I'm not a journalist, I'm a photographer. But Erin Eliza wrote this about the donut bash in 2009 on her blog.
Tom Sperl has a donut machine that makes approximately 400 donuts an hour, and every year he invites Cleveland orchestra folks and church/neighborhood folks, and his Oberlin bass students to have free donuts, cider, and coffee at his house. We got to meet his family, and there were all these adorable little kids bumbling around with chocolate and powdered sugar on their faces,
Mr. Sperl's Donut Machine:
-First, the Donut Man flips the long red switch on the movable batter funnel up. It -clicks-.
-The batter funnel begins to gyrate slowly, side to side. A little tan puff of sweet batter squeezes out the bottom and -plops- into the oil. It immediately starts to bubble and -sizzle-, sinks to the bottom, and then bounces back to the top. As the bubbles clear, you can see a thick circle of dough. The funnel moves to the other side of the oil pan and lays down another little circle.
-The donut bobs up and down, floating in the oil, but half of it stays under and begins to brown. Metal rods move through the oil away from the batter funnel, carrying the donuts down the line. Then, about halfway through the oil pan, a metal sheet with holes in it turns through the oil. It lifts the donut out of the oil, and flips it so the uncooked side is submerged. The donut bobs along, and the newly presented side is a perfect golden brown.
-The donut is propelled through the oil until it reaches a ramp with moving chains stripped vertically along it. The donut is picked up by these moving chains and carried out of the oil to the top of the ramp. The donut teeters on the edge of the ramp, then slides down the other side, into a pan of hot, perfect donuts. It is soft and sweet.
-The donut is picked up by a little kid (or a big kid/a bass player), licking his lips, who is already covered in powdered sugar. He juggles it and blows on his fingers while running to the icing table.