I was asked by the fine people of Darden Restaurants to try out their seasonal pumpkin desserts to which I said me? Taste free desserts? Don't mind if I do! As you can tell by my recent posts, I am a huge sucker for festive fall flavors and pumpkin is definitely being used everywhere these days. As you can see below, the picture shown to the left is the restaurant's picture and the one to the right is the dessert I was served (like I needed to clarify that with my crapily lit photos). I always like to compare what they actually serve you compared the pretty picture on the menu and I must say that all of these desserts looked much larger (and, dare I say, more delicious) in person.
Pictured above is the Pumpkin Spice Lava Cake from Longhorn. This warm pumpkin spice cake is filled with a cream cheese icing and drizzled with Maker’s Mark® bourbon-caramel sauce and candied pecans. This was perhaps my least favorite of the three. While the cake did have a nice flavor, I personally found it to be a tad too dense and overly sweet, the pecans in the caramel sauce, however, was a tasty treat. When I think of a lava cake, my mind immediately goes to a warm flowing center, not extra icing.
Next we have Red Lobster’s Pumpkin Pie in a Jar. It is layer upon delicious layer of light and creamy pumpkin and cream cheese mousse with a graham-cracker crust, topped off with sugared pecans. This dessert was tasty, although I think that someone left out some of the graham-cracker crust because there wasn't much texture in between the mousse layers. The flavors were good though and I like it because it was a lighter dessert and you didn't feel too heavy (or guilty) after eating it.
Last we have Olive Garden’s Pumpkin Cheesecake which is pumpkin cheesecake topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce and ginger cookie crumbles. This was by far my favorite of the three, perhaps because I have always been partial to cheesecake so when someone throws pumpkin into the mix it just gets that much better. This cake was actually larger in person than the picture ad, and it could have easily feed four people. The decadent whipped layer on top mixed with the all to familiar fall spiced cheesecake was heavenly.
Enough of looking at all these delicious desserts! WIN a $30 Darden gift card and try one yourself! To enter, simply comment below. Limit 1 comment per person please, a winner will be randomly selected on October 25 at 8:00pm.
**I will be doing a follow up post, creating my own pumpkin themed dessert inspired by the three I tasted - so stay tuned!