Living The Sweet Life

Madison Slandzicki has been bringing a little extra sweetness to Franklin ever since she opened her bakery, Kailey Cakes, in 2020.
“My first name is actually Kailey,” explains owner and head baker/decorator Slandzicki. “I go by my middle name. It’s like a southern thing. So, my name is Kailey Madison. When I was trying to come up with a business name I thought that Kailey Cakes just sounded super cute instead of Madison Cakes.”

The bakery is hard to miss as the exterior is dotted with colorful sprinkles. “Everyone thought I was crazy when I first did it,” she says of the vibrant paint job. “Now everyone’s like ‘I’ve seen you, you’re the sprinkle house.’”

Her passion for cakes began when she was young as she watched her neighbor across the street bake cakes for friends and family. She has fond memories of sneaking scraps of her homemade fondant when she’d go over for playdates with her neighbor’s daughter. “I loved all of her beautiful creations,” she recalls. “Just growing up watching her bake and decorate those cakes really was what made me love baking. I just really loved the decorating side. I guess at first that’s what I fell in love with and then after that I kind of switched. I went to culinary school and loved the baking side as well and the decorating. That’s kind of how it began.”

After taking her general education courses at the University of Tennessee and graduating from The Art Institute of Nashville’s culinary program, she went down to St. Simons Island, Georgia to work at a café that specialized in all things olive oil. They didn’t offer any baked goods, so she began baking for them, making olive oil infused items.

After a short stint at a bakery in Middle Tennessee, Slandzicki decided to take the leap and open her own. The building she had her eye on was previously owned by a catering company, so it was able to handle both catering and baking. She planned on including both elements into her business, but with the pandemic limiting many events, she invested her time and effort into the baking side.

While both her parents and husband have full-time jobs, they have been an integral part of the operation since the beginning. No one in her family has any culinary experience so the entire endeavor has been a learn-as-they-go process. She also has a current college student, Nicole, handling orders and overseeing logistics.

What is unique about Kailey Cakes is that essentially everything is custom. Rather than having pre-made items on hand for purchase, everything typically must be ordered at least 48 hours in advance, so that they can create something unique and made-to-order for each customer.

During the pandemic she developed her wedding cake tasting boxes allowing customers to select different types of cake with separate frosting and filling flavors on the side. This allows them to mix and match, down to what’s in between every individual layer, making each cake completely customized.

When it comes to her favorite cake flavor, she immediately chooses the blackberry lavender cake. “I actually made my own wedding cake,” Slandzicki explains. “It was one of my wedding cake flavors. It’s just a fun, unique, different kind of flavor.”

In addition to cakes, Kailey Cakes also offers a variety of sweet treats including mini and regular-sized pies, chocolate dipped goodies, brownies, sugar cookie bars, and more. “Pretty much whatever I’m feeling that day we’ve kind of just added and tweaked it and made it fun and put a spin on it with Kailey Cakes,” she shares.

The Kailey Cakes team also offers decorating classes for both kids and adults, as well as parties and even science camps where they do experiments with baking. “All of my employees, aside from my family, are also teachers for the most part,” she explains. “They all work kind of as a teacher or like an assistant of some sort and then they come in and they help bake. There are a lot of teachers here so opening a party room was really fun and very important to us.”

What’s even more meaningful is that one of the teachers she employs is the very same neighbor that inspired her love of baking when she was a young girl. “My main helper is Rachel,” says Slandzicki. “She actually was my across the street neighbor, which is super funny. She was the one I used to watch. It’s literally full circle. When she knew I was starting this, she started helping a little bit at first and now she’s in almost every other day. She’s a Pre-K teacher and then she comes in. She does a ton of the baking, and she helps with a lot of the decorating and little fondant work, especially since she’s just done that forever.”

This story of childhood wonder turned career path couldn’t be any sweeter.

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