|Kosher cakes make any occasion special|
|Written by Arley Hoskin, Contributing Writer|
|Wednesday, June 27 2012 15:40|
When Ariella Ben-Aharon and her husband Roy became engaged they knew they wanted to have a kosher wedding reception.
Ariella Ben-Aharon said she and her husband keep kosher, but even if they didn’t, they wanted a kosher option available for their guests.
“For all of our family and friends that keep kosher it was very important to us,” she said.
Since the couple wanted to serve meat at their reception they had to have a non-dairy cake. Finding a baker to make a dairy free cake, Ben-Aharon said, became a daunting task.
“We tried a lot of people,” Ben-Aharon said. “Nobody was interested in tackling a non-dairy wedding cake.”
Then they heard that a friend of her parents’ neighbor might be up for the challenge. So Ben-Aharon called the recommended baker, Nancy Stark.
“At first I was skeptical that she would be interested in doing it,” Ben-Aharon said.
But Stark, a pastry chef with 25 years experience, eagerly accepted the challenge.
“Nancy was willing to take it on with a smile,” Ben-Aharon said. “It was really a good experience.”
Ben-Aharon’s wedding took place March 18. Stark had never done a kosher wedding before, but she said she wanted to learn the skill.
“I learned a ton doing this one cake,” Stark said. “I like a challenge. I like to learn new things.”
Rabbi Mendel Segal, executive director of the Vaad HaKashruth of Kansas City, assisted Stark through the kosher process. The Vaad HaKashruth supervises caterers and other venders to ensure that food for Jewish events is kosher.
“One of the big concerns among those who keep kosher, especially with weddings, is that they tend to serve meat meals. So the wedding cake needs to be 100 percent dairy free,” Rabbi Segal said.
Stark the pastry chef said she experimented with recipes to find the perfect non-dairy combo for a wedding cake.
“I picked recipes that I thought would be really good without butter and they were amazing,” she said. “I don’t think that you would be able to tell the difference.”
In the end, Ben-Aharon and her husband went with a lemon chiffon cake with butter-free vanilla “buttercream” frosting and an almond cake with butter-free chocolate “buttercream” frosting.
“It was really moist and it was really fresh,” Ben-Aharon said. “It was so good that we didn’t have any leftovers. We didn’t even have our cake topper to take home.”
Stark said she enjoyed the process and appreciated all the help she got from the Vaad.
“They just made it so easy for me,” Stark said. “They lined out for me what kind of things I would have to do.”
Stark prepared the cake in a kosher kitchen at the Torah Learning Center of Kansas City.
“I’m ready to do it again if anyone asks me,” she said.
Stark is one of a handful of bakers who Rabbi Segal recommends for brides who want a kosher wedding cake.
“She was great, she was really good to work with,” Rabbi Segal said.
Rabbi Segal also recommends Sherrie Ortiz of Sherrie’s Cake Magic. Ortiz has made wedding cakes for the past 26 years. She made her first kosher cake this January.
“I had considered doing it before, but I didn’t really have any connections,” Ortiz said. “It was fun, there was a lot to learn.”
“It was just a matter of finding the correct kosher products,” Ortiz said. “There were quite a few options that were non-dairy.”
For Ben-Aharon, the benefits of having a kosher wedding were worth any extra time spent to create the kosher meal and cake.
“I definitely think it added something just to know that I could cater to anyone or any preference in the community,” she said. “It was really nice to not exclude anyone.”
Rabbi Segal said the kosher meal adds to the spirituality of the sacred event.
“I do enjoy weddings more than lots of other events that we do because there is that excitement,” Rabbi Segal said. “It’s a happy occasion.”
Rabbi Segal encourages brides who want kosher weddings to contact him as they start the planning process.
“The best place to start is by going to our website (www.vaadkc.org),” he said.
Ben-Aharon said she recommends Stark to any bride.
“Kosher or non-Kosher I would suggest her either way,” Ben-Aharon said. “She was really great.”