The newest doughnut game in town decorates brioche spheres with fancy chocolates, gold leaf, colorful tropical fruits, Venezuelan rums, and other Latin flavors.
Donisima, a fledgling doughnut shop with two locations in the Colombian metropolis of Medellín, makes its stateside debut this week out of an Ivy City ghost kitchen (1369 New York Avenue NE). Daily pickup and delivery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or until sellout). D.C.-based chef Miguel Guerra started Donisima during the pandemic with his dad, who lives in Colombia and runs day-to-day operations there.
Guerra relies on Latin American ingredients and sophisticated pastry techniques to make five types of doughnuts daily ($4-$5). A family recipe that calls for fermenting brioche dough for 24 hours produces a light, airy center. Guava and cheese — a popular flavor combination in Colombia and Venezuela — help build one cream-filled, frosted variety.
Colombia’s popular arequipe dessert (dulce de leche) inspires another elaborate doughnut, dusted with a queso fresco crumble.
“You’re not going to find those flavors at Krispy Kreme or any other place,” he says.
Guerra honed his confectionery craft under Miami desserts king Antonio Bachour, who just snagged a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist nomination for outstanding pastry chef. He also spent six years at modernist Colombian tasting room Elcielo in Miami and currently works with its Michelin-rated sibling in D.C.’s Latin food hall La Cosecha.
“I’m in love with desserts. I stop eating everything else to eat a cake,” he tells Eater.
Growing up in Venezuela, Dunkin’ Donuts was a delicacy of sorts, and Guerra remembers begging his mom for the sugary souvenir every time she traveled to the U.S. for work.
“She’d carry like two dozen boxes of Boston cream doughnuts in her carry-on back to Venezuela,” he says. “It’s one of my biggest inspirations.”
Now the chef applies his fine-dining background, which included a stint at Wynwood’s revered Alter, to recreate his childhood favorite to be “as beautiful and delicious as possible.”
Venezuelan rum, orange confit, and raw brown sugar help build a glistening doughnut that takes notes from an Old Fashioned. “You can taste the rum,” he says.
A vanilla bean-glazed doughnut is the simplest of the bunch, which reappears in an order of six mini doughnuts. Donisima will expand with ornate cakes, crullers, and cherry blossom flavors for the spring.
He plans to showcase his Donisima doughnuts in a future brick-and-mortar Latin cafe in D.C. For now, orders can be placed for pickup or delivery through UberEats, Tock and Doordash.
“I’m not competing with anyone,” he says. “I want to make a classic product and make it differently.”
Guerra also offers elegant, vegan tasting menus at Mita, his pandemic-born Latin pop-up that plans to return to La Cosecha on a monthly basis.