Over the last five years of being a professional (…right?) junk food reviewer the biggest thorn in my side has been the lack of a Walmart within 50 miles of where I live. San Francisco says a big “NOPE” to the big box store that notoriously pays its employees low wages, and generally, I’m okay with not supporting the chain; but it gets some exclusive products that I MUST try or I will disintegrate. My heart broke into 10,000 pieces when I found out the new Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes ice cream was only at Walmart, but thanks to a perfectly timed dog sitting weekend I was able to spend a night in a city with a Walmart and get this limited time Christmas pint.
The ice cream features a vanilla base with pound cake pieces, red frosting swirl, and green sprinkles. LD’s Christmas Tree Cakes are among their finest products, and this ice cream does a really good job of paying homage to the cheap and comforting treat. The pint is 700 calories and I took it home for $2.49, so I knew what I was getting myself into, and with appropriate expectations I really enjoyed it.
The base is light and overrun as all hell, but in this context it works well. It has a mellow vanilla flavor and smooth almost fluffy texture akin to Cool Whip, but it’s not gummy or unpleasant like some cheaper (Breyers) ice creams. There’s quite a bit of frosting that not only looks cool and seasonally sound but adds a nice sweetness and syrupy texture that I love.
The cake pieces, although small, do their job in bringing some dense chew and slightly buttery flavor to the the pint. They’re a little firmer than the Tree Cakes themselves but not in a way that’s off putting. As much as the other two components work, the element that really brings the cake-turned-scoop experience to another level are the green sprinkles. They’re just like the ones that sparkle on top of Debbie’s Trees and add the perfect sugar crystal crunch to almost every bite — so simple and so incredibly effective.
This is a low calorie and low price tag ice cream that looks and feels like the holiday spirit without any of the more expected flavors like mint, gingerbread, or egg nog. It’s a fun switch up, essentially a light birthday cake ice cream with really endearing packaging, and I wish I could scoop it again, but I won’t lose any sleep over its exclusivity.