NEW ORLEANS, (WVUE) - When Carnival Season begins, the sugar, whipped cream, and strawberries start flying at Maurice’s French Pastries.
“People are such traditionalists that they generally only get King Cakes during King Cake season so when that happens, immediately they start getting King Cakes,” Ana Huete, a cake decorator at Maurice’s, said.
Huete makes hundreds of cakes at a time, creating a production line, crowning dozens of cakes with unique toppings.
“The Ponchatoula is definitely our most popular, we always keep it stocked in the shop and we make extra for the shop because they just go that quick,” Huete said.
It’s so popular, in fact, the strawberry capped cake was the People’s Choice at King Cake Festival in 2016.
“When you cut a slice and bite into it, you're like, best King Cake ever!” Huete said. “We also have the General Foster, the Woodland Plantation, and the Bourbon Street.”
The General Foster has bananas folded into custard, the Woodland Plantation includes Southern Comfort and pralines, and the Bourbon Street includes Kentucky Bourbon and chocolate-dipped cherries.
But the star of the show, the Ponchatoula, is sinfully stuffed.
“We split them in half, put in the vanilla custard, freshly cut strawberries, then whipped cream all around, toasted almonds, finish it off with the icing, then purple, green, and gold sugar, and then we put glazed strawberries on top,” Huete said.
Not to be outdone, the crew at Manny Randazzo’s are known for their cakes across the country, what’s not known, how they make it. Randazzo keeps the decades-old secret under lock and key, or really icing and sprinkles.
“It’s a Danish sweet dough, with cinnamon in between, it's braided, you have icing, a fondant white icing on top, sugar, it's a lot of sugar on it, it's a lot of sweetness, cinnamon, all goodness,” Manny Randazzo said.
Even if you try to ask Randazzo how many they make, that’s secret too.
“We make as many as we can based on how many people we can get out to work,” Randazzo said. “We consistently make the same traditional King Cake since 1965, same recipe, same everything, so we hope it’s working for everyone.”
Whatever the secret, this sugar icon of carnival hasn’t changed in more than half a century, clearly, they’ve figured out the trick to a crave-worthy cake.