You could argue that doughnuts don’t need much in the way of improvement. And yet this food group of sugary dough encased in more sugar reaches new heights at The Dancing Donut, Indy’s latest entry in the craft-doughnut business. Owner Kate Drury has already mastered the miniature confection with her string of froufrou Flying Cupcake bakeries around town. She waves the same glitter wand over her SoBro bakery, its whitewashed-brick exterior adorned with four larger-than-life doughnut sculptures, frosted and sprinkled like something the Jolly Green Giant would eat on his cheat day.
Clearly, Drury is having some fun with the trend. The dunkers are oversized to begin with, almost twice the size of your average pastry, which is just part of the reason why customers go wide-eyed when they reach the display counter—having filed past the wall of artwork with doughnuts painted into the tableaux, the shabby-chic tables, the disco ball. Workers hustle to fill boxes with cheekily named specimens like the Flour Child Granola (with its Greek-yogurt glaze), the Kevin Bacon (maple-iced and studded with crisped pork), the cream-filled Copa Banana, and the ganache-topped Eclair Huxtable.
Mind you, these are not the refined pastries of General American Donut Company (Indy’s pioneer of gourmet sinkers) or even the basic vanilla-laced bombshells that Long’s Bakery perfected over the past 60 years. Sprinkle-covered or not, Dancing Donut’s yeast base can veer in the direction of tough, almost leathery. Some of its more-adorned options (like the Reese’s Pieces–encrusted E.T.) are as leaden as a candy dish. And its sour-cream Old Fashioned, the Arthur Murray, carries a little too much of that State Fair fryer-grease flavor to make it a hit in the break room. But it’s hard to complain when you’re so hopped up on sugar, and when the setting is as sweet as the frosting on your breakfast. 1134 E. 54th St., 317-737-1751, thedancingdonut.com
This article appeared in the August 2015 issue.