seven-layer cake

I’ve written over the years about my unabashed, insatiable, down-right fanatical love for seven-layer cake.

At break-fast on Yom Kippur, I don’t consider it sacrilege to eat seven-layer cake before indulging in lox and bagels. And I’m not ashamed to admit — well, maybe a little ashamed — that I’ve left shivahs disappointed that seven-layer wasn’t served.

Conversely, I was so moved once by the availability of seven-layer cake at a shivah that I actually brought one to the following night’s service out of guilt for how much I had consumed.

I will not dare venture into the debate over what local proprietor makes the best seven-layer cake; our society is already mired in too much divisiveness to try and have a rational conversation about that. But within the last couple of weeks, I did find myself in a rather dramatic situation involving 7LC at Diamond Bakery in West Bloomfield. I mention the establishment only as a point of fact, not as an admission of preference.

Turns out this particular seven-layer “situation” was my closest brush with living out a real-life, iconic episode of Seinfeld (Season 7, Episode 11-The Rye.) It was, for me, life imitating art.

In The Rye, Jerry, on a mission to buy a marble rye at Schnitzer’s Bakery, witnesses an elderly woman purchasing the last loaf. He stalks the woman outside the store, even offering her $50 for the elusive loaf. When she refuses, he, in what can only be described as a crime of passion, snatches the bread out of the unsuspecting senior’s hands and runs off into the night. Cut to “real life.”

Several days ago, I entered Diamond Bakery 10 minutes before closing on what was an impromptu visit to purchase just one slice of seven-layer cake which I fully intended to eat at red lights on the drive home. (FYI … I do not text and drive.)

To my horror, the only other patron in the bakery, Ellen, was in the process of purchasing the last two individual slices — one for herself and her friend Pat. I reacted like a deer caught in the headlights as I watched the transaction unfold, in what seemed like slow motion, as I bellowed: “Nooooooooo!”

It turns out that Ellen, a former Detroiter visiting from Grand Rapids, had driven out of her way to pick up some cherished seven-layer as she passed through town. While I never “seriously” entertained the idea of snatching the cakes from this innocent woman’s hands, I did, for a moment like Jerry, consider offering her a generous mark-up on the pieces.

“Feeling my pain,” Ellen, in what can only be described as a selfless act of humanitarianism, offered to surrender one of her slices. Was I tempted to accept her offer? You bet I was. I came “this close” — about the width of one layer — to swallowing my pride in order to have a shot at swallowing some cake. But I saved myself from myself and graciously but painfully declined. For showing this level of restraint, everyone thinks I should win the Nobel “Piece” Prize; though I would never say it.

“Perhaps” I may be overstating the emotional impact this had on me, but having come so close to a piece of seven-layer cake, only to be denied it, gave me a much greater appreciation of how Moses must have felt when God forbid him to enter the Promised Land. Poor Moses didn’t have an alternative. Me? I bought a giant chocolate chip cookie instead.

Tour de Seven-Layer

You love seven-layer cake, and we do, too! We decided to take a tour of the town to see where we could find our very own slice. Watch to see how it went. Then tell us your favorite seven-layer cake memories in the comments!A very special thank you to Star Bakery, Diamond Bakery, Dakota Bread Company, Bake Station Bakeries-Nut & Dairy free and Zeman's Bakery for letting us film in your stores. We weren't able to get everyone in this video, but we appreciate all of you and the many other bakeries that make seven-layer cake!

Posted by Detroit Jewish News on Wednesday, June 27, 2018

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Alan Muskovitz is a writer, voice-over/acting talent, speaker, emcee and guest host on the Mitch Albom Show on WJR AM 760. Visit his website at and “Like” Al on Facebook.