I've been decorating cakes for about 2 years now. Very recently I applied for a business license, and built a bakery in my basement. As things are starting to get very real, I am starting to get very worried.
Before I was doing this, I ran a restaurant, and Food Safety concerns were paramount. I understand what needs to be what temperature, and what the high risk foods are etc.
When I started I used a simple decorator's buttercream, and marshmallow fondant. Essentially these things are fine to sit in room temperature for days with very little risk. I was not worried with health concerns to any great degree.
I now use a wide variety of icings including merangue butter cream and cream cheese icing. I am super paranoid of making my customers sick, but don't know how to keep things safe without ruining the cake.
Because a cake that is already covered in fondant (which most of mine are) should not go into the fridge, how do you keep the fillings cool, without ruining the fondant? Right now I just try to make them as close to the pick up date as possible (which is getting stressful) and keeping them in the coolest part of my house.
Where is the line between the safety of the product, and the aesthetics of the decorating? How do most people solve this issue?
Some commercial fondants can be refrigerated - FondX for one, and others have had success with SatinIce. When you bring it out of the fridge, it might sweat, but don't touch it and it will evaporate and be fine!
Take a little ball of fondant and set in the fridge for 24 hours. Pull it out and see if it's gummy or sweaty or anything that you don't want it to be. If it's fine you can set your cakes in your fridge w/out being covered. If not than wrap the cake up the best you possibly can when placing it in the fridge.
I'm a freak when it comes to food safety. I'm ultra paranoid to the point I'm considering taking a job as a health inspector.
So my question then becomes what about wedding cakes? Right now I refuse to use fillings that require refrigeration for wedding cakes. I can control the temperature while they are in my possession but once they are delivered they might sit out for hours. How does everybody else handle this issue?
I refrigerate fondant all the time without problems. Unless it's super humid outside it isn't usually an issue.
I refrigerate my fondant cakes. I use satin ice and marshmallow fondant. There is a little condensation when they come back to room temp but I think its a fair trade off. I recommend that you make a small test cake and cover with fondant then see how it fairs once you take it from the fridge and how long it can sit out before it starts to look like bad. (fondant bubbling, melting, or sliding) mine end up being fine but it depends on your refrigerator, fondant, and temp. of your kitchen.
First of all, let me state that I am not a professional--only make cakes for family and friends. With that being said, I have put a cake covered in Michelle Foster's fondant in the frig for three days (last day of Wilton's fondant and gumpaste class was Wednesday and I wanted to serve the cake on Saturday when we were having company over) and it was fine when I went to serve it. I took it out of the frig before I went to work, so I am not sure if it went through a "sweating" stage or not--the family was instructed not to touch it. The fondant looked fine (as fine as I can do it--LOL) and kept the cake moist.
I am under the impression that the sleeved fillings that you can purchase at cake supply stores or online do not require refrigeration.
I keep cakes that are covered in buttercream (made with butter and powdered sugar) on the counter for three to four days and no one has gotten sick. I also keep cakes that I have frosted with Toba Garrett's French Vanilla buttercream (basically all butter, no powdered sugar, similar to a meringue buttercream but no eggs) on my counter for days; again, no one has ever gotten sick from it.
These are just the experiences I have had. HTH.
Where I live (southern Ontario) It is actually tremendously humid. This does not bode well for the cake.
Also I don't use commercial fondant for cost and taste issues. My customers don't like the taste of it, and I don't like paying to have it shipped to my small town.
Every time I have tried to refrigerate a cake, it has not gone well. The fondant does sweat, and I am not usually able to wrap it well, as my cakes are usually delicately designed.
These are all great suggestions, and my frustration is based in none of them working for me.
The only thing I can think of is to stick to things that are safe no matter where, I just don't find they taste as good.
Is there a way to have a great tasting, safe, non water marked cake?
I'm a licensed home baker with a 2nd kitchen in my basement.
My HD doesn't allow home baker's in my state to sell perishable food items. All of my recipes had to be approved by them, and were deemed shelf stable.
I know you are in Canada, but do you have any restrictions on what products you can use and sell? That may answer your question and solve your problem about refrigeration.
Michele Foster's fondant recipe, as mentioned above, does not sweat in the fridge. I did my most recent cake in that and refrigerated it with no issues, and I DO know my cakes can sweat; I have a slimy mmf cake to prove it LOL. Also check out the cakes by MacsMom, she does lots of gorgeous fondant cakes and refrigerates her Marshmallow Fondant; she has a thread where she posted the recipe, as her particular recipe does not sweat.
So, there are at the minimum, two non-sweating homemade fondant recipes here on CC, and the second one is MMF for your utmost convenience (but try Michele Foster's recipe if you are up for the extra steps, as it tastes even better.)
Because a cake that is already covered in fondant (which most of mine are) should not go into the fridge..
Who told you that???
All of my fondant cakes go in the fridge until pick-up, regardless of whether the icings and fillings I've used are perishable or not.
Airbrushing your fondant-covered cake with vodka before putting it in the fridge will cause any condensation that forms on it to be very fine and evaporate quickly in normal circumstances.