All photos courtesy of Scratch Bakeshop by Hannah Betts
Scratch Bakeshop Vitals
Who: Molly Hartley + Kate Cassels
What: A boutique bakery purveying vegan, gluten-free and traditional custom confections
Where: Rochester, New York along Park Avenue
Meet Ms. Molly Hartley and Kate Cassels, the new confection connection that’s come to join the ranks of Rochester, New York’s growing creative food community. Situated along Park Avenue, the ladies open early, pop a photo of their daily specials on Instagram and only stay open until they sell out of their custom desserts.
Cool New York state inspired cookies, French macarons, petit ombre cakes and cupcakes are just a few of the pastries that line their case. And, while the ladies don’t bill themselves exclusively as a vegan, gluten-free bakery, that is certainly why their confections caught Garden Eats’ attention. They may have been modest to answer when asked about featuring alternative sweets in a new market, but they are indeed just what the Rochester food scene needs- we especially appreciate their unique and thoughtful approach to working with not only fine ingredients, but tastes and flavors that can be enjoyed without restriction and only satisfaction by the entire community.
Please welcome design and baking pros, Molly & Kate!
Garden Eats: Here in SoCal we’re a bit spoiled- gluten-free and vegan treats abound, not as easy to find when in Rochester though- naturally we were beyond psyched to see you open your doors! Were you at all nervous to start a business in Rochester marketing gluten-free, allergen-free and vegan confections or did you just think, “the city has a big need for this, let’s corner the market”?
Scratch Bakeshop: We would have been nervous starting any sort of business no matter where we were located. We brainstormed a lot about what Rochester wanted and needed. We offer traditional sweets in addition to our allergen-free desserts- our goal is to offer something for every palate.
GE: How has creating vegan and allergen-free confections expanded your resourcefulness as bakers or in general? Does this extend into your home kitchens?
SB: Neither of us has an allergy or dietary preference. As two bakers that eat traditionally we’re always looking to make our vegan and allergen-free desserts taste as good as the real thing.
GE: I love the new New York state cookies! What local elements have sparked your fave design ideas so far at Scratch?
SB: Thank you! We love the NY state cookie too! Our favorite designs are those that our clients are excited for us to make for them. Our orders are so custom that design ideas come from all over.
GE: Can’t say I’m sad to see the cake pop fad die down, a trend I’ll forever be a fan of however is the French macaron- your painted macarons are ultra chic. What baking trends do you love and what trends have you sparked yourselves?
SB: Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of molded chocolates. They’re small and lovely treats. Chocolates are a timeless sweet and we’ve been having fun adding nuts, dried fruit and our housemade caramel to ours.
GE: Sounds divine and yes, we see molded chocolates coming from our friends in LA and Australia- molded chocolate diamonds and gems in pastel and iridescent hues- very cool… What are your favorite ingredients to bake with?
SB: We love using fresh produce. Whether we’re topping cheesecakes with fresh figs or candying blood oranges for olive oil cake, we really enjoy the natural color and flavor they bring to our sweets. All of our recipes are trial and error. We’re constantly trying to perfect recipes we’ve been using for years.
GE: Lucky girl that friend Vu of yours getting a custom Wu-Tang inspired cake designed by you gals! What’s the most unusual or quirky custom request you’ve received so far?
SB: Honestly, we’ve had so many custom orders that there might be too many quirky requests to name. We always tell clients that if they can dream it we can make it!
GE: Okay, so we can visit your bakeshop and you of course welcome custom orders- are you featuring any specialty treats at area coffee shops or plan to? Any cool collabs coming up?
SB: You can find our desserts ar Victoire Belgian Beer Bar and The Owl House. We also have our sweets at Pour Coffee Parlor. We pair with the local community as often as possible. Collaborative relationships always produce the best work!
GE: Thanks for joining us today! As gluten-free and vegan dining demands grow, we hope more Rochester restaurants, cafes and coffee shops will take a cue from your success to expand their menus to offer all types of eaters the top notch fare they seek!
M O L L Y Hartley + Cate Kassels are the co-proprietors of Scratch Bakeshop, a new boutique bakeshop located in the heart of Rochester, New York. Stop for a bite or let them design a confection for your next sweet-inspired occasion. Until then, visit their Instagram gallery here.