The cover slides off, revealing two cakes nestled in their individual little cabins:
Regarding cost, the gift box was $58.00, and with shipping (from the Midwest to the Midwest) it cost me $70. These are not inexpensive cakes, but do keep in mind I got a nice maple box with them. In hindsight I think I should have ordered the Fruitcake sampler, a set of six one-pound cakes, to get the full Transfiguration cake experience, but that one cost $70--uff da! I'm planning for a wedding here!
On to ingredients. Here are the ingredients in the Walnut Ginger cake:
I guess the name of the actual abbey is Poorrock, although on the website they call themselves the Abbey of Holy Transfiguration Skete. As you can see, pretty simple, wholesome ingredients, and brandy. Here's the Abbey cake ingredients:
Here's what the Abbey cake looks like unwrapped:
So, on to the taste. The walnut ginger had the texture and taste of a light tea bread. The ginger was not overbearing but instead gave it a nice bright flavor with a tiny bit of heat. The heat from the brandy cannot be overlooked; unlike a cake where the liquor is baked into the dough, both of these cakes, wrapped in liquor-moistened cheesecloth, have a pronounced alcohol edge to them. If you don't like the heat of alcohol on the tongue, don't get these cakes. Depending how you look at it, the alcohol was either a bit distracting from the taste of the cake, or it added one more element to the flavor.
The Abbey cake is darker due to the molasses in the dough, and had a taste more like a typical fruitcake. The moisture and flavor imparted from the bourbon-soaked cheesecloth made two ingredients that I'm not a huge fan of--walnuts, which I find to be sometimes bitter, and raisins, not my favorite dried fruit--taste quite good. The moisture gave the walnuts a better texture, and the raisins were plump and juicy. Being that there are only raisins in this cake, you don't get the different textures and tastes of a variety of fruit--I think the dried fruit cake they offer might be better for that--but overall this is a very tasty cake.
The hallmarks of these cakes are the honesty of their ingredients and the heavy-handed booziness of them. I'd be interested in trying the dried fruit one I just mentioned. It might--just might--give the Robert Lambert cake a run for its money, and at $40 for 5 pounds, it's a better value.