REVIEW: Quest Birthday Cake Coated Protein Bar

If pumpkin spice is the seasonal signifier of the basic b, then birthday cake is the quintessential staple of the basic’s day to day favorite flavor. My tastebud’s tendencies keep me right in line with all the basic ladies of the world, and just like I love me some spice I love me a good birthday cake flavored treat. Ice cream, candy, lotion, candles, and yep, protein bars. While this trend is far from new, in fact I think it peaked a couple years ago, the biggest player in the protein bar game are extremely late to the party. This week Quest showed up when everyone was already wasted and stumbling with their Birthday Cake coated protein bar.

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This bar is a bit of a deviation for the company, using a coated outer layer similar to Oh Yeah’s One bars instead of the usual plain outer skin. It certainly looks pretty enough, studded with a smattering of fun confetti dots and a semi-glossy coating that is incredibly soft and smooth.

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Biting in the initial taste is very creamy, sweet, and slightly salty, making a combination that truly does remind me of a well balanced buttercream. The texture is soft, chewy, and fresh, leaving a pretty positive initial impression. Unfortunately after the first couple chews a very strong and unpleasant artificial sugar flavor takes over that is inescapably powerful. While Quest bars do tend to carry a bit of a sucralose finish, this bar leans way too heavy on an astringent artificial flavor that takes away from any birthday cake potential it had. While the outer coating provides some nice creaminess, the inside of the bar is very bland and flavorless, leaving little reason to want to eat more of these bars.

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The biggest issue here, aside from the fact that the bar legitimately doesn’t taste good, is that there are far too many better options already on the market. Oh Yeah One’s Birthday Cake is a staple with comparable macros, and very strong offerings from MuscleTech and Fit Joy have been out for over a year as well. Quest has had some pretty solid releases recently with Mocha Chocolate Chip and last years Cereal Bars, but this one is a major step backwards for a company that at this point really needs to be pushing the envelope with portable protein supplements. If someone showed up to my birthday party with this bar I would revoke their party privileges and show them to the door.

Rating: 4/10
Found at: GNC ($2.39)
Quick Nutrition: 180 cal – 5g fat – 3g sat fat – 220mg sodium – 25g carb – 14g fiber – 1g sugar – 21g protein

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REVIEW: Krispy Kreme’s Eclipse Chocolate Glazed Doughnut

Today is the first total eclipse of my lifetime. For the lucky, small percent of those within the path of totality in the U.S., the sky will go temporarily dark during the middle of the day, and for the rest of us, it will go semi-dark. Stars will appear, the temperature will drop, and the animals will be confused as all hell. That’s pretty cool, but to be honest, I didn’t do so great in Astronomy class, and I can’t see a damn thing through this San Francisco fog anyway, so fortunately for me, today also marks the first time in HISTORY that something else is seeing the dark side – the Krispy Kreme waterfall of glaze. To celebrate North America’s moon party, today only (and for two soft evenings this past weekend when I snuck in) the “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign will mean super fresh, melty, yeast doughnuts shimmering with black chocolate instead of the usual opaque tan sugar glaze.

I’ve gotta give Krispy Kreme some credit for their hype-o-meter skills. Rolling up at 6:30 PM on Saturday was the most poppin’ and clustered I’ve seen the shop since their big rollout and notorious over expansion in the 90’s. There wasn’t a line out the door, but the parking lot was full and the conveyor belt of doughy dreams was stopped and nearly empty – the first batch had already sold out! No worries, though, about ten minutes later the flour power was restored and the drooling group of people filming through the glass like an animal was giving birth at the zoo (myself included) simultaneously breathed a sigh of relief.

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The doughnut is the same in size, shape, and flavor as the KK original glazed, except for the glaze. It has almost the same light, airy, “I-could-eat-about-six-of-these” texture that I know and love, and is incredibly soft and delectable, but feels a little heavier and ever so slightly denser than its big bro; probably from the cocoa powder. The chocolate glaze actually makes a pretty significant change to the overall experience as it is much less sweet, with slightly bitter cocoa notes taking place of the usually sharp and bright sugary flourish. It isn’t a dark chocolate by any means, but compared to what is usually offered it is a notably more subdued and less intense version of the circular splendor.

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The other major difference is that the oily fried flavor comes through stronger with the chocolate, as there isn’t that huge wallop of sugar to cover it up. It isn’t greasy, it just has that golden flavor much like smaller french fries that get extra crispy, and it could be a good or bad thing depending on what you enjoy. I like crispy fried fries and a golden crunch on the outside of an old fashioned cake doughnut, but I’m not sure how much I love the flavor being so pronounced here.

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This is a solid doughnut, but not nearly as incredible as the original. When I have a Krispy Kreme glazed that’s been made within the last couple of hours, I marvel at its simplistic beauty as I’m taken over by its sugary perfection, and the chocolate version, while good, simply can’t eclipse it.

Rating: 7.5/10
Found at: Krispy Kreme ($1.39)

REVIEW: Little Debbie “Be My Valentine” Red Velvet Cakes

Shockingly, in all my youthful formative years of eating cellophane-wrapped cakes in Nebraska, and making crazy late night stoned liquor store runs as a teenager in California, I have never had a Little Debbie Red Velvet cake. While there’s no debate that a real homemade, or purchased gourmet cake is far and away better, there’s always been something alluring and delicious to me about all types of snack cakes, and Debbie has a pretty decent record in my book.  Little Debbie Red Velvet cakes can be found year round in square shape, but these are hearts, so they’re festive and full of extra love.

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The outer white coating is initially very similar to the one you’ll find on the Zebra or white cake varieties – thin and slightly greasy with a nondescript sweet flavor. At first I didn’t get a tangy cream cheese or whipped butter cream flavor, but on my second cake I started to notice a more unique Red Velvety tang than the usual outer layer.  Maybe it’s my mind playing tricks on me but I am definitely being immersed into a different, more unique flavor experience than your typical white or chocolate bite.

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The creme on the inside is the same classic Debbie filling with no added qualities you would associate with red velvet; it embraces pure sweetness with a smooth texture – no vanilla or other distinct flavors. I can’t say that I’m disappointed because it’s kind of what I expected, and secretly the low caliber cake bad boy in me loves this weird trashy oil cream stuff.

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The cake on the inside is something new, and not just in its glorious red color. The cake is true to the red velvet flavor, with a light cocoa finish that is far from vanilla but also a much less deep flavor than what you will find in Debbie’s Chocolate Cupcakes or Swiss Rolls. The chocolatey cake is airy and light and relatively complex, and when paired with the coating really does taste like a slice of red velvet cake, albeit a pretty cheap one.

Although the flavor is not exclusively for Valentine’s Day, these little heart cakes are a fun switch up to Debbie’s deliciously trashy lineup. While they may not have the same romantic impact as a dozen roses, they’re certainly good enough to keep you from crashing on the couch, and may buy you enough time to run to the store and get something worthy for your one true love, like a giant Reese’s heart.

Rating: 8/10

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REVIEW: Fit Joy Birthday Cake Batter

Just in time for the cake-eating festival that will be my birthday on Sunday, one of the most prolific new protein bar companies are back at it with Fit Joy’s Birthday Cake Batter.  This doesn’t appear to be a seasonal release and should be readily available wherever their bars are sold all throughout 2017.  The pink wrapper and solid macros scream nothing but pure fun and I’m hoping for a much better effort than the last cake flavored protein attempt I had by BPI, which sucked.

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This is the first bar that I’ve had with the specific flavor of cake batter as opposed to cake or cupcake, and with that specificity in mind I think Fit Joy have really succeeded. The aroma coming out of the wrapper smells almost exactly like a jar of funfetti vanilla frosting, and fortunately the flavor isn’t too far behind. Much less sweet than a spoonful of artificial frosting, the bar has a wonderful vanilla presence and eggy bounce that remind me of yellow cake (the best). The coating and protein base look similar with multicolored specs that play off each other well, combining for one batter-filled bite. It’s a much truer birthday cake than the bars by Combat Crunch and Fit Crunch, both of which have a strange lemon dominance to their flavor.

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The texture is a soft chewy that gradually transforms into the smooth consistency of cake batter as you break it down in your mouth. There are no crunchy sprinkles or crisps inside or on top of the bar so the experience is one dimensional but not in a bad way. The outer yogurt layer mimics frosting, giving two different sensations that lead to an ultimately really enjoyable experience.  It is also a completely new flavor profile for Fit Joy and executed more convincingly than 75% of the companies that try to tackle it.

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As someone who grew up loving boxed yellow cake for my birthday and licking both the beaters and bowl clean when my mom was done whipping it up, this bar really speaks to my inner bday boy.  This is one of the strongest flavors Fit Joy have released, ranking among Chocolate Peanut Butter and Gingerbread Cookie as a top pick in their lineup.

Rating: 8/10

Quick Nutrition: 230 cal – 8g fat – 190mg sodium – 22g carbs – 10g fiber – 3g sugar – 20g protein.