LOCAL FLAVOR: Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York

We’re so excited to bring you this fun profile of one of our favorite local vendors: Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York. Since 2016, Steiner’s has been delighting Long Islanders and others with its homegrown recipe for sensational gluten-free coffee cake and delectable brownies. Whether you need to avoid gluten or not, you do NOT want to miss Steiner’s desserts. True to their mission, they sacrifice nothing in the way of taste, mouthfeel, etc. Look for them in the Rising Tide freezer section. Jennifer Pool (AKA the Granddaughter) fills us in on the history and goings-on at Steiner’s in the interview below. Say hi to her the next time she’s here demo-ing Steiner’s amazing treats.

RT: Who are the people behind Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York? 

SCCONY: In 1963, Malcolm Steiner (A.K.A Grandpa) set out to conquer another hobby: cooking & baking. At that time, he was already a painter, an Orchidist (a person who raises orchids), a volunteer at Long Island Jewish Hospital (delivering said orchids to patients’ rooms), and in his spare time, he ran Steiner Plastics which became Universal Sign Company. The company was situated in the stables of Pratt Oval Estates in Glen Cove founded by his mother, Cyrille Steiner. Grandpa Malcolm quickly became a commander of the kitchen. If he wasn’t in his greenhouse, he was walking around the kitchen in his apron with a dish towel hanging out of his back pocket. He was tall, bald, skinny and loved butter. If it didn’t taste right he was famous for saying, “Just add butter.” He worked at Universal Sign Corporation alongside his son until his passing at 90. He was a man of very few words, however we have a treasure trove of memories filled with his very best recipes. Fortunately, he took his daughter in-law Nanci (A.K.A mom) under his wing and taught her everything he knew.

Nanci Steiner (born in NYC, raised in Port Washington) was diagnosed a Celiac over 30 years ago. Over the past three decades she worked tirelessly to develop a gluten-free all-purpose flour that baked for the masses. Many a cake met their demise in her kitchen. She has tested every product on the market. Her one goal was to bake something so good, so delicious, so perfectly moist that the unsuspecting consumer would never know it was gluten free. In 2010 Jeffrey (A.K.A my brother) and I realized she was very close. We went ahead and developed the brand: Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York. In May of 2016, Nanci nailed it. On the precipice of her 70th year, she was ready to launch her company.

RT: What was the inspiration for the creation of the company? In other words…why coffee cake

SCCONY: Well everyone LOVES coffee. And everyone LOVES cake. Grandpa made a fabulous coffee cake. Naturally we picked one of the most labor-intensive recipes possible. Each cake is made with lots of love. Four layers in all.

RT: What makes Steiner’s different from other local bakers?  

SCCONY: All of our baked goods are gluten and nut free WITHOUT sacrificing taste, texture or moisture. @nycoffeecake always #easytoeat and #funtoshare.

RT: How important is it for you to source ingredients locally? Why/why not? 

SCCONY: We love local. If we can integrate ingredients, marketing materials, packaging or other items from local providers we absolutely do so. We owe our success to this community; all of our firsts happened right here.

Our first criteria in our business decision tree is avoiding a negative impact on the environment. Our belief that less is more has resulted in small serving sizes, using the places people already shop  (i.e. Rising Tide Market) to deliver our products, and streamlined packaging solutions. In addition, we ALWAYS look back at what we’re leaving behind, a philosophy that has led to the use of plant-based and biodegradable packaging solutions; one-box to ship, and zero-waste manufacturing.

RT: What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York?  

SCCONY: I’ll give you two. The first is that we actually have all of Grandpa Malcolm’s recipe cards. Some are illegible and others were typed up by his secretary. The second is that Nanci NEVER writes down any of her baking notes. NEVER. It drives us crazy.

RT: What’s the latest from Steiner’s? Anything new in the pipeline? 

SCCONY: It’s a long pipeline. Here’s a small taste: Our ginger snaps and banana bread are not to be missed. Our goal is to have them retail ready by Summer 2018. Currently in R&D: pumpkin spice cake and chocolate chip biscotti.

RT: When you’re not noshing on coffee cake and brownies… What are you loving to eat right now? What are your top go-to’s (snacks, drinks, wellness products or other)?

SCCONY: I am currently LOVING celery with Justin’s Peanut Butter. My two favorites that really haven’t changed in years are Siggi’s 0% plain yogurt now topped with Purely Elizabeth Granola, and Garden of Eatin’ Red Hot Blues.

RT: What’s the right occasion to serve Steiner’s coffee cake? What do you serve it with?

SCCONY: Easy. Any time is the right time. Clearly if a cup of coffee is in hand then so to should be a coffee cake. Our coffee cake is a fabulous addition to any brunch. It also tops off a dessert menu with or without some fabulous vanilla ice cream. Our preference is Talenti.

RT: What’s your favorite recipe to make using Steiner’s Coffee Cake?

SCCONY: The secret ingredient in all of our baked goods is Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York All-Purpose Flour. Our favorite thing to bake is Grandpa Malcolm’s signature dessert: Betty’s Birthday Cake. Everyone in our family  has this cake on their birthday. It’s a six-layer cake with mocha filling between each layer of delicious chocolate cake topped off with homemade vanilla whipped icing.

RT: What’s the strangest way you’ve heard someone use a Steiner’s coffee cake (or brownie, etc.)?

SCCONY: Another easy one. I have a friend who eats our coffee cake with bacon. He loves it.

RT: So many in this community dream of starting their own business. What’s your best piece of advice for launching a successful local biz?

SCCONY: It’s never the right time, it won’t be easy, you’ll be exhausted, it’s not a sure thing, someone down the street is doing the same thing…GO FOR IT! In all seriousness…be prepared to listen, filter, listen some more, and make decisions. You won’t always make the right decision— that’s ok. The only mistake is not moving forward.

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