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King of Cake Challenge: Final four king cake bakeries face off

It's the battle of the best between some of the city's most well-known bakeries.
It's the battle of the best between some of the city's most well-known bakeries.
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 10:51 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (NOLA WEEKEND) - Everyone has a favorite king cake, and now it’s time to see how yours stands up to the competition.

We’re down to the final four in our NOLA Weekend King of Cake Challenge. The competition is pretty fierce, but the bakers left in the mix say they’re just happy to be in that number.

It’s the battle of the best between some of the city’s most well-known bakeries. Mayhew Bakery, Sugar Love Bakery, Adrian’s Bakery and Caluda’s remain as the last king cakes left standing.

“I’ve been a competitor in other competitive sports, so I’m used to brackets,” Caluda’s King Cakes owner John Caluda said. “And I like that, so it gets me kind of pumped up for it.”

In Harahan, Caluda cranks out production like a well-oiled machine to keep up with the demand.

“That’s about 700 pounds of dough,” Caluda said.

With the return of parades, these local bakers say king cakes are just rolling out the doors.

Kelly Mayhew, Mayhew Bakery owner, the new kid on the block in Bayou St. John, says he welcomes the bustling business.

“We couldn’t sell 20 a day last year, and this year we can’t keep up,” Mayhew said. “It’s good problem to have this year.”

He says votes from fans and some added attention is a positive change in pace, especially after a hard couple of year.

“This is where the magic works,” Adrian Darby Sr., Adrian’s Bakery owner, said.

In Gentilly, Darby says he’s also loving the final four spotlight.

“And I think it would mean so much to us that we could win,” Darby said. “It would surely show us a lot of appreciation that our work is not in vain.”

With 20 years in the game he says Adrian’s Bakery is as old school as it gets.

“We use the cinnamon sugar. We use the Mardi Gras sugar,” Darby said. “Well, I just don’t think you should have a king cake without the colors, without the sugar; that’s Mardi Gras.”

But there’s also the new school of king cakes.

“I’m always trying to think of something creative, a different way to do king cake,” Sierra Dee, Sugar Love Bakery owner, said.

At Sugar Love Bakery, Sierra Dee has become known for inventing fun creations like “King Cake on a Stick.”

But as the only North Shore baker in the pack, big bragging rights are on the line.

“I keep telling everybody team North Shore,” Dee said. “We can do this; We can win it.”

Only one can get crowned the “King of Cake,” a victory so sweet these bakers can almost taste it.

Next week, we move to the final round, and the last two bakeries will go head to head. Vote at nolaweekend.com/kingofcake if you want to see your favorite advance.