My work has a social club, in which a monthly fee gets you access to various events and give-aways throughout the year. Today they had free doughnuts. Now, I’m not a member of the club, and I don’t eat doughnuts (I like them well enough but I gave them up completely a long time ago as a concession to healthy eating), but it turned out that the selection – from Krispy Kreme – included a “vanilla slice doughnut”! And when the call went out that leftovers were available for people to claim seconds, a friend of mine grabbed one of these for me. So I decided to violate my 20-year abstinence solely for the purpose of research for this blog.
The doughnut is neither a traditional toroidal doughnut nor rectangular prism vanilla slice shape. It’s a square pillow of dough, presumably cooked by deep frying as is usual for the product. The surface of the dough glistens disturbingly with fat and sugar. The top side is coated with what looks very much like conventional vanilla slice icing: a thin layer of white topped by a pattern of brown lines dragged into the classic parenthesis shape. With some trepidation, I take a bite.
The first sensation is that the dough is much drier than I expected. I remember doughnuts as being moist and yeasty and delicious, but this is nothing like that – it’s more like a disappointingly dry light sponge cake. It takes two bites before I even locate the custard. It’s restricted to a small blob right in the middle, presumably because it has been injected into a hollow in the doughnut after cooking.
The custard is very pale yellow and very soft, almost dripping out of the hollow. It tastes… okay actually, at least at first. It’s smooth and creamy and has a distinct vanilla flavour. However, it also carries a weird aftertaste, reminiscent of something herby, or maybe chemical. The icing on top is ridiculously sweet – I don’t know how they packed that much sweetness into such a thin layer. It’s too sweet for the amount of dough and custard and dominates on a full bite through all the layers.
In conclusion, this weird attempt to co-opt the brilliance of a vanilla slice into the deliciousness of a doughnut has failed miserably, producing a Frankenstein’s monster which has none of the good points of either sweet treat. It’s a misguided mess. If you want a doughnut, get a decent doughnut. If you want a vanilla slice, find a good example somewhere. And disturbingly, the paper towel that my friend had brought me this monstrosity on was soaked with so much fat by the time I finished that I could see through it. I think I’ll be back on the doughnut wagon for at least the next 20 years.
“Vanilla slice doughnut”: 3/10