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.
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Spring time isn’t a great time for junk food and my tastebuds. After the spicy onslaught of autumn and winter, things slow down with fruit and flowers and things that don’t get me nearly as jostled as some warm spices. Sure, there’s red velvet and s’mores, but those sunny weather flavors can’t hold a candle to pumpkin or gingerbread, except for one oft neglected springy treat – carrot cake. As she usually does, Little Debbie has my back and came through this year delivering a brand new twist on her giant carb-bomb logs with Easter Carrot Cake Rolls.
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The life of a snack food reviewer can be much more tumultuous than you may think. No, there’s nothing actually risky about what we do but sometimes it’s so HARD to find a certain item you really want to explore. Some products come and go without ever making it to my region, and sometimes for whatever reason they just allude me. That was the case with the new Hostess Limited Edition Carrot Cake Donettes, but hey, better late than never, right? I already gave you my best carrot cake backstory when I reviewed the Hershey’s Kisses in February, so I’ll just cut right to the chase with this one – let’s eat!
Plunging my nose into the bag the smell is fantastic – sweet and spicy with the classic spring-y cinnamon notes that make this veggie-laced baked good so damn tasty. Biting in, though, there’s a distinctly strong nut flavor that comes across in these little carrot cake tires, something that I don’t usually associate with the spicy orange cake. The only nut I’ve ever had in a carrot cake is the walnut and this flavor is more aggressive and reminds me of a hazelnut flavored syrup or coffee creamer. Taking a closer look at the donette itself the coating seems to be made up mostly of coconut, and checking the ingredient list confirms this as the first ingredient is “crunch coconut coating”. Turns out the strong nutty flavor I’m getting is actually toasted coconut, which is, again, not something I usually associate with carrot cake, and reminds me much more of the Hostess Crunch Donette than said cake.
The texture of the donette’s are very hit or miss, with some of them being kind of dry and off-putting, and some of them, with more coating and crunch, being moist and soft on the inside. The amount of crunchy coconut seems to directly correlate to how successful the flavor is, but unfortunately, even when the flavor and texture comes through on point it still isn’t very much like carrot cake. Although I wasn’t expecting there to be frosting on top of these, the presence of a cream cheese tang would help change the flavor from slightly spicy coconut to something that better resembles carrot cake.
In summation, while these donette’s aren’t disgusting by any means, they’re essentially just cinnamon-spiked Crunch Donette’s with no carrot or cream cheese or distinct cake-y flavors to be found. Yet another lazy rebranding of an already almost-existent product that could have been so much better with a little more effort.
Found at: Walmart ($2.00)
Chobani aren’t my favorite yogurt company (shoutout Fage, Yoplait, and Danon), but they definitely deserve credit for being creative and pushing the Greek yogurt trend into new directions on the regular. Their latest line of “flip” creations includes Carrot Cake, which combines sweet carrot low fat yogurt with cinnamon glazed cake pieces, walnuts, and creamy white chocolate chunks; which will hopefully taste like a melted piece of the classic spring time spice treat packed with protein.
The combination of the natural tang from the Greek yogurt and the white chocolate chunks definitely reminds me of cream cheese frosting, and more convincingly nails the cake icing aspect in a non-cake product than most I’ve had. The cake notes are driven into hyper speed with the cinnamon glazed cake pieces which give lots of sweetness and a little crunch that once again give my taste buds those real deal cake vibes, despite not having a huge amount of cinnamon pop. There aren’t a tremendous amount of walnuts, so while there’s a little bit of nutty crunch there wasn’t much walnut flavor that came through the more dominant tart and sweet yogurt.
The two biggest issues with this flip are the lack of spice and lack of carrot, which are two pretty big ones if you’re trying to make me think I’m eating the Easter bunny’s favorite cake. The sweet carrot yogurt is much more sweet than it is carrot, which I could let slide, but there also isn’t a tremendous amount of spicy kick either. In actual carrot cake the carrots serve as a sweet mellow backdrop to some aggressive spices and there’s no spicy aggression to be found. Don’t get me wrong, there is some cinnamon here, but the cinna-demon deep within me is left unsatisfied. There’s more of a sweet, almost citrusy flavor that hovers over a mellow cinnamon, so the overall experience of carrot cake doesn’t really register. It’s not a bad flavor but it also doesn’t warrant a repeat purchase, and I remain relatively underwhelmed by the Chobani Flip series.