Cakes shouldn't be controversial. They signify celebration, they're tasty, and if you go to the right bakery, they can be works of art.
But somehow, cakes continue to be points of contention, such as in the many instances when gay couples have had their wedding orders cancelled after bakeries learned the cakes were destined for same-sex marriages. In another incident, an openly gay pastor sued Whole Foods, claiming that a cake he bought was decorated with an anti-gay slur. The cake, it now seems, was doctored after purchase, and the pastor dropped the suit.
Unfortunately, cakes are still at the center of controversy. Recently, a woman cancelled an order at a small Grand Rapids, Michigan, bakery because she discovered that the owner, Zeinab Mohamed, and her husband are Muslim.
Mohamed operates a bakery called Sweetcakez out of her home, a small business she started after friends and family expressed interest in her baking. A storefront may be in the future, but for now she is creating custom cakes, largely as a way to express her artistic side, while she raises her two kids and completes her master's degree.
And her cakes are pretty cool!
Months ago, she received an order from a casual acquaintance for a wedding cake to be delivered in the summer. Then last week, Mohamed received an e-mail canceling the order after the husband of the person who ordered the cake learned Mohamed was Muslim.
"Hey actually were [sic] going to order our cake somewhere else my husband just found out your [sic] Muslim. And I'm not against it but he is because he was in Iraq fighting for our country against your people," the email read. "He even changed his new doctor because the new one he was referred to was Muslim and he just said somethings [sic] and said he doesnt [sic] feel comfortable having you make our cake. I'm so sorry."
Mohamed, who is from Somalia, was floored. "All I could do was respond to her and say, 'I don't even know what that means. I don't even understand what you're saying," she told MUNCHIES.
To add to the sting, Mohamed's husband, Javon Borst, is a veteran who served as a medic in the US Navy for three years.
"When I heard it I was let down, but also really just hurt by it because I had thought we've moved away from some of that," Borst told Fox 17.
Since the cancelled order, Mohamed says she has received overwhelming positive support, with a few orders coming in and a couple of people offering to reimburse her for the cancelled cake. Thankfully, she said, she hadn't started making it at the time the order was cancelled.
Mohamed's had negative feedback, too, with some online commenters wondering if she wouldn't make a cake for certain customers, such as same-sex couples. But she's hoping to focus awareness from the unfortunate event on eliminating that kind of thing all together.
"I can't turn away a person just because of who they are or what they believe. Why would I do that when someone did that to me?" she told MUNCHIES. "Everyone has their own opinions, but to me, business should be business. They're not coming to you to make friends, they are coming for a service, and they should get that service."
Perhaps someday we'll live in a world where cake can be cake and devoid from political overtones. Sadly, we're not quite there yet, but Mohamed is.
"I don't care who you are," she told MUNCHIES. "I will make a cake with Donald Trump's face on it."