August 1, 2002
Let Them Eat Cake
Birthday parties. Bat mitzvahs. Weddings. Anniversaries. While so much of daily life in Israel has changed -- or stopped -- due to the security situation, life does go on: children celebrate birthdays, teenagers become b'nei mitzvah and couples marry.
In these bitter times in Israel, Rachel Miskin adds sweetness to celebrations, with her cake-designing business, Temptations. From Harry Potter to Picasso, Miskin designs original, made-to-order cakes that are so intricate, that sometimes her clients are hesitant to eat them (the Picasso cake, for an art student's graduation, wasn't cut for two weeks because the family wanted to show it to everyone, Miskin said.)
A Canadian Jew who moved to Israel in 1993, Miskin, 32, fell into the cake business accidentally while catering a party for her niece. She started off making brownies, pastries and all types of desserts, but has since concentrated only on personalized cakes.
She'd discovered that it wasn't the baking that she liked, but the decorating. "It's creative," Miskin said, describing a process which can take anywhere from four hours to two days and cost $60-$800 -- the top end for tiered wedding cakes and other labor-intensive designs.
"It's not your run-of-the-mill chocolate cake that you pick up for the weekend," she said. "I almost never repeat myself, so what you're getting is practically an original, mainly because I convince people not to do the same thing -- it bores me."
Some of her recent designs include a cake for someone who made aliyah, featuring a map of America and Israel on the cake; another, for someone who loved the beach, had flip-flops, palm trees and sunglasses (all edible); the Harry Potter birthday cake had multidimensional owls flying out of the cake, and the famous lightning-bolt font.
While Miskin probably isn't the only cake designer in Israel, she particularly caters to the Anglo market, often receiving orders from North American parents for their children in one-year yeshiva program. (Her cakes are all made with badatz, kosher-certified ingredients.)
The security situation hasn't affected her business, she says. "People in America want to support Israeli business, so I've gotten more customers that way," she said. "People are always having birthdays, and a lot of people are overwhelmed by the thought of making a cake.
"There are always going to be events," she added.
For more information, visit www.homestead.com/rmiskin/ or call 011.972.2.5639.668. -- Staff Report