The early bird gets the specialty doughnuts. Well, that’s the revised saying applied to the doughnut scene in Chicago. People are willing to spend over an hour during the waking hours waiting in a line wrapped around the street blocks outside Doughnut Vault while others wait for Do-Rite or Firecakes to open their doors. Today, we were finally able to make it out to Firecakes (Figure 1) early enough to make a selection from the full dozen (they get depleted very quickly). So, of course, we got them all.
What ensued at home was a delightful doughnut feast that resulted in some rounder bellies and sugar highs. The fried, yeast-risen dough at Firecakes ranges from a light, airy texture to a dense, cakey one. My favorite, and also what I think is the prettiest, doughnut is the coconut cream (Figure 2). Not only is the doughnut covered in tiny coconut confetti, it’s topped with a smooth, creamy custard and toasted coconut flakes.
If you like chocolate, you have a difficult choice ahead of you (unless you just get all three). They are made using the luxurious Valrhona dark chocolate from Tain-l’Hermitage in France. The Valrhona chocolate iced (Figure 3) is your typical poofy, light doughnut topped with that chocolate glaze that gives you a nice mustache afterwards.
If a chocolate glaze is not enough, definitely jump for the triple Valrhona chocolate cake doughnut (Figure 4). With a dense, chocolate dough, chocolate glaze AND chocolate chunks on top, I believe it is a definite chocolate satisfaction for chocolate lovers. Have I set the record for the number of times the word “chocolate” is used in a sentence yet?
The chocolate hazelnut long john (Figure 5) is the third Valrhona chocolate doughnut available, and this is for those who like a little nutty taste (with nutella filling, I must add) to go along with their chocolate.
In the same figure is the butterscotch praline. I was a huge fan of the doughnut and the beautifully done praline cream hidden inside until the overly sweet caramel glaze registered with my taste buds! The praline cream would shine through if the caramel glaze weren’t slathered on like a thick layer of paint.
The lemon verbena meringue doughnut (Figure 6) is divine. The dough is fluffy and filled with a pleasantly sour lemon curd and topped off with a smooth meringue. This was a taste of spring!
The maple glazed pineapple and bacon doughnuts (Figure 7) are larger versions of glazed doughnut holes, but they are very airy to compensate for the heavier maple glaze and bacon. These latter two ingredients remind you of the perfect “healthy” breakfast with a bit of a sweet and acidic bite from the pineapple. You may need two of these instead of just one…
And believe me, you wouldn’t want to stay away from the old fashioned buttermilk doughnut (Figure 8). The taste is very much fashionable these days.
- I didn’t write about them all, but every doughnut here is worth a try!
- Go early or else the flavors run out very quickly. Normally, if you go an hour or two after they open, only the normal, honey glazed doughnuts are left (but those are delicious too).