Remember when Homer sells his soul to Satan (aka Flanders) for a doughnut? Later, in hell, he is unphased when he is forcefed them by the dozen. Ah, to be forcefed doughnuts ... There's a reason it's doughnuts (and beer) Homer so incessantly pines for. Doughnuts live large in our hearts and minds. They're an "everyman" type food, ie if you don't like them, you're just not admitting it. (Mac 'n' cheese is another one.) This week's Food Fight honors two of the Twin Cities' most revered cake doughnuts (Homer's fave). See which one comes out on top:
Mel-O-Glaze is best-known for its glazed doughnuts, but its cake variety are a rich, dense force to be reckoned with in their own right. Sunny and caramel in color, the doughnuts are swollen to the size of a small fist, with the hole nearly squeezed shut -- almost like they're too big for their non-existent britches. It's fun to imagine a time-lapsed video of them quickly rising in the oven from small rings of dough to their outsize proportion. Sweet and heavy, they have an almost lemony accent, and a distinct, buttery tang. Interestingly, the flavor closely replicates the bakery's signature glazed. The texture is consistent inside and out, perhaps a tad drier than your typical cake doughnut.
A Baker's Wife makes, hands down, some of the best pastries around. This is not an opinion. This is a fact. The doughnut holes, for example -- cinnamon and sugar dusted, lightly crunchy puffs of joy and goodness and love -- are unrivaled. The same goes for the bakery's doughnuts. Their cake doughnuts have a delicate quality that makes them seem fancier than they really are, like you're sort of eating a croissant or a beignet instead of a plain old doughnut. The pressure from your fingers immediately starts to deflate them. They are smaller than Mel-O-Glaze's doughnuts, and the flavor more subtle. They're sweet -- duh -- but not overly so. What's standout here is the impressive contrast between the moist, cakey interior and the crispy crackly exterior.
The Winner: Mel-O-Glaze. At the end of the day, it's really what Homer would pick. A Baker's Wife doughnuts are almost too petite, and too nuanced, for the everyman. Plus, even though A Baker's Wife intimate space is as homey as your grandma's kitchen, with all its knicknacks and rich smells, Homer would probably feel more at home in Mel-O-Glaze's spartan shop, its bigscreen TV and simplest of simple coffee set-up along the wall. (He might also be turned on by the leftover pizza Saran wrapped in the bakery case alongside the doughnuts.) One drawback: Mel-O-Glaze's doughnuts cost more than twice as much -- $12/dozen -- as A Baker's Wife, which set you back only $5.64/dozen. Still, a dollar a donut iddn't bad. Major Homer bonus points: How awesome is it that the two shops are literally down the street from one another?
Mel-O-Glaze 4800 28th Ave South Mpls Ph. 612.729.9316 Hours: Tu. - Sun. 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.
A Baker's Wife 4200 28th Ave, Mpls Ph. 612.729.6898 Hours: Tu. - Sat. 6:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Su. 6:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.