As part of our Behind the Brand series, this week, we caught up with Christine - owner and baker at Popdonut.
What inspired you to start Popdonut?
My grandmother. After my grandad died, she set up her donut business to provide for her children, foster children and the wider family living at her house. I remember at dinner time there were about 20 people at my grandma’s house and she fed them all. I grew up enjoying those snacks and making them for my children when we went for picnics here in England at Roundhay park (fond summer memories) and they would always ask for more.
I started bringing some at work during team meetings and everybody loved them (I work full time for social services). At the time they were just plain without any topping and filling. We started exploring flavours later.
How long have you been baking?
I have been baking since I was 11 years old. I once decided to earn my own pocket money by selling crepes to my classmates. I was taking orders every Friday and sneaking them to school on Monday.
My customer base grew every day and I made enough money not to need any pocket money from my mum. She was a single parent of 6 children so I thought It would help out a bit if I made my own money although we had a pretty decent life compared to the average back then.
I learned to bake from a French book called “La cuisine au pays du soleil”. During lockdown my children and I, the oldest being 19 and the two youngest being 15 and 14 decided why not turn this tasty and original snack into a business and boommm - Popdonut was born.
We’d had conversations about the possibility of starting a business before but I wasn’t very sure how to go about it especially with a full-time job. Luckily, Lockdown came as a blessing in disguise for us and we spent those months in the house building a foundation for our business. My children are a lot more creative than me and are behind all the donuts decoration/designs and all our photos you see on social media; we make a great little team.
Do you try wacky or weird new recipes - if so, what has been a surprisingly good one?
We’re quite adventurous so we never shy away at the opportunity to experiment with new flavours and toppings to improve our popdonuts. So, once we thought ‘why not make a fruity popdonut?’ and we put apple sauce filling and lemon flavoured white chocolate and…well, we just got a ball of sourness!
Another weird flavour we tried was mint sauce filling with a bubble gum chocolate swirl and to our surprise it was very good! Although it tasted quite a bit like chewing gum, it’s great for those with a very sweet tooth.
What makes your popdonuts so special?
Our donuts are different from regular seaside donuts people know. They can even be differentiated from the sweet-scented trail they leave in our kitchen (ahhh I can smell them just thinking about it!) to their intricate texture and taste.
The main ingredients are almost similar but it’s a batter rather than a dough. I would describe it as a cross between a cupcake and donut. They are cooked through a similar process as regular donuts, fried in oil, but can be baked too. Our donuts are an original recipe inspired by a snack from my childhood in West Africa and the French West Indies. Popdonuts aren’t just donuts, they’re a whole new donut experience.
We have something for everyone. If you are a chocolate lover, then you will enjoy our generous topping of the finest Belgian chocolate. If you would like to try something different, then our distinctive, soft original dough with hints of different flavours is for you. And for those who loves a surprise, you will enjoy the creamy goodness in the middle as you take a bite...aren’t you lucky!
Aside from popdonuts, what is your favourite thing to bake?
My kids love when I bake or make anything really. So, whenever I find the time to do so, my go-to's are Crepes and chouquettes, which are both French pastries.
What is the most popular popdonut people order?
Hmm…I would say the popdonuts which have the most success with our customers are our ‘White Lotus Popdonut’ and ‘Hazelnut Popdonut’. They’re definitely crowd pleasers.
If you were a popdonut, which flavour would you be?
Wow, this is a fantastic question! If I were a popdonut, I would most likely have a coffee filling and white chocolate caramel swirl as the topping. Because, like every other adult, I love the taste of coffee.
Coffee, to me reflects maturity (especially since some of us can’t start our day without it!) and even with its bitter taste, with the right amount of sugar and milk you can turn it into the sweetest breakfast drink. The white chocolate caramel swirl is symbolic of my kind, sweet nature and for when my kids say “You’re so cute and adorable mom!”, caramel is just the flavour.
Follow Popdonuts on Instagram on @mypopdonut