several layers visible as the cake is cut up.

Rating: 4.5/5 - Wiggles may fall down in some areas, but it's certainly good value for money compared to Colin - ideal for big kids' birthday parties (after restrictions have eased, of course) and a worthy alternative.

Morrisons - Morris the Caterpillar

Morris wasn't a favourite (Credit: Morrisons)
Morris wasn't a favourite (Credit: Morrisons)

Price: £6

Serves: 12

Appearance: Sorry Morris, but you're no Colin. While also covered in sprinkles and chocolate shells, Morris' fails to serve face (literally) as well as the others. While we kept all of the cakes in my (fairly) cool kitchen environment, Morris failed to remain as solid as his competitors, and looked significantly more wilted in comparison. Not good if he's going to be left out for a while at a party.

Chocolatey-ness: While the chocolate is well distributed, it tastes much cheaper when compared to others, and leaves a bit of an unpleasant, almost plasticky aftertaste. Kids probably wont mind it, but there are nicer alternatives (for the same price!)

Cakey-ness: Again, a harder, almost chewier, sponge this time round - I almost feel myself getting gummed up as I chow down. It's not the worst cake ever, but it's certainly weaker than other efforts on this list. The buttercream was also quite thin on the ground. A bit disappointing.

Rating: 2.5/5 - While it serves 12, making him fairly good value for money, Morris isn't the tastiest caterpillar around. Kids will enjoy him, but more refined palettes should probably give him a miss.

Tesco - Curly the Caterpillar Cake

Curly the Caterpillar is a little more delicate (Credit: Tesco)
Curly the Caterpillar is a little more delicate (Credit: Tesco)

Price: £6

Serves: 12

Appearance: The first we've tried without a white chocolate face - which is a slight shame taste-wise, but otherwise helps distinguish Tesco from the pack. The white chocolate drizzle and the fruity sweets on top also offer something different, and while the fruit flavours weren't to my taste, they make for a pretty pattern. The only downside is that our Curly got slightly battered after we bought him, seeing the brittle chocolate on top shatter - perhaps best separated from your big shop to avoid damage (and disappointed kids).

Chocolatey-ness: Buttercream lovers will be delighted to know that Tesco has you covered. Our slice of Curly was packed with soft chocolate buttercream, with the hard chocolate outershell offering a lovely crunchy contrast. It's tasty chocolate - not too rich, but not bland either.

Cakey-ness: The softest sponge we've had since OG Colin! Curly is a treat to chow down on, but too big a slice may be a bit too indulgent for kids.

Rating: 3.5/5 - Good value for money (Curly is £5.45 if you have a Clubcard) but the fact it was bashed about so easily is a bit off-putting, particularly if he was for a child's birthday. The fruity sweets on the outside may not be favoured by particularly fussy kids.

Asda - Clyde the Caterpillar

Asda previously sold a large version of Clyde (Credit: Asda)
Asda previously sold a large version of Clyde (Credit: Asda)

Price: £5.92

Serves: 12

Appearance: Almost a mash between Morris and Curly, Clyde almost looks ill with his bright green face and googly eyes. Again, my personal preference is for the white chocolate faces so I'm not particularly fussed with this. The sprinkles and hundreds and thousands on top are a nice touch, though.

Chocolatey-ness: A bit less indulgent than the others we've tried - but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The shell is chocolatey and gives a decent sugar rush, and is nicely balanced with the butter cream - a good all rounder.

Cakey-ness: Clyde is one of the drier cakes we tried - with several people who have reviewed Clyde online saying much the same, despite buying it well in date. Not inedible, but slightly disappointing.

Rating: 3/5 - Clyde is a fair Colin substitute, and again is better value for money. However, it seems to be potluck as to whether your Clyde has a soft sponge. The DIY Clyde may be a better option for parties.

Waitrose - Cecil the Caterpillar

Cecil is rich and indulgent (Credit: Waitrose)
Cecil is rich and indulgent (Credit: Waitrose)

Price: £7

Serves: 12

Appearance: Cheerfully chubby, Cecil is decorated with a white chocolate drizzle. His face in endearing too. My only complaint is that he looks a bit plain compared to the others - although he is perhaps the most faithful recreation of Colin.

Chocolatey-ness: Incredibly rich - but what more could you expect from a caterpillar cake called Cecil? The buttercream inside is incredibly creamy and smooth. Cecil matches Sainsburys' Wiggles in terms of a sweetness, and is again ideal for those with a sweet tooth.

Cakey-ness: The softest sponge of the lot, Cecil puts the rest of his caterpillar cohorts to shame. It was almost melt in the mouth, it was so good - and not at all stodgy. Considering this is now my sixth slice of chocolate cake, it was impressive that I could eat it without feeling sick.

Rating: 4/5: Adults will appreciate Cecil's better quality, but realistically kids won't give two hoots, as long as it tastes nice (which it does). The best substitute for Colin, but again, on the more expensive end of the spectrum.

Aldi - Cuthbert the Caterpillar

Cuthbert the caterpillar is currently unavailable (Credit: Aldi)
Cuthbert the caterpillar is currently unavailable (Credit: Aldi)

Price: £4.99

Serves: 12

Aldi took Cuthbert off the shelves earlier this year (before details of the lawsuit were made public), with the supermarket saying Cuthbert was a "seasonal" product. And while we tried the three Aldi's close to us in London, none were retailing Cuthbert (we're gutted).

However, Aldi has since announced Cuthbert will be returning for a limited time later this year. It has not been confirmed whether he will be redesigned.

VERDICT: Sainsbury's Wiggles the Caterpillar wins

Wiggles was the best value for money in terms of serving size and taste, beating pricier options Cecil and even OG Colin.

However, all the cakes were pretty similar in terms of flavour, so whether you go all out with a real Colin the caterpillar, or opt for one of his cheaper alternatives, the recipient will be thrilled with their cake.

Now if you excuse us, we need a lie down...

Featured Image Credit: Sony Films/M&S

Topics: Tasty Food, Food & Drink, Cake, Tasty

Kimberley Bond
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