Where to find a Dong Phuong king cake in Greater Baton Rouge

As they have throughout this Carnival season, king cake fans will once again line up Saturday morning outside the Baton Rouge dessert shop Sweet Society for a shot at a coveted Dong Phuong Bakery king cake.

Sweet Society is one of 20 regional stores—and one of only two in Baton Rouge—that New Orleans East-based Dong Phuong tapped to resell its famed king cakes this year. The list of resellers was posted on the bakery’s Facebook page Dec. 31 and includes A&J’s Coffee Bean Café, located inside the Surgical Specialty Center of Baton Rouge. Nearby, Bao Asian Market in Prairieville is another Dong Phuong vendor. Other spots on the list are based across parts of New Orleans, the Northshore, Houma and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Nabbing a Dong Phuong king cake has become its own Carnival cultural phenomenon, as the Vietnamese bakery’s popularity has soared over the years. Sweet Society co-owner Karen Vong says she was thrilled when she received news in late December that her store had permission to resell the fabled treats, known for their tender brioche dough, rivulets of punchy cinnamon and generous drape of cream cheese frosting.

Dong Phuong King Cakes Sweet Society

Dong Phuong produces about 1,200 of the pastries each day and routinely attracts thick crowds and robust online orders, with many fans still coming up short. Long lines form in the wee hours before the store opens with patrons eager to buy their limit of three cakes each. The family-owned bakery also ships nationwide through gourmet food delivery vendor Goldbelly. Prices start at $75 and vary by flavor, but the site is currently sold out.

Dong Phuong was founded by Vietnamese immigrants De and Huong Tran in 1982. It is now known for its homemade banh mi sandwiches and for supplying bread to numerous restaurants throughout New Orleans. It won a James Beard America’s Classics Award in 2018. The establishment has been making king cakes since 2008.

“We were so excited when we found out we were a reseller,” says Vong, whose mother used to take her to Dong Phuong for sweets when she was growing up. “I jumped for joy. We’d been hoping for the last couple of years that it would happen.”

Dong Phuong King Cakes Sweet Society

Sweet Society specializes in Japanese ice cream and inventive Asian desserts. For the last two Carnival seasons Vong sold Dong Phuong king cake slices, but this is its first year to sell whole cakes. Reselling them has required Vong and her team to travel to New Orleans every Friday afternoon to fetch their weekly allotment of 30. It’s only when they arrive that they know what flavors they’ll be bringing home.

The next day, patrons line up outside Sweet Society for a chance at Mardi Gras gold. Queues form at 8 a.m. on Saturday mornings—three hours before the store’s special Carnival season opening time of 11 a.m. (Normally, it’s noon.) Each shopper is given a number to keep the line orderly, and they’re limited to one king cake each.

“Our customers have been great,” Vong says. “Sometimes they’re disappointed when we’re out of the flavor they want, but they’re still excited.”

If you miss buying a whole Dong Phuong king cake this year, you can still sample a slice at Sweet Society. Vong makes additional trips back to New Orleans during the week to stand in line like everyone else to buy a few extra king cakes to slice and sell.

“We want to let as many people as we can experience it,” Vong says. “I believe this is a big part of Asian culture, sharing our love for food with our friends and family. It just brings a feeling of comfort.”

Sweet Society is at 1509 Government St., B, inside the Electric Depot. Follow it on Instagram at @sweetsocietybr for updates.