Four years ago, Jeff and Brandy Martin opened a small cupcake bakery in Overland Park. Since then, Jeff has competed on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” twice and served his cupcakes to Whoopi Goldberg and her co-hosts on “The View.” Now the Martins’ bakery, Smallcakes, is an international franchise with 17 locations, from Olathe to Venezuela. In other words, Smallcakes is big.
In August, the Martins whipped up a new concept from scratch. Twisted Doughnut, next door to the original Smallcakes in south Overland Park, serves doughnuts piled high with over-the-top toppings such as crumbled Pop-Tarts, gummy bears, brownie bits and bacon.
“Specialty doughnuts are really big in bigger cities,” Jeff Martin says. “It’s almost like the cupcake craze. It’s the next big sweet thing.”
The legendary Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Ore., tops its doughnuts with bacon strips and breakfast cereals such as Cocoa Puffs and Cap’N Crunch. Its signature doughnut is a chocolate-glazed, voodoo doll-shaped doughnut with a pretzel “stake” stuck in its heart. And the buzzworthy Glazed and Infused doughnut shop in Chicago is known for bold flavors like Egg Nog-Bourbon and Candy Cane Twist.
Jeff Martin says he ate his way through those shops and others in Los Angeles and New York before opening Twisted Doughnut. That research inspired him to go big or go home with Twisted Doughnut, literally: Each made-from-scratch doughnut is about the size of a fast food cheeseburger and comes loaded with toppings. The heartiest selection: the Bacon Explosion, a maple-frosted Long John topped with smoked sausage and (of course) generous amounts of bacon.
Extreme describes the sweets and the decor at Twisted Doughnut, where the fixtures are stainless steel, and red tape holds up a strange assortment of posters (Johnny Cash, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber and Homer Simpson, to name a few). First-timers are often “a little overwhelmed,” Martin says.
Not that every doughnut on the menu is, well, twisted. For less adventurous types, there’s Cinnamon Sugar and Vanilla Bean Glazed, which gets warm flavor from flecks scraped from real vanilla beans. Twisted Doughnut also makes a Boston cream pie doughnut (renamed the Overland Park Cream and adorned with the letters “OP”) and a Chocolate Lover doughnut dipped in melted dark chocolate.
Basic doughnuts sell for $1 each, and specialty doughnuts are $2.75. But the average person really needs only one.
Twisted Doughnut’s menu changes with the season, just as at Smallcakes. Martin says he’s getting ready to roll out new holiday-inspired flavors, including gingerbread and peppermint. But his personal favorite remains Strawberry Pop-Tart, topped with pink strawberry frosting and sprinkled with bits of the sugary breakfast pastry.
“It takes you back to childhood,” Martin says.