Often, the hardest part of being a self-prescribed donut critic is finding the content to review. While New York has no shortage of donuts, finding the newest spots became a challenge during the pandemic and even though there are plenty of legacy places deep within the boroughs I still need to explore, I was excited to learn of a new shop that recently opened in Brooklyn Heights.
Cloudy Donut originated as a shop in Maryland which opened in 2020 and not only survived the pandemic, but somehow thrived! Amassing a major following on TikTok for their stunning creations, the founders recently expanded their operations to a New York storefront in October of 2022 and are now selling their vegan creations Friday-Sunday at their Brooklyn Heights location.
Previously, Dun-Well Doughnuts has had a pretty firm lock on the top spot for vegan donuts in the city, but Cloudy is looking to give them a run for their money. However, being the top vegan donut spot in NYC isn’t their only goal, the founders have previously stated that they’re looking to bring about reverse gentrification to the neighborhood as they’re the first Black-owned business (ever!) to open in Brooklyn Heights. Shop operator Zewiditu Jewel told Brooklyn Magazine this past fall that Cloudy “loves to reverse gentrify. It’s this ideology that we come in as a Black business to affluent neighborhoods, for visibility not only to Black people but also to places that maybe aren’t used to seeing Black business owners.”
So, what about the pastries themselves? With over 40 flavors in their repertoire, Cloudy posts a new line-up each week that showcases what will be available in their stores each weekend. When I paid a visit this past Saturday morning, I opted for S’mores, Brown Butter Chocolate Chip, Pistachio, and Maple Butter Pecan. My only regret is not bringing a friend to try more.
From the onset, S’mores had intrigued me the most with its hazelnut and chocolate combo giving strong Nutella vibes as well as a perfect marshmallow directly on top. However, it was the Brown Butter Chocolate Chip that really won me over with its crumbled cookie topping combining with what seemed like cereal milk frosting for a next-level sweet treat that never overpowered and allowed each flavor to balance the others with sublime dexterity. The Maple Butter Pecan was another strong contender and while the Pistachio was nowhere near bad, it’s probably the one I wouldn’t try again.
Given its rotating line-up, the trek to Brooklyn Heights seems well worth it and allows for a lot of new orders upon each visit. In particular, I look forward to returning in the spring when they plan to have Nitro cold brew on tap. Until then, I’ll keep dreaming of that cereal milk frosting and start to plan my next trip as soon as something intriguing pops up on the menu. With such strong varieties, that wait shouldn’t be too long.
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip: 9/10
Maple Butter Pecan: 8/10