May 29th, 2013 MARTIN CIZMAR | Food Reviews & Stories
 

The Cake Wars

Who among us is righteous enough to eat of the sacred buttercream Bible-beating Oregon bakers have denied gays?

dish_cake_3930SWEET TASTE OF WICKEDNESS: This cake purchased from Gresham’s Sweet Cakes by Melissa bears an important message. - IMAGE: ronitphoto.com

Sugar, flour, eggs and water are now munitions in America’s culture war. Or so you’d think from two Oregon bakeries that recently got national attention for declining to make cakes for same-sex weddings.

The first incident, in February, involved Gresham’s Sweet Cakes by Melissa, whose owner told a lesbian couple that “we don’t do same-sex marriages.” Earlier this month, Pam Regentin, who operates Fleur Cakes out of her home in the Hood River area, also refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding.

Both bakeries cited their religious beliefs as the reason they would not make the cakes. Both describe themselves as Christian.

Jesus, of course, never commented on gay people, but did tell his followers to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Instead, the widely cited Bible verse condemning homosexuality comes from Leviticus, a book that also prohibits getting tattooed or eating rabbit.

“I believe I have the liberty to live by my principles,” Regentin told KATU in a May 15 newscast.


By law, that may not be true. Oregon statute makes it illegal for businesses to turn away customers based on race, religion or sexual orientation. A lawyer for the couple turned away by Sweet Cakes says they are exploring their options.

We wondered what other requests these cakemakers would decline to honor. So last week five WW reporters called these two bakeries anonymously to get price quotes for other occasions frowned upon by some Christians. Surprisingly, the people who answered the phone at each bakery were quite willing to provide baked goods for celebrations of divorces, unmarried parents, stem-cell research, non-kosher barbecues and pagan solstice parties.

We later contacted both bakeries to ask about these inconsistencies. Regentin declined to comment beyond asking whether she had been taped (she had not).

Sweet Cakes owners Melissa and Aaron Klein were upset that we “would even try to entrap a business” and contacted conservative talk-show host Lars Larson

Baby Out of Wedlock

WW Asks - I’m shopping around for a nice baby shower cake for my friend. It’s her second baby with her boyfriend so I’m not looking for anything too big or fancy—probably enough to serve 15 to 20 people.

Sweet Cake says - “We have a sheet cake that will feed 30, or a 10-inch cake that would feed 30 people. The 10-inch cake is $50 and the sheet cake is $52. Or we have an 8-inch cake that would feed 15 for $40.”

Fleur says - Prices vary based on decoration and frosting, but a basic cake is $3 per serving.


Divorce Party

WW Asks - My friend is getting divorced and we’d like to throw her a little party to mark the start of her new life. Do you ever write messages on those—we’d want it to say “congratulations!”—and how much would it be for a cake that could serve about eight people?

Sweet Cake says - “A 10-inch is $29.99. That should probably do it....We can definitely do something like that.”

Fleur says - “The price for a 10-inch cheesecake is $36 and up. So it’ll be between $36 and $45, but you’re going to have to call in advance because my schedule for June and July is very busy.”


Stem-Cell Success

WW Asks - I was wondering if you could do two little cakes. My friend is a researcher at OHSU and she just got a grant for cloning human stem cells, so I thought I’d get her two identical cakes—basically, two little clone cakes. How much would they cost?

Sweet Cake says - “Ha. All right. When are you looking to do it? It’ll be $25.99 each, so about $50 to start.”

Fleur says - Did not pick up phone or return messages. Acknowledged receiving requests by email but refused to comment.


Non-Kosher Barbecue

WW Asks - I’m looking to get a special cake for a barbecue we’re having next week. Our cow just died of old age and we’re planning to grill some steaks along with lobster and pulled-pork sandwiches—what size would we need for 10 people and how much would it be?

Sweet Cake says - “A 6-inch cake serves about eight to 10 people at $25.99. The apple goes really good with pork, and the caramel will complement the lobster. For a barbecue, it’s all really good.”

Fleur says - Did not pick up phone or return messages. Acknowledged receiving requests by email but refused to comment.


Pagan Solstice Party

WW Asks - I was calling to get a quote on a cake for a midsummer solstice party. My coven is celebrating on Friday, June 21. The decoration would be very simple: just a green pentagram. We’d like to pick it up sometime that afternoon, before the bonfire. It’ll be for about 30 people.

Sweet Cake says - “For 30 poeople we have a couple options... We have two kind of cakes you could have. About the diagram you want on the cake, I’m not sure how much extra that would be.”

Fleur says - Did not pick up phone or return messages. Acknowledged receiving requests by email but refused to comment.


GO: Sweet Cakes by Melissa is at 44 NE Division St., Gresham. 674-5400, sweetcakesweb.com. Fleur Cakes is at 4359 Woodworth Road, Mount Hood, 541-490-4607, fleurcakes.com.

 
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