Nothing Bundt Cakes in East Liberty gets kosher certification
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Nothing Bundt Cakes in East Liberty gets kosher certification

From Feb. 20 to 24 , the East Liberty location will mark a grand opening with “community days” discounts to school staff members, health care workers, military personnel and more.

A Bundt cake creation at Nothing Bundt Cakes (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Palashoff)
A Bundt cake creation at Nothing Bundt Cakes (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Palashoff)

Interested in sampling an 8-inch carrot bundt cake?

Curious to try a “bundtlet” — perhaps the baker’s equivalent of a personal pan pizza – in lemon? Or snickerdoodle? Or white chocolate raspberry?

How about 12 mini “bundtinis” made with Reese’s-brand chocolate peanut butter and topped with cream cheese frosting?

If these sound appealing, you might want to meet Jennifer Palashoff.

The South Hills resident and mother of three is celebrating the grand opening of her new Nothing Bundt Cakes franchise in East Liberty — and the bakery already was certified kosher by the Vaad Harabonim of Greater Pittsburgh.

The storefront at 5824 Penn Ave. is one of about 500 Nothing Bundt Cakes franchises across the U.S. — but only one of about 20 nationwide that are certified kosher, Palashoff said.

Getting the certification requires community involvement and “that’s what we wanted to do,” she added.

“I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I believe in Nothing Bundt Cakes’ mission,” which includes empowering women, Palashoff said. “They truly believe in bringing joy to the community and their guests.”

“I love this city and I love the urban community,” she added.

Palashoff said she met with Pittsburgh-area rabbis in late January so they could take a closer look at the inner workings of her bakery and run through lists of the cakes’ ingredients.

Though Palashoff is not Jewish and, therefore, does not keep kosher, she “wanted to be able to bring joy to everyone in our community,” she said.

Nothing Bundt Cakes joins eateries like Milky Way and Café Eighteen, local businesses such as The Pop Cakery LLC and Pigeon Bagels, and caterers including Elegant Edge and Shabbox on the Vaad’s list of Pittsburgh operations that have been vetted and verified as kosher.

Palashoff said she plans to frame and post her kosher certification and hechsher markings from the Vaad Harabonim in the front of the East Liberty shop, which is located in the center of the neighborhood’s business district.

The Nothing Bundt Cakes story started in Las Vegas in 1997.

There in Nevada, founders Dena Tripp and Debbie Schwetz — one of them good with the cake, the other good with frosting, Palashoff quipped — started the business in their home kitchens. Since then, it has grown to more than 500 locations in more than 40 U.S. states and Canada.

Today, Nothing Bundt Cakes bills itself as the largest specialty cake company in America.

This week — from Feb. 20 to 24 — Palashoff’s East Liberty location will mark a weeklong grand opening with “community days” discounts to school staff members, health care workers, military personnel and more, she said. On Friday, Feb. 23, 20% of all sales will be donated to the East End Cooperative Ministry.

The bakery’s cakes include dairy ingredients, so they are deemed “cholov stam,” Vaad Harobonim officials said on the group’s website. The Vaad’s website also states that the bakery’s bread is not “Pas Yisroel.”

Cholov stam refers to milk that “was not supervised by a mashgiach, but is assumed to be pure based on other considerations,” according to the O-U kosher certification service. Pas Yisroel refers to bread that was baked with specific Jewish involvement. PJC

Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.

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