What are Marie Callender’s Confetti Birthday Cake and Chocolate Brownie Cream Pies?
Birthday cake and brownies take new forms in these thaw-and-eat frozen cream pies from Marie Callender’s.
How are they?
For someone who writes for a junk food blog, I have tendencies toward dessert snobbery. I recoil at the sight of canned pie filling. If grocery store sheet cake is my only option, I’d rather have none. While watching cooking shows, I cry out to the contestants “The rose water essence will overwhelm your pate e choux filling!” as my microwave dings to announce my Lean Cuisine is ready.
There are two wolves inside of me: one that yearns for authentic French patisserie, and one that can’t resist an oatmeal cream pie peddled by a certain curly-haired lass. I am at peace with the contradiction, but when presented with the opportunity to try Marie Callender’s two newest products, I wondered how my snobbish preferences would influence my opinion. As it turns out, my two inner wolves, bonded by their love of sugar, have more in common than I thought. I was pleasantly surprised by both desserts, although each possessed imperfect features.
Confetti Birthday Cake
The star of the Confetti Birthday Cake Cream Pie is its crust, a soft sugar cookie base that tastes homemade. The pie’s exterior is inviting — topped with confetti cake pieces, rainbow chips, and a halo of piped whipped topping. The cake pieces are cookie-crispy, and, along with the chips, provide nice taste and a textural contrast, even if it is not particularly cake-like.
The sticky whipped topping is a bit too heavy and coats the mouth with the slickness of hydrogenated oils. It tastes like the coating often found on ice cream cakes – that not-quite-frosting, but not-quite-whipped cream decorative sugar fluff – and ultimately doesn’t add much to the pie.
This leaves the thick, smooth filling to tie the pieces together. A pleasant (although very sweet) vanilla flavor, the filling would have benefitted from more vanilla or butter notes and less sweetness. In a bite, all elements evoke the concentrated sweetness of a sugar cookie more so than a sprinkle cake.
The Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie filling has the same thickness, texture, and sweetness as the Confetti Birthday Cake’s, but its flavor – this time, a rich chocolate – is much stronger. Sprinkled with chocolate chips and sizable chewy brownie cubes, this pie delivers an extra chocolate burst that’s clearly inspired by a brownie. Only a small slice will satisfy even the most ravenous sweet tooth.
While a little oily, the whipped topping here is light and smooth, effectively complementing the rich chocolate components of the pie. Again, the pie’s crust – a dark chocolate cookie crust – is impressive.
Anything else you need to know?
The package directions recommend thawing the pies for at least 1.5 hours before eating. My descriptions above reflect the results of the minimum thaw time, because the apocalypse could occur at any second and I don’t want to experience it on an empty stomach.
Within a day or two, the pies’ textures evolved slightly: the toppings softened, and the filling had a looser texture, similar to oil-based whipped topping. While the softer filling was more characteristic of a cream pie, I overall preferred the first-day textures. The package also recommends that consumers eat the products within three days of thawing and do not refreeze them.
Both varieties are intense sugar bombs with enough components to find satisfaction among the highs and lows. The Chocolate Brownie Cream Pie is a more successful homage to its inspiration dessert.
Disclosure: I received free samples of this product. Doing so did not influence my review.
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 25 oz.
Purchased at: Received from Marie Callender’s
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Confetti Birthday Cake), 7 out of 10 (Chocolate Brownie)
Nutrition Facts: (per 1/6 pie) Confetti Birthday Cake – 530 calories, 34 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 36 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Chocolate Brownie – 530 calories, 34 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 270 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 35 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.