The front room at Retrobaked hardly looks like a bakery—more like a midcentury display room, which in fact it is. Retrobaked owner Rachel Sokolewicz collects and sells all sorts of vintage items, many of them kitchen-themed, like well-worn cookbooks and throwback aprons.
But it’s Sokolewicz’s baking that has made her home a destination for Village-cruising sweets lovers, particularly those who abide by gluten-free diets. Sokolewicz herself learned she was “gluten-intolerant” a couple years back, and began baking as a way to figure out how to craft gluten-free items that taste as good as their conventional counterparts. Everything at Retrobaked is gluten-free and vegan—no dairy, no eggs, “no junk.”
Not that you can tell the difference. A “Mexican hot chocolate” brownie tastes not unlike the one you find at Sugar Cubed, even though it’s made with garbanzo bean flour.
“Gluten-free has come a long way,” Sokolewicz says. “It used to taste like cardboard.” In addition to the chickpea flour, Sokolewicz uses fava bean flour and tapioca flour. Instead of cow’s milk, she’ll pour almond or coconut milk.
She’s already developed a following among locals who suffer from Celiac disease or allergies to eggs or dairy. When kids with allergies, accustomed to lame secondhand treats, come into the shop, their eyes light up when Sokolewicz waves her hand over a cookie display and says the magic words: “You can have anything on this table.”