Is it just me, or has Instagram become increasingly filled with pictures of decked out, over-the-top gourmet doughnuts? Okay, let’s be real, I know it’s not me. It’s happening. Doughnuts are in. But are they outcompeting other food fads, such as hybrid pastries (cough, cronuts), macarons and—gasp—cupcakes?
It’s hard to tell whether or not doughnuts are taking over the pastry world. The crowds have gone wild over them, so Buzzfeed says, “yay”. Others will still throw down for their favorite cupcake shop until the end of time, so Eater says, “nay”.
So who’s right? We know you’re dying to take a side, so we’ve broken down the arguments for you.But first, here’s a quick history lesson on Homer Simpson’s favorite treat.
Doughnuts have been around for a while, but they weren’t quite popular in America until the 1900s. During WWI, women would make them for soldiers in the trenches, and when they returned home they desperately craved them.
In 1920, Adolph Levitt (a Jewish refugee from czarist Russia) created the first doughnut machine, selling hundreds of fried doughnuts from his New York City bakery. His “Wonderful Almost Human Automatic Doughnut Machine” made 80 dozen doughnuts an hour. By 1929, Americans had eaten as many as 216 million doughnuts.
Fast forward to 1933—a man by the name of Vernon Rudolph just so happened to purchase a secret doughnut recipe from a New Orleans chef.
In 1937, Rudolph took said recipe and moved to Winston-Salem, NC, and opened the first Krispy Kreme shop. The smell alone drew in countless customers. Shortly after, Rudolph began to sell his doughnuts directly to customers—hot and fresh out the kitchen.
Shortly after, the North decided to get in on the doughnut craze. In 1950, William Rosenberg opened the first Dunkin’ Donuts in Quincy, Massachusetts. Unlike Krispy Kreme, whose signature Original Glazed doughnut was airy, melt-in-your-mouth good, Dunkin’ Donuts featured doughier, cake-like doughnuts. (Which is better you ask? Food & Wine answers.)
Americans now consume over 10 million doughnuts a year. But we don’t only have two options anymore, we have hundreds.
Upscale doughnuts are now commonplace, as chefs and bakers have been opening artisanal doughnut shops to feature plated doughnuts, hybrid doughnuts, vegan doughnuts, odd-flavored doughnuts (um, why does my fried pastry taste like turkey?) and more.
Gourmet doughnuts are becoming so big that now they might even be bigger than cupcakes. But are they really winning over our hearts more than the beloved Crumbs, Magnolia and Baked By Melissa? We want you to decide, so here are the arguments:
YES! Doughnuts are in and here to stay.
- The number of gourmet doughnut shops that have gained fame is climbing. Some of these well-known sugar havens are Doughnut Planet (NYC), Dough (NYC), Wonder City Coffee & Donuts (NYC), Top Pot (Seattle), Voodoo Doughnuts (Portland), Doughnut Vault (Chicago) and Federal Doughnuts (Philly).
- If people are using doughnuts as their wedding cakes, that’s a big deal.
- Can you use a cupcake as a burger bun? I didn’t think so.
- Can’t find ’em? There’s an app for that.
- Doughnuts now have their own cookbooks… they’re that good.
- Ever heard of beignets, fritters, churros and crullers? All of them are variations of doughnuts. Mind. Blown.
- People love them so much that they now have their own TV show: Donut Showdown on the Cooking Channel.
- Ina Garten even makes them. #micdrop
No, it’s cupcakes forever. Bye, Felicia.
- Krispy Kreme was so ten years ago. The likelihood that the doughnut fad will even come close to that again is slim to none.
- Doughnuts are just an addition to the growing list of pastries that wish they were as good as cupcakes: macarons, pies, whoopie pies, cronuts and cake pops.
- And according to Google Trends, cupcakes win every time. Which previous “new cupcake” has ever beaten the high and mighty cupcake? Don’t hate.
- Cupcakes are much more elegant for weddings.
- People actually decorate cupcakes with doughnuts, like this. Can’t exactly decorate a doughnut with a cupcake…
- They’re easy to make, don’t involve frying and no special skills or equipment are necessary. Anyone with a hand mixer can do it.
- Doughnuts can be sticky and messy. Cupcakes, however, can be eaten like this to avoid any mess.
So, are you ready to put your cupcake down and run to the nearest doughnut shop? Comment and share. We need to know your opinion.
Drooling over these dope doughnuts (and maybe cupcakes too)? Check these out: