Started from scratch

Your local boutique bakery, Photos by Michael Hanlon
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Since she was a young girl Molly Hartley daydreamed of owning her own bakery, complete with a huge window display featuring custom cakes on vintage cake stands. That dream is now a reality for Hartley, who opened Scratch Bakeshop in 2013. Her creativity combined with quality local ingredients make Scratch Bakeshop the perfect place to swing by for a unique, sweet treat.

What’s the significance behind the bakery’s name?

The name Scratch fit perfectly because not only is everything we make made from scratch, we literally started from scratch with not a penny in our pockets. Most of our equipment has been collected from random garage sales and craigslist posts that I have found throughout the years. When we couldn’t afford things, we would always find a way to make do with whatever we had! Baking from scratch has always been important to me because I believe the taste and quality is much better than baked goods that are filled with preservatives.

You call Scratch a “boutique bakery.” What does that mean?

I never really thought about the title of “boutique bakery” until starting Scratch. I think that what separates a “boutique” bakery from a standard bakery is the quality of the product, the time, and artistic energy we put into each thing we create. Every cake and cookie we decorate is a unique work of art. We spend a lot of time and attention to detail on each item.

What are your favorite things to create?

I love all aspects of the baking business, but I especially love thinking of new and creative recipe ideas and trying new things. Cake decorating has always been a personal favorite of mine, and I am always trying to improve my decorating skills. I love big, tiered wedding cakes covered in flowers, whether they are buttercream, fresh, or fondant. Putting together a big cake is always fun and exciting.

What’s the best way someone can treat themselves at your shop?

While there are so many ways to treat yourself at Scratch, I think the most unusual treat is our Scratch dessert plate, which is our take on a garbage plate. The Scratch Plate was born when we first started Scratch. I was living with my mom at the time, and I would be up late after working my 9-to-5 job—working on custom orders for Scratch. She would always ask me what “scraps” I had for her. I would pile everything on a plate, throw some whipped cream on it, and joke about how it was a dessert garbage plate. Fast forward to last year; we were able to find a really great way to market these (with the help of some local friends and businesses), and voila! The Scratch Plate was born.

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You’re known in the community for your cake decorating classes—tell me more about these.

One of my biggest passions in life is teaching. I am so lucky to be able to teach classes through the Rochester Brainery, which is such an amazing and affordable way to take a variety of different classes. Our current cake decorating class that we offer through the Brainery is a basic class. Each student gets to have their own six- inch cake with a quart of our vanilla frosting and creates a cake decorated however they would like! I walk the students through the basic decorating techniques and show them how to fill and frost a cake and go over my favorite decorating tips.

What’s it like being a woman-owned business in Rochester?

Scratch has primarily been a woman- owned and operated business. We could never be where we are without the strong and powerful women that I have had the pleasure of working alongside the past eight years. We also would never be where we are without the amazing community that Rochester is. I have never felt more at home in a place, and I am forever grateful for the love and passion that pours out of this city.

Follow Scratch Bakeshop at @ScratchBakeshopRoc on Instagram, or @ScratchBakeshop on Facebook.

Categories: Current Issue Features, Laura DiCaprio