STORY BY GIULIANA LAMANTIA
The good old doughnut received a creative twist with the introduction of the djonut at Capes Kafe in downtown Des Moines.
From delectable flavors like samoa cookie to strawberry margarita, these new dessert items sell out daily.
Baker Joe Formaro came up with the idea for djonuts in September when he craved doughnuts but had nowhere downtown to get his fix. By Christmastime, he began selling them at Capes, and they’ve been wildly popular ever since.
Customers can get a taste of these rich treats at Capes Kafe in the Des Moines Social Club for $2.99 each.
The difference between Formaro’s take and regular doughnuts: butter vs. fryer fat.
“I came up with an excellent cake doughnut, and then I started submerging them in butter, replacing the fryer fat with melted butter,” Formaro said.
“Personally I think butter’s better than fryer fat, that’s what makes them so delicious.”
After making the cover of the Des Moines Register for his djonuts, Formaro noticed that people began to pay attention to his creation.
While the Oreo cookie djonut is the most popular, Formaro concocts a wide array of flavors from peanut butter cup to tiger blood (strawberry and coconut) and more. His newest influence is cookie butter.
“Any good cookie I can get my hands on lately, I’ve been just kind of turning into cookie butter,” Formaro said. “I started doing this Biscoff cookie butter Nutella doughnut. So I would make a Biscoff doughnut and a Nutella glaze and drizzle it over the top and do vice versa and that doughnut was really popular. I started playing around making my own cookies butters and messing around with different cookies and came up with some really good ideas, and I’m kind of just riding off that right now.”
Frequent Capes customer Aric West enjoys the peanut butter and jelly and Nutella cookie butter djonuts the best.
“One thing that I really appreciate is the fact that (if) you look at most commercial doughnut shops, and generally they’re working with bulk ingredients that they purchase from a supplier, whereas Joe is making it from scratch,” West said.
Shift manager Sara Briddell personally loves the Nutella and Cinnamon Toast Crunch flavors, and she encourages those who haven’t to give djonuts a try.
“These are the unique things that make Des Moines awesome, and if we want more of this kind of stuff then we have to support it,” Briddell said.
For Formaro, inspiration for new djonut flavors can come from anywhere and anybody.
“Sometimes my dad will give me an idea,” Formaro said. “He told me the other day he made a biscuit with a Greek yogurt blueberry glaze, and I was like ‘Oh, that’s going to be a doughnut tonight.’ It was that easy. I made a blueberry muffin, it was basically a buttered muffin donut, and then had a blueberry Greek yogurt glaze, and it ended up being a really great donut.”
As for the future of djonuts, Formaro plans to create some new flavors such as green tea, blueberry earl grey and peanut butter with espresso drizzle. In addition, he is throwing a kick-starter launch party Feb. 7.