Fall brings about natural cravings for everything pumpkin, spice, and pumpkin spice flavored and Cinotti’s has a big answer for those cravings. Cinotti’s Bakery on Penman is an incredible bakery year round. They’ve been open in Jacksonville since 1964 and moved from 1st street to Penman in 1990. We’ve sampled all sorts of their savory and sweet treats. However, their seasonal pumpkin spice donuts have taken Jacksonville by storm. So much so, this year after a 30 day frenzy causing countdown, they actually held a midnight release party for their donuts! They are sold out every day by the mid morning, so after this review leaves the need for pumpkin donuts in your soul, you’ll need to call and preorder a dozen or two. If you don’t live in the area, they actually have an Etsy shop where you can order all their seasonal fare and have it shipped.
On this visit, we sampled their pumpkin spice donuts, chocolate glazed donuts, original glazed donuts, and their coconut cake. I called to order all these items the day before I was going to pick them up. This is the advisable thing to do for pumpkin spice donuts unless you are going very, very early in the morning. I think one of the most wonderful things about Cinotti’s is the whole atmosphere of the bakery. When I walked in, I was immediately greeted by several members of the staff even though they were involved completing other orders. I could tell it wasn’t a required “WELCOME TO CINOTTI’S!” like you get at some restaurants. This was just a genuine greeting from people who were happy to have another person come into the bakery. It also always smells divine in there. If you walk in and you’re over taken with hunger, they do serve sandwiches for breakfast and lunch and they’re inexpensive and very good. Once I got to the counter, a staff member double checked all my items and secured the packaging for me so the valuable donuts were safe on the drive. I barely made it back to work without breaking into the pumpkin spice donuts because my whole car smelled like the spices in the donuts.
The half dozen pumpkin spice donuts ($7) did not last long at work and in hindsight I should have ordered a dozen. They are by far the best pumpkin flavored anything I have ever eaten. In many pumpkin items, I often find they are unbalanced in flavor. Cinotti’s perfectly blends the flavor of true pumpkin and spice without one overwhelming the other. The donuts are dense and very moist and it is clear that they use real pumpkin in the batter. There are no artificial flavorings to be tasted. The glaze is extremely light, which does not cause the donuts to be overly sweet. After one donut I understood why there was a countdown, midnight release, and hype over these donuts. They are a definite can’t miss item to get in the mood for Fall.
After eating the pumpkin donut, I didn’t want any other type of donut, but I also tried the chocolate glazed and regular glazed ($8/dozen). Cinotti’s chocolate glaze is much richer than most chocolate glazes on donuts I’ve tried before. It is a darker chocolate and provides a great depth of flavor on the donut. Their regular donuts are superb. They are very fluffy and airy and pair well with the rich chocolate flavor. Their plain glazed were also a nice treat, but tasted bland to me after eating the other two. I probably won’t order the plain glazed again now that I know how good their specialty donuts are. The plain glazed are still a good option for people who prefer a simple, no frills donut.
My last item to try was the coconut cake ($24), which was another first time item for me to order. Cinotti’s has a huge range of small cakes available that you can view on their website before you order. Plus, Cinotti’s is always open to taking ideas and suggestions for custom cakes. The coconut cake is one luxurious and decadent cake. It is not for those who are faint of heart or those who don’t like very sweet cakes. There is nearly ¾ inch of icing coating the outside of the cake. Once we cut it, we could see that it had four thick layers with more icing and coconut layered in between the cake. The icing is whipped perfectly but I could still taste the rich butter or shortening used to make it. They use very fresh coconut on the cake, and I really enjoyed that it was coated with coconut but not to the point of it being the only thing we could taste. There was also coconut layered in between the cake layers. The cake itself was incredible. It was very moist and heavy, it would definitely be a stretch to try to have more than once piece in a sitting. This would be a cake I would definitely order again as long as I had lots of help to eat it.
The guarantee with ordering anything from Cinotti’s is their consistency with quality. They put a lot of love into their recipes and it is evident in every item. Their customer service is a bar-setting experience for how a family owned bakery should be. The combination of these two things has led to them having a very dedicated Jacksonville following. Personally, since I moved to Jacksonville I’ve been a Cinotti’s loyal customer because they were the only bakery I could find that could truly recreate a traditional King Cake for me during Carnival season, so anyone from Louisiana who needs a taste of home should remember Cinotti’s. Now that you’re craving sweet treats, you may want to call them and order your pumpkin spice donuts before time runs out. You will not regret it!