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Entries in donuts (19)

Wednesday
Jul282010

Orange You Glad? The Orange Glazed Cake Donut from Family Donut, Seattle

I like fruit, really I do.

Just not in dessert, where my philosophy is "if you're gonna do it, do it". I don't like the creeping suspicion that my sweet treat might be a little healthy. 

However, when it's in glaze form on a cake donut, as in the case of the Orange Donut at Family Donuts, a greasy spoon of a donut shop if there ever was one, I find it acceptable.

First off, it's a cake donut, which means that it's delightfully oily and decidedly not low-fat. Believe it or not, the citrus flavor permeating the fried dough is actually kind of nice--it cuts through the flavor of "fry" which can sometimes be lacking in dimension. The orange flavor is in the cake donut but also the glaze, which is applied liberally.

To put it mathematically? Crisp citrus orange flavor + hefty round of fried dough = TOTAL YUM.

Family Donut Shop, 2100 N. Northgate Way, Seattle.

Family Donut Shop on Urbanspoon

Thursday
Jun032010

Beyond A Baker's Dozen: Sweet Links for National Doughnut Day

Upon first glance, these Doughnut Seeds might appear to simply be cereal cleverly packaged for sale for a tidy little profit.

But you're so wrong, because oh, the places these doughnut seeds could go. In honor of National Doughnut Day, here are several things to which doughnut seeds can aspire:

They could become delicious doughnut pies:
They could become athletic heros (just donut!):

Or maybe Trompe l'oeil bagel-and-cream cheese doughnuts:
They could become Red Velvet Cake doughnuts:
They could become any number of these clever donuts:
Or maybe they'd grow into doughnut lookalike cookies:
They could grow up to be the inspiration for portraits:
They could become German chocolate cake doughnuts:
They could become the anchor for some delicious Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict:
Or perhaps a doughnut burger:
Or maybe even a wedding cake substitute:
They could become the hopeless quandary:

They could be a saving grace at a Texas airport:
They could be the crowning glory on a Doughnut Upside Down cake:
They could become the sweetest thing for 500 miles around in South Dakota:
They could make cupcakes even better.
They could be the subject of a tell-all, such as the amazing book Donuts: An American Passion by John T. Edge (which I think everyone should read!) 
They could be a Los Angeles landmark...

Or they could be written up in fancy doughnut day articles on MSN.

So there you have it--who knows what could happen when you plant these sweet seeds?

Saturday
May152010

Bittersweet: A Tale of Donut Despair Diverted in Portland, OR

I want to tell you a sad, sad story about Delicious Donuts in Portland, Oregon.

Based on many accounts, this is the donut place in Portland--"better than Voodoo" was the bold claim of one trusted source.

But I couldn't tell you for myself, because I've never tasted them.

Oh, I've tried. In the past, when showing at the Crafty Wonderland fair in its old location at the Doug Fir Lounge, I had tried to score a doughnut on my way to the fair, but each and every time I was confronted by this sign:

I wasn't too put off though--generally I was heading over there at 11 a.m. or so, and I can understand if a popular shop might be sold out by then. If anything, it heightened the anticipation.

And on a more recent trip to Portland for the Crafty Wonderland spring fair, I was prepared, and got up early on a Sunday morning and headed over to the donut shop, a spring in my step from the sweet prospect of glazed and fried  goodness in my near future a bit before 8 a.m. Cars were parked outside, and I felt hopeful: this was gonna be my day.

But here's what I found:

The only difference? The sign was slightly nicer. But somehow, this provided little comfort.

Sold out of donuts before 8 a.m. on a Sunday? I can understand if you're a popular place, but come on. If you're selling out that early, you need to make more donuts.

Yes, I was facing deep donut despair, but happily this story has a sweet ending: because a mere few hours later I was delighted with a surprise Voodoo Doughnut, thoughtfully delivered by friends Mary and Dave Sheely. Delicious Donuts might be the best, but Voodoo definitley won my sweet affections on this fateful day.Delicious Donuts, 12 Southeast Grand Avenue Portland, OR 97214-1112 - (503) 233-1833.

Voodoo Doughnut, 22 Southwest 3rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204-2713, (503) 241-4704; online at voodoodoughnut.com.

Thursday
Jan142010

Do or Donut: The German Chocolate Cake Donut from Rocket Donuts, Bellingham WA

Every so often, a donut comes along that can only be described as a holey experience.

And this baby is worth a pilgrimage to Rocket Donuts in Bellingham, Washington: The German Chocolate Cake Donut. 

Now, the whole theory behind Rocket Donuts, which boasts a cool, sci-fi inspired interior, is that "donuts just ain't serious business"--the idea being that donuts are an indulgence, something fun, and something to be enjoyed. No, they're not healthy, but they do you good. 

But while they claim not to take themselves seriously, the donuts are indeed serious business. With a gorgeous display filled with varieties including a perfect Homer Simpson pink frosted cake donut with sprinkes, pretty crullers, several vegan options, and even a devilish maple bacon bar (not one of the vegan options), deciding on just a couple of flavors was difficult. 

Ultimately, we (myself and CakeSpy buddy Nicole) chose several cake varieties, including the chocolate frosted cake with coconut on top, the Homer Simpson (my term, not theirs), and the donut of the month, the German Chocolate Cake.

While all flavors had a dense and flavorful crumb, the flavor of the month really took the cake. The donut itself had an understated chocolate flavor which wasn't overpowering, but rather perfectly balanced by a thick slathering of traditional coconut-rich German chocolate cake frosting, which added moisture and richness to every bite. The sweet little cherry on top not only added an extra dose of sweetness, but it sure was cute too (and cuteness cannot be underrated in baked goods).

To sum it all up? When classic cake flavor meets cake donut, each bite is like a little jaunt to Bliss City. Of course, if you don't like coconut, bet you wouldn't turn away one of these:

Rocket Donuts, 306 W. Holly St. (Corner of Holly and Bay, Downtown Bellingham), 360.671.6111; online at rocketdonuts.com.

Rocket Donuts on Urbanspoon

Tuesday
Sep222009

Pastry Road Trip: Deliciously Dense Donuts at Wall Drug, South Dakota

Vanilla Frosted Donut, Wall Drug, SD
CakeSpy Note: This month I drove to and from Chicago on a Pastry Road Trip: here's the beginning of several installments detailing the deliciousness I discovered!

Wall Drug is a tourist trap of epic proportions: you've barely entered South Dakota when you start to see billboards proclaiming "Wall Drug--Only 500 Miles!". From that point on, every few miles you'll see another Wall Drug sign or billboard, some advertising products or services, some simply updating you on how much closer you are.
Welcome to Wall Drug (South Dakota)
By the time you've actually reached Wall, South Dakota, you'll be so curious that you've basically got to stop.

Of course, I had a reason beyond mere curiosity: I had heard the donuts were fantastic.
Donut Factory
I pulled into Wall at about 5 p.m. and unfortunately the "Donut Factory" section of Wall Drug had already closed for the day, but there were still fresh donuts (and ice cream and cookies too) available in their cafe. I picked up two cake donuts: maple frosted and vanilla frosted.
Donut in the Hall of Heads, Wall Drug, SD
I offered to share with some of the little critters nearby, but it seemed they had no stomach for donuts.

How to describe these donuts? They were extremely dense--none of that light-as-air business here. The cake was very moist and pleasingly greasy, but tastefully so--it didn't leave an oily slick in your mouth. The frosting was rich and flavorful--the maple had a deep, earthy-sweet flavor and the vanilla was surprisingly thick and rich--and it was soft and held together beautifully (nothing is worse, to me, than donut frostings that are hard and flake off!). To put it in a nutshell, these donuts tasted very old school. In a good way.

Wall Drug, 510 Main Street, Wall, SD; 605-279-2175. Online at walldrug.com.

Bonus! Though I couldn't find their donut recipe, the Food Network does have a pie recipe donated by Wall Drug; check it out here!

Monday
Jul132009

Dead Men Doughn't Bite: An Epic Donut Battle in NYC

Coffee and Donut
As discovered via the New York Times, today in NYC, mass hysteria broke out as Tim Hortons opened its first locations in the city, in 12 locations which had previously been Dunkin' Donuts locations. The doughnut wars had begun.

While the NY Times article (which focused on Dunkin' vs. Tim Hortons) resolved that neither company's doughnuts were noticeably more delicious and concluded that "mass-produced doughnuts are achieving total global mediocrity", the subject has clearly brought out some strong feelings in doughnut fans.

While I had previously thought that the ultimate US Donut battle was between Dunkin' and Krispy Kreme, apparently Tim Hortons is a new challenger in the ring.

Personally I'm a DD fan for life--probably the result of having grown up on the Jersey Shore, where there are so many locations that their pink-and-orange logo seems etched into my childhood memories--but I realize that this is probably nostalgia, rather than doughnut quality, speaking.

But it does bring up an important point: which of these kingpins of the doughnut industry do you prefer, and why? Or if you can't stand any of them...why not?

Thursday
Feb192009

Holey Yum: Donut Pies

Donut Pies!

Donuts play nice, don't they? They're so open to collaboration. There's donut bread pudding. Donut burgers. Donut muffins. Donut soup.

And now, Donut Pie. Don't be fooled by the photo at the top: these are no typical donuts. They're in fact little morsels of pie crust, with filling rolled inside of them and then fried. While they're certainly not health food, they certainly are delicious: crispy, not too-sweet, easy to make, and completely open to improvisation with flavor. Here's how we made them:

Donut Pie
Donut Pies
  1. First, choose your favorite pie crust recipe (we used this one). We made the equivalent of a single pie crust, and the yield was about 15 mini Donut Pies.
  2. Next, decide what your filling would be. For our filling, we mixed one ripe banana, a small amount (1/4 cup, adding more to desired thickness) of heavy whipping cream, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and two pinches of cinnamon. We mashed it until it was incorporated, but still a little bit lumpy. You can fill them with just about anything you'd use in a pie though. Let your filling sit to the side.
  3. Roll out your pie crust, and then score into strips. The strips should be about 2.5 inches wide, but as long or as short as you'd like. The length will determine how large the donut's circumfrence will be, so if you like mini donuts, keep them shorter.
  4. Donut Pies
  5. Lengthwise, spoon a small amount of filling in each strip. Be sure to leave a small gap of space at the top and bottom of the strip.
  6. Donut Pies
  7. Fold the crust over the filling lengthwise, so that you have a long, narrow, filled "log" of pie crust with filling inside.
  8. Donut Pies
  9. Form into a circle.
  10. Donut Pies
  11. Since we don't have a deep fryer, we then filled a frying pan on  with about 2 cups of canola oil, set to high heat, and once hot gently placed the donuts several at a time into the fryer, frying each side about 3-4 minutes or until golden.
  12. Donut Pies
  13. Gently remove from frying pan and place on paper towels to blot excess oil.
  14. Donut Pie
  15. Garnish as desired: with additional fruit topping (as above), whipped cream, ice cream, or for a more donutty look, chocolate icing (as seen on the chocolate topped ones) and sprinkles or swirls. Yum.
Donut Pies

Wednesday
Sep102008

Holey Sweetness: An Unexpected Visit to Shipley Do-Nuts in Houston

Shipley's do-nut
Sometimes, when life gives you lemons...well, you know the rest. However, in the recent case of an unexpected 3-hour flight layover in the Houston Airport, it wasn't lemonade, but sweet, sweet donuts that sweetened our day.

We're talking about Shipley Do-Nuts, of course.
Shipley's Do-Nuts saved my life
Shipley Do-Nuts was founded in 1936 in Texas (when donuts retailed for 5 cents a dozen) – they now boast nearly 200 locations in Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. While on previous visits to their website we were inclined to rage against the chain as having a contrived sort of nostalgic atmosphere, it must be said—on our visit to the Houston airport, all of the employees were almost alarmingly upbeat, and we were ultimately won over by the old-school packaging—but more importantly, by the donuts. These donuts weren’t extraordinary, but sometimes that’s not such a bad thing--nostalgia is often comfort, is it not? They were certainly solid—our choice, the cherry-frosted (and rainbow sprinkled!) raised donut, was just greasy enough to provide a solid base for the smothering of cherry frosting, which recalled another glorious nostalgic taste memory: the cherry dip coating from Mr. Softee.
Shipley's in the Houston Airport

While we’re not going to denounce all other donuts in favor of Shipley’s (hey, there’s room for everyone!) we can indeed say that they made our layover sweet, and that we’re very happy to have made their acquaintance.

(Cakespy Note: At the time of our visit, we were not aware of the recent immigration scandal at Shipley’s, so we have chosen to just focus on the donuts in this writeup. Any reader thoughts?)

For locations, visit www.shipleydonuts.com

Tuesday
Oct022007

Napoleon of the Stumptown: Portland Coffee Takes Seattle

Stumptown Coffee has opened in Seattle, and it's caused quite a stir in the
city. To some, it's seen as an invasion in an already saturated boutique coffee market: are Caffé Vita, Espresso Vivace, Caffe Ladro and Uptown Espresso really not sufficient? And yet at the same time, there are the coffee enthusiasts who are flocking to the newly-opened Capitol Hill location.

But Cakespy is here to report on something much more important than coffee alone: what's going on in their pastry case?

Well. We're happy to say that Stumptown has embraced their new hometown by stocking their pastry case with lovely carbohydratey treats from Seattle favorites Mighty-O Donuts and Macrina Bakery. Beautiful cake doughnuts, biscuits, dill scones with cream cheese--we have to say, they have a major leg up on nearby Caffé Vita's pastry case, which always looks a little sad.

Oh, and the coffee is pretty good too; their espresso was strong and smoky yet still remarkably smooth; in fact, our only complaint is that they serve their French press coffee from a pump-top dispenser (which, granted, might just be a personal thing).

Stumptown Coffee Roasters, 1115 12th Ave (near Madison St.); second Capitol Hill location opening soon at 1605 Boylston Ave. (at Pine St.); online stumptowncoffee.com.

Stumptown Coffee in Seattle

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