Whether it requires waking up at 4 a.m. or driving halfway across an island, I’m always down for a doughnut adventure.
So I assembled my team of juniors – our doughnut expert, Harkirat Lally, our photographer, Nina Dym, and my brother Bryce – and we set off for Baker’s Donuts (5880 Florin Rd.).
The only information I had been given about Baker’s Donuts was that it “is in the hood and makes cool-looking doughnuts.” I had never heard of the place, so I assumed they were a new shop hopping on the social-media hype train of visually appealing, over-the-top (but impractical) food.
And what do you know – Baker’s Donuts did have an Instagram with pictures of vibrantly colored, excessively decorated doughnuts.
But this isn’t some year-old startup. Baker’s Donuts just celebrated its 32nd anniversary at the end of February.
So when we arrived at the community-favorite shop at 8 a.m., I wasn’t surprised that the line was almost out the door.
As the four of us waited, we tried to decide which doughnuts to choose from what seemed like an endless selection.
They had everything from croissant doughnuts to ice-cream doughnuts to breakfast sandwiches (with a glazed doughnut taking the place of what’s usually a bagel).
When it was our turn, we still had no idea what to get. Fortunately, the nice lady behind the counter helped us pick out a mix of their most popular specialty and traditional doughnuts, which range from 85 cents to $4.
Even though Baker’s Donuts has indoor and outdoor seating, most customers just take their doughnuts to go. We followed suit and drove home to our impending sugar rush.
We began with the Reese’s croissant doughnut, topped with a chocolate and peanut-butter drizzle.
The croissant base was definitely much lighter and flakier than a normal doughnut base but didn’t leave an overpowering croissant taste.
“I’m usually not a fan of Reese’s, but I really like this,” Bryce said.
All four of us agreed we would get it again, and it’s a must-have for Reese’s lovers.
Next up was the Thai tea ice cream, sandwiched in between a traditional glazed doughnut. Nina, an avid fan of Thai tea, was the only one of us who said she’d get it again, rating it a high nine out of 10.
Although the rest of us weren’t big fans, we agreed it is definitely a good alternative if you are looking to change it up from the traditional vanilla ice cream.
Then, we moved onto our red velvet cake
doughnut, which was ardently requested by Harkirat and Bryce.
Unsurprisingly, both of them said they would order it again, while Nina and I deemed it just right.
Our first cereal doughnut was a traditional doughnut base with an ube (purple yam) frosting and topped with Cap’n Crunch cereal.
The purple frosting and Cap’n Crunch topping made it one of the most visually appealing in the shop.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t as appealing to the tastebuds. The ube lacked flavor and the Cap’n Crunch was overpowering, leaving something to be desired.
Our second cereal doughnut was a matcha-tea-glazed doughnut topped with Fruity Pebbles.
Although it was a step above the ube, the matcha still lacked flavor.
“We’re basically eating a plain doughnut with Fruity Pebbles,” I said to my fellow taste testers, who nodded in agreement. Just like the Thai tea, Nina was the only one who would get it again.
Next up was the blue hippo doughnut, named after its sky-blue icing, topped with crumbled Oreos.
Not knowing what the icing was going to taste like, we had seventh graders J.T. Longoria and Jared McCain sample it first.
“It’s kind of minty,” J.T. said.
“It tastes like toothpaste,” Nina replied.
“I kind of like toothpaste,” Jared added.
I like toothpaste, too, but for brushing my teeth, not on my doughnuts.
The combination of the sweet Oreos and the minty icing wasn’t appealing, resulting in a unanimous vote to never get the blue hippo again.
After three disappointing doughnuts, we needed to end on a high note, so we opted for another Reese’s doughnut, this time with a traditional doughnut base filled with peanut butter and chocolate.
Like its croissant relative, the traditional Reese’s hit the spot. It had just the right amount of chocolate – sweet, but not too sweet.
For me, Baker’s Donuts fills a niche.
Would I go there the next time I’m craving a traditional chocolate or glazed doughnut? No. I would go to my lifelong-favorite shop, Marie’s Donuts.
Would I go to Baker’s Donuts to get cool-looking doughnuts for my friends? Absolutely!
—By Jake Longoria