At the beginning of this month, a local bakery in Orange collaborated with Buttermilk Inc., formerly The Buttermilk
Truck luxe lonchera, to exclusively sell an ube (a.k.a. purple yam) doughnut in Orange County using a custom baking mix. The color purple may stir up thoughts of eggplant or even dinosurs, but you shouldn't knock one until you try it. So I spent one rainy Saturday breaking into a baker's dozen. Trying them reminded me of a post I did last year on The Ensaymada Project. Two distinctively purple treats can only mean one thing: DUEL!
Competitor number one: The ube doughnut.
Despite the hesitation ube newbies may have to sample their wares, the team at 24/7 establishment Friendly Donuts understands the cult nature of our Filipino flavor bomb. Two varieties were available: original glazed and organic blueberry frosting. Containing the signature color throughout, this particular dessert was gorgeously royal in stature. Built like a hearty cake doughnut, an original's taste was not very sweet– despite the inclusion of coconut in the mix to bring out that intended flavor. I found it was more on the mild side, pairing them with a cuppa hot cocoa to coax a little more of the natural sweetness.
Competitor number two: The ube ensaymada.
For those not familiar with a pastry from The Ensaymada Project, you've possibly encountered similar from other cultures (like how I equate an eggroll to lumpia). When I shared an order with coworkers, I described one as being comparable to a cinnamon roll. Each ensaymada is individually wrapped, its curious cream hue appearing more Easter egg treasure than exotic dessert. One bite, and doughy goodness takes over. This buttery baking project almost melts in our mouth. We inhale ours in barely a minute, after hesitating over the final chomp. An episode of The Chew could be themed around this online-only business, but we digress.
The winner: I'm not dilly-dallying with a tie or close call. In my opinion, there was a clear winner. The sugar-coated delight from The Ensaymada Project was satisfying with every mouthful. I'll save donuts for those old-fashioned cravings.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.