How Fragile *is* Cake These Days?

Decorating By indydebi Updated 29 Nov 2009 , 10:05pm by cindycraig

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 5:42am
post #1 of 144

I'm just asking the following as a general question ........

I'm not sure how to ask this. It's a sincere question. The topic comes up in the threads over and over and over and I've, honestly, no idea why it even comes up?

WHen did we turn the corner, gang? When did we start thinking that cakes are super duper perishable and can't sit around more than a few hours or it's going to grow mold or something?

Growing up, we saw cakes sitting on the counters at our house, at our aunt's house, at gramma's house, for days. They may have been under a glass dome, wrapped in saran or covered in aluminum foil. They held up fine, we all thought they tasted great, right down to the last piece, and no one died. I never saw a cake in the refrigerator .... ever.

nowadays, for some reason, if a cake is going to be something like more than 18 hours old, folks go into a panic about "oh my god is it still going to be edible?" icon_surprised.gif "Holy crap, I finished it tonight and the party isn't until tomorrow ... should I freeze the cake tonight?"

In my time on this site, I've seen this same question come up I can't even count how many times and I'm just wondering .....

.....When did we turn that corner? icon_confused.gif What happened? Why is cake thought of, these days, like it's a fragile and instantly perishable item? We bake our Thanksgiving pies days before Thanksgiving. We bake Christmas cookies that sit around a long time before they are FINALLY eaten up. We buy bread at Panera Bread that is sitting around in open wicker baskets. We proudly tell our neighbor how we saved money by buying the day old bakery items (that are MUCH more than a day old).

But a cake that we make? For some reason, somewhere along the line, many of us were taught (?) that the cake has to be eaten within hours or it will explode or something. icon_confused.gif

I am constantly confused by this viewpoint and I am sincerely wondering when this idea came about?

Of course I believe in food safety. Of course, I want to deliver a cake that tastes it's best. Of course I know there are perishable types of cakes/icings/fillings that need special handling. Those circumstances are not what I'm talking about.

Can anyone shed some light? icon_confused.gif

143 replies
letsgetcaking Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 5:50am
post #2 of 144

I'm not sure. I'm 27 and I think I was raised in a germaphobic/salmonella poisoining-phobic era. Maybe it's from a lack of knowledge. I've taken basic food safety classes from working in restaurants, which basically said wash your hands, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Maybe if I had a better understanding of the chemical makeup of the food I wouldn't be as paranoid.

For me, bread and cookies seem fine left out (covered on the counter). I actually think I'd be okay with cake, too, except for the frosting. That's the thing that gets me. Maybe because I have the idea (whether wrong or not) that if it's moist, it's a breeding ground for bacteria.

cakeandpartygirl Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 5:58am
post #3 of 144

humm it's called tv.... at least to me anyway

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 5:58am
post #4 of 144

Yeah, thanks for opening this door nice & wide for me to choke myself on.

Scratch cakes 'peak early' shall we say. Scratch cakes do not have the 'staying power' of cake mix cakes. Whoops there we go again! You don't want me to be 100% honest do yah???

Scratch cakes go stale real fast.

Scratch cakes suck quicker than cake mix cakes by comparison.

I don't wanna lie. icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif I make both kinds--don't hurt me. Hey, I'm just being honest.

Think that might be part of it?

We also try to equate frozen with not fresh but stale is the opposite of not fresh. Freezing is a great tool.

Yeah brides get their panties bunched up about having their cakes baked the same day--aghhh no.

Ruth0209 Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 6:07am
post #5 of 144

I don't think cake is any more fragile than it ever was. If anything, the raw materials used to make cake are all pasturized and are more germ-free than they've ever been.

I think there is general mass hysteria about germs that we did not have growing up. It extends to everything. I don't know if it's been an extraordinarily effective advertising campaign by Clorox, Johnson & Johnson, etc., but people have an unrealistic fear of normal, harmless bacteria in our environment. As ironic as it is to say, I think it's really unhealthy!

And don't get me wrong. I'm extremely clean in my working environment, and I wash my hands constantly. But I do not believe a cake is going to spoil if it sits out for six hours.

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 6:18am
post #6 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

Yeah, thanks for opening this door nice & wide for me to choke myself on.



Anytime I can help out, just let me know! icon_wink.gif

The info on the scratch cakes makes sense. Even still, I know gramma and aunt dorothy didn't bake with mixes and there was never this "sense of urgency" about eating it right away or putting it in the 'frig.

letsgetcaking, I was wondering if today's social environment of "germophobia" was a factor with some. But we're so inconsistent about it. We'll leave baby bottles with milk sit out for a couple of hours or more, but omg there's milk in the icing, get it in the 'frig NOW! icon_surprised.gif ...... icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

I'm loving the discussion....

indydebi Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 6:25am
post #7 of 144

Ruth, I was watching Emeril one day and he was working with raw chicken. It was so funny to see him openly make fun of the "food police" who will chase you out of the grocery store to make sure the chicken isn't touching the other food! He put on the food safety glove and I think he missed 2 of the finger holes. The look on his face was utter disgust with the whole "you can't touch raw chicken" concept icon_lol.gif .

While I do follow proper food safety rules in my kitchen, especially on chicken handling days, I've been heard to comment more than once "Since chickens and eggs are such pure poison foods, be sure to wash your hands!" Ironically, chicken, while being portrayed as the most poisonous food we can touch, is the meat of choice by more and more people because it's so "healthy". Ironic, huh?

cake-angel Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 6:25am
post #8 of 144

I have often wondered this myself. It does seem that slowly but surely people are being brainwashed into believing there are germs waiting on everything to attack us. I have seen people who have cooked and baked all their lives by waiting until the juices run clear suddenly become unable to feel safe eating food that they cooked without using a thermometer to check it. I am not sure when we turned this corner but we did. We are now scared to eat eggs ( I remember we used to make homemade eggnog with fresh eggs and the only thing we thought when we drank it was how good it was.) or anything that has raw egg as an ingredient and scared to cook without thermometers. It is strange how it creeps in on us but it seems like all you hear all day everyday is how dangerous our food is. In short, I think cakes will do just fine. I have wondered for years why things like jam, mustard and ketchup and sirop that were NEVER refrigerated have suddenly been coming up with refridgerate after opening labels over the past 5 to 10 years. Pretty soon I won't need a pantry, I'll need a walk in cooler. LOL.

I have even denied my kids the pleasure of eating cake batter that has eggs in it and then thinking afterwards that it was weird that I would be so worried about it when I have tasted cake batter and cookie dough soooo many times in my life. I don't think cakes are more perishable, I think peoples perceptions of spoiled food have changed. I mean `society has reached a point where if the leftovers in the fridge are on their second day they need to be eaten NOW or tossed. Indydebbie, i don`t know how we turned this corner but we sure have.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 6:25am
post #9 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

...The info on the scratch cakes makes sense. Even still, I know gramma and aunt dorothy didn't bake with mixes and there was never this "sense of urgency" about eating it right away or putting it in the 'frig.




True that. But I always make the distinction between tier cake and home cake. I treat tier cake or celebration cake completely different than a cake for home. Cake for home--I just bake it & eat it.

Tier cake is so scheduled and controlled.

I don't have any sense of urgency for home cakes--only that I need to eat some quick before it disappears.

But paying customers I make sure the cake is seriously at it's 'peak' of perfection when they're gonna be slicing & eating it. So I control it's sweet destiny...in a perfect world.

Madiken Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 6:30am
post #10 of 144

This may seem off topic but sort of related I guess. Why is it a big no-no to stuff a turkey all of a sudden?!? We've been doing it for generations in my family and truth be told we still do. I've actually had people gasp when I tell them we stuff our turkey!

Ruth0209 Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 6:31am
post #11 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

...The info on the scratch cakes makes sense. Even still, I know gramma and aunt dorothy didn't bake with mixes and there was never this "sense of urgency" about eating it right away or putting it in the 'frig.



So I control it's sweet destiny...in a perfect world.




That is so poetic! icon_smile.gif

cake-angel Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 6:36am
post #12 of 144

I still stuff our turkey too and any chickens I decide to roast. My MIL quit when she saw a new report on how terribly dangerous stuffing a bird was ..... HMMMM ..... I wonder if some of these special health reports are written by people similar to those who tell brides how to save money on wedding cakes.

Madiken Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 6:42am
post #13 of 144

Yeah I wonder about those health reports! We've never had anyone get sick on turkey stuffing. I'm also admittedly one of those "bad" Moms who lets her kids lick the bowl with the cake batter and raw cookie dough! I lived through my childhood doing those things. As far as cakes on the counter, we aren't big cake eaters at my house so a cake could sit out for a week before it's all eaten. I keep it covered and it lasts just fine...

letsgetcaking Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 6:45am
post #14 of 144

Cake-angel, your comment about people using thermometers made me laugh. icon_lol.gif I am so terrified of getting sick from undercooked meat that I always overcook it. (I don't have a thermometer.) And how do I like my steak? Medium? Rare? "Nope. The deader the better."

For the stuffing in the turkey, maybe it's difficult to get the stuffing to reach a safe temperature since it is inside a large/heavy bird. I'm not sure about that.

Some things may just be tradition. I thought it was disgusting when I went to a friend's house and saw that they leave their butter on the counter. But, I've also had a friend who was appalled that we didn't keep peanut butter in the refrigerator. icon_confused.gif

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 6:50am
post #15 of 144

I thought it was not dangerous if you bake if immediately after stuffing and remove the stuffing completly before chilling leftovers.

I thought you're not supposed to chill the stuffed bird before or after baking. Yes? Get it all separate?

I mean if you've ever had food poisoning it makes a believer outa yah like nothing else can huh. Moreso than all the psa's combined (public service announcements)

gobble gobble hurl hurl

Texas_Rose Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 7:00am
post #16 of 144

The stuffing does need to come out as soon as the bird is out of the oven. But my dad who is a big stickler for food safety...he has different cutting boards for different things and he never let my mom cook pork...he doesn't have an issue with stuffing the turkey.

Speaking of turkey, two years ago my sister's oven thermostat went out while the turkey was in there. She cooked that thing for 18 hours trying to get it done, then microwaved it the rest of the way. My family and I didn't eat it, but her inlaws did, the next day, and nobody got sick from it. I would have figured it was germ city after so many hours at a low temp.

I thought ketchup and jam and jellies always had refrigerate after opening labels. I've always put them in the fridge. Not the peanut butter though...then you have to wait for it to warm up to spread it.

I think I worry more about the shelf life of food than my mother does. As a child, I remember cutting the mold off the cheddar so we could eat the rest, and other things like that. My mom will take a cake that I've made and keep it in the fridge, trimming slivers off for a month, and says it's just as good as the day I made it.

lomfise Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 7:15am
post #17 of 144

This is the advice my mother gave me about all foods: If it comes crawling when you whistle for it, throw it out, otherwise eat away. icon_lol.gif

Ruth0209 Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 7:31am
post #18 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

I thought it was not dangerous if you bake if immediately after stuffing and remove the stuffing completly before chilling leftovers.

I thought you're not supposed to chill the stuffed bird before or after baking. Yes? Get it all separate?

I mean if you've ever had food poisoning it makes a believer outa yah like nothing else can huh. Moreso than all the psa's combined (public service announcements)

gobble gobble hurl hurl




Yeah, I have to admit my mom about killed me one year because we left the stuffing out too long. After throwing up all Thanksgiving night I was about ready for the ER before I finally started to recover. I still love stuffing, but I take it out of the bird when it's done and about break an ankle getting it into the refrigerator!

Ruth0209 Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 7:35am
post #19 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose


I thought ketchup and jam and jellies always had refrigerate after opening labels. I've always put them in the fridge. Not the peanut butter though...then you have to wait for it to warm up to spread it.




And this is so funny because if anything here is going to spoil, it's the peanut butter because it has oil in it that can go rancid. I've had peanut butter become rancid. yuk

The ketchup and jellies are fine without refrigeration. I do refrigerate my ketchup, though, just out of habit.

Texas_Rose Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 7:52am
post #20 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose


I thought ketchup and jam and jellies always had refrigerate after opening labels. I've always put them in the fridge. Not the peanut butter though...then you have to wait for it to warm up to spread it.



And this is so funny because if anything here is going to spoil, it's the peanut butter because it has oil in it that can go rancid. I've had peanut butter become rancid. yuk

The ketchup and jellies are fine without refrigeration. I do refrigerate my ketchup, though, just out of habit.




Peanut butter never lasts long enough around here to go rancid. When we splurge on the organic PB, I stick it in the fridge.

What about honey? Do you put it in the fridge? I don't, and I don't refrigerate corn syrup or molasses, but I do refrigerate pancake syrup. Kind of weird when I think about it.

grandmom Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 10:58am
post #21 of 144

Brainwashing... that's the culprit. "They" have convinced us that eggs, chicken, dairy, anything that does not come out of a can or a carton, is evil. I vote for the marketing of cleansers, soaps, food wraps, etc. as who "they" are.

My son is in food service, and I swear, I have to sanitize my whole kitchen with bleach when I know he's coming to visit. He has been subjected to video after video and hours in the classroom on food safety. Haven't seen him in decades without a food or freezer thermometer in his pocket.

However, one Thanksgiving, after slaving for days, I spent the evening on the cold tile floor. I had licked a spoon with raw cheesecake batter. No one else got sick, I had been home alone for days cooking so don't think I ran into a sick person who gave it to me, so I have to assume it was the raw egg. That raw egg must have been rendered harmless in the cooking process.

I learned my lesson on raw batter. No matter how much I want to lick that cookie dough bowl or that brownie spatula, I do not. But I do leave my baked goods sitting on the counter all the time, and so far, no one has been sickened by it.

Mike1394 Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 11:37am
post #22 of 144

My .02 Mom's, and GMom's cakes were most likely filled with just frosting, and not torted. Leaving a cake out, and going stale faster also leads to the scratch cakes are dry theory.

With more people using merangue BCs, and more exotic fillings. Refrigeration is needed. Would any of us want to eat a cake with a mousse filling that has been left out for 2-3 days, not me.

On the turkey thing. Now you know why the breast is alwsys dried out. You have to cook it extra long just to get the stuffing cooked.

Mike

jdconcc Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 11:48am
post #23 of 144

Cool discussion icon_smile.gif

I've got to admit I'd never even thought of refridgerating a cake until I came on this website (unless it had dairy cream in the middle of course), but as I only use buttercream and fondant I wouldn't dream of it. I always bake from scrach and my cakes taste fresh and moist for at LEAST five days. You know the only reason box mixes last longer is because of all the chemicals, scratch bakers can't and don't want to compete with that.

I was brought up eating raw cake mixture out of the bowl and I've never had an issue with that. I think this germ phobicness (cool word eh) is definitely a sign of the times and it's sooo sad, all this over sterilisation is getting ridiculous.

I am super clean and very hygenic in my pracitses (all legal and inspected) but I think we're scaring each other into going too far. It will come full circle and we will get sooooo sterilised we'll all be too sensitive to stomach anything. I think people have got to start being sensible rather than neurotic.

Ohh sorry this got all ranty, I got into my stride and didn't know where to stop icon_smile.gif

Oh a gross note though I did have an issue with my MIL a few years back after I had chopped raw chicken into one bowl and raw sweet peppers into another to make Kebabs and threaded them onto skewers, she put the left over peppers straight into a salad... URGH, my hands had gone from chicken to pepper and back again just think of all those germs. I didn't eat that salad but we all fell out for a while as they thought I was being neurotic!!!!

kaat Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 11:59am
post #24 of 144

I still eat cookie dough! icon_eek.gificon_lol.gif

costumeczar Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 12:03pm
post #25 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

My .02 Mom's, and GMom's cakes were most likely filled with just frosting, and not torted. Leaving a cake out, and going stale faster also leads to the scratch cakes are dry theory.

With more people using merangue BCs, and more exotic fillings. Refrigeration is needed. Would any of us want to eat a cake with a mousse filling that has been left out for 2-3 days, not me.

On the turkey thing. Now you know why the breast is alwsys dried out. You have to cook it extra long just to get the stuffing cooked.

Mike




The reason you're not supposed to cook the turkey with the stuffing in it is that the interior of the stuffing might not get to the right temp to kill the salmonella if there is any. If you cook the stuffing separately the breast meat won't be dried out, either icon_wink.gif

I don't agree that scratch cakes go bad faster than mixes, I think that it depends on the cake. Plenty of mix cakes are bad long before they're stale, too, if you get my drift icon_lol.gif

And everyone who says "I've never had food poisoning and I always (fill in the blank here, leave the butter out, lick the beaters, stuff the turkey etc)" will change their tune once they do get something. Foodborne illness isn't guaranteed with every chicken you handle, but it's possible. I love when people say they had the "24 hour flu." There isn't such a thing, it's probably something they ate.

Mike1394 Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 12:07pm
post #26 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

My .02 Mom's, and GMom's cakes were most likely filled with just frosting, and not torted. Leaving a cake out, and going stale faster also leads to the scratch cakes are dry theory.

With more people using merangue BCs, and more exotic fillings. Refrigeration is needed. Would any of us want to eat a cake with a mousse filling that has been left out for 2-3 days, not me.

On the turkey thing. Now you know why the breast is alwsys dried out. You have to cook it extra long just to get the stuffing cooked.

Mike



The reason you're not supposed to cook the turkey with the stuffing in it is that the interior of the stuffing might not get to the right temp to kill the salmonella if there is any. If you cook the stuffing separately the breast meat won't be dried out, either icon_wink.gif




Yes, I know, but you have to cook the turkey so long to get the stuffing to the temp that the bird is overcooked, and dried out.

Mike

laurajayne Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 12:45pm
post #27 of 144

Hi all, interesting discussion!

Here in the UK most people are able to run a business from home legally, after being inspected. Usually on the understanding that the cakes will not contain cream or other items that require refridgeration, so it's not really a concideration for us strictly in regards to cakes.

I'd like to put another angle on it though....are we prehaps paranoid, not because we actually think the cake will spontaniously combust, but that if we do something slightly wrong, leave it out etc, the customer will get sick and sue our asses off?

I have a friend who supplies me with fresh eggs free gratis. But, I never ever use them for a cake for a customer. Why? Because they're not lion stamped, which over here means they've done something to them all technicial lol, but it's basically your guarentee that they're salmonella free....as long as you store them correctly.

Now, when it comes to my family however, we regularly eat out of date food lol. I'm a great believer that your nose will tell you if it's off. It always gets cooked through thorougly before serving, and it's always been stored correctly. icon_biggrin.gif

Texas_Rose Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 1:21pm
post #28 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

My .02 Mom's, and GMom's cakes were most likely filled with just frosting, and not torted. Leaving a cake out, and going stale faster also leads to the scratch cakes are dry theory.

With more people using merangue BCs, and more exotic fillings. Refrigeration is needed. Would any of us want to eat a cake with a mousse filling that has been left out for 2-3 days, not me.

On the turkey thing. Now you know why the breast is alwsys dried out. You have to cook it extra long just to get the stuffing cooked.

Mike



The reason you're not supposed to cook the turkey with the stuffing in it is that the interior of the stuffing might not get to the right temp to kill the salmonella if there is any. If you cook the stuffing separately the breast meat won't be dried out, either icon_wink.gif




Yes, I know, but you have to cook the turkey so long to get the stuffing to the temp that the bird is overcooked, and dried out.

Mike




I use a roaster with a lid that fits inside the oven. It looks like a metal box. The turkey stays really moist and I always reach the target temp about an hour before the cooking time says I should. I put the thermometer into the stuffing too.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 1:45pm
post #29 of 144

I cook my turkeys upside down and squish all the juice back into the meat that I have de-boned before we eat. Then I make the gravy with the liquid I cooked the giblets in. I do bake some stuffing in the bird-it's not the same if you don't.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

However--my hugest total point that I hope the person up thread who mentioned the chemicals in cake mix considers is:

All of our ingredients are literally considered chemicals because that's the definition of a chemical ex, flour, sugar, baking powder etc..

Then where do we draw the line? Yes I understand we mean using the powder that comes in the cake mix box. But we can purchase, measure and add those exact same ingredients into a 'scratch cake' to get the better shelf life and emulsing/emulsion properties that are so desirable in cake mix but it's literally a scratch cake.

So now what.

sheeza Posted 9 Nov 2009 , 2:01pm
post #30 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiftieshousewife


Oh a gross note though I did have an issue with my MIL a few years back after I had chopped raw chicken into one bowl and raw sweet peppers into another to make Kebabs and threaded them onto skewers, she put the left over peppers straight into a salad... URGH, my hands had gone from chicken to pepper and back again just think of all those germs. I didn't eat that salad but we all fell out for a while as they thought I was being neurotic!!!!




i had a similar issue with my mum when she half cooked some chicken and put it right on top of some cooked potatoes or something and then put it all in the fridge. to finish cooking later on the bbq.
i kept telling her that the chicken was still raw and she kept saying its half cooked.. icon_rolleyes.gif and nothings gonna happen.
my husband is a doctor and we go crazy over food safety. needless to say we never ate that chicken but no one got sick in my moms house.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%