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As a general rule, I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t love GADS. For those not in the know, GADS (formally, the Great American Donut Shop) is a 24-hour doughnut haven located on the 31-W Bypass, just two miles from campus.
It is an American treasure, and all who dislike it are traitors to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The doughnuts are amazing. The family who runs it is amazing. And it has an atmosphere that solidifies Bowling Green as the perfect college town.
I took it upon myself as my sacred duty to taste every doughnut at this fine establishment and rank them from worst to best. This task was completed with the help of two of my best friends (shout out to Rachel McClain and Monica Kast), more money than I care to admit and lots of 2 percent milk. And so, without further ado, I present the Complete and Unauthorized Ranking of Every Great American Donut Shop Doughnut (trademark pending).
35. Fancy Cake with Vanilla Icing and Coconut
I thought about grouping all the fancy cake doughnut together, but this one was so clearly the worst, I had to discuss it separately. This doughnut is so cloyingly sweet that I got a cavity just from being in its presence. The coconut flakes are coated with additional sugar, leaving a mouthful of overpowering sugary sweetness. If an episode of “My Little Pony” were made into a doughnut, it would be this one.
34. Plain Cake
Sometimes simple is best. In this case, it is not. Without some kind of icing or glaze, the plain cake is completely devoid of flavor.
33. Crullers (all varieties)
It doesn’t matter what the icing flavor is: each cruller has a vaguely eggy taste. And while ya girl does love her eggs, she does not love to taste them whilst consuming a sweet pastry.
32. Fancy Cake with Chocolate and Peanuts
This doughnut left me wishing for what could have been. The peanuts were oddly soft, and the cake and chocolate left my mouth feeling dry. If Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were disappointing, I imagine they would taste like this.
If you’ve ever dreamed of combining the flavors of cough syrup and sweet doughnut-y goodness, then this is the doughnut for you. I can’t imagine who you are, but you’re probably out there somewhere.
29. Double Chocolate (all varieties)
Can you have too much chocolate? The answer, folks, is yes. These are too rich, and the double chocolate with coconut is especially sweet. It’s like you can feel cavities forming.
This doughnut is just a bit too sweet, and the artificial taste of the strawberries is especially noticeable. (Of course, I have a longstanding prejudice against artificial strawberry flavor, but we won’t delve into that now).
27. Sprinkle Cakes
Not a whole lot of flavor going on here, and the sprinkles somehow make the disappointment even more palpable. Much like MASTER Plan, you’re expecting something fun, but all you’re getting is disappointment.
26. Chocolate Bar
The chocolate bar wants to be the maple bar but just can’t.
25. Flavored Iced Cakes
None of these doughnuts are bad by any means, but none of them particularly stand out either. Each of them runs together in such a way that it doesn’t make ranking them individually worth it.
This is a very simple doughnut, but it is often too dry. He needs some milk.
Much like any baked good from Starbucks, the cream is just completely underwhelming. The chocolate icing on top definitely saves it.
The caramel flavor of the icing is very subtle, and this doughnut would definitely be ranked higher if it were stronger.
I was suspicious of this doughnut at first, but the pudding-like filling inside is definitely a treat. The chocolate icing on top is a little much, but overall, this is an enjoyable doughnut.
This is a true classic. Much like Betty Cooper, this doughnut is pure and true and always a welcome treat.
The slight tartness of the raspberry flavor balances out well with the sweet doughnut. Quite nice.
18. Glaze Twist
This treat has the same taste as the regular glazed doughnut, but it’s much more fun to eat in twist form, so therefore it receives the higher ranking.
17. Maple-Iced Cake
The richness of the cake and the richness of the icing are a bit much at times, but overall, this is a satisfying treat.
16. Cinnamon Sugar
Much like a glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day, this doughnut is refreshingly simple.
15. Cream Cheese
If glazed are the Betty Cooper of doughnuts, then cream cheese is the Veronica Lodge. This is a hecka rich doughnut, so you’ll want to wash it down with a carton of milk. Don’t let that stop you, though. This decadent doughnut is one you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
14. Cinnamon Twist
Everything Tastes Better In Twist Form: Part II.
13. Honey Wheat Cake
This slightly spiced cake will take you on an autumnal journey filled with crunchy leaves, apple cider and the crisp sound of a falling GPA.
12. Maple Bar
For those times when you’re craving the flavor of pancakes and maple syrup but in doughnut form.
11. Plain Old-Fashioned
To be honest, I have no idea why this doughnut is called “old-fashioned,” but it’s delicious, and I’m here for it.
10. Plain Buttermilk
Slightly tangier than the old-fashioned cake and, therefore, slightly more fun.
9. Blueberry Filled
I must admit, I was skeptical at first. I love blueberries, but I was concerned about how such a fine berry would translate into the filling of a doughnut. Well, I have to say, it translates beautifully. The flavor of the berries is mellow enough to perfectly compliment the sweetness of the rest of the doughnut, and the flavors balance beautifully.
8. Doughnut Holes
The only thing more fun than eating a regular doughnut? Eating a tiny spherical doughnut.
7. Devil’s Food Cake
This is one of GADS’s simpler doughnuts, but it is truly one of the best. Its success lies in its simplicity: a rich chocolate cake coated in a thin layer of glaze. This is the little black dress of doughnuts: you can never go wrong.
6. Chocolate Buttermilk
The slight tanginess of the buttermilk cake lends itself well to the sweetness of the chocolate icing.
5. Chocolate Chip
Many will probably take offense that this doughnut is not more highly ranked, but to them I say: Pooh pooh, this is my list. Fight me. The chocolate chip is the largest of the GADS doughnuts in size, which gives it many bonus points. And the chocolate chip center is truly delightful, but the filling often only makes its way into about 50 perfect of the total doughnut. This lack of consistency always leaves you wanting more. That being said, this is still definitely one of the best doughnuts GADS has to offer.
4. Chocolate Old-Fashioned
This is such an underrated doughnut, and definitely one of GADS’s best. There is a PERFECT ratio of chocolate to doughnut, and the texture is more dense than the cake doughnuts, but given the smaller size of this pastry, it works well.
3. Bavarian Cream
Narrowly beating out chocolate chip as the most superior filled doughnut, the Bavarian cream is the doughnut to go to when you want to treat yo self. The cream is sweet without being overly rich and perfectly compliments the chocolate on top. If Kate Middleton were a doughnut, this is who she would be.
2. Blueberry Cake
The blueberry cake has the great texture of all the cake doughnuts, and each bite is filled with blueberry goodness. Blueberries are full of antioxidants, and by my logic, that makes this a doughnut that is both good and good for you.
1. Strawberry Cake
Think of the most beautiful sunset you have ever seen. The best kiss you’ve ever had. The highest grade you’ve ever gotten on a paper. The strawberry cake doughnut is all of these things and more. It is the perfect doughnut. It is the perfect blend of fruity sweetness with a phenomenal texture. It’s nice and dense and leaves you satisfied. The strawberry cake is who I aspire to be.