For me, donuts mean SUNDAY and DAD (inexplicably, since mom was surely there, too, when we ate donuts; he wasn't serving them for dinner in her absence or anything like that). We always bought donuts from Shipley's; even as a small child I maintained intense brand loyalty and looked down on Dunkin, I knew not why. Now I know that Shipley Do-Nuts (that hyphen kills me!) is a little local chain that eventually spread through the south, not a national giant. I've lived away from Houston for years, during which time I have eaten donuts only rarely--Entemann's in college, maybe a Krispy Kreme in Penn Station, sublime Polish donuts in Greenpoint, wet cardboardy Dunkins in moments of desperation--but I visited this summer and discovered the most delicious variety Shipley's has to offer: glazed plain cake.
This donut is utterly irresistible: a delicious, tender, spice-flecked interior that melts in your mouths enclosed in a thin layer of glaze that softens the donut's crust but also offers a slight, pleasing resistance to your bite. I have had other glazed cake donuts before, but none hold a candle to this (though the ones in Greenpoint are not at all bad). Forget some spongy cake...this is the real angel food, as far as I'm concerned. Now I have to eat them every time I go home, on top of all the Mexican food and barbecue. Sigh.
(I should mention that I've never liked glazed donuts, though I did eat them from time to time during the Krispy Kreme kraze. Shipley's glazed donuts are very, very good, for those of you who like that sort of thing. But this glazed plain cake is the true queen of the display case.)
If you find yourself in the south, stop into a Shipley's, and try a kolache, too, while you're at it. N. B.: that link is well worth following--there's a recipe there for bread pudding made with day-old donuts. !