A Slice of Carnival: Sweet treats made by the thousands

King cake
King cake
Updated: Feb. 17, 2020 at 7:43 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -New Orleans is well into the thick of king cake season, but there’s a good chance you haven’t tried them all....yet.

That’s where FOX 8′s Rob Krieger comes in. He’s taking a look at king cakes across our area.

The first segment of his week-long series begns with two of the most prolific king cake makers across southeast Louisiana.

Michelle Knight is the bakery director at Rouse’s. She oversees 64 bakeries across the gulf south. It’s clear she knows a thing or two about king cakes and what makes these rings of sugary sinfulness so divine.

“Down here in the south and across the gulf coast people have so many different flavors they love and we want to cater to everyone,” Knight said.

There’s the traditional topped with the iconic colors of Carnival, but with a ton of tastes to satisfy, there’s a piece for every palate. And in 2020 the signature flavor is out of this world.

“This year it’s the moon pie flavor that is absolutely delicious. We do the chocolate moon pie and the banana moon pie,” Knight said.

When it comes to that classic king cake, the baking team at Haydel’s has the process down to a science from the perfectly churned dough , puffed, proofed, dusted with cinnamon and sugar, sliced and braided, then destined for a unique filling. The Haydel’s crew works nearly around the clock to baking thousands of the sweet treats a day.

“To produce the amount of king cakes that we do in a daily basis we start early. The first crew comes in around midnight and then we wrap up close to 7 p.m. A cleaning crew comes in every night to clean the building top to bottom and the whole process starts right back up at midnight,” said Dave Haydel. It’s Mardi Gras and people want king cake. You have the king cake purist that won’t eat any king cake until King’s Day on Jan. 6 and then they’re free to eat king cake and they’ll eat at the entire season. But as soon as Ash Wednesday comes around, there’s no king cake until next year."

At Haydel’s you can get king cake year 'round. They ship worldwide.

This season they’ll crank out about 70,000 king cakes.

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