In early 2017, Optimum Nutrition dropped their Protein Cake Bites, which shook the protein bar landscape. There were other “bite” oriented protein snacks on shelves, but few, if any, took the approach of trying to portray the sweet taste of cake in three protein focused icing coated bites.
Over the last few years, protein bars have continually grown in popularity as our society continues to look for convenient sources of protein on the go. Since the Protein Cake Bites’ release, I’ve been a fan of these cake focused snacks, so I was pumped to put all of their flavors to the test.
In this review, I objectively tried multiple Protein Cake Bite flavors and ranked them out of 10. Additionally, I broke down their nutrition, textures, pros, cons, and the price that come along with these bites. Did they live up to their “cake” focused flavor? Read on to find out.
Optimum Nutrition Protein Cake Bites Taste Test
Chocolate Frosted Donut: 8/10
The Chocolate Frosted Donut is one of the internet’s favorite flavors, so I was curious how it compared to a real donut. This bite was really good and provided a solid donut-like flavor, but it did have a slight artificial flavor, although, that’s kind of expected when you account that it uses sugar alcohols and isn’t a true “donut”. I think if you’re a fan of that glazed donut flavor, then you’ll like this cake.
Chocolate Mint: 8.6/10
Not for nothing, I’m not a mint guy, but this flavor didn’t completely turn me off of the mint-esque flavor like most chocolate mint products. Was it as minty as a chocolate mint ice cream? No, and that’s possibly why I liked this cake so much. If you’re interested in a subtle mint flavoring with a solid chocolate back, then this cake bite is a good choice.
Berry Cheesecake: 7.7/10
Props to Optimum Nutrition for attempting this flavor. I feel like trying to accurately portray a cheesecake flavor in a protein bar is incredibly tough, but this bite held its ground. It doesn’t help its score that I hold this flavor to a higher standard because, in my opinion, since it’s a lofty flavor goal to achieve I feel like it should come close to its goal. It tasted like an artificial cheesecake that lacked a real cheesecake’s crisp bite.
Red Velvet Cake: 9/10
In my opinion, the Red Velvet Cake bite was the closest flavor to its goal. I thought this cake bite did a good job at providing the red velvet flavor and avoiding an overly processed essence. Possibly my favorite part of this cake bite was the frosting on the outside that broke apart really well when you took a bite, or ripped the bite into smaller chunks.
Chocolate Dipped Cherry: 8.4/10
I wasn’t surprised that Chocolate Dipped Cherry performed pretty consistently. In terms of protein bars, I feel like berry flavors are a little more easy to achieve and have been done multiple times. For this reason, I feel that the cherry flavoring was on point, and the additional chocolate coating enhanced the overall taste of this bite.
Protein Cake Bites Texture
Alright, now for texture.
For me, texture is a big deal when it comes to protein bars for two major reasons. First, I like a bar that’s got solid bite to it that’s not overly chewy or hard. Since I’m most likely eating this on-the-go, then an overly chewy product can be annoying when in a crowded area, and a crunchy bar can be messy. I thought the Protein Cake Bites did a good job at providing the best of both worlds with their fluffy/dense inside and light coated outside.
Second, I want the texture to exemplify what it aims to do, or what it’s marketed for. For this product, they market it as a cake focused food, so I obviously expect and look for a cake-like texture. I know it’s not going to be perfect, but it should have some resemblance to what it’s being sold as. From my experience, I thought all of the cake bites stood their ground when it came to providing a somewhat “fluffy” cake texture.
Calories, Macronutrients, and Ingredients
Unlike other protein bars that have consistent caloric totals across the board, you’ll have some variance with Protein Cake Bites. Of the five flavors I tried, the caloric totals varied slightly and range from 230-250. Is that range incredibly large? No, but if you’re in a severe deficit, then it’s something to keep in mind from a diet overview standpoint.
Similar to calories, the macronutrients will vary slightly depending on your flavor preference, but they don’t vary that much. Across the board, protein comes in at 20 grams, then carbs vary between 22-25 grams, while fat ranges from 7-9 grams, and sugars come in at 4-7 grams. Again, these aren’t the biggest concern for many folks, but if you’re eating a lot of these in a deficit, or have little wiggle room, then they’re worth keeping an eye on.
In my video review, I discussed that I’d dive into each ingredient with more depth in this article, along with providing a brief explanation as to “why” that ingredient is in this product. Obviously, I don’t know for sure about what Optimum Nutrition’s why was, but I can provide a brief ingredient background.
Chocolate Frosted Donut ingredients below.
- Protein Blend (Milk Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate),
- Coating (Maltitol, Palm Kernel Oil, Whey Protein Isolate, Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), Soy Lecithin)
- Glycerin: Sweetener
- Syrup Blend (Rice Syrup, Grape Juice Concentrate): Taste
- Chicory Root fiber: Soluble fiber to boost a food’s fiber content
- Isomalto-Oligosaccharides: Sweet carbohydrate
- Sunflower Oil
- Calcium Caseinate: Amino Acid Enrichment, Shelf-Life Extension
- Natural and Artificial Flavor, Sugar, Salt, Cornstarch: Flavor
- Mixed Tocopherols: Shelf-Life
- Sucralose, Confectioner’s Glaze, Carnauba Wax, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 6, blue 2: Glaze Flavor/Appearance
Protein Cake Bite Pros
When objectively consuming and reviewing these Protein Cake Bites I came up with a few pros that come along with them. First, and probably the biggest pro is the taste each bite came along with. If you’re looking for a “cheat” snack, then these could be a good option to provide your taste buds with that perception.
Second, I like that each package comes with three bites, so they can be consumed at different times. If you’re someone who likes to digest a little bit before finishing a full protein bar, or want one for now two for later etc, then these are a good option. Plus, they can provide a sweet taste for a longer period by breaking up their consumption.
Third, I those the macronutrient breakdown in this product was pretty solid. Personally, when I’m reaching for a protein bar I’d like a higher protein, moderate carb, and low fat breakdown, which this bar does a fairly good job at providing.
Protein Cake Bites Cons
Let’s call it what it is, but these bites aren’t the lowest in calories. Yes, there are protein bars out there with more calories than 250, but I still consider 250 to be pretty high. For context, a Snickers Bar is 210 calories and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups are 220 (2-pack). If you have calories to spend, or you’re trying to gain weight, then these could be a good option to consume more often.
The second potential con to keep in mind is the amount of processed ingredients in this product. If you’re concerned about only consuming natural ingredients, then I’d recommend doing further research for this product to see if it’s a good fit for your dietary needs. Lastly, the chocolate coated cakes do melt in backpacks and warm areas, so be mindful where you’re storing them when on-the-go.
For the price of each individual Protein Cake Bite you can expect to pay around $2.50 – $4.00. If you live in more expensive areas, then the price will be slightly higher, so it’s not the cheapest snack you can consume. Buying in bulk will save you the most money when buying these protein bars and buying a pack of four will cost you around $8.00 and for twelve you can expect to pay around $25.00.
All-in-all, I was a fan of Optimum Nutrition’s Protein Cake Bites. I’m a sucker for protein bars that can provide a decently sweet taste with a fair amount of protein per serving. In terms of taste, I think the Protein Cake Bites held their own across the board, and could be good option for anyone wanting that “cheat” taste. The only real downfalls are that they’re pretty processed and expensive per bar.
If you want a good textured protein snack with a sweet taste, then Optimum Nutrition’s Protein Cake Bites may be a good option for you.