HAMPTON, Va. - Sugar, butter, flour. Three simple ingredients and the key to Lashonda Sanford's success.
It was a humble beginning for the owner of Scratch Bakery's two Peninsula locations.
"[My husband and I] got started with my daughter's Elmo cake. She was turning two," Sanford recalls.
Guests asked where she bought the cake to which Sanford replied that she'd made it herself. Baking quickly became a passion, she says, and then a business.
Scratch Bakery opened in Newport News in 2011 and then Hampton's Phoebus district in 2016 with some time spent in Williamsburg too. Sanford hasn't slowed down since.
"At our one location in Newport News, we do about 20,000 cupcakes per month. We're doing crazy cupcakes and cake slices and wedding cakes and custom cakes," she said.
Wedding cake, French vanilla-flavored with almond buttercream, is a top seller, along with the "Better Than Duff" carrot cake.
That's Duff, as in Duff Goldman, renowned baker and Food Network personality who judged Sanford's desserts on the latest season of the network's Holiday Baking Championship program.
Sanford finished in the top five and has gotten a lot of attention from the appearance.
"I baked my butt off," she told News 3 with a laugh. "We just didn't know what to expect from the show at all. I expected a little busier. I didn't think it would be this crazy. I feel like everyone comes in, they're like, 'Oh my God, I want to take a picture.'"
It's a new found fame for Sanford, who will soon have a new space to go with it.
Scratch Bakery is moving it's Hampton location to a new space just across Mellen Street with ten times the square footage and plenty of history in the century-old building.
"My husband saw some articles that this was the first Black hotel in Phoebus. We're excited that now we're going to be owning this store here," said Sanford.
She expects the move to happen later this month. An expanded menu will include sandwiches and soup.
Sanford, a former home-baker, says its her customers, her 'scratchers,' she has to thank for the success.
"I'm just so grateful that we have the love from the community that come in and support us every single day," she said.