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Sweet secrets: Sisters launch successful bakery business

In those first, tentative days of selling baked goods at the Owensboro farmers market, sisters Mackenzie and Taylor Mahlinger and their mom, Heather, showed up with just a few items—some scones, little pecan tarts, granola and their signature “everything” cookie. 

“We started small—we had one small table, and we didn’t have very many things,” recalls Mackenzie. It was summer 2017, and Taylor had just completed her freshman year at Transylvania University. Mackenzie was in high school, but had taken an online baking course from the Culinary Institute of America. “I have always loved baking, and my sister has, too,” she says.

The girls talked and thought their baking skills could help Taylor defray her tuition bills. They baked a few things, set up a table at the market and hung the “Southern Secrets” sign their mother had used when she sold handmade items at Kentucky Crafted markets. 

But the market grew, and the tables multiplied until there were four, covered with tiny Bundt cakes, individual sized fruit breads, lemon blueberry bars, brownies and more. Mackenzie has moved on, focusing on a medical career she hopes to pursue, but Taylor is writing a book with their recipes that they hope will inspire others. 

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