10 Minutes With: Ron Ben-Israel
Can you tell us a little about Ron Ben-Israel cakes?
My personal style developed over time and is very much the result of my desire to practice and perfect artistic techniques. My history as an art student and later on a professional modern dancer, allowed me to take on cake design from different angles. As with my former careers, I dived into the classical techniques and when I felt confident enough, I started making variations on them. I still work like this 15 years after my first professional cake - study the classical discipline, be it a bridal gown’s hemline or a natural floral arrangement, and than practice bringing it to life in frosting!
Where do you find inspiration when designing wedding cakes?
Inspiration is everywhere, and I try to start a dialogue with the couple so I can use their world as a guide. We talk about everything to do with the reception, and more. What are their backgrounds and favorite memories? Where is the reception and when is it taking place? What are the couple and their wedding party going to wear, and what are the floral decorations? It’s all about how we can make the celebrants shine.
What is your favorite style of cake?
I’m partial to somewhat exotic flavor combinations that may be a bit too adventurous for large gatherings. For instance, I love my chocolate ginger pear cake, but don’t get many requests for it. As for designs, I’m falling in love again with a lotus-shaped wedding cake we’re planning for the Spring season.
How can couples gauge how large their wedding cake should be?
We let the couple see physical prototypes of finished cakes at our showroom, and can even supply specific measurements for the proposed cakes. They get to experience the actual size of our cake portions during the tasting, so they get a good sense of what to expect.
Do you have any money-saving tips for brides on a budget?
There are many ways to design simpler surface decorations. When it comes to sugar flowers, my advice would be to substitute hundreds of tiny cherry blossoms with fewer and larger sugar blooms.
What questions should couples ask when meeting with potential cake bakers for their wedding?
After verifying availability of the date and vetting the baker’s experience and reliability, I would have an honest discussion of budgets and expectations. It’s always important to inspect the facilities where the cakes are produced and have a personalized tasting. The tasting is the time to ask about the process of designing, creating and delivering the cake and request a written contract. It’s essential to inquire about licensing and insurance, just like with every other vendor.