Santa came early this year... well, make that Dwanta.
Dwayne Johnson — movie superstar, king of the gym, potential president, epic gift-giver, girl dad and retired fannypack wearer — has inspired two new ice cream cakes, one Naughty, one Nice for the Portland, Ore., brand he's been a long-time investor in, Salt & Straw, for entertaining this holiday season. And — to be filed under "it's a tough job but somebody's got to do it" — I tried both.
The ice cream cakes — which are already sold out online — are a first for Salt & Straw, which is known for using local ingredients and offbeat flavors. They're the brainchild of Chef Tyler Malek, who collaborated with the Jumanji and Jungle Cruise star on the recipe. They are inspired by Johnson's favorite holiday goodies and his infamous cheat meals while being created in the spirit of his longtime festive alter-ego, Dwanta Claus. While they incorporate alcohol flavoring (rum and whiskey), they are kid-friendly but both contain nuts, for the allergy aware.
I started with Nice to ease my way into the seven-layer goodness in front of me, cutting a healthy-sized slice, which could have fed me and two others (far exceeding the 320 calorie serving size).
Nice is a nod to Johnson's coconut banana pancakes, so it's a coconut cake base with vanilla, Oregon marionberry jam, rum-spiked Bananas Foster ice cream, chunks of peanut butter chocolate ganache. The top is covered with spiced and candied coconut shavings.
While all of these ingredients together sounds like a lot, what popped to me was not the rum ice cream or the coconut as much as the jam. It's cool and refreshing — shout out to those "prized" Pacific Northwest blackberries — especially with the peanut butter bites.
So Naughty is a whole lotta chocolate. Again, it's a filling seven layer concoction starting with a coffee-spiked chocolate cake base with caramel chocolate fudge, whiskey caramel ice cream, chunks of peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough with sea salt sprinkled on it and topped with chocolate-peanut butter crunchies.
This cake will be beloved by any chocoholic in your life (my husband!) because it's just so many different kinds all in one. You can also really taste the caramel, which is a good thing. And there were many sinfully delicious chocolate chunks. (For those who care, the calorie count is 330.)
The cakes are pricy at $89 a piece, but serve up to 20 people, so it's gather your family, friends, neighbors, WWE Facebook group members and make it an experience. But don't smash the cake getting silly doing Johnson's infamous Rock Bottom wrestling move, eat it — it's costing you.
The presentation of the cake box is cute, too — with Dwanta's smiling face with raised eyebrow. Once open, it's not a super sexy presentation — it's wall-to-wall cake in a box — but the company says it's to conveniently double as a serving tray. And less waste is always a good thing.
It’s DWANTA SEASON!!
THANK YOU!! 🙏🏾🎅🏾🍨🤯
Our preorders were 💯 SOLD OUT and TODAY our @saltandstraw Dwanta Naughty and Nice ice cream cakes are officially on the shelves 😋🍨🎂
Inspired by my cheat meals, you'll find two delicious ice cream cake flavors (each cake serves 20… pic.twitter.com/KU2xlSsvxz
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) November 17, 2023
While the cakes are no longer available online, they are in stores starting today. And a portion of the proceeds supports the charity World Central Kitchen, so really you are helping others while helping yourself while eating it. Seems like a win-win here.