Classic vs. Gourmet Donuts: Which Will Prevail?

Ok, who doesn’t like donuts. Exactly, no one. If you know anything about us, you know that we both have an obsessive sweet tooth, ESPECIALLY for donuts. Therefore, we have done a huge favor for you guys by reviewing all of the most popular donut spots around Charleston to discover which one is truly the best. By analyzing the design, taste, consistency, and other crucial donut qualities to determine which one is superior, you will never have to question which location to rely on during your next donut excursion.

We began with the classic: Krispy Kreme. Krispy Kreme has never disappointed, but we decided to put their fall and Halloween flavors to the test. Their chocolate cake and sour cream cake donuts have always been a personal favorite, so we thought why not try the pumpkin spice cake donut in lieu of the fall.​​ Although this donut provided the legendary cake texture and appearance, the promised pumpkin spice was a little underwhelming, as we expected the pumpkin-ness to be much stronger to avoid a slightly bland treat. 

Next up, we tried the neon orange frosted donut covered halfway with Halloween sprinkles. Even though most people would assume this would taste like a vanilla frosted donut, its flavorful entity provided us with much more. We are not sure if it was the Halloween spirit or the vibrant shade of orange, but this donut was delectable and nearly on par with the chocolate and strawberry frosted sprinkle classics. However, we do believe that the decorators could have covered the entire donut with sprinkles instead of a measly halfway job.

Then, we tried the spider web donut, which was a chocolate frosted donut dunked in Oreo crumbles with a white frosted spider web and a candy spider on top. The crunchy Oreo topping provided a change in texture from the smoothness of the others and nicely complimented the chocolate frosting. However, we still preferred the sprinkle donuts over this alternative for unknown reasons. 

Coming in as a top favorite, we had the purple-graveyard-scene creme-filled donut. To be honest, we were quite skeptical about this one. We are both not incredibly fond of filled donuts but something about this one did us in. To say the least, it had us sprawled out on the couches of the senior lounge. Needless to say, it was love at first bite. Without saying, this donut took all.

After much debate, we finally came to a ranking consensus:

  1. Purple graveyard scene creme-filled
  2. Orange sprinkled
  3. Chocolate spider
  4. Pumpkin cake

From the infamous freshness of these delicious and airy donuts, the first bite of each donut left our taste buds begging for more.

Next, we adventured to a round, purple donut-shaped oasis located off of Ben Sawyer Blvd called Annie’s Donuts, formerly known as The Fractured Prune. From the storewide donut games and furnishings, to the donut bar with purple swivel stools, to the festive Halloween decor, this shop was everything a donut lover could dream of and more. As we arrived on the scene (despite an incredibly small two-car parking lot) we were met with an incomparable fried pastry aroma that had us running to the doors of the building. Annie’s Donuts is privately owned and operated by, you guessed it, Annie. As soon as we walked in the door, we were happily greeted by Annie herself, who had been independently running the store and making all of the gourmet donuts by hand. She handed us an order sheet with 25 possible donut combinations, as well as a list of 13 toppings and 10 icing flavors if we wanted to form our own concoction, so of course we spent a solid 30 minutes narrowing down our favorites to select our top 5, which was nearly impossible.

We began by tasting the Frenchie Toastie donut, which was dunked in maple frosting and covered in cinnamon sugar. This donut was to die for. It perfectly replicated the same sensation and taste as French toast on a late weekend morning. The crunch of the cinnamon sugar, and the light, airy feel of the donut. This donut left us in shambles.

Second, we selected the Apple Cider donut, which was a fall specialty. Although this donut was fluffy and flavorful, we believe the apple flavor could have been much stronger, as it tended to mimic the same subtle cinnamon taste as the Frenchie Toastie donut. We were hoping for some apple additions to the donut to make the flavor more presentable as by a slight glance, the only difference between this donut and Frenchie Toastie in presentation was the slightly darker apple-induced color. We would agree that there was a hint of spice, but not enough for us. 

Then, we decided to try the Salty Caramel donut, which as you probably assumed, was frosted with caramel icing and sprinkled with sea salt. This donut was salty? I mean very salty. Of course, I have to applaud Annie because it is “Salty Caramel” after all, however, we were not super impressed with the caramel component of the donut as it tasted pretty normal and did not have any accompanying toppings. Normally we are fans of the sweet and salty combination, but in this instance, it was not our favorite. Alas, this donut is quite distinct, and we could give it some credit for that attribute. 

Next, we tested the Lo Lo Lemon donut, which was lathered in lemon icing and topped with powdered sugar. This donut was absolutely amazing and contained the perfect dose of lemon. The lemon flavor was powerful. The glaze was perfect and we definitely think that fruit donuts can go either way, exemplary or disappointing, but this one definitely hit the exemplary mark. 

Finally, we tried the Chocolate Overload donut, which was coated with chocolate frosting, chocolate sprinkles, and Oreo cookie crumbs. It feels unfair to say this, but this donut tastes similar to basically every other chocolate donut we have had. It was good, don’t get us wrong. But it is hard to say it was much better than the other donuts simply because it was just not original enough. Despite being a chocolate donut, the name “Chocolate Overload” definitely heeds a more shocking chocolate presence. However, you can never really go wrong with this type of donut, it is something that you can order and know that it will taste good.

Our final ranking of the 5 donuts we tried are as follows:

  1. Frenchie Toastie
  2. Lo Lo Lemon
  3. Chocolate Overload
  4. Apple Cider
  5. Salty Caramel

Clearly, Annie’s Donuts exceeded our expectations, and we will most certainly be returning for more. 

Although Annie’s was truly delectable and the perfect location for a donut review, the classic, reliable, tasty donuts of Krispy Kreme remain unbeatable. However, Annie’s Donuts is an extremely close runner up for our go-to donut spot.

Stay tuned for several more rounds of Emily and Lily’s donut endeavors around Charleston!!