Sweet Soirée

Desserts through the decades.

(DoNorth/Emery Sheldon)

Waves of aroma from powdered doughnuts, pecan pies and rich chocolates captivate outsiders’ senses as they inhale their first breath of Rambach’s Bakery and Fudge. Sweet-tooth cravings are guaranteed to be fulfilled before parting ways with the modest shop.

In 2013, the current owner of Rambach’s Bakery, April Brown, moved the location to 65 S Peru St. Plattsburgh because the building’s wide-open space was perfect for baking and showcasing desserts. The building resembles a mini-warehouse, but the interior’s design gives visitors a clear view of mixing tables and baking tools. Despite being tucked away on a quiet street, generating business hasn’t been a problem thus far. Matthew Gorman, Rambach’s cake decorator, says the bakery staff relies on loyal regulars to make their way in for a treat.

“These people know where to find us no matter where we are,” Gorman says. “Location has never been a problem for us.”

Rambach’s wasn’t always the Plattsburgh sweet shop it’s known as today. In fact, there were five Rambach’s before the bakery finally set root in the Adirondacks. In 1939, 10 years after immigrating to the U.S. from Germany, Gerard Rambach Sr. established a bakery in Spring Valley, New York. The operation was sold two years later after the birth of his son Gerald “Jerry” Rambach Jr. and relocated to Englewood, New Jersey.  The bakery moved again to Bergenfield, New Jersey in 1946. It wasn’t until 1956 that Rambach Jr. joined the family business after Rambach Sr. had opened shop in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Rambach Jr. spent most of his time washing dishes but eventually learned some baking skills from his father.

The next Rambach’s was established in Wayne, New Jersey, where Rambach Jr. was promoted to a baker. During this time, Rambach Jr. met his wife, Joan. The couple later bought the business when Rambach Sr. retired. Rambach Jr. successfully ran the business with his wife before moving the shop to Plattsburgh in 1976. Brown had 25 years of business experience before buying Rambach’s and moving it to its current location.

Rambach’s produces a wide assortment of pastries and other confectionery products, but their best-seller is the Australian Tea Cake. This dense golden-brown cake is slightly crunchy on the outside and spongy on the inside with a creamy buttermilk glaze on top.

The Yum Yum doughnut runs second in terms of popularity. The rectangular doughnut has a fluffy texture baked-in cinnamon seasoning and a sugary glaze coat. The sweet flavors of this doughnut will leave customers saying, “Yum.”

Rambach’s sells a wide variety of cookies, cakes, doughnuts, fudge and other pastries, such as their maple-frosted doughnuts and peanut butter cookies.

“We sell everything from five-tier cakes to canolis,” Gorman says.

Heaps of fudge such as vanilla maple, chocolate walnut and peanut butter are made in-house once or twice a week.

Rambach’s intricate cakes come in various sizes, frostings and themes depending on a  customer’s preference. The sizes can range from 3-inch birthday cakes to nine to 12-inch layer cakes for weddings and other memorable occasions. After creating a sturdy base, frosting is next. Some cake designs include white frosting covered in coconut flakes and a Reese’s peanut butter cake with Reese’s Pieces surrounding a mini peanut butter cup in the center.

Baked cookies of all types are stacked high in brightly colored trays. Butter cookies dipped in chocolate and rainbow sprinkles line the shelves of the main checkout.

Rambach’s pastries are affordable. Most treats are priced at $2.99, making checkouts easier for cashiers and customers’ wallets. Cakes are priced between $10 and $30 depending on structure and design.

To this day, Brown has kept Rambach’s legacy alive. Although the Rambach family has retired from the business, Rambach Jr. and his wife still stop by the bakery every so often to offer business tips. Under new management, Rambach’s Bakery and Fudge continues to be one of Plattsburgh’s most cherished and delectable bakeries.

During the next trip to Plattsburgh, visit the bakery and join the sugar party.

Issue 11: Summer/Fall 2018

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