It’s hard to think of Fat Tuesday without donuts. The large Polish population in Chicago has made the traditional pre-Lenten treat, paczki (a round filled donut,) a favorite. Bakeries throughout Chicago create them for the day in countless flavors. People line up to get them before they’re gone. Even though I prefer cake donuts, I can’t resist paczki when they’re filled with praline chocolate mousse or strawberries and whipped cream. Those are just two of the offerings at Bennison’s Bakery in Evanston. Another local favorite, Deerfield’s Bakery, is offering paczki in eighteen flavors.
Why I Choose Old Fashioned Cake Donuts
The first donuts I remember were the apple cider cake donuts at the Franklin Cider Mill in the Detroit suburbs. Warm from the oven, they’re incredible. Fortunately it was a favorite fall outing. Although I always enjoyed watching the apples being pressed and the flavorful cider, the donuts were the highlight of the trip.
Yeast vs. Old Fashioned Cake Donuts
Before the Krispy Kreme donut craze I wasn’t sure I even liked yeast donuts. I had always liked their custard fillings, otherwise I found them unremarkable. It wasn’t until Krispy Kreme developed a national following that I gave an unfilled yeast doughnut another try. As I had discovered at the cider mill, warm doughnuts are better. Even I had to admit, a warm Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut was very good.
Best Chicago Donuts
Donuts in an extraordinary range of flavor combinations are now available throughout the country. Some of the best donuts in Chicago can be found at Doughnut Vault, Do -Rite Donuts & Coffee, Stan’ s Donuts, and Firecakes. The popularity of the inventive creations means that lines and limited availability are standard. The marriage of creative flavors with crunchy cake exteriors has made me a devoted follower. I rarely get to award-winning Doughnut Vault early enough. If you do, their plain glazed is easily as popular as the more complex confections. I like the inventive fillings at Do -Rite Donuts and Coffee ; when I’m in the neighborhood I can’t resist stopping for their pistachio-Meyer lemon donut. Some of Stan’s (an LA import) most popular donuts have specialty fillings such as Biscoff cookie butter and peanut butter. However, our family always returns for the classic coconut cake. If you’re in Chicago for Fat Tuesday try any of these donut emporiums for a carnival treat.
Firecakes Old Fashioned Cake Donuts
Firecakes is my favorite Chicago Donut shop because they make the best cake donuts in town. It wasn’t until I began researching this post that I realized that old fashioned cake donuts have several definitions. I always thought they were just a synonym for cake donuts – doughnuts leavened with baking powder or soda instead of yeast. I discovered that other definitions include: cake donuts with irregular jagged edges (which create more crunch) and oversized jagged edge cake donuts. At Firecakes the Buttermilk Old Fashioned cake donuts are my favorite. They are irregular average size donuts with a moist flavorful vanilla interior and a wonderful crunchy outside. The contrast of sour buttermilk and sweet glaze creates a perfectly balanced donut. If you like cake donuts, you must try it.
Donuts While Traveling
When I’m traveling I try get to noteworthy donut shops. One of my favorites is Voodoo Donuts in Portland,OR. For information about it and other fun Portland destinations read my post How to Find Fun in Portland OR. I looked forward to trying the potato cake donuts at Holy Donut in Portland, ME. The flavor wasn’t for me, but they are popular. See for yourself. For other Maine dining ideas read, Where to Eat in the Other Portland. If your favorite dessert is cupcakes rather than donuts, my article, Where to Find Some of the Best DC Restaurants will tell you where to go.