REVIEW: TastyKake Blueberry Sweet Rolls

When it comes to snack cakes I like gettin’ my fix quick ’n dirty. Ya know, little cellophane-wrapped gems with frosting or baby donuts that fulfill that cake-y craving on the cheap and then disappear as quickly as they came. I’m not so much one to buy a big box of cheap donuts, whole loaf cakes, or sheets of sweet rolls, but every now and again I’ll make an exception. The cool cats at TastyKake invited me to try their seasonal summer Blueberry Sweet Rolls, and as someone that has made rolls from scratch, let me tell you, they are delicious but a massive pain in the ass, and if the East Coast Kake boys can hit me with a decent sweet roll without even leaving the house, I’m down to roll the dice.


From a birds eye view, looking directly down onto this sheet of rolls, it’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. The frosting has an odd, cloudy color to it that isn’t very appealing, but hey, icing congeals, and fortunately, the closer I get the more promising it seems, with some solid blueberry swirls and fluffy yellow pastry. There’s a nice sweet blueberry aroma wafting up from the twisty bread and the filling has a much more appealing-to-the-eye deep shiny purple sheen. I find it kind of odd that these haven’t been cut and I’m not sure how I can preserve them – I guess they’re meant for morning guests or an intense carb binge?


The yeasty dough is very soft and squishy with lots of moisture locked in and texturally makes for a very pleasant bite. The dough has a stickiness to it that feels pretty authentic, with some solid, albeit a bit artificial, blueberry notes that have a good balance of sweet and acidic. I’m surprised by how restrained the sweetness is on these, and while they’re definitely best friends with the cup of coffee in my hand (as the packaging suggests), they aren’t hitting me over the head with sugar. Just as much as the sweet plays its part, I’m able to taste the yeast and eggs in the roll itself and I really appreciate that part of the execution.


What I’m missing here, as far as a “real” aka non-packaged sweet roll is concerned, is the contrast in textures from the outside to the center. While the outside is less wet and untouched by the glaze, there is no actual flakiness or crispiness as I move from the outside in. The best part of eating a roll is when you get to the center and it’s completely soaked and soft, and while that’s pretty much the texture of this roll as a whole, I’m missing that big release and variety that makes a breakfast bun so fun. Even though these are blueberry, I do wish there was some cinnamon to help elevate the flavor as well, and give just a touch of spice, which is an easy fix with my 5 types of cinnamon on hand – and a little sprinkle did me proper.


But who really eats a sweet roll cold? For the ultimate final test I popped one of these bad buns into the microwave. 15-20 seconds later the glaze has been reactivated, getting slightly runny, and the dough becomes even softer and perfectly fresh-feeling. The berry flavor is heightened and in every way the good elements are improved and the so-so ones are lessened. I still want a bit more contrast, so cinnamon is necessary again, but all in all, when zapped up properly, it’s a pretty good roll.

Rating: 7.5/10

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.


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.


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.

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