Baked on Long Island: The Cirque de Chocolat Cake at Reinwald’s Bakery

What happens when his father is a baker, and her father is a baker? They get married.

The Cirque de Chocolat cake at Reinwald's Bakery, Huntington, New York, May 28, 2016. By Yvonne Albinowski

The Cirque de Chocolat cake at Reinwald’s Bakery in Huntington.

If you drop by Reinwald’s Bakery in Huntington for a box of their acclaimed jelly donuts, you might not realize you’re in the capable hands of a Long Island baking dynasty.

Owners Rich and Carole Reinwald both grew up in baking families, and their fathers each studied their craft in Germany before immigrating to the United States and settling on Long Island. Carole’s father, Helmut, established Gerst’s Cake & Cookie Shop in Seaford and Rich’s father, Joseph, opened Reinwald’s Bakery, initially in Bellerose.

“We grew up living over the bakery in a very tight-knit immigrant family, says Rich. “It’s analogous to growing up on the family farm. We all had our daily chores. As such it becomes part of your DNA.”

Helmut Gerst and Joseph Reinwald were active in local baking associations and developed a close kinship. As a result, Rich and Carole were friends from an early age, and their wedded union was almost inevitable. Carole wryly calls it, “an arranged marriage.”

Customers line up to order at Reinwald's Bakery, Huntington, New York, May 28, 2016. By Yvonne Albinowski

Customers line up to order at Reinwald’s Bakery.

Theirs is an extended family business to this day—with significant roots in the neighborhood—marking 28 years in Huntington. Patrons can expect a deep respect for fresh ingredients, classic pastry traditions and a generous dollop of imagination. There’s a full-service storefront and bakery on-site that offers a staggering choice of sweets and baked goods—breads, breakfast rolls, fancy celebration cakes, cheesecakes and whipped-cream and custard cakes. Don’t miss Reinwald’s menu of individual mousse cakes—elegant haute pastries, sure to make you swoon and perfect for a decadent sweet fling.

Expect an exhilarating juggling of flavors and textures to delight the senses.

Keeping up the family tradition is Rich and Carol’s son, Christopher, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and has worked in the family business since he was a youngster. One of the most stylish individual cakes Reinwald’s offers is Christopher’s own big-top-inspired Cirque de Chocolat, which won him top honors in a circus-themed pastry competition. It’s a thrilling spectacle of edible performance art: layers of rich brownie, chocolate mousse, caramel, almond toffee and chocolate cake wrapped in a dark chocolate shell decorated with a colorful carnival motif. Expect an exhilarating juggling of flavors and textures to delight the senses.

An employee ties up a bakery box, Reinwald's Bakery, Huntington, New York, May 28, 2016. By Yvonne Albinowski

Employee Cendy Interiano ties up a bakery box.

Rich says the family enterprise is much more than a business. “We are living and sharing—in a very poignant way—the same joys and sorrows, successes and failures of anyone else in the community.”

He enjoys making special celebration cakes, and especially traditional German Christmas items. “A customer came up to me at Christmas Mass and said, ‘Your Christstollen made our breakfast special. We thank you.’ I almost cried.”

Scenic Snacking: Once you check out the offerings from Long Island’s baking dynasty, take that classic white bakery box of goodies just down the road and park by the picnic tables at the David Conklin Farmhouse historic site at 2 High Street and the intersection of New York Avenue (NYS 110). Built circa 1750 for one of Long Island’s early farming families, the Conklin house was one of the first museums on Long Island and illustrates three periods of history: Colonial, Federal and Victorian.




T.W. Barritt is a passionate baker who studied the art of bread and pastry at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. He is the author of “Long Island Food: A History from Family Farms and Oysters to Craft Spirits" published by History Press.