Cake as career

“Cake decorating gave me more than a profession. It gave me the confidence to try other things that I never thought I could do."

Artistic cake by 'Temptations Israel' (photo credit: Courtesy)
Artistic cake by 'Temptations Israel'
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Upon moving to Israel from Canada, Rachel Miskin began a career as a journalist, quickly immersing herself in the excitement of writing local stories featuring interesting and unusual personalities.
It was when she made a cake for her niece’s simhat bat that she found a new passion: baking.
With no background in the field, Miskin was thrilled by the challenge of having to transfer the image of a winking dog onto the cake – by delicately poking small holes around the perimeter of the cake and using tweezers to frame the image of the dog with sprinkles.
“I was so proud of it, that I stood next to the cake at the party, tacitly discouraging anyone from slicing into it,” she recalls.
Following that culinary triumph, she decided to shift career paths and open her own bakery, called Temptations Israel. She signed up for a two-week cake decorating course, and then learned the rest of her skills from books, YouTube videos and workshops.
She says, “Decorated cakes can look imposing and impressive, but often if you break them down into their components you can see that it’s not as daunting as it seems. The most important qualities you need are imagination and a great deal of patience.”
Trying to challenge herself to never make the same cake twice, Miskin has learned a great deal about characters from children’s TV shows, video games and sports teams. She has even made a cake depicting Joshua and the high priests crossing the Jordan River.
All the ingredients Miskin uses in her cakes are kosher and can be formed into flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, chocolate mint, peanut butter, banana, chocolate chip, lemon and gingerbread.
Starting a business as a new immigrant added an additional layer of challenge for her.
“I was confident in a clueless kind of way. I figured I had a great product, and that would speak for itself.
Turns out that a great product is really only the beginning.
There’s certainly a lot more involved,” Miskin says, adding that learning a lot of technical baking skills, as well as aspects of running a business as she went along, posed language and cultural barriers.
“Never have I had a job that makes people so happy, and there’s something intensely satisfying about that,” she enthuses. “When people are presented with a personalized decorated cake, they are invariably delighted. Here’s a delicious, original, fun representation of some aspect of their life. And someone took the trouble to order it just for them.”
Over the years, Miskin has received many interesting requests. These include a creation based on the TV show Glee; a cake that resembled jelly doughnuts; and one in the shape of a horse’s head. Inevitably, there have been a few disasters as well. Miskin recounts the tragedy of dropping one of her cakes.
“On the way to the car, two hours before Succot began, I dropped the cake that was destined for Mayor Nir Barkat’s family get-together. There was no possible way to start over or salvage what was left of it. At least I have photographic evidence of it before that fateful moment,” she says.
Luckily, that was the only cake she has dropped to date.
Miskin does occasional workshop parties, demonstrates for fund-raisers in English and makes instructional YouTube videos, as well as maintaining a “Cake of the Week” blog on her website.
She sums up her new passion as follows: “Cake decorating gave me more than a profession. It gave me the confidence to try other things that I never thought I could do. It made me realize that everyone has capacities far beyond the pigeonholes they’ve placed themselves in.” 
Temptations Israel bakes kosher desserts and delivers to the Jerusalem area. Orders must be placed at least five business days in advance. Miskin also gives private lessons for groups of up to four. For more information: