Beside being glued to weather reports, another way to know that a storm is coming is to check your feed with the hashtags #publix and #hurricanecake.
One signal of an upcoming storm: a display of colorful cakes with the telltale swirl, displayed in the supermarket’s bakery section.
A few years back, the Lakeland-based supermarket chain sold a bunch of these popular party cakes, many of them topped with edible radar images; the blue, green and orange frosting shaped in a circle, with a red eye smack in the middle.
If Publix doesn't make a hurricane cake it's not a real hurricane
— Dina Hinckley (@hinck07) September 26, 2022
Another popular option Publix once put out this time of year was a giant chocolate chip cookie decorated with a map of Florida and in blue frosting, the words, “Leave Florida Alone.”
— Bill Walsh (@BILLWALSHTV) September 27, 2022
On Monday, meteorologist Bill Walsh tweeted a picture of a few cakes from a store in Citrus County, about an hour north of Ian hot zone Tampa. “A’ for creative baking!!!” said the caption.
The same day, a TikTok user with the handle @marialola showed followers a video of a display case in Kissimmee. It contains two small round cakes, decorated with a palm trees and the hurricane symbol in an ominous red color.
“Publix for the win,” said the caption with a hysterically laughing emoji.
Many of her followers wanted to run right out and get one, they said in the comments section for the post, which received 174,000 likes in just two days.
“Hurricane party like a real Floridian!”
READ MORE: Florida sees catastrophic damage from Ian
Among the 1,600 plus replies: “All jokes aside, the party is almost here. Be safe.”
A quick scan of our local Kendall branch revealed no such cake and the woman behind the counter was confused when we inquired.
Turns out it’s tough to come by one of these things these days. Since Hurricane Dorian, in August 2019, these cakes are made only by special order, due to complaints from people who found the theme insensitive.
“Our associates make every effort to support our customers during weather events. Often times, this includes finding ways to delight them with their favorite Publix items as they prepare for uncertainty,” spokeswoman Lindsey Willis told the Miami Herald. “For these requests in particular, it is our company policy to not produce bakery cakes that would make light of a natural disaster. We have sent communications to our stores reminding them of our policy.
“Our priority remains taking care of our customers, associates and communities as we prepare and respond to Hurricane Ian.”