A slice of Lakeland history: The Dixieland anniversary cake of 1952

Do you remember the time Publix made a huge birthday cake for an entire Lakeland neighborhood? Read on for the story.

A woman in a dress points to a large cake made by Publix for the fourth anniversary of Lakeland's Dixieland neighborhood.

We would want to dig into this colossal confection, too.

Photo by Publix

Chances are you’ve been to many a birthday party with a Publix cake, but we doubt you’ve seen one as big as the cake created for Dixieland in 1952. The neighborhood celebrated its fourth anniversary with a birthday cake weighing two and a half tons.

It takes someone pretty high up to put in such a tall order. Thankfully, the community had the support of Publix founder George Jenkins himself. “Mr. George” commissioned the cake from Lundy’s Bakery, the Dixieland business that supplied Publix stores with baked goods before they incorporated their own bakeries.

Lundy’s baked the cake in small sections, which were later assembled in a Publix warehouse. The cake’s four tiers stood at 4 ft tall and weighed in at an impressive 5,000 lbs. It was transported to Dixieland by trailer to start the anniversary celebration.

A baker decorates a cake with frosting for the Dixieland neighborhood anniversary

We can just imagine how long it took to decorate this cake.

Photo by Publix

The event drew big names like George Jenkins and Pat Burgoon, the 1952 Florida Citrus Queen, but local residents also came together to enjoy a slice and celebrate their neighborhood. Reader Perry L. shared this sweet memory from the event:

“I recall the large crowd of people on the street gathered around the wheeled platform holding the cake, all eager to be served a piece. I remember being handed a serving which I, as a sweets-loving 10-year-old, thought was quite small, especially coming from such a giant cake. It’s amusing to me now that after 70+ years the size of the serving is what remains lodged in my mind!”

Dixieland remains a key part of Lakeland’s past and present. Explore everything the area has to offer — including the vintage store found in the former Lundy’s Bakery location — with our neighborhood guide.

More from LALtoday