Drexel Hill’s own Khadijah Ford has her hands full wowing customers with ornately detailed custom cookies through Sugarluxe by Babycakes — plus a full-time job! When you do what you love, however, it doesn’t feel like work, and bringing people joy through her creative confections also fills Ford’s heart.
We caught up with this busy baker to learn about how she got started, why cookies, parties and workshops, and how she ended up on the Food Network!
We see you baked with your grandmother; is that how you developed these amazing skills?
I love to eat, so food has been the center of my life for as long as I can remember. My grandmother was definitely a large part of that; she showed her love through the meals and desserts that she’d make for us. I have that same trait! Every recipe comes from my heart and my taste. I dream about flavors and then turn them into cookies.
Photo by Sugarluxe by Babycakes
Do you do anything else besides Sugarluxe?
I’m currently a general surgery residency coordinator along with Sugarluxe.
You’re a lifelong artist with a background in fine arts and fashion design. How did you translate those artistic skills into beautiful cookies?
Honestly, the painting and drawing techniques that I’ve learned through the years transfer very easily. Same techniques, different mediums. I went to the Art Institute of Philadelphia for fashion design, and most of my classes were in the same building as the culinary institute. I became a little obsessed!
Photo by Zara Neifield Photography
How did you come to focus on cookies?
It was a challenge for me at first. The first cookies I made took me hours to do and they were hideous. I said I would never do it again but my customers begged for them. The more I did, the better I got, and the more in love I fell with the process.
Why did you decide to open an online store?
After baking for years — all the cupcakes, cakes, cake pops, etc. — I realized that I didn’t enjoy my work anymore and I knew that I wouldn’t want to be tied to providing the traditional bakery items on a daily basis. This fits my lifestyle and allows me to delight customers with customized cookies, minis and cookie cakes that they can order online and ship right to them. Anyone interested can go to the website, and if they have questions contact us through the site. Check out my Instagram, too!
Do you still do parties and workshops?
I do. I have a calendar on my website where people can schedule their cookie workshop. It’s a great time! It’s like painting with a twist but with cookies. I come to your location with all of the supplies. There are even add-ons like signature cocktails or mocktails for the group.
Photo by Ann Blake Photography
Tell us about the Food Network 3D cookie competition show Cookie Wars!
A cake friend of mine sent me a post from the casting company and I applied. I had three interviews and was casted! Competing on Cookie Wars was the most exciting, terrifying, exhausting and inspiring thing I’ve ever done. It was hard work and long days, but I had so much fun. I learned so much from my teammates. It definitely pushed me to step my cookie game up and broaden my knowledge base.
Did you win?
There were two rounds and — not being partial at all — I think we should have won round one. Ultimately, my team did not win either round.
How did your family react to this business?
They’re all in, and all help with packaging, tying bows and deliveries — everything except for making cookies!
Do you have any hobbies?
Baking is my hobby, but I’m an artist in my soul, so every once in a while I’ll take time off and just do something artistic, like paint or complete a craft project.
Anything else that you want to tell everyone?
At first, it was me just making stuff for the family to try, or for their birthdays, and they loved it. It’s been years now so I think the novelty has worn off, but I still impress them every once in a while with a cool design! I just love creating things that make people feel something. When a mom emails to ask if she can preserve a cookie for her baby’s time capsule it warms my heart. Or when people cry when they open their box because they are so happy; that makes me happy.
Want to know more about everything Delco? We’re more than just your source for good eats — we’re your source for where to stay, what to do and more in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. We’re Visit Delco, PA, and we’ve got you covered from Philly to the Brandywine. Contact us at (610) 565-3679, by email, or online.
Featured photo by Ann Blake Photography