Danielle Knudsen has been cooking for as long as she can remember.
“My dad was a chef, I started cooking with him and baking with him when I was two,” she said. “So it’s always just been a part of my life.”
When her father passed, she was only 13 years old. So she took her culinary education into her own hands from there, beginning to experiment and explore flavors. It’s that curious spirit that inspires the unique flavors of Dark Moon Doughnuts, the one-woman business that Knudsen runs.
Though she also offers classic flavors, like strawberry and cinnamon sugar, it’s creations like her Devils Churn imperial stout doughnut — which includes a chocolate stout glaze with a hint of espresso — that have grabbed attention around the central Oregon Coast.
But to some, the more shocking twist on Knudsen’s delicacies is that there’s no eggs or dairy in them — Dark Moon Doughnuts are vegan, though Knudsen shared that many customers can’t tell by tasting them.
“They don’t need all that, they just don’t,” said Knudsen, adding, “I have so many people that it just made their day when they learned that they could eat my doughnuts.”
The best part: they aren’t any less decadent than normal doughnuts. Knudsen has stated publicly that just because her doughnuts are vegan, does not mean they’re healthy. She shared that the best doughnut she’s ever had is a vegan doughnut she ate in Portland.
“That’s what inspired me to do a vegan doughnut,” she said.
Knudsen used to work at Carl’s Coffee and made her vegan doughnuts there — which went over really well. So after Karl’s closed, she decided to try selling her doughnuts on her own at the Waldport Wednesday Market. The results of that decision were more than she could have imagined.
“I wasn’t really expecting the response that I got, it all just kind of blew up on me,” said Knudsen. “Maybe I was underestimating myself because, I mean, how would a fresh doughnut shop not do (well) around here?”
She was a vendor at the inaugural Newport Cider Fest over the weekend and is looking into a storefront space — but until that’s secured, those in search of fresh doughnuts can still find her creations at Beachside Buzz in Waldport or order a batch directly from Knudsen. She can be contacted through her business’s Facebook page: “Dark Moon Doughnuts.”