While most of us do our due diligence on Thanksgiving and humor the tradition of cooking up the big bird, we acknowledge the reality at the heart of it all: Most of us would probably rather be eating a roast chicken instead.
For all the worry turkeys inspire—long cooking time aside, there’s the concerns of salmonella, fear-mongering about deep frying, the question of wet brine or dry brine, the mere idea of spatchcocking etc.—it’s easy to wonder if it’s all worth it for a bird that’s often dry and never terribly flavorful. And once you’ve gotten past all that, it’s possible that people just don’t love turkey anyway, and usually end up heaping their plate with sides instead of the main dish.
Perhaps, then, consider the bird that need only be frozen: the turkey ice cream cake, an uncanny valley version of the Thanksgiving main that’s offered by Baskin-Robbins. Ice cream, after all, has far more widespread appeal (vegans and the lactose-intolerant aside).
With a weirdly realistic sheen—like a well-buttered turkey that’s been roasted to crispy-skinned perfection—and upturned ice cream cones forming formidable and convincing turkey legs, the cake has… an effect.
Apparently a recurring seasonal offering, the ice cream chain announced the cake’s 2018 return in a press release earlier this month. Baskin-Robbins has been making some version of the turkey cake for years. "It's something that our guests always ask for—and have for almost 20 years," wrote a representative for Baskin-Robbins in an email to MUNCHIES. Here’s an old-school ad for it"
A video made by Delish earlier this year shows how it’s constructed. Made to order in any Baskin-Robbins flavor, the cake begins as a domed mass of smooth ice cream that’s then covered with brown frosting. Once that layer is smooth, two faux drumsticks are attached—those are sugar cones filled with frosting, glued onto the cake mound using scoops of ice cream, and finished with more brown frosting.
The whole thing is then covered with caramel to imitate the glazed look of a well-crisped bird. As a final touch, paper ruffles dress up the end of each drumstick and and a line of frosting drawn on the side denotes a wing. According to a video of a Baskin-Robbins cake maker, the turkey cake is pretty laborious, requiring several sessions of decorating and waiting for various elements to freeze or set.
A lot of gimmicky desserts look good in promotion pictures and turn to shit in reality, but a look at the #turkeyicecreamcake tag on Instagram suggests that Baskin-Robbins’s cake actually ends up OK (some, however, are a little too shiny for comfort, more like a caramel apple than a roasted hunk of meat). The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for these attempts at turkey desserts.
Hell, I’d rather eat this than a giant pile of dry-ass turkey.