William Greenberg Jr., Baker Who Sweetened Manhattan, Dies at 97

In addition to his son Adam, Mr. Greenberg is survived by another son, Seth, and four grandchildren. Carol Greenberg died in 2017.

The bakeries were a family business. Carol worked in sales and quality control, and the boys began working before their 10th birthdays, folding cake, pie and cookie boxes after school and on weekends at five boxes for a penny. Their output was impressive: The boys could each whip up as many as 1,000 boxes in an afternoon.

Adam left the company after high school but Seth stayed on, working in sales and eventually decorating cakes, though by his own admission he lacked his father’s flair. “I’m just a technician,” he said. “He was the artist.”

In 1992, Seth bought the business outright, though his mother and father continued to work there full time. For decades the elder Mr. Greenberg had been working six days a week — often till midnight on Fridays — and he continued to do so. Seth Greenberg sold the company in 1995, and the family stayed on for another two years until the relationship with the new owners soured.

But before the family bowed out for good, they received a call to make a cake for President Bill Clinton’s 50th birthday, in August 1996. They conceived an American flag, made from layers of yellow poundcake. It was a colossus, requiring 432 eggs, 96 pounds of butter, 98 pounds of sugar and 100 pounds of flour, layered with 15 pounds of raspberry preserves and topped with 15 pounds of dark fudge glaze, and it would take two full days to prepare it. (The birthday event was a fund-raiser, and the Greenbergs donated their creation, which would have cost $4,000 at retail.)

The base of the cake was so big, it didn’t fit through the door, requiring some last-minute maneuvering, but there was a bigger problem: The day before the party, Seth, who was studying for his M.B.A. at Columbia Business School, had an exam, a scheduling conflict that turned into a local news event.

“I asked if the White House would send a note,” Seth told The New York Times for an article headlined “A Presidential Cake Is Not a Piece of Cake.” (The paper also printed the recipe.) “They kind of glossed over that.” He said the Democratic National Committee volunteered to help.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com