From time to time, companies send us crazy, wacky, and sometimes downright ridiculous products to sample. The Babycakes Flip-Over Donut Maker ($40, thebabycakeshop.com) doesn't really fall into any of those categories, but it's certainly not a multifaceted kitchen gadget. Still, in honor of today's holiday, we thought we'd give it a try.
Boy, were we impressed! Sure, this tiny oven isn't going to whip out gourmet pastries or decadent desserts, but it does make a tasty treat. We made a batch of their Buttermilk Spice Donuts with Cinnamon-Sugar Topping (the recipe is included in the instruction manual). It has a lot of leavener in it -- 4 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. It makes the batter light and airy, but it also (as we discovered in a very messy way) makes it rise right out of the squeeze bottle if you're not careful. Next time, we won't fill the bottle to the top so the batter has room to move.
The Donut Maker itself is very fun to operate. A squeeze bottle is included to make loading the pan easier (though you could use a spoon). The machine flips easily and cooks quickly. Actually, very quickly. A batch is ready in about 4 minutes. (The directions call for baking 2 to 4 minutes. We tried different cooking times and found 4 minutes to be ideal.) Also, the directions don't call for it, but we had better results when we flipped the doughnuts after 2 minutes. The cooking surface heats up quickly, so don't turn it on until your batter is ready to go.
The best part: You're baking these doughnuts. No oil is needed on the pan (though you can use a little cooking spray if you want) and no frying. Also, these doughnuts are small, about 2-inches across, so you've got instant portion management.
We ran the numbers on these delightful doughnuts just to see. You can get two (using low-fat buttermilk instead of full-fat buttermilk) for 150 calories, 5g fat, 1g sat fat. For comparison, an Original Glazed doughnut at Krispy Kreme has 190 calories, 11g fat, and 5g saturated fat.
The texture is more reminescent of a muffin or pancake than a yeast doughnut or even a denser cake doughnut. Still, they're a fun way to get your doughnut fix and celebrate silly food holidays.