We read via the OC Register a couple weeks back that Friendly Donuts in Orange was frying up Fil-Am sinkers. The thing about these cake donuts is that they get their purple color not from food science, but from ube, or purple yam. It’s huge in the Philippines, and getting more common in California. Like my friend, the food blogger Jun Belen says, Filipinos love purple sweets. So do a lot of non-Filipinos, once they see how awesome ube sweets can be. I mean: purple cake.
Since CHOW’s senior software engineer, Jason Buehler, lives five minutes from Friendly, we gave him the assignment: Go—tell us if the ube donut is good. He got one with blueberry icing, and another—red velvet—also based on pancake batter from a baking supply company called Buttermilk.
Since engineers are more comfortable in bullet points (also flip-flops), I let Jason write his review that way:
• I was expecting the donut to be very sweet and starchy like yams, but it was actually very pleasantly sweet, not overbearing but not undersweet either. I was very pleased at the balance.
• The texture was perfect: The donut had a crispy outer shell and a very soft, fluffy, cakey interior.
• The blueberry frosting on top was spot-on, a perfect complement to the purple cake.
• The color was amazing; it looked like food coloring. I think it's pretty cool that they can get a color like that from a yam.
So there you have it. Friendly’s ube donuts hit that sweet spot for sugar, with good textural contrast, an inspired bit of purplish icing, and a color that’s...purple.
4442 E. Chapman Avenue (at S. Hewes Street), Orange
Photo from Friendly Donuts / Facebook