Though it is curiously absent from their bakery menu, Starbucks has brought back the Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake ($2.25), a seasonal treat that appeared last year just before summer. The slice of pound cake stars a pinkish-red swirl of raspberry and a smear of cream cheese frosting. This time around, the only thing missing is the "cochineal extract", a coloring agent made from crushed up bugs that Starbucks began phasing out last April.
Overall, I'd call the raspberry swirl pound cake a success. The texture is great: cakey, but not too heavy. One side of the slice was a little dried out, likely because it was more exposed in the display case, but overall, it was fairly moist.
Biting into the cake, you get three flavors, simultaneously: lemon, raspberry, and sour cream, all of which make an appearance in the list of ingredients. There's lemon zest mixed into the cake, along with light sour cream, while the swirl features a straight-forward list of ingredients that actually puts the berries before any other "natural flavors": sugar, raspberries, water, natural flavors, pectin, and locust bean gum.
Having three tangy components in the cake, not to mention the icing, which also has a tinge of tang, makes it no surprise that this is one of Starbucks' less cloying bakery items. I thought it worked great as a breakfast pastry, but because the cake tastes reasonably light, I'd be as willing to snack on it alongside an Arnold Palmer at lunchtime as I would to eat it as an after dinner dessert.
After finding love with Starbucks' cream cheese brownie, I didn't think lightning could possibly strike twice, but hey, credit where it's due: this is one of Starbucks' best baked goods in recent history.