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Whether you’re the one hosting Thanksgiving this year, or you’re in search of a memorable dessert to bring to dinner, it’s always a safe bet to try it before you buy it. On Nov. 12 and Nov. 13, Brooklyn’s Cold Stone Creamery stores are offering free samples of their ice cream cakes.

Each location will offer a different selection. Alison Peretti, manager of the Bay Ridge store, says her location will offer different varieties all weekend long. Marlon Lloyd, owner of the Atlantic Terminal Mall location, says he’ll be offering samples of the holiday-themed cakes as well as their usual cake line-up.

Our intrepid staffers happily offered to sample "Pumpkin Pie in the Sky" and "Carrot Cake Batter Comfort Cake."

The panel of judges clearly preferred the "Pumpkin Pie in the Sky": an actual pie tin with a graham cracker crust topped with pumpkin ice cream, covered with whip cream and sprinkled with cinnamon. (Our pie had more whip cream and did not have the chocolate fall leaves that are included in the photo at left.)

Judge’s comments on the "Pumpkin Pie" ranged from "there was a certain nutmeg kick which combined with the pre-made graham crust and reminded me - in a nice way - of mothers wearing orange turtlenecks and baking atop Formica counters" to "very sweet and extremely rich" to "lived up to its billing" and "fun rendition of that Thanksgiving classic."

However, the returns were definitely mixed on the "Carrot Cake Batter Comfort Cake," which featured alternating layers of yellow cake and "Carrot Cake Batter" ice cream, enveloped in white frosting that’s decorated with a ring of frosting carrot illustrations - just like an actual carrot cake.

The judge’s responses ranged from "I liked the height of the cake" and "great appearance" to "no carrots were harmed in the making of this cake" to "I don’t like carrot cake, so I actually LOVED it" to "calling this an ice cream cake is surely a misnomer."

Judge for yourself at these Cold Stone Creamerys this weekend: 8403 Third Ave. at 84th Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 745-1555; and 139 Flatbush Ave. at Atlantic Avenue in Fort Greene’s Atlantic Terminal Mall, (718) 230-8020. Cakes: approximately $19.99 (serves 6 to 10) to $70 (serves 50). For more information, visit www.coldstonecreamery.com.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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