7:15AM / 11/27/2021
I’ve been looking forward to this one. Bad Bakers is a donut shop and bakery located at N. Sunrise and East Roseville Parkway. They do specialty donuts, sweet bread (Staxx) and have some savory options as well. I’ll be focusing on the donuts.
Back in 2012 with my big donut post I posited that most donut shops fall into three distinct categories – Pink Box Donuts (your basic donut shop that has all the usuals and are hard to tell apart from one another), Krispy Kreme / Dunkin’ (both kind of doing their own thing, most donut lovers will be able to identify them easily), and Gourmet Donuts (Voodoo from Portland I think is the biggest example of this, but Sacramento did have Doughbot Donuts for a short time that fit into this last category). Bad Baker represents the Gourmet category, so now we have all 3 right here in town.
Bad Bakers have a handful of locations scattered around the Sacramento area. As far as I can tell they are a local chain, for now.
I arrived just after opening at 7:15, not sure if I was going to be walking into a crazy line situation or what. I really had no idea what the popularity of this place was, but there are notes on their website about things being limited in quantity, so I figured I should stop by earlier than later. There was just one person inside when I stepped in. The space is fairly small, maybe 10×10 feet. The register sits in the middle of a 90º counter with a medium display case on either side.
I let the next person to step in ahead of me as I looked over the donuts in the case and the pricing shown on the menus. Individual donuts run from $1.75 for “Plain Jane” donuts to $3.25 for the Vegan and Mochi options. The cereal donuts I was very interested fell in the upper-middle range at $2.75 each, $14.50 for a half dozen and $27.50 for a dozen.
The person I let in front wanted something they didn’t have prepared yet and he let the cashier know how he felt about that. The cases were about a third to a half filled and I caught a glimpse of two or three people working in the back. Your mileage may vary with respect to the selection depending on the time of day. While I had hoped for more to choose from, I was satisfied that there were a number of cereal donuts.
I got a half dozen including one of each of the cereal options (there were 5), finished the half dozen off with a pumpkin donut, then had a brain fart and ordered a 7th donut thinking I still needed one more for the half dozen. They were boxed up I paid and was on my way.
Once home I fired up the coffee maker while Salted Butter (I swear I didn’t name her but it’s so fitting) got a little nosy and tried to get a taste out of the box. I shooed her away and got to work with some photos and started sampling each one.
The first thing I noted was that all the cereal donuts used an old fashioned as the base with a sweet, white glaze to hold the cereal in place. I love old fashioned donuts so this was a good start. I don’t know if they use name brand or generic cereals. I would be hard pressed to tell the difference, but I’ll use the name brands for simplicity.
Fruity Pebbles added a really interesting crunch on top of the already crunchy texture of the old fashioned donut. The sugary sweet of the cereal just amped up the sweetness and the flavor blended well into the glaze that kept it cemented in place.
The Apple Jacks were a little more distinct flavor from the pebbles. Pretty similar though. They were not quite as crunchy, probably just due to pebble vs O form factor.
Pumpkin with Chocolate Glaze – really wonderful pumpkin spice flavor to this, perfectly soft inside with a thin crusty outside for a nice texture. I enjoyed this one much more than expected, though the side without chocolate felt sort of boring after having a little of both sides. I would prefer if the whole thing was coated.
Apple with Caramel Glaze and Whipped Cream – The apple flavor was subtle and the cake was nice and soft, though not as soft as the pumpkin. The caramel and whipped cream seemed to finish the flavor off on this by coating the mouth and begging for a sip of coffee to wash it down. It had the similar light crunchy outer shell as the pumpkin donut.
Cap’n Crunch Berries – It was hard to get the Cap’n Crunch flavor here as the frosting was a bit thicker and it’s incredible sweetness overpowered the cereal flavoring. The cereal crunch was very nice though.
Fruit Loops – The fruit flavor came through early and actually persisted a bit on this one, as the frosting was lighter on the side I bit into. It had a similar crunch to the Apple Jacks.
Coco Pebbles – I seem to have missed making some notes about this one but I’d say the crunch was similar to the Fruity Pebbles. I don’t recall the chocolate coming through very strongly beyond the sweet glaze.
I would say in general that the cereal adds a touch of flavor, but most importantly the texture experience is just on another level from every other type of donut I’ve tried. Its a fun variation on your typical donuts that isn’t too wild to turn people off. I remember going to Doughbot years ago and the flavors they were working with were highly varied and many were simply not appealing to me at all as a sweet breakfast treat. I would happily enjoy any of the 7 I had tried today. Of the items I didn’t check out, I know the sweet bread can be delicious, a co worker brought some to work once, still warm, and they were incredible. I’d be interested to check out their other non-donut offerings in the future.
I’m would give this a 4, based on the quality and taste of the food, but I’m knocking off 1/2 for lack of selection, which I simply expect to be significantly better on a weekend at opening.