The Boozy Baker: Bump City Bakery in Petaluma

Scientist turned baker cooks up vegan and gluten-free cupcakes with a twist.

The transition from fish biologist to baker isn’t as crazy as it might seem, according to Bump City Bakery’s Emily Floyd.

The cupcake, pie and cookie baker who used to spend her days studying the habitats of local fish now uses her science background as a basis for creating delicious gluten-free and vegan goodies. If you’ve ever tried to swap out typical baking ingredients with things like amaranth powder, rice flour, coconut milk and nut butters, you know gluten free and vegan cooking is an exacting science. Too much of one thing or not enough of another can make the mix grainy, or too dense, or just plain yucky. A biology and science background helps her tinker and experiments with foundational ingredients to get things just right.

Just right also means spiking most of her cupcakes with a little booze, calling them “Drunken Cupcakes,”using rum, Bailey’s, Campari, gin, bourbon and brandy. Though the flavors change up, we downed almost three cupcakes in a single sitting: Irish Car Bomb (chocolate cake with Jameson, Bailey’s buttercream and chocolate sprinkles; Orange Creamsicle (non-alcoholic) and our very favorite, the Dark and Stormy with ginger beer cake, dark rum and lime buttercream.

Not all of her cupcakes are on a bender, with flavors like raspberry cheesecake, chocolate chocolate and vanilla vanilla, along with Creamsicle and whatever else she comes up with. Floyd also makes vegan cookies like Peanut Butter Cup, oatmeal raisin walnut, chocolate chip oatmeal and Salty Date with dates, pecans, almonds and chocolate chips. Rye Pecan Pie with Bulleit rye whiskey and key lime pies are available to order.

The name? Bump City is a nickname for Oakland, where Emily got her baking start before moving to Petaluma. Blame Tower of Power’s second album, Bump City, for the moniker that seemed to stick.

Want a bite? Bump City Bakery is open Friday through Sunday from 10a.m. to 5p.m. and she typically has plenty of cupcakes along with scones, muffins and quiche (and of course coffee). The rest of the week, she delivers to wholesale partners in the East Bay and Marin and to Aqus Cafe and Petaluma Market in Petaluma.

The cafe isn’t easy to find, but it’s worth the effort: 122 American Alley, Suite B in Petaluma, or 510-882-2880. And Emily promises that no fish were harmed in the making of any of her sweets.