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Friday, September 14, 2018

Trader Joe's Carrot Cake Spread

A few posts ago, there was a link in there about wine "experts" having their opinion swayed by the label. Product presentation affects perception, right? Seems like kinda no-brainer. Tell me what it is, I can judge adequately. Blind taste tests are tougher (yet perhaps fairer) in that something can be judged on its own merits. And maybe labels can make you "taste" something that kinda isn't there.

Mentioning this in reference to Trader Joe's Carrot Cake Spread because, honestly, if I didn't know it was trying to taste like carrot cake, I probably wouldn't have guessed it right off the bat. It's kinda an odd concoction...but oddly good.

Let's do this hypothetically blindfolded. First words I would say are chunky, almost like a marmalade. Except it's little bits of matter instead of orange peel or whatever. But there's absolutely a jammy marmalade vibe. Then, sweet. Very sweet. I'd pick up on apples right away, then probably pineapple for a slightly tart taste. Then, spicy. Not overly. I'd say ginger primarily, maybe a little cinnamon too. Then, super sweet, lots of sugar. Almost too cloyingly sweet but it sorta reins it in a smidge.

Blindfold off...hey, what are those little orangey doodads mixed in with pineappley tidbits? Are they...carrots? I guess? Wha?

Makes sense, I guess. Carrots really don't taste like much by themselves, and there's enough other stuff going on here.

Does it taste like carrot cake then? Meh....not sure. When I think carrot cake, my mind defaults more to it being a vehicle for cream cheese frosting inhalation, not a super sugary cake by its lonesome. Indeed, nekkid carrot cake would sway more towards savory in my opinion, while this TJ's carrot spread is undeniably sweet and sugary. So I wouldn't say it tastes just like carrot cake...but seeing the label, a little, I can see what TJ's is going for here. It kinda works.

All that aside, though, it's a good spread. Sandy and I spread some out on graham crackers for a post-dinner snacky that our kiddos turned up their noses at. Sandy's plotting a bagel and cream cheese run to use so we can try that, and she's intrigued by the jar's suggestion to try on pork. All that seems like it'd work to me, so why not? Most other uses you can think would probably work, exccept probably not as the J in a PB&J. I kinda want to mix it up with a can of cream cheese frosting, get a big spoon, and get shameful myself.

Still, I just can't shake that the carrot cake jelly is a bit too sweet and perhaps a little off the mark. Maybe if labelled as Spiced Pineapple with Carrot or something goofy like that, I'd be a bit more on board with the general concept. You see, it's messing with me here...quitting while I'm somewhat ahead.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Carrot Cake Spread: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. So glad to find out this stuff doesn't contain cream cheese. Definitely a buy for me.

  2. I bought this yesterday and tried it on baguette with brie! It was amazing (if you like the sweet/savory thing, which I do). As with many jams and jellies, this will probably work its way to the back of my fridge and I'll find it sometime next April. But for now, I'm loving it. It's a nice change from pumpkin everything!

  3. As a graphic designer, I am indeed guilty of choosing wine by its label and reading a book by its cover. That aside, it is curious the main color for this label is turquoise blue, not a food color except for jelly beans and birthday cake writing.

  4. WOW! It is gluten free, dairy free, and nut free. Allergen free spread for sure.

  5. Dunno that i would have picked this up but it sounds interesting- although i think the entire point of carrot cake is the frosting.
    Maybe it’s a good topping for yogurt with some chopped walnuts!?

  6. If I can get past the rather unappetizing "glistening goo" appearance, I might give this a try. Perhaps mixing it with Greek yogurt or plain oatmeal would temper the sweetness a bit?

  7. I'm going to attempt a carrot cake fudge with my jar... I wasnt thrilled with the flavor:(

  8. This is one of the few Trader Joe's products I've tried that I found totally inedible. Unless your carrot cake is filled with preserved fruit/bitter marmalade, it's NOTHING like carrot cake. BLECH! I'll be sticking with the heavenly Pumpkin spice cream cheese, and Joe-Joe's, and..... lolol

  9. PS just noticed you said it suggested using it on pork (didn't notice it on the jar, but I trust u lol). Forget that. But for many years I stock up on their Pumpkin butter and use that on pork (and sometimes boneless/skinless chicken). It's FABULOUS and I have all my TJ's folks and friends using it that way. It keeps it so moist. Be sure to lightly salt first.

  10. If this is already bordering on cloying sweetness, then maybe mix it with regular cream cheese rather than cream cheese frosting?


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