Most so called National Insert Random Noun Here Days are kind of a sham. Sure, it’s great to have any reason to celebrate, but it seems that there are a few to many National Days that are created by lobbiest. I admit, I thought National Doughnut Day was kind of the same thing. Just another way to get you into the doughnut shop (or to buy my book! Shameless self-promotion alert!).
Not that doughnuts aren’t worth celebrating on their own right, but as it turns out, there’s a little more to this holiday than that. The first US National Doughnut Day was celebrated in 1938, by the Salvation Army, as a way to honor the women who served doughnuts to soldiers and to raise money to help those in dire circumstances at home during the Great Depression. According to Wikipedia (and, of course if it is on a wiki, it must be true… right, right?):
“About 250 Salvation Army volunteers went to France. Because of the difficulties of providing freshly baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near to the front lines, two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purvian) came up with the idea of providing doughnuts. These are reported to have been an “instant hit”, and “soon many soldiers were visiting Salvation Army huts”. Margaret Sheldon wrote of one busy day “Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee.”
Well, that seems worth celebrating. How about some Fresh Cherry Cake Drop Doughnuts?
To make your own, simply follow a basic cake doughnut recipe (like the Basic Cake doughnut recipe in Doughnuts), and mix about 10 pitted and chopped fresh cherries into the dry flour mixture before adding the butter, the proceed as normal with the rest of the recipe. For the light pink glaze, I simply squeezed some juice from a handful of cherries and used it in place of the liquid in the standard glaze recipe. A teensy pinch of salt will help bring out the cherry flavor in the glaze.