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Rouses Takes the (King) Cake on Super Bowl Sunday

THIBODAUX, La. — King cakes for Super Bowl parties?  Yes, in Louisiana, definitely, said officials at Rouses Supermarkets.

“Right now, it’s king cakes, king cakes, king cakes, for every party, every occasion,” Chaya Conrad, Rouses’ bakery director, told SN.

Indeed, the 38-unit chain sold 12,000 king cakes on Super Bowl Sunday alone.

“We baked all night. We knew we’d be selling a lot of them,” Conrad said. “We made them in team colors, Baltimore’s black and purple, and  San Francisco’s red and gold.”

Rouses has been selling king cakes since King’s Day on Jan. 6, and always sells a lot of them for Super Bowl parties, but this year, sales on the big game day soared 20% above last year’s Super Bowl Sunday.

“I attribute all of that increase in sales to the fact that Super Bowl was held here in New Orleans. There was a lot of excitement. We like to host big events here,” Conrad said.

“Actually, I expected most of the sales to be at our downtown store, but the biggest totals were at outlying stores.”

As Mardi Gras day approaches, Conrad is gearing up for another big king cake sales day. On that day, the day before Lent begins, she expects to sell 12,000 to 15,000 of the cakes. Rouses’ highest-traffic stores will be doing another all-night baking marathon, Conrad said.

Read more: Rouses Hand-Glazes Hams In-Store

Merchandising teams at all the retailer’s stores build a huge display right at the front of the store, she added.

“They all create something that looks like a Mardi Gras float, with a lot of colorful streamers hanging from it, and then stack boxes and boxes of the king cakes on them.”

Rouses packages its from-scratch king cakes, made in various flavors and sizes, in windowed cake boxes.

According to tradition, a small baby doll, a little over an inch long, representing Baby Jesus, was baked into king cakes, but in recent times, the doll is just packaged with the cake. Rouses places a small plastic doll on top of the cake so it can be seen through the window on the cake box.

Last season, running from Jan. 6 to Mardi Gras day, Rouses sold 300,000 king cakes, and that number doesn’t include the cakes sent to people out of the region who ordered them, Conrad pointed out.

She said that this year she expects to at least match the 2012 season’s sales, and maybe top them.

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