Reuter's Bakery poundcakes worth the calories

May 3, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Not many bakeries can say they've been around since the Coolidge administration, but in 1927 -- the same year Lindbergh made his historic transatlantic flight -- Reuter's opened in Chicago. The business was sold to the Eberle family 45 years ago.

"It was originally purchased by my father and my wife, Erin, and I took over in 2000," said Richard Eberle, the owner of Reuter's.

Eberle keeps it simple: cookies, cakes and donuts, plus some other specialties.

"Granted, we have some new items, but coffeecakes, breads, rolls, these things are pretty much the same as they've ever been," he said.

About 15 years ago, he added a lemony, sour cream-infused poundcake that is truly worth the calories.

Sugar and butter start things off in a giant stand mixer, and the key is creaming, or mixing them well together. While they're beating, Eberle adds fresh lemon juice and vanilla. Then it's time for eggs -- quite a few of them -- and then he alternates between sour cream and flour, adding both very carefully. He portions and weighs out the batter into cake molds, and after they're baked, each one gets a shower of powdered sugar.

"My notion is that it's about consistency. We make the product over and over again, the same way. People identify with it and they come back because they know it's a good product," said Eberle.

There are also coffeecakes, draped in sweet strudel, but Eberle says despite the bakery's Polish and German origins, their repertoire has evolved.

"Now I think it caters to everybody. We have items that are Italian; we do paczkis, we do zeppoles for St. Joseph's Day. We're here for everybody," he said.

Now you can't go wrong with 86 years of experience; the last 45 in the same family. And while a lot of bakeries make coffeecakes and poundcakes, these two are pretty hard to beat.

The bakery also makes custom cakes for special occasions.

Reuter's Bakery
7177 W. Grand Ave.

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