Macquarie Dictionary


Mmm…doughnuts (or is it ‘donuts’?)

Here at the dictionary, we are big fans of doughnuts (and who isn’t?). I think most doughnut lovers can agree that sweet, fluffy dough, which is fried and then glazed, topped or filled, is quite delicious in whatever form it takes. But there seems to be a running debate as to which of the dough styles is superior — yeast or cake.

Yeast doughnuts, also known as raised doughnuts because, well, they are raised, are those quintessential doughnuts that you are probably picturing right now — glazed on the outside, light and fluffy in the middle, and just a hint of doughy chewiness when you take a bite. Filled doughnuts are also typically yeast doughnuts.

Cake doughnuts are made with leavened dough so the result is a firmer, denser cake-like ring. They might be slightly crispy on the outside, but always have a soft cakey inside. They are often rolled in cinnamon and sugar — and are especially nice when dunked into a hot cup of coffee!

On a recent trip to the US, I had the pleasure of visiting many ‘donut’ shops and tasting many different varieties. The two main dough types were both quite prevalent and I came across a wide variety of shapes, sizes, glazes, fillings and toppings. In Australia, we tend to see the traditional rings and filled doughnuts, most commonly with jam (jam doughnuts are also known as Berliner doughnuts in South Australia.), though some shops do have some wild toppings.

Some of the more popular varieties, aside from the traditional rings, that I saw (and tasted!)  in my travels were crullers, bear claws, maple logs, old-fashioneds, and braided or twisted donuts (I had one of these that was filled with chocolate!). Old-fashioneds are hands-down my personal favourite. These are a type of cake doughnut in ring that has “edges”, which are typically deep fried and then often finished with glaze, the edges lending an extra crispiness to the outside, while still being very moist in the middle.

Macquarie Dictionary-Berliner or jam-a rounded doughnut enclosing a filling of jam. Macquarie Dictionary-traditional ring doughnut. Macquarie Dictionary-bear claw.
Macquarie Dictionary-maple logs (or bar). Macquarie Dictionary-old fashioneds. Macquarie Dictionary-braided or twisted.


If you too are a doughnut fan, you will no doubt have noticed the different spellings. So which spelling is correct: doughnut or donut? Well, both are actually fine to use in Australian English. While the spelling ‘donut’ has typically been regarded as an American spelling, it was made popular in Australia through advertising. This has given it a boost in frequency to the point where it is now simply an alternative spelling in Australian English. The important thing to remember is consistency in your spelling choice.

Are you a doughnut/donut lover? Do you prefer cake or yeast? Have you found any unique types of doughnuts on your travels through Australia or overseas? Let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Comment

Featured Articles