REVIEW: Hostess Limited Edition Carrot Cake Donettes

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.
Rating: 6/10
Found at: Walmart ($2.00)

REVIEW: Tastykake Gingerbread Mini Donuts

There’s nothing quite like a powdered mini donut.  Packaged in a roll of six from a dark vending machine or lonely gas station, the tube of sugary delight never fails to deliver a messy Scarface-like experience of pure sweetness.  The only problem with these types of donuts is that despite their fun fluffy texture they’re relatively one dimensional when it comes to flavor – straight sugar.  Just in time for the holidays Tastykake have solved this issue with Gingerbread Mini Donuts.

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Unlike their lighter-colored year round sibling, the gingerbread version of Tastykake’s donuts deliver a wallop of spicy layers to back up their already perfect bouncy texture.  Rather than being covered in a dusting of powdered sugar, these donuts are taken up a notch with a robust shaking of ginger and cinnamon that erupts from the bag and translates just as convincingly to the tongue.  You don’t have to search for any traces of gingerbread as you can see the specks of brown all over the donut and the flavors completely smack you in the face to finish with spice-dominance that makes me think they used cloves in the mix as well.  The ginger here isn’t the raw ginger that tingles in your nose, but more of a ground ginger blended with cinnamon that meshes perfectly with the powdered sugar to create the ideal seasonal spice.

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Additionally, the clever snack-ologists at Tastykake have put some kind of spice into the donut dough as well, as you can see little brown dots mixed in with a darker-than-usual cake that hints more towards tan than yellow.

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The two-toned punch of spiced cake and spiced powder makes these incredibly successful and a worthy shakeup from the usual donette.  Whether it be Tastykake or Hostess or Little Debbie I’ve never found any flavors of mini donuts to be truly worth it aside from the classic powdered or chocolate, but these ones give both of those a run for their money.  More complex than any that have come before them but equally satisfying in their junky splendor, these Gingerbread ‘nuts are a slam dunk worthy of your Christmas calories.

Rating: 8/10