Wedding Cake Designer Interview

Ron Ben-Israel

Designer wedding cakes are a skyrocketing trend with today's brides, and LoveToKnow Weddings was privileged to speak with Ron Ben-Israel of Ron Ben-Israel Cakes about the work involved in these exquisite creations. These tips may help you decide if a specialty cake is right for your wedding.

Working with a Cake Designer

Ron shares tips for brides on understanding and deciding on a specialty cake:

Classic ivory cake. Photo by Ron Ben-Israel
  • What a designer cake is: "Just like a designer dress, each bride gets to have a cake designed for her own vision." "Designer cakes are also recognized for their unique style and people recognize who baked it."
  • Deciding on a cake: The best thing a bride can do to be ready to design a cake is to look through magazines and websites to find designs she is interested in. Once she has narrowed down her options, Ron suggests that she discuss them with her baker and offer guidelines of what she does and does not want, but then she needs to trust in the baker's expertise to deliver a delicious and beautiful cake. "Once they feel confident, they should let go," he said.
  • Understand the price range: Every designer wedding cake has an individualized price tag based on the amount of labor required, the size of the cake, and the detail in the design. The simplest of Ron's designs begin at $12 to $15 per person, but he explained that many brides that choose his bakery are interested in more elaborate and therefore more expensive cakes.

The Cake Design Process

Couples should also understand the design process when choosing a one-of-a-kind cake.

"The design process takes a long time," Ron said. He recommends that brides research the cakes they are interested in and begin consulting with him at least six months prior to the wedding date, and for the busiest wedding seasons, up to a year before the event, to be sure they can collaborate to create a unique, beautiful cake.

Tilted designer cake. Photo by Ron Ben-Israel

Creating a cake design is more than just putting together a delicious treat; Ron works with other wedding vendors including the florist, caterer, and reception venue to be sure the cake coordinates with the overall design and theme of the event and even with the bride's attire. "Bridal dresses are a very major influence on our designs," he said.

Work on the cake itself begins weeks before the wedding as the sugar flowers are created, ingredients are prepped, and the recipe is perfected. Hundreds of hours of labor can go into an elaborate cake, but because Ron Ben-Israel Cakes prides itself on using the freshest ingredients, the final few days before the wedding are the most hectic. "The execution has to take place very close to the event," Ron said.

More About Ron Ben-Israel Cakes

Pink tiered cake. Ron Ben-Israel Cakes,

Ron estimates that his bakery designs between 400 and 500 unique cakes each year, and some elaborate cakes can take two weeks or longer with multiple people working on the design. He notes that he is often called a "trendsetter," and he is always exploring new ideas. "I've always been interested in technique and I get very involved with it," he said. "My passion is really making the sugar flowers - it's kind of a meditative state."

Ron Ben-Israel Cakes is well known for the extraordinarily detailed sugar flowers that adorn many of their creations: everything on each cake is edible. At the same time, however, Ron insists that the quality and flavors of the cakes also make a statement. "We say very little about our cakes, instead we let people taste and see for themselves," he said.

The bakery is also well known for its crazy cakes, with different layers tilted at seemingly impossible angles, as well as for its unique flavors. This fall, new flavors include mango, blueberry, and green apple fillings.

About the Designer

Ron Ben-Israel has a long history of design expertise and artistry, including fine arts, dance, and window design. Between artistic jobs, he often found himself working in bakeries, and decided to blend both design and baking together to create luxurious wedding cakes. He apprenticed in France and is now an adjunct professor at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Martha Stewart Living, and the Today Show, and his cakes have appeared in many different bridal magazines and other showcases, including Town & Country and Modern Bride.

For more information on Ron Ben-Israel Cakes, visit WeddingCakes.com or call (212) 625-3369 to set up an appointment to visit the bakery. Ron Ben-Israel Cakes is located at 42 Greene Street; New York, NY; 10013.

Wedding Cake Designer Interview