Every Friday morning, Audrey Enman wakes up at 5 am to go to work. She sacrifices sleep for a great cause: keeping Coolidge Corner in cupcakes. As the owner of Girlfriend Baking, a Boston-based, gluten-free baking company, Enman supplies Zaftigs Coolidge Corner and Zaftigs Natick with 14 dozen cupcakes apiece, every week.
Healthier food choices like gluten-free items seem like an unusual fit for an old-school deli like Zaftigs. “I think it’s really important for people to have allergen-friendly options, so if you want a cupcake you don’t have to go up to the counter and ask do you have this or this or this,” says Enman. She says the restaurant initially offered her cupcakes as well as traditional baked goods, and her cupcakes were more popular by a landslide.
The business was born a year ago. “I got celiac about two years ago and I found the thing I missed the most was going into a bakery and being like ‘one of everything,’” said Enman. “What was on the market for gluten-free wasn’t great.” She would bake batches at home and then bring the extras to work at Zaftigs for her coworkers. After a while, her Zaftigs Coolidge Corner manager suggested they try selling them. From there, Girlfriend Baking took off.
Many of her products are dairy-free as well as gluten-free to accommodate a greater group of diets. Enman says she’s working on a series of vegan pastries as well. She divulges that the secret to her gluten-free recipe is using a mix of five flours so the cupcake doesn’t taste like one substitute.
In addition to her delicious cupcakes, which really do taste like the real thing, Enman takes orders for all occasions. From elegant event cakes to playful children’s party masterpieces, Enman’s baking range grows daily. She also offers brownies, cookies, and a spectrum of classic baked goods. She says her commissions are a great way to flex her creative muscles. One client requested an Earl Grey cake with orange blossom frosting. Earl Grey was a new flavor for Enman and allowed her to experiment with tea ratios and flavor infusing.
Girlfriend Baking operates out of a shared kitchen space in Somerville. “What I like about working in a shared kitchen is that the networking is right there,” she said. “There are 23 companies in the space.” That networking has paid off. Recently Enman supplied Family Dinner, a service delivering boxes of farmer’s market goods to customers, with cupcakes for their deliveries.
At Zaftigs you can find classic flavors like chocolate, vanilla, cookies and cream, and black and white. Enman does add seasonal flavors, for summer she’s cooking up key lime, honey cake, and mint chocolate chip. Girlfriend Baking was invented to fill a need, “It was the convenience I missed more than anything, being able to say ‘I want that and I know I can have it,’” says Enman. Now, her customers can pop into Zaftigs and pick up a cupcake for a reasonable $3.75, no 5 am wake up call necessary.