POWDERED. CRÈME INFUSED. Chocolate glazed. Step aside, old-timers. Across the country, adventurous entrepreneurs are transforming our beloved doughnut by topping it with Oreos, stuffing it with lemon curd and incorporating unusual ingredients like candy, meat and cereal to catapult it into culinary art.
They’re also integrating some regional oomph. “We found that adding Latin or Cuban flair to our flavors is the way to go down here,” says Michelle Vazquez, founder of Miami’s Mandarin Gourmet Donut Shoppe (305-323-4999, www.mandaringourmetdonutshoppe.com), a designer-doughnut delivery service that plans to open a retail store this summer. Their trans-fat-free offerings range from the wildly popular guava-and-cheese to a recent doughnut of the month stuffed with rum-raisin tiramisu.

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In San Francisco, Dynamo Donuts (2760 24th St., 415-920-1978, www.dynamodonuts.com) caters to gourmet foodies with a rotating handmade selection, including the Candied Orange Blossom drizzled with bittersweet chocolate; and Banana de Leche, oozing with caramel-like Dulce de Leche sauce. Edgier options abound at Psycho Donuts near San Jose, Calif., (2006 Winchester Blvd., 408-378-4540, www.psycho-donuts.com) and at Portland, Ore.’s, 24-hour Voodoo Doughnut (22 SW 3rd Ave., 503-241-4704, www.voodoodoughnut.com), where Cocoa Puffs, Butterfinger and chocolate Rice Krispies are hot toppings — and actual wedding services take place beneath a velvet painting of Isaac Hayes. Operating out of an Airstream trailer in Austin, Texas , Gourdough’s (1219 S. Lamar Blvd., www.gourdoughs.com) doughnuts “are somewhere between a beignet and a funnel cake,” says co-owner Ryan Palmer. “Some [like the jalapeño jelly-stuffed Porkey’s, slathered in cream cheese and draped with Canadian bacon] would even be considered a meal in themselves.”

A Time Line of an American Icon

1809: Washington Irving pens the term dough nuts in his book, History of New York.

1920: Adolph Levitt invents a doughnut-making machine in New York City.

1937: In Winston-Salem, N.C., Krispy Kreme retails its first hot doughnut through a hole in the bakery wall.

1938: The first National Doughnut Day is held, honoring Salvation Army Lassies who delivered doughnuts to front-line WWI soldiers.

1952: Randy’s Big Donut Drive-In — featuring a 32-foot-tall rooftop doughnut — opens in Los Angeles.

1963: President Kennedy proclaims, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” later misinterpreted as “I am a jelly doughnut,” to thousands in West Berlin.

1972: Dunkin’ Donuts rolls out Munchkins — boxes of sprinkled and glazed doughnut holes. They quickly become popular office-party treats.

2000: Mark Isreal opens the Doughnut Plant at 379 Grand St. on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, offering a sweet taste of the upcoming artisan revolution.

2008: The world record for largest doughnut made of doughnuts — more than 90,000 of them — is set in Australia in honor of the DVD release of The Simpsons Movie.