Lilah’s Bakery is making a name for itself with a popular Mardi Gras treat
Imagine eating a slice of cake that's not exactly a cake, but more of a homemade bread. Add a layer of icing, sprinkle on some colored sugar crystals and you have a classic Louisiana dessert fit for royalty.
King cakes have been around for centuries and are a specialty item at Lilah's Bakery in Bossier City.
Co-owner Lisa Tike said the bakery created its own version of the classic recipe five year that always leaves Mardi Gras enthusiasts wanting more.
“Our king cake is very moist and a little sweet,” she said. “It's different from a cake or a donut and it's even better than a cinnamon roll.”
Lilah's cakes are one of a kind in flavor, developed by a trained pastry chef, and can only be found at their Louisiana Boardwalk location. Tike said the key to their success is in the preparation.
Eack king cake starts off as simple baking ingredients, but there's one element that must be done correctly to have a high quality final product.
“We start with the yeast because you have to let the yeast ferment a little bit so the cake will rise properly,” Tike said. “It takes a lot of flour and water, but the yeast is the most important. If you get that wrong, the whole cake messes up.”
Cakes are mixed 50 pounds at a time then rolled into one pound balls. The dough is then placed onto baking sheets and popped into the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Once chilled, the cakes are shaped, filled and baked to golden brown perfection. The cakes are cooled before the final touches – a layer of icing followed by green, yellow and purple sugar crystals – are added.
The king cakes are baked fresh daily and filled with an assortment of fruit filling, cream filling, or a combination of both. There are 22 flavors to choose from, including apple, blueberry, praline, raspberry, strawberry and bavarian cream.
Each year, Tike said they add a new non traditional flavors to the menu each year. This year's flavor, cherries and cream, joins the list of growing blends, including chocolate and peanut butter, root beer float and tiramisu.
The process, from start to finish, takes four to five hours and bakery ovens are typically running from 6 a.m. until midnight during Mardi Gras. Tike said they can make anywhere from 70 to 100 king cakes per day when Mardi Gras season begins.
By season's end, they are making 400 to 500 a day and shipping them all over the country. Cakes are each packaged with a tiny plastic baby and strand of colored beads on the side.
Tradition says the person who gets the piece of cake with the baby is the one who has to buy the next King Cake. But what makes Lilah's king cakes so delicious?
Tike said it's a combination of everything on the plate.
“I like the crunchy sugar layer on top, but it's still moist and soft on the inside. It's just really good,” she said.
Lilah's Bakery also offers a mini king cake, a smaller version of their classic cake. However, don't let its size fool you – every bite still delivers a sweet, delicate flavor that pleases the taste buds.
“There's always time in a day to enjoy a slice of king cake,” Tike said. “It's just not Mardi Gras season until you're had a king cake.”
Lilah's Bakery will be baking king cakes through Fat Tuesday (Feb. 12), which signals the end of Mardi Gras season. To order a king cake or for a complete list of flavors, visit www.lilahsbakery.com or call 742-4595.