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Donutopolis and the three-tier donut birthday cake

Poway and Mira mesa shops also offer bagels, sandwiches, and donut toppings galore

Candles about to be lit on a chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla donut cake
Candles about to be lit on a chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla donut cake

I first caught on to Donutopolis a few months ago, but I had to wait for a special occasion to justify visiting the Poway donut shop. That’s because I needed an excuse to order the shop’s most outrageous offering: a three-tiered donut birthday cake!

Place

Donutopolis

12624 Poway Rd #14, Poway

But let’s back up a moment. Donutopolis opened on Poway Road in late 2019, and expanded to take over another shop in Mira Mesa (11255 Camino Ruiz) more recently. Despite the name, it’s not only a donut shop. For one thing, it bakes its own bagels, and they’re pretty good — especially if you order them with the house-made jalapeño cream cheese ($3.99).

Sponsored
Sponsored

The place also bakes its own bread: specifically, a variety of rolls it uses to make it's sandwiches with Boar’s Head deli meats. Roll options include sesame, whole wheat, jalapeño-cheddar, and spinach-cheddar. I stuck with a plain roll, toasted, for my “New Orleans style” muffaleta sandwich ($9.65). It was not the same as a true muffaletta loaf — I should at least have gone for the sesame roll — but not a bad sandwich if you like ham, salami, and olive spread. I’d come back for lunch here if I still worked in the area.

A muffuletta (ham, salami, and olive spread) on a house-baked roll

Of course, donuts ($2 and up) remain the main attraction, and Donutopolis puts in quite the effort to include something for everyone, beginning with both vegan and gluten-free donut options, and extending to cronuts and crullers. The shop’s also not above putting all kinds of kooky toppings on its glazed, raised or cake donuts. I spotted marshmallows, Cocoa Puffs cereal, chopped peanuts, grated coconut, crushed Heath bar, and Froot Loops atop some donuts, in addition to assorted color sprinkles. On weekends, they’ll even stick a Twinkie in the donut hole, and call it a Minion ($3).

Point is, there are plenty of good reasons to venture into Poway for this particular donut shop. But I held out for that three-tier birthday donut ($18).

Last-minute celebrants take note: the shop only requires one day advance notice to order the special occasion donut — much less time than most cake bakeries. For each tier, you get your choice of glazes (chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, or maple), and also a choice of toppings. I went with rainbow sprinkles to keep it simple, but you can pretty much choose from all the toppings I mentioned above.

A whole bunch of donut toppings available

I ordered mine Neapolitan style: chocolate, then strawberry, then vanilla, and was quite happy with how it turned out. My only word of warning is that Donutopolis doesn’t really have a box tall enough to cover it, so I had to make sure the stacked donut structure was secure for the drive home. You’ll also want a sharp knife to cut the thing from top to bottom, a necessity for our kids, who definitely wanted a slice including all three glazes on their plates.

As for how it ate? Even better than I’d hoped. The top layer’s essentially a standard donut, so I knew what to expect. However, I wondered about the larger, bottom tiers, and how the desired, raised donut texture might translate. But, if anything, the bottom tiers were even better than the donut standard. Each were basically a sweet, glazed brioche: still airy, but thick enough to be chewy. With candles and all, the donut cake was easily substantial enough to sub for a conventional cake. Which is good, because I’m not sure the kids are going to let us switch back any birthday soon.

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Candles about to be lit on a chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla donut cake
Candles about to be lit on a chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla donut cake

I first caught on to Donutopolis a few months ago, but I had to wait for a special occasion to justify visiting the Poway donut shop. That’s because I needed an excuse to order the shop’s most outrageous offering: a three-tiered donut birthday cake!

Place

Donutopolis

12624 Poway Rd #14, Poway

But let’s back up a moment. Donutopolis opened on Poway Road in late 2019, and expanded to take over another shop in Mira Mesa (11255 Camino Ruiz) more recently. Despite the name, it’s not only a donut shop. For one thing, it bakes its own bagels, and they’re pretty good — especially if you order them with the house-made jalapeño cream cheese ($3.99).

Sponsored
Sponsored

The place also bakes its own bread: specifically, a variety of rolls it uses to make it's sandwiches with Boar’s Head deli meats. Roll options include sesame, whole wheat, jalapeño-cheddar, and spinach-cheddar. I stuck with a plain roll, toasted, for my “New Orleans style” muffaleta sandwich ($9.65). It was not the same as a true muffaletta loaf — I should at least have gone for the sesame roll — but not a bad sandwich if you like ham, salami, and olive spread. I’d come back for lunch here if I still worked in the area.

A muffuletta (ham, salami, and olive spread) on a house-baked roll

Of course, donuts ($2 and up) remain the main attraction, and Donutopolis puts in quite the effort to include something for everyone, beginning with both vegan and gluten-free donut options, and extending to cronuts and crullers. The shop’s also not above putting all kinds of kooky toppings on its glazed, raised or cake donuts. I spotted marshmallows, Cocoa Puffs cereal, chopped peanuts, grated coconut, crushed Heath bar, and Froot Loops atop some donuts, in addition to assorted color sprinkles. On weekends, they’ll even stick a Twinkie in the donut hole, and call it a Minion ($3).

Point is, there are plenty of good reasons to venture into Poway for this particular donut shop. But I held out for that three-tier birthday donut ($18).

Last-minute celebrants take note: the shop only requires one day advance notice to order the special occasion donut — much less time than most cake bakeries. For each tier, you get your choice of glazes (chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, or maple), and also a choice of toppings. I went with rainbow sprinkles to keep it simple, but you can pretty much choose from all the toppings I mentioned above.

A whole bunch of donut toppings available

I ordered mine Neapolitan style: chocolate, then strawberry, then vanilla, and was quite happy with how it turned out. My only word of warning is that Donutopolis doesn’t really have a box tall enough to cover it, so I had to make sure the stacked donut structure was secure for the drive home. You’ll also want a sharp knife to cut the thing from top to bottom, a necessity for our kids, who definitely wanted a slice including all three glazes on their plates.

As for how it ate? Even better than I’d hoped. The top layer’s essentially a standard donut, so I knew what to expect. However, I wondered about the larger, bottom tiers, and how the desired, raised donut texture might translate. But, if anything, the bottom tiers were even better than the donut standard. Each were basically a sweet, glazed brioche: still airy, but thick enough to be chewy. With candles and all, the donut cake was easily substantial enough to sub for a conventional cake. Which is good, because I’m not sure the kids are going to let us switch back any birthday soon.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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