Countdown to Mardi Gras with a slice of king cake
Since the 1970s, Paul’s Pastry Shop in Picayune has sold their signature king cakes across the world, bringing a little bit of Mardi Gras to their homes.
Paul’s Pastry Shop, the home of the original cream cheese filled king cake. Back in the 70s, it was opened by a couple from California, Shirley and Harry Paul, who came up with the idea of filling king cakes with sweetened or flavored cream cheese. Today, the shop is operated by their daughter and great granddaughter. Co-Owner Sherri Paul-Thigpen said, “My mom always told us, don’t copy. Do your own thing. She called us the home of the innovative bakers. So, she wanted us to come up with our own separate dough to fill the king cakes with because we didn’t have a Danish dough. Danish doughs are very light. We need to have a sweet bread dough to hold the king cakes. So, it’s like a sandwich all baked together.”
The innovative bakers didn’t stop filling with just cream cheese. “We made flavored birthday cakes, strawberry, lemon. Every kind of flavor you can think of so that’s how it kind of got moved over to the king cakes. So, anything you can think of I’ve done, like peanut butter and jelly. I mean, anything.”
Paul’s Pastry Shop now sells more than 40 flavors of king cakes and you can see how they’ve inspired other bakeries as it becomes a common sight to see pecan praline and cream cheese king cakes on the market. “We have bakery friends all over the United States and we all want each other to do good. We all want each other to do good no matter what the type is. It just makes us smile because it was something people liked.”
Co-Owner Lacy Brunson said, “It’s pretty neat to know that our grandparents came up with the recipes.”
During carnival season, Paul’s Pastry Shop will bake about 2,000 king cakes a day.