REVIEW: Little Debbie S’mores Cake Rolls

It’s the last week of July, which in commercial snack land means Halloween is right around the corner. Yes, even though in California, and especially in the Bay, we have yet to hit our temperature max, I know in my spooky spicy cinnamon-pumping heart that once that second week of August rolls around there will be pumpkins EVERYWHERE. So before I start spiraling into the autumnal abyss, it seems fitting to cap things off with one last summery s’mores treat, especially since I’m a pretty big cheerleader for Little Debbie’s Pumpkin Spice Rolls. Little Debbie’s S’mores Cake Rolls combine a graham cake with crème filling and a chocolate drizzle.

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REVIEW: Little Debbie Turtle Brownies

Sometimes even the trashiest of folks have to don their finest for a special outing, and that day has come for junk food Queen Little Debbie. Popping off the shelf in a notably thicker and shinier box garnished with the title “Specialty Recipe” tag, there’s a new batch of cellophane treats aimed to set the bar even higher for quick fix cakes. Little Debbie’s Turtle Brownies combine a pan-baked cake brownie topped with salty-smooth, golden brown caramel, crunchy roasted peanuts and a drizzle of fudge coating.

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REVIEW: Little Debbie Easter Carrot Cake Rolls

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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REVIEW: TastyKake Birthday Kake and Blueberry Mini Donuts

TastyKake are gunning for sweet summer nostalgia with a line of fun festive snack cakes bursting with berries and sunshine. While many of these cellophane-wrapped beauties are very hit or miss, mini donuts tends to really speak to my soul with their traditional ‘murican breakfast appeal and fun sized pop-ability. To welcome long days and short nights TastyKake blessed us with both Birthday Kake and Blueberry Mini Donuts, and I’m gonna have me a two-for-one mouth party.

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The Birthday Kake donuts, visually, are a real deal fiesta. They’re a spin on the classic mini crunch donut, but instead of being studded with crumbs of tan and brown, they’re an explosive sprinkle mix of blue, red, green, orange, and pink. The smell doesn’t immediately channel cake, but it doesn’t smell of coconut or cinnamon the way most crunch mini’s smell, and clearly they’re a different birthday beast.

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The texture is middle of the road – not super dry but also not the smoothest or moistest bagged donut I’ve had. The bite is soft with some crunch but not particularly exciting, and there isn’t nearly as much vanilla flavor as I anticipated with the big visual pop. To be honest, nothing about the flavor screams cake here aside from a touch of eggy-ness that hints at yellow cake, but not enough to truly satisfy. There are no elements of frosting or dominant vanilla that would truly channel a celebratory slice, and while they don’t taste bad, they’re ultimately kind of boring and nothing to don a pointy party hat for.

Rating: 5.5/10

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The Blueberry donuts are a summer-y spin on the standard powdered variety, with a good dose of coke white shimmer on the outside and a pretty purple on the inside. The smell is immediately big and bright with an intense sweetness and pretty authentic blueberry notes that seem more promising than the usual hyper-artificial flavors that go hand in hand with other berries (like strawberry).

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The texture on these ‘nuts is fantastic. Super soft and moist, they almost melt in my mouth when I bite in with a lovely squish that screams fresh summer delight. The blueberry is very assertive and sweet, with just a slight tartness that keeps them from going overboard. Make no mistake, they’re covered in sugar so they’re quite sweet, but the execution of the blueberry prevents the donut from being a single sugary note. While there are no actual pieces of blueberries like in a blueberry muffin, the flavor is dialed in and delicious and when it comes to the fruit-emulation game these are a real winner.

Rating: 8/10

*Disclosure*  These donuts were graciously sent to me by the folks at TastyKake but the cost of the cakes in no way influenced my opinion of them!

REVIEW: Entenmann’s Little Bites Party Cakes

Who doesn’t love a good birthday party?  Better yet who doesn’t love a good birthday cake?  Even BETTER yet who doesn’t love BABIES?  If you aren’t evil and agree with all of those statements, then there may be a new junk food staple you can add to your forbidden cabinet of goodies.  Welcome to your next sweet tooth get together, the baby-sized Entenmann’s Little Bites Party Cakes.  The fun-sized cakes come in pouches of four poppable muffin-shaped cakes and can be found in the fiesta aisle near you.

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The cakes themselves are small and moist with an oily sheen that should be familiar to anyone who has ever had any snack cake made by Entenmann’s, Hostess, or Little Debbie.  The “party cake” tag is essentially Funfetti, or, a lightly flavored vanilla cake decked out with sprinkles and extra sweetness.  The aroma is pure white cake, with that store bought or boxed mix swagger that harkens back to all of my birthday parties from ages three through twelve.  They taste just like an unfrosted cupcake, or non-fruity muffin, with a buttery undertone that balances out the sugar for a pretty pleasant experience.

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Texturally there’s not much going on here.  The sprinkles have fully dissolved in the baking process and don’t add any crunch or grit for an entirely smooth single noted experience.  They’re soft and moist with a gentle chew that would make it easy to pop about fifteen of them without blinking an eye.

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I can’t help but feel that although they are good, the absence of frosting or any type of crunch leaves some room for improvement.  This isn’t the worst of things, seeing as frosting, peanut butter, Nutella, and any other type of spread you may have lying around could easily create four different mini cupcakes with a nice, vanilla cake base.  There is absolutely nothing offensive about these cakes, nor is there anything particularly mind blowing.  They’re a tasty, well executed version of one of the most beloved and whimsical types of cake you can find at roller rinks, bowling alley’s, and mini golf courses on a ten year old’s big day all across our fine country.

Rating: 7.5/10

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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