Written by Lyn Dobrin Friday, 04 October 2013 00:00
The crumb topping on Hahn’s crumb cakes are so popular that they are sold by the bucketful, really. Clumps of sweet crumbs are packed in three-pound metal cans. And the buckets are refillable. For some, Hahn’s crumbs and crumb cake are essential, such as sisters Pat and Joan Kinnally of Old Bethpage who were in the wholesale bakery’s shop making sure they had a crumb cake for their brother visiting from Alabama.
Regina Hahn, who comes from a family of German bakers, got her recipe from her grandmother. In 1983, Regina was teaching in a private school and with two kids in college needed to increase her income. All her friends always requested her crumb cake whenever there was a gathering so she decided to adapt the recipe for large-scale baking. Her husband took the product to bagel stores and soon jobbers were coming to her. The big break came at a trade show in Atlantic
City when A&P approached her. She could no longer bake in such large quantities at home so she opened a bakery in Ronkonkoma. In 1994 Hahn’s moved to Farmingdale and ten years ago to the current location in Farmingdale.
Hahn’s crumb cakes are popular beyond Long Island. In his book New York Eats, Ed Levine included Hahn’s in his list of best crumb buns, and in 500 Things to Eat Before It’s Too Late, Jane and Michael Stern had kudos for the Hahn’s
These days Regina leaves the baking of the crumb cakes (regular, raspberry, apple and chocolate) to others and management to her son Andrew but she is still in the plant five days a week overseeing quality control. She tastes every batch.
“So much can go wrong,” she says. “I can tell by the look of the cake if something is wrong.” She also bakes the pound cakes that are part of the Hahn’s line: butter, lemon, chocolate chip and cinnamon swirl year round, and seasonal pound cakes such as pumpkin and cranberry orange for Thanksgiving and eggnog for Christmas.
There are no retirement plans for the 76-year-old baker but she does take breaks during the day in the chaise lounge in her office. After 30 years of making crumb cakes, a person deserves a break now and then.
Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cake Company is located at 75 Allen Blvd. in Farmingdale. Visit www.crumbcake.net or call 631-249-3456 for information.