Spring hath sprung, which, aside from the sunshine and flowers and strawberry all-in-my-everything, mostly means boy oh boy do I miss my cinnamon. In the seasonal snack universe April and May means the scent of cinnamon in the air is only a mere two or three months away, but any way that I can get my fix in the meantime is a spicy blessing for me. While it wasn’t originally released this year, I finally found a very tantalizing special batch ice cream from Tillamook to tease my spicy intrigue. Frosted Carrot Cake combines a carrot cake ice cream with layers of cream cheese frosting and walnuts.
The carrot cake base is exceptionally smooth, thick, and creamy, and although it isn’t labeled as one it really reminds me of a custard. It’s the closest thing I’ve gotten from a grocery store to Ample Hills’ great textures and that’s a huge feat for a product in this price range. Fortunately for this spice-lovin’ boy the flavor matches the integrity of the texture with a robust carrot cake flavor that absolutely sings with cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweet creamy carrot. While there’s no doubt there’s a ton of added sugar, the natural sweetness of carrots, very similar to that in a nice glass of carrot juice, lingers beneath the spices in a way that elevates the flavor beyond just a standard cinnamon or pumpkin spice base.
One of the more interesting traits of Tillamook premium pints is their use of “toppings” instead of traditional mix-ins. All of the walnuts in the container are layered on top, so while it seems super thick and intense at first, you have to kind of choose your bites and save some of the top layer for balanced bites. The nuts are finely chopped and small with a great roasted nutty flavor without any dominant saltiness. They’re packed into a thick layer of cream cheese frosting that truly seals the deal on the carrot cake experienced.
While the nuts only make an appearance on the top superficial layer, the frosting makes multiple appearances, mostly in additional clumps along the side of the pint. The icing is sweet and slightly cheesy with a pronounced powdered sugar flavor that cuts through the spiciness in the ice cream really well. Having made this type of cream cheese frosting many times I can vouch that this tastes very authentic to having whipped up a batch of fresh icing, and as a necessary component to the spiciest cake of spring it’s executed very well.
When I posted about finding this pint on Instagram people absolutely lost their shit in my DM’s. With such impressive and unique flavor for the grocery store, I really hope Tillamook gives this batch another go, because its taste is just as fire as its bright orange container.
Found at: Grocery Outlet ($2.99)