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The great donut adventure

Gillnetter reporters take on the wonderful world of breakfast pastries.
Cyan Clements
Cyan Clements’ artistic rendition of their and Sofia Orlando’s endeavors.

When thinking of classic breakfast pastries, what comes to mind? Croissants, danishes, cinnamon rolls? All are great choices, however one stands above the rest for reasons of both delectability and iconicness: the donut. 

Dating all the way back to Ancient Rome, the donut can be first recorded as a simple ball of fried dough, topped with cinnamon or sugar. This original concept is closely related to the Spanish and Portuguese dessert known as the churro, which is often served in either a ring or stick shape. 

Since it’s early days, the donut recipe eventually evolved with the arrival of Dutch and English settlers in North America. A first recipe for the delicacy was published in a cookbook in 1750, and then continued to be published in different variations throughout the 1800’s. 

But, it wasn’t until 1847 when the iconic ring shape was introduced, and overtime other types of donuts emerged, including donut holes, fritters and filled donuts. 

Due to the popularity of this pastry, it is no surprise that the donut has become Massachusetts’ state food, specifically the most beloved Boston Cream donut. 

Inspired by the Boston Cream pie, the Boston cream donut consists of the usual fried dough, a vanilla custard or pudding filling, and a chocolate glaze topping. While it is not the most popular donut choice out there, it is certainly one of the most significant. 

Because of its relevance to our state, donut shops across Massachusetts are stocked with the Boston Cream donut. However, which one is the best? 

We decided to test local bakeries and coffee shops and determine who bakes the best Boston Cream donut, rating filling, frosting, and texture on a scale out of ten. We realize that our tastes in donuts may be a little different than yours, so we advise you to take this ranking with a grain of salt. 


A Dunkin’ Boston cream donut. (Cyan Clements)  

A staple coffee shop throughout the Northeast, it was no surprise that Dunkin’ was the first spot on our list. With the ever-present scent of coffee beans and sweets, entering a Dunkin’ is sure to put you in the mood for a donut, and we were no exception. The donut was as you would expect any Dunkin’ donut to taste- sweet, with an aftertaste of corporate greed. Jokes aside, the donut itself was a little flat, however it had a standard density that made it fluffier upon appearance. The frosting was a light spread over the top of the donut, and it was a little sticky to touch, but its taste was sweet and ultimately better than expected considering the presentation.

Taste-wise, the donut itself was average. The pastry and the chocolate frosting went well together, however the pudding filling was truly the shining star with this donut. Although the cream was not spread out as evenly as we hoped, it was still the best part of the experience. It was smooth, sweet, and went wonderfully combined with the other aspects of the donut. Overall, Dunkin’ was a great place to start off our donut quest, and is definitely one of the better options on this list. 


Texture/Density: 7/10 

Filling: 8/10 

Frosting: 6.8/10

Overall: 7.3/10

Brother’s Brew 

Boston cream donuts from Brother’s Brew in Rockport.

Brother’s Brew was a new experience for the both of us, and needless to see we were impressed. Located in Rockport, Brother’s Brew was a bit of a hidden gem in terms of local coffee shops. There was also a wide variety of other donuts and food items  to choose from, however we couldn’t indulge in those flavors since we were on a mission. Their interpretation of the Boston cream donut was a pleasant surprise, though. In comparison to the Dunkin’ donut, Brother’s Brew’s was fluffier, yet also somehow incredibly dense. This denseness made for a bit of a firmer donut, but it wasn’t as big of a setback as expected. The frosting was spread pretty thin, and had a similar consistency to that of Dunkin’s, however this one was somewhat hardened over the top which made it less messy. 

Although its presentation was a tad shaky, the taste of this donut squelched any second thoughts. The denseness came in quite handy, as this prevented the cream from going all over the place. And as for the cream itself, it was next to perfect. It was smooth, sweet, and paired perfectly with the donut’s consistency. While the chocolate frosting was a tad sparse, this actually worked in advantage of the donut since this truly allowed us to enjoy the cream filling. The Brother’s Brew donut was truly a fabulous surprise for the both of us, and this donut definitely deserves a high recommendation. 


Texture/Density: 7/10 

Filling: 8.5/10 

Frosting: 7/10

Overall: 7.5/10

Jim’s Donuts & Bake Shoppe 

Boston cream donuts from Jim’s Donuts and Bake Shoppe.

As a popular breakfast location for Gloucester’s citizens, it was no surprise that Jim’s Donuts and Bake Shoppe was a must-visit on our list. With a wide variety of pastries and baked goods, it was a little sad to leave those behind and only order donuts. However, just ordering the donuts actually turned out to be a great decision since not only did it save our wallets, but we also found the best version of the Boston cream donut to grace this list. This donut’s presentation was different from the ones we had previously seen; thick and fluffy pastry topped with a hardened chocolate frosting. These traits not only made Jim’s donut different from the rest, but a true stand out in comparison with the others. The fluffiness of the pastry was nice to see considering the others had been fairly dense up until now, and the hardened chocolate frosting was refreshing to see as our hands wouldn’t be stained with chocolate by the end of this experience. 

The presentation gave us high hopes for this donut, and needless to say it did not disappoint. Jim’s donut was a perfect consistency, with the thick fluffy pastry working in tandem with the rest of the components of the donut. The frosting- while a tad hard to eat considering it wasn’t the usual glazed topping- was deliciously sweet, and was quite possibly the best piece of the donut next to the cream filling. This filling was similar to the others in the sense that it had a pudding-like consistency, yet it maintained a sweetness that could be enjoyed throughout the donut. It was spread throughout the donut equally, and there was little to no overflow in any bite.  Jim’s was truly a standout experience in our book, and their Boston cream donut is a must-have in our book. 


Texture: 9/10 

Filling: 9/10 

Frosting/ Topping: 9/10 

Overall: 9/10

Honey Dew 

A Boston cream donut from Honey Dew.

For our final shop on our donut tasting journey, we took the trek to Salem for our final donut from Honey Dew. Although our stomachs were almost full and our quest almost finished, we were determined to close out with a bang. And unfortunately, Honey Dew was not the place to go if we wanted to end on a high note. On our way there, we did get lost for a moment, but that was not Honey Dew’s fault, but I do feel it’s important to mention that this was not an easy location to get to. Aside from the journey there, the donut itself didn’t impress. It was flat and a little hard, and the frosting was not that tasty either, however it was spread nice and evenly. 

In terms of taste, this donut was just sad. The pastry itself was deflated, and that component definitely translated into the taste. The frosting was truly the saving grace of this donut, as it was the only thing that tasted remotely good in comparison to the rest of it. However, what truly was the nail in the coffin for this donut was the cream. Upon first glance, we could immediately tell that this donut would be different, and unfortunately that had a negative connotation. This filling had an overtly yellow pigment, which was not the case for the other donuts on this list. It also wasn’t spread out as evenly as we hoped, and instead was more like a thin line throughout the middle of the donut. After tasting the donut, we soon learned that the yellow coloring of the cream was because the filling was a custard rather than a pudding-like filling found in the other donuts on this list. This led us to not only the conclusion that neither of us like custard, but that the Honey Dew donut just does not compare with the other contenders listed. 


Texture: 3/10 

Filling: 2/10 

Frosting/ Topping: 5/10 

Overall: 3.3/10


Throughout this experience, we learned many important lessons, including that eating four donuts in one sitting is not a good idea. But most importantly, we learned that Boston cream donuts are a hard dessert to master, and fortunately  there are places that have mastered it. The complete ranking for our donuts tasting is listed below, and if you happen to disagree, we encourage you to get out there and support these businesses to perform your own version of this experiment. 

Final Ranking: 

  1. Jim’s Donuts and Bake Shoppe 
  2. Brother’s Brew 
  3. Dunkin’ 
  4. Honey Dew
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About the Contributors
Sofia Orlando
Sofia Orlando, Editor in Chief
Sofia Orlando is a senior at GHS and is Editor in Chief for The Gillnetter. She is a member of the National Honors Society (NHS) and has won awards for her accomplishments regarding world history and journalism. In her free time, Sofia can be found baking, hanging out with friends and family, walking around town, or watching any of her favorite movies. She also has a fraternal twin sister! You can contact her with any questions or story ideas at: [email protected]
Cyan Clements
Cyan Clements, Staff Writer
Cyan Clements is a senior at GHS and is a second year writer for The Gillnetter. She is a honors student and takes pride in being the resident artist for the newspaper. Outside of school, Cyan enjoys drawing, trying new hobbies, and spending time with friends and family. She also enjoys collecting various different things, such as albums and dolls. You can contact her at [email protected]

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