Legacy in Caramel

Curb Market denizen reflects on generations of handmade goodness

Bakers and makers Tracy Queen (with her daughter Caroline) and mother Marilyn Horne are busy upholding heritage at The Curb Market. Photos by Luke Van Hine.


Marilyn Pryor Horne’s stall at Hendersonville’s historic Curb Market has been a magnet of comfort and nostalgia. There are the cakes, for one thing, in all their iced and layered glory. Seasonal, fresh-picked berries from the farm add color to the display, and hand-sewn pillows and bonnets hint at a lifestyle far removed from the turmoils of the wider world.

Horne’s been bringing her homemade baked goods to the market for close to 30 years, maintaining a family tradition begun by her mother, Goldie Pryor, who first set up the market stall in the 1950s, and now being shared with Marilyn’s daughter, Tracy Queen. “My mother sold corn-shuck dolls, sunbonnets, aprons, and a variety of other hand-sewn items,” Horne remembers. “She always took me with her, so I was one of the kids that were raised behind the table. When Goldie passed away in 1993, I took over her tables at the market and added baked goods to the sewn products.”

 Horne’s big seller is her caramel cake, from a recipe of her own invention — but plenty of other baked goods are just as tempting. “Tracy makes a delicious coconut ice-box cake that’s very popular,” Horne is proud to point out. “In normal times, we spend anywhere from 20 to 25 hours each week baking. We take special orders and can make anything from pies to cupcakes. You name it, we can make it.”

Over the years a loyal following has developed and become like family, proven many times over when Horne’s family struggled last year to save the life of her granddaughter Caroline — Tracy’s daughter — who was born in May 2019 with a serious heart condition that required months of hospital care and surgery. “Thanks to the multitude of prayers that went up for her from many of our customers, as well as our family, Caroline is now a thriving one-year-old, although she does have some residual heart damage,” reports Horne. “She is why, during this worldwide pandemic, we are being very careful, and staying home as much as we can to limit exposure to help keep her healthy.”

While the pandemic restrictions continue, Horne and Queen are taking orders directly from customers and delivering their orders individually. The baking goes on, including Horne’s own favorite, an almond pound cake. “But I don’t particularly have a sweet tooth,” Horne reveals, “which helps when you always have cakes around your house.”

The Caramel Cake Lady at The Curb Market (221 N. Church St., Hendersonville, curbmarket.com). Marilyn Horne and Tracy Queen are taking orders by phone at 828-685-8666, by e-mail at marilynpryorhorne@yahoo.com, and via their Facebook page: M and T Baked Goods. 

1 Comment

  • Anne Gilbert says:

    Marilyn’s caramel cakes are to die for! They are wonderful. We often order them
    For family dinners, especially. We have ordered half cakes when there is only a few of us. Wonderful family and wonderful tradition for Mother Daughter, passing the tradition down.

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