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Eat Cakes Bakery: A Rise from Hobby to Downtown Darling

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Eat Cakes storefront and owners
Contributor: Jamie Richardson

 

Get all of your Easter treats from this local bakery in Downtown Kannapolis.


📍 Eat Cakes Bakery, 141 West Avenue, Kannapolis, NC 28081
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Donna Taylor’s journey from hobby cake maker to successful bakery owner of Eat Cakes Bakery in Downtown Kannapolis wasn’t easy. She has overcome challenges including pandemic disruptions, malfunctioning ovens, and uncertain beginnings with determination and community support.

From Gym to Oven: The Unexpected Start

While Taylor has owned her business for four years, her journey into the world of baking began 20 years ago.

Initially working at an all-women’s gym, she unexpectedly gained attention for her cheesecakes after showcasing them at a weekend craft show. As demand for her cakes grew, she turned her hobby into a side hustle.

Then Donna’s friend from Ohio invited her to help open a bakery coffee shop in the Florida Keys. What was supposed to be a one-month endeavor turned into seven months.

Upon returning to North Carolina, she resumed her work at a gym, but fate intervened again when she was offered part ownership in the bakery with the promise of gradual ownership through yearly increments. It was an opportunity too good to pass up, leading her to store away her belongings and make the move.

Donna eventually returned to North Carolina, balancing employment at various gyms and baking from home. She also did personal training at the Sheriff’s Office, DSS, and the government center until COVID disrupted everything. With the pandemic causing a shutdown, Donna kept herself busy baking and selling “COVID cakes.”

Turning Tables: The Drive-Thru Breakthrough

Kristin Rodgers with Doughgirls Catering suggested that Donna join her by selling desserts at her drive-thru events, so she began setting up a small table on a weekly basis, offering cupcakes and cheesecakes. The response was positive and more people started placing orders.

  • This unexpected opportunity, seen as “God’s rainbow at the end of a storm,” shifted Donna’s focus and gave her confidence to venture out on her own.

Doughgirls Catering recommends getting dessert from Eat Cakes

Downtown Dreams: A Bold Leap Amidst Uncertainty

In the middle of the pandemic, Donna took a bold step and approached a developer in downtown Kannapolis about the possibility of opening a bakery. Three days later, Donna received a call from the developer, signed the lease in August, and became one of the first businesses in Downtown Kannapolis to start renovations.

On December 19, 2020, Eat Cakes Bakery held a grand opening that exceeded all expectations. Despite facing challenges like malfunctioning ovens, Donna’s determination and the support of friends resulted in a successful launch.

The response from the community was overwhelming, reinforcing Donna’s belief that she was on the right path. The bakery officially reopened in January 2021, gradually gaining momentum as other stores opened and events resumed.

Photo Credits: Eat Cakes Bakery

Sweets Galore: Crafting Culinary Delights for All Tastes

Donna’s bakery, now a thriving business, employs six individuals, with four core team members who have been with her for over two years. Her team delivers a lineup that caters to diverse tastes, with the top sellers being the irresistible lemon cheesecake bars, cinnamon rolls, and Sundrop cupcakes.

A variety of Eat Cakes offerings

But the offerings extend far beyond these favorites. The bakery takes pride in crafting special occasion cakes that range from elegant wedding masterpieces to simple yet stunning birthday cakes.

Full cake examples from Eat Cakes Bakery

Tarts in to-go containers

Construction themed birthday cake and frosted sugar cookies from Eat Cakes Bakery

For those with dietary preferences and restrictions, Eat Cakes Bakery has truly thought of everything. Gluten-free options abound, featuring delightful macarons and an assortment of unique flavors such as Cheerwine, Fruity Pebbles, and German Chocolate. Health-conscious patrons can indulge guilt-free with their keto bites, which are both gluten and sugar-free. And let’s not forget the “Pup”cakes, a thoughtful touch for furry friends.

macarons

Dogs enjoying "Pup" cakes at Eat Cakes Bakery

The breakfast menu is equally impressive, offering a delightful start to the day with options like apple turnovers, strawberry turnovers, ham and cheese croissants, quiche, and spinach and feta croissants.

Croissants, turnovers, and scones offered at Eat Cakes

If you’re in the mood for something heartier, their selection of bread, including pumpkin bread and cranberry walnut bread, as well as bread bowls, is sure to satisfy.

Fresh Bread

Easter Extravaganza: Seasonal Specials and Sweet Surprises

With Easter around the corner, Eat Cakes is gearing up for the festivities with special offerings. Personalized cookies and Easter cake pops add a festive touch to the seasonal lineup.

  • As a special treat, those who place orders before the Wednesday before Easter will have the chance to select an egg from a basket, potentially winning discounts or even a free order.

It’s a sweet gesture that reflects Donna’s commitment to her customers and the joy she finds in sharing her passion for baking.

Easter cookie cake

Easter themed baked goods

As Donna reflects on her journey, she acknowledges the divine intervention that guided her through challenging times. Every doubt she faced was met with doors opening, solidifying her belief that this venture was meant to be.

Her success story serves as inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and a reminder that, sometimes, the most extraordinary opportunities arise from unexpected beginnings.

 

Planning to visit? Tell ’em Cabarrus Weekly sent ya!