Monthly Archives: November 2014

Ithaca Bakery

Ithaca Bakery only makes donuts on the weekend, and they are only available in these pre-packaged 6-packs. So if you want a donut, you need to find some donut friends!! Or eat 6 donuts. Which we obviously condone. Although you will need to balance that out with some savory snacks. That’s experience talking.

Ithaca Bakery donuts

The Tasting

We start with Ithaca Bakery’s cake donuts. The chocolate-frosted variety is tender, moist, and fluffy, and the frosting is tender too. The cake has some flavor, with a hint of vanilla, and we are starting off strong. There’s a boatload of sprinkles, which overpower the flavor of the frosting, but they get fall-colored happy-points (not a thing) and add a nice crunch.

The cinnamon-sugar donut has the same cake inside, but it’s a bit more crumbly and dry, unfortunately. (Don’t be fooled by Laurel’s smile — that’s straight disappointment.) Was it baked earlier and already got a little stale? We’re not sure.

We move on to the chocolate cake varieties and find them less flavorful, as we have found in all chocolate cake donuts so far in Ithaca. What’s the point of these chocolate donuts, if they aren’t going to taste chocolatey?

In the toasted-coconut donut, the coconut flavor immediately overpowers the taste of the cake, which isn’t exactly a feat. The glaze that holds the coconut on tastes like pure powdered sugar, and yikes — it’s sweet.

We move on to Ithaca Bakery’s yeast donuts, which are very light and fluffy. A trepidatious woo hoo? Duc says they are “moist enough,” which Laurel interprets as high praise coming from Duc, but he also thinks the glaze is too sticky. There isn’t too much flavor, other than a soft, slight yeastiness.

On to the boston creme! We are powering through these. The donut is fairly photogenic, but we aren’t huge fans. To be fair, neither of us are very big on this type of donut, from anywhere. It’s very light, and the dough is airy and fairly tasteless. The cream is extremely gelatinous, and its flavor doesn’t really even start to make up for its strange texture.

Ithaca Bakery – Texture Scores:

Duc: The yeast donuts had decent moisture, lightness, and fluffiness. Not remarkable, but OK. The cake varieties ran the line from pretty good to disappointing, which reverted us back to just average.
Score: 3/5

Laurel: The first cake donut we tried was the most tender and moist, and I felt like the texture kept getting worse from there on out, which was really disappointing. Ithaca Bakery is my friend, but these donuts didn’t act like it.
Score: 3/5

Ithaca Bakery – Flavor Scores:

Duc: The yeast donuts had a slight yeastiness in flavor, which I enjoyed, and avoided that unpleasant aftertaste that we’ve noticed in some donuts. The biggest disappointment was the chocolate cake donut, which somehow lacked chocolatiness.
Score: 3.5/5

Laurel: There wasn’t anything special about any of the flavors that happened here, but nothing was specially bad either. Non-memorable.
Score: 3/5

Overall Thoughts

Man, we’re getting critical! This isn’t to say that we were particularly harsh on these donuts or any others, but once you’ve eaten a certain number of donuts… your desire for great ones just becomes that much higher.

As it turns out, good donuts are something that are really difficult to achieve. But as we’ve seen in the ones we’ve really liked, when they’re good, they’re damn good.

Ithaca Bakery’s donuts earned a combined total score of 6.5/10.

Harrison Bakery (Syracuse)

More donuts from Syracuse!

Duc snagged us a tasting of donuts from Harrison Bakery after taking his wife to the airport. He brought back an assortment of donut varietals, which look pretty alright upon donut box unveiling:

The Tasting

We begin by trying Harrison’s plain glazed yeast donut, which has a texture on the outside almost like a bagel, in that it’s more like a skin than a crust. In a strange change of pace, Laurel thinks the inside is too dry, and Duc isn’t as bothered by it. Duc is more concerned by the chewy outside texture.

The rest of the yeast donuts follow suit. They are similarly airy and light, without any significant flavor or texture to provide substance. The chocolate on the chocolate-frosted donut tastes like powdered hot chocolate mix.

Harrison's Bakery donuts

The cinnamon-roll donut is surprisingly bland and doesn’t have any of the nice texture contrasts of fluffy vs. oozy, which you normally find in a cinnamon roll.

Harrison’s most interesting donut represented here is the PB&J, which is a yeast donut with strawberry filling and peanut butter frosting. Unfortunately, we wish there was more intense peanut butter flavor in the topping, and the balance is way off, with a gratuitous amount of filling, whose flavor, as Laurel puts it, is “offensive to strawberry jam.”

As we move on to cake donuts, we find a hard crust that makes the donuts hard to break open, and a severe lack of moistness. The insides are textbook dry, and the toppings are barely even there. The powdered sugar.. tastes like sugar… while the cinnamon and sugar combo is shockingly hard to taste.

“I’d rather eat a Tim Horton’s donut,” Duc concludes.

Harrison Bakery – Texture Scores:

Duc: All of the yeast donuts have this wrinkling that is indicative of a bad sogginess that provides a strangely tough and chewy outer texture. The cake donuts were just way too dry and hard.
Score: 2/5

Harrison's Bakery donuts

Laurel: I want to hope that these donuts are a day old. Their texture is day-old material. But how could all of them be a day old? That would be surprising.
Score: 2/5

Harrison Bakery – Flavor Scores:

Duc: They didn’t have enough flavor. I was particularly disappointed in the PB&J donut, which I could have loved because I love peanut butter things.
Score: 2/5

Laurel: None of these were enough. Even the simple glaze on the plain yeast donut wasn’t sweet enough. I just wanted more flavor, period. And not fake flavor like that chocolate frosting.
Score: 2/5

Overall Thoughts

So, adding everything together, Harrison Bakery gets a score of 4/10, which just isn’t very good for anyone. It’s not very fun to give a bad review, and we don’t want to do it. We’re sorry, Harrison. It’s a true lose-lose.

Perhaps it’s also worth noting that Harrison’s does make a wide variety of other baked goods, so it’s possible that donuts just aren’t their strength. We noticed that the bakery has pretty good reviews online, so maybe their other offerings are more their specialties.