Brachot When Having Coffee and Cake

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If a person is eating a piece of cake with a cup of coffee, he recites two separate Brachot – “Mezonot” on the cake, and “She’hakol” on the coffee. We do not consider the cake and coffee as though they are eaten together such that the Bracha recited over the primary food (which would be the cake) also covers the secondary food (which would be coffee). This would be true only in a case where one dips the cake into the coffee but does not drink the coffee from the cup. In such a case, he would recite only “Mezonot” over the cake, and this Bracha would cover the coffee absorbed in the cake. But if one is also drinking coffee from a cup, then he must recite a separate Bracha of “She’hakol” over the coffee. The accepted practice in such a case is to recite “Mezonot” over the cake before “She’hakol” over the coffee, in accordance with the standard rule that “Mezonot” is recited before “She’hakol.”

Chacham David Yosef, however, in Halacha Berura, rules that in this case one should first recite “She’hakol” over the coffee before reciting “Mezonot” over the cake. He cites a comment by the that the familiar rule requiring that “Mezonot” be recited before “She’hakol” applies only when one is eating two solid foods. For example, if a person is eating a piece of cake and a piece of candy, then he should first recite “Mezonot” on the cake and then “She’hakol” on the candy. If, however, a person is eating a solid food requiring “Mezonot” and is drinking a beverage, he may begin with whichever he wishes. And thus, if he prefers drinking first, he may recite “She’hakol” and begin drinking before reciting “Mezonot” and eating. When dealing with coffee and cake, Chacham David contends, we have good reason to prefer reciting the Bracha over the coffee before reciting the Bracha on the cake. There are some halachic authorities who maintain that the “Mezonot” recited over the cake covers the coffee, despite the fact that the coffee is drunk separately. And thus, although we do not follow this opinion, as mentioned earlier, nevertheless, it is preferable to avoid this issue by first reciting the “She’hakol” over the coffee before reciting “Mezonot” over the cake. However, the consensus of authorities – including the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Mishna Berura, and Chacham Ovadia Yosef, in his Yabia Omer – rule that one should first recite “Mezonot” over the cake before reciting “She’hakol” over the coffee, and this is the view one should follow.

Summary: If one is eating coffee and cake, he recites “Mezonot” over the cake and then “She’hakol” over the coffee. If he is not drinking the coffee separately and is only dipping the cake into the coffee and eating it, then he only recites “Mezonot” over the cake.

By Rabbi Eli Mansour