Over the past couple of years, the doughnut options in Sydney have expanded way beyond the humble cinnamon variety. From businesses specialising in outrageous toppings, to delicately decorated, doughnuts have come a long way. There’s even a delivery theme we’ve picked up on, making a good doughnut more accessible than ever for when that 3pm slump hits. We’ve scouted around to find some of the best (and more unusual) doughy delights.
Devon on Danks
When the team at Devon Cafe opened its new space on Danks Street late last year, one of the things it was looking forward to most was making daily doughnuts with flavours piped into them. Its mini doughnut balls have earned quite the reputation. With three flavours and the chance to nab the trio at $7, they encompass a traditional, modern and Japanese-inspired flavour in each triptych. Current flavours include black-sesame filled with red-bean paste, lemon filled with coconut-and-citrus curd and salted-caramel popcorn. It also has a daily array of cronnies (cronuts) with equally intriguing flavours.
Pig and Pastry
This beautiful corner cafe makes its vanilla-filled doughnuts fresh, and glazes and decorate them with whatever flavour combinations it is loving at the time. Flavours are changed regularly, but might include raspberry and pink peppercorn; nutella, pistachio and coconut; or a more traditional cinnamon-sugar dusting. They each ooze vanilla cream and are big, pillowy handfuls of freshly fried dough, decorated with a delicate touch to make them pretty as well as delicious. Keep an eye out for the rocky-road variety.
Milkbar by Café Ish
Freshly made doughnuts fill the display cabinet every day at Milkbar by Café Ish. Flavours change but can include choco ball, passionfruit and lemon bomboloni, all with glazed toppings. It always has the classic cinnamon and the juicy jam bomboloni with raspberry filling. “I grew up on jam doughnuts,” says owner and chef Josh Nicholls. “They’re like I remember them as a kid.” You can now get boxes of six or more doughnuts delivered if you order online.
At Glazed, Californian ladies Candy Berger and Eden Elan are changing the way we think about doughnuts in Sydney. There weren’t any doughnuts like they remember from the US, so they decided to show us how it’s done. After time spent selling their creations at cafes across Sydney and at markets each weekend, their huge handmade doughnuts soon earned a following, with their signature being the creative glazes that they make from scratch, right down to the brownies that they crumble on top for the Belgian chocolate flavour. For now, they've taken a step back to work on other top-secret projects (stayed tuned) but promise to keep popping up at cafes and the Bondi Farmers Markets to keep the peace. You can track their whereabouts on their Instagram page.
Another American showing us why the US is the epi-centre of the doughnut is Janelle Smith of Woah Nelly, who also makes and delivers her fist-sized glazed treats. Flavours such as the maple bacon, salted-caramel pretzel and Oreo peanut butter are huge hits. But it’s the vividly pink strawberry-iced Homer Simpson – complete with rainbow sprinkles – that is hard to forget. It brings the childhood ideal of a doughnut to life. It’s almost too perfect to bite into, but also too perfect to resist.
Head to Avalon via the Northern Beaches and you’ll find an avid crowd outside Smalltown for its weekend specialty: house-made doughnuts. They’re glazed with attention to detail that includes rose petals. Flavours vary, with owner and doughnut baker Katrina Smith baking them herself and playing around with glazes, but have previously included chocolate peanut and the popular vanilla-rose dusted with freeze-dried strawberry.
Flour and Stone
At Flour and Stone the signature doughnut is a cross between the jam doughnut and a custard bomboloni; the chubby balls of dough burst with berry compote and vanilla custard. Flour and Stone makes the custard and the berry compote in house – the fruit remaining as intact as possible. “That’s one of the most important things,” says owner and baker Nadine Ingram, pointing out that those mouthfuls of whole berries complete the picture. You can get them in store Thursday to Saturday, but keep an eye out for them at Eveleigh, Orange Grove and EQ village markets on weekends. It does a lemon and ricotta version, too.