Grab a steak knife and dig in
EC: This One-Pound Doughnut Is What National Doughnut Day Is All About
Credit: Photo by Rick Lew

This Saturday is National Doughnut Day! You know what would be a great way to celebrate? How about eating a doughnut that weighs a literal pound! Unfortunately, one-pound doughnuts aren’t available in every grocery store and doughnut shop in America, but if you’re in Charlotte, North Carolina, you’re in luck. A restaurant there, Stoke, offers a huge doughnut, and it looks really, really good. It’s called—get this—The Doughnut, and it makes regular doughnuts look like preemies. At eight to ten inches across, this doughnut is a grown-ass adult that pays taxes and has a mortgage. It is so massive, in fact, that if you go to Stoke and order one, it will be served on a small butcher block and you will be given a steak knife so you can cut it up and eat it in manageable bites. If you get the doughnut to go, the fine people at Stoke will put it in an actual pizza box so you can carry it around! Now that’s a substantial doughnut.

“It’s designed for between two and eight people. We have yet to see one person alone finish this doughnut. We’ve seen two people come in for lunch and devour the whole thing, but usually larger parties of five, six, seven or eight people come to the table and they’ll finish it off,” said Stoke’s sous chef Carl Zimmerman.

Zimmerman has been making this monster dessert since August, when Stoke had its soft opening. Initially, he and executive chef Chris Coleman figured they’d offer adorable, sensible doughnut bites for their dessert menu, but then they came to their senses and decided to make The Doughnut to match the size and ambition of the restaurant’s super-sized Tomahawk Ribey steak, which feeds up to eight people and weighs 40 oz.

“That was kind of our oversized, overzealous savory component. And so we said we also needed to make a desert you can send to the table to impress,” Zimmerman said.

The Doughnut is made with the same light and airy brioche dough that Stoke uses for its dinner rolls and burger buns. After letting the dough cool overnight, Zimmerman and his crew weigh out a pound of the stuff, shape it, fry it for eight minutes and dust it with sugar. Then they fill the center with diplomat cream (made with equal parts whipped cream and pastry cream), and throw some Heath bar crumbles on top.

Customers love it. At first, Zimmerman said, the restaurant would sell between 6 and 10 in a night. Now, it can sell as many as two dozen in a day. Some people, Zimmerman said, order both the big steak and the big doughnut in the same meal, presumably because they love freedom and America. Many who order The Doughnut, Zimmerman said, are drawn to the taste, but they also love the spectacle. In other words, they do it for the ‘gram.

“I’ve yet to see somebody get The Doughnut and not take a picture of it,” he said.

If you order one of these bad boys today, Zimmerman said, the restaurant will make a donation to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Come back for Thanksgiving, he said, and The Doughnut will be bedecked with pumpkin sugar and spiced pecan. For Christmas, The Doughnut will feature peppermint pieces and either rosemary or mint sugar. Whatever the occasion may be, The Doughnut will be there for you and your family. Always.