• 2 cups Midstate Mills Southern Biscuit all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup applesauce, freshly made with North Carolina apples*
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground Larry’s Beans mocha coffee beans
  • 2 teaspoons Yah’s Best gourmet vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces Escazú chocolate 64% cocoa
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6-12* Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts, torn into 4 chunks (let doughnuts air-dry several hours)
  • powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325º. Spray Bundt cake pan with nonstick spray.
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk buttermilk with applesauce, oil, coffee granules, and vanilla.
  1. Melt chocolate in microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring each time, until melted. Cool slightly.
  1. Beat eggs and egg whites with stand mixer on low speed. Gradually add sugar. Increase mixer speed to high, and continue beating until mixture is thick and pale, about 5 minutes.
  1. Pour in chocolate, and mix on low until incorporated. 6. With spatula, alternately fold dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture into egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.


  1. Spoon a layer of batter into pan to cover the bottom (which will become the top when inverting onto cake plate). Arrange pieces of torn doughnuts over the batter. Spoon batter over doughnut pieces and repeat batter/doughnut layers until pan is full.
  1. Bake 45-60 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
  1. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack. Cool completely.
  1. Just before serving, dust cake with powdered sugar.


The number of doughnuts depends on size and shape of pan. For best results, use a Bundt pan with wider tube. Fresh doughnuts will “melt” into cake. Be sure to allow doughnuts to air-dry several hours or overnight to prevent them from disappearing in the cake.

*For applesauce, use 4 cooking apples, 2 tablespoons water or apple juice, and 2 tablespoons sugar or honey. Peel, core, and chop apples. Place in microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle with water. Cover tightly, and cook on high about 6 minutes or until apples are tender. Add sugar, and mash with potato masher until desired consistency. (If the apples are naturally sweet, you can omit adding sugar.)

Krispy Kreme

Here they come.

They arrive in the grease in groups of three.

They move slowly, and they are delicate. But they band together like an army, and they have 80 years of history, back to their origins in Winston-Salem in 1937, forging them together as one strong Southern unit.

They take grease on one side and then flip to the other. They move to a conveyor belt at a deliberate pace, with reinforcements emerging every second from the grease behind them.

Three more.

Three more.

Three more.

Three more.

They approach a wall of liquid sugar, white hot. It takes four full seconds for the sugar to shower each row of three from front to back. They don’t rush.

They emerge on the other side complete. They flop down a level on the conveyor belt — four more seconds from front flop to back flop.

They follow the turn around the bend, posing for customers waiting to make an order. Individually, they are 99 cents apiece. In a unit of a dozen, they are $6.99 total — they belong in a group. They keep coming around, all morning long.

Three more.

Three more.

Three more.

Three more.

Hot now.

Escazú Chocolates

Several years ago, a sweet man from North Carolina stood at the doorstep of a chocolate factory in Costa Rica and begged for help finding a special field of beans.

Hallot Parson III, an Apex native and an accomplished chef, had only one piece of information when he started his quest to find real chocolate beans — a man named Hugo had a field, and Hugo recently started to grow organic cacao beans. His crop wasn’t ready yet, but Parson wanted to be the first to find him.

Hugo was elusive. Every person Parson asked, “Where’s Hugo?” deflected the question. Finally, Parson went to the Nestlé factory. The security guard wouldn’t let him in, but he did give Parson Hugo’s address.

A few years later, Parson brought some of Hugo’s beans back to North Carolina and went to work upstairs ina wine shop he managed in Beaufort. Soon, he became one of the first bean-to-bar chocolate-makers in the South. Parson’s Escazú Chocolates is now an artisan chocolate-making shop and store in Raleigh.

One of the things North Carolinians are proud of is that we can grow most of what we eat, meat or plant. But cacao beans need average temperatures of more than 70 degrees throughout the year.

We can’t make chocolate from scratch.

But one of the other things we’re proud of is this: If we can’t do it, we probably know a guy who knows a guy who can.

Parson became our chocolate guy.

After being raised in Apex, he moved to Dallas, Texas, and later Aspen, Colorado, where he was a chef at a resort. Eventually, he moved back to North Carolina to become the chef at a restaurant in Beaufort. Not long after he moved here, the restaurant’s owners sold the building. But they still had a wine store, Cru Wine Bar and Wine Store, and they put Parson in charge of it.

The owners also had an interest in chocolate and a second home in Costa Rica. They flew Parson down in 2005, and he started scouting the area. Storms and flooding had ruined Costa Rica’s cacao crops several years ago, but Parson learned about Hugo. Parson had only a first name for him, and he went all around saying it — “Where’s Hugo?” — until he finally found him. They liked each other, and they sparked a friendship that continues today.

When Parson got to know Hugo, this farmer living in the Caribbean, Parson finally learned Hugo’s last name. It’s Hermelink.

So, as it turns out, after all that searching, this sweet man from North Carolina was able to bring home the beans to make our state’s first authentic, Central American-grown chocolate only after he searched all over Costa Rica for a farmer named Hugo, who, as it turns out, is Dutch.

Escazú Chocolates
936 North Blount Street
Raleigh, N.C. 27604
(919) 832-3433

Other North carolina Products Used
Midstate Mills flour

North Carolina Apples

Larry’s Beans Coffee

Yah’s Best Vanilla Extract

Michael Graff is the senior editor of Our State magazine. His most recent stories were “Jacksonville’s Heroes” and “Pure Pinehurst” (January 2012).

Try the other quintessential North Carolina cakes that appeared originally with this one:
The Maple Syrup & Country Ham Cake
The Pimento Cheese Cake
The Nabs Cake
The Pepsi ‘N’ Peanuts Cake

This story was published on

Wendy Perry is a recipe developer, personal chef, and Franklin County native.