With the recent and well publicized demise of Hostess, the largest snack cake manufacturer left after the smoke cleared was Little Debbie, owned and operated by faceless corporation McKee Foods. We prefer to think of Little Debbie as a little family run affair, at the head of which sits the rosy-cheeked and ginger-haired matriarch Deborah (come on, Debbie is going on 60, she’s no longer little and she prefers Deborah). So moving forward, let’s pretend we never mentioned McKee.
Something Little Debbie traffics in quite heavily is packaged and single-portioned cake. From Swiss Cake Rolls to Fudge Rounds to Zebra Cakes, their bread and butter is a buttery bread covered in frosting in some way, shape, or form. In fact, one could say the same way, shape or form. Something Little Debbie could be accused of is the Taco Bell approach. This modular system relies on mixing and matching the same stable of ingredients, shapes, toppings, and processes to create “new” products. Mexican Pizza getting to be a bore? Try this Crunchwrap Supreme. Tired of Zebra Cakes? Give these Fall Party Cakes a whirl!
So keeping in mind this modular, repetitious approach, we look at Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes. The Christmas Tree Cakes are a shape, not a flavor, and the mirage of snack innovation lives within that shape. It’s a false prophecy, a twinkling tree meant to blind our better judgement. Take a look at the image of the Christmas Tree Cakes. Now look at the aforementioned Zebra Cakes, linked above. Now, look at Holiday Snack Cakes. NOW LOOK AT SPIRIT OF AMERICA STARS AND STRIPES CAKES. Come on, Deborah, at least give it the old college try!
Ok, the purpose of that diatribe is simply to point out that you’ve tasted this cake before. You know its moistness (ample), you know its sweetness (cavity-inducing), and you know its texture (cake-y). The texture of these trees is given a little boost with green flavor crystals (read: green sugar) that add a pleasant crunch to a cake that would otherwise allow a 90-year-old man to happily gum this snack to oblivion. Overall, the Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cake is a variation on the Zebra Cake sans chocolate frosting, a rehashed recipe that’s withstood the test of time and boldly resisted change. Oh yeah, it’s in the shape of a tree.