If you told me a year ago that someday I would be in love with a cake doughnut I would’ve told you that you were crazy. Cake doughnuts are dense and usually dry and lacking a thing called yeast that makes them fluffy. Now let’s add in the fact that it’s a vegan cake doughnut and past me wouldn’t have known what to respond. The joy of a good doughnut comes from the richness of the eggs and butter, right?
The joy of a good doughnut comes from that doughnut being good, which Rainbow Bakery excels at. But let’s back up a moment and truly set the doughnut-loving scene.
Rainbow Bakery is tucked into a corner of an unassuming brick building, which also, rather fittingly, hosts private artist spaces and galleries. Unless you set out looking for the small, ‘Rainbow Bakery’ sign which hangs above their entryway, you would probably drive right past without realizing what a treasure the neighborhood had to offer. Passing under their sign and through the doorway transports you back in time to a retro, vegan baked goods wonderland. Vintage Formica tables are scattered around the small store, and long bar counter-tops situated in front of their huge windows provide a great, sunshine-filled space to eat and work. Another immediate feature you’ll notice as you enter the store is the greenery. A huge vertical wall garden greets you, as well as tall plants in the center of the room. They make the space feel alive and airy, which is a great contrast to the stark brick exterior. Other oddities around the room include a vintage stove and oven which serve as the coffee bar, featuring a variety of non-dairy milks and sweeteners, interesting works of art, and a playable Pac-Man arcade machine.
Beyond the initial aesthetic wave that comes over you when you enter is where the magic happens: the display case. Depending on the time of day you visit, the case will contain a variety of their unique doughnuts (gluten-free options are always available!), brownies, cupcakes, and various other baked goods. I haven’t ventured beyond their doughnuts yet and that needs to change (their rocky road brownies look godly), but their regularly changing doughnut flavors keep me interested and trying more.
To date, I’ve tried a multitude of their doughnut flavors: blueberry-lemon, maple-bacon (vegan of course!), cherry-cayenne, cookies and cream, maple-glazed, grapefruit poppyseed, and the classic chocolate-glazed with rainbow sprinkles. Needless to say, each one has been an amazing experience and reinforced my need to return and try more. The doughnut itself is heavier than a yeast doughnut, but not as dense as a traditional cake doughnut, which is a total plus in my book. It’s moist, yet has a slightly more crisp exterior than the typical doughnut. The addition of their unique glazes, which are full of flavor but never overpowering, make for a new sensory experience compared to the typical doughnut fare (not that there’s anything wrong with a classic glazed yeast doughnut, of course). In addition to their unique flavors, there are also the standard doughnut types, like chocolate-glazed and cinnamon sugar. But, if you’re a first timer at Rainbow, I recommend that you venture of your comfort zone and try an “out there” flavor combination; I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.
Being a coffee blog, I found it necessary to peruse their coffee options, which are traditionally simple. Plain coffee, decaf and regular, plus your choice of creamers and sugars, is the way to go. However, don’t be fooled by simplicity, as the coffee is anything but plain. Their fair-trade and organic coffee blend is sourced from a family business and is surprisingly light and fruity, which is a great complement to their donuts. I’m not a person who can normally drink coffee black, but this blend has enough natural sweetness that it’s completely doable.
Rainbow Bakery has easily become one of my favorite spots in Bloomington to grab a doughnut and a cup of coffee, especially on a weekend morning. Their prices may be a bit higher than the other competing chains, but I find it wholly justified. Supporting a local business, which also supports local small businesses, is worth it to me, especially when they are using as many sustainable ingredients and are putting out an amazing product. Anyone can pop into this shop and find something they’re going to love eating, vegan or not. I’ve taken several people here and every single one has been fully satisfied with their plant-based breakfast.
In Bloomington, there are a lot of places you can go and quickly grab a good doughnut. Rainbow Bakery qualifies as one of those places, but it’s also a lot more. This is a place you could quickly stop in a grab a good doughnut, but really you end up stopping and staying a while, and maybe grabbing another doughnut or two while you’re at it.
201 S. Rogers St. Bloomington, IN, 47404
Open 7 days/week 9am-7pm