BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Two big parades hit the capital city Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22 with the Krewe of Southdowns and of course, the Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade.
Southdowns is in the Southdowns neighborhood, while the Spanish Town parade lines up at the capitol and zig-zags its way through the downtown area. But if you’re heading out to the parades, you may want to bring a king cake, and local stores are selling out fast.
The savory and sweet staple of Mardi Gras is made by the thousands at local bakeries across the Red Stick.
"Over the course of the year so far, we've made about 15,000 king cakes for orders, and we put out about 200 to 300 a day just for the floor," said Dylan Sherman, who works at The Ambrosia Bakery.
Since Twelfth Night, king cake production has kicked into high gear at The Ambrosia Bakery with employees working until the early morning just to complete all their orders.
“These are our famous ‘Zulu’ king cakes. It’s cream cheese, coconut spread, cinnamon, sugar, and chocolate chips. And then they top it with a fudge icing and a toasted coconut,” said Joseph Hurt, head baker at The Ambrosia Bakery.
The dough at The Ambrosia becomes extremely fluffy, and the filling has real fruit inside, making it the perfect consistency for taste buds.
"We're one of the few bakeries that actually take two pieces of dough and braid them together. Both pieces of dough are filled, and it gives them a better look," said Hurt.
Customers told WAFB they purchased the praline cream cheese flavors and one person got the regular cinnamon flavor.
Meanwhile, over at Calandro's Supermarket on Perkins, the store was giving out free samples to customers, from just some of their over 50 different flavors of king cakes.
"Crazy. I don't even like to think about it. I don't even want to know how much (king cakes) I sold all day," said Reneisha Thomas, head of the bakery department at Calandro's.
Once the king cakes are formed, they're put into a 'proofer' where the dough rises, then it's to the oven.
The cakes are stuffed with basically anything you can think of. One of the king cakes is called the 'Old Baton Rouge.'
"You got a pecan crust, crumbled up, you got cream cheese, and you have chocolate fudge on the inside which we call silk. On the outside you got a hot fudge drizzled, with some more of that crust drizzled on top," said Thomas.
"I liked the red velvet during the taste test, but my husband doesn't do dairy, so for dinner, we got the regular cinnamon," said Jene Morris, a customer.
Thomas says after being in the bakery for 18 years, she's now a king cake expert. As for the secret ingredients to the king cakes...
"We put love into them, we do them love. That's the only way to do them," said Thomas.
And all bakeries are optimistic that love makes it all the way past Fat Tuesday.
BRPD says they will not allow any parking on the parade route for Spanish Town starting at 6 Saturday morning and cars will be towed.
The entire route will be shut down by 10:30 a.m.