Maybe An Emergency..advice?? What Do I Do???

Decorating By Spuddysmom Updated 8 Mar 2010 , 3:46am by Melvira

Spuddysmom Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 10:10pm
post #1 of 37

First of all, I am a hobby baker.
Dropped off a great looking cake for my husband's office this morning. One of the co-workers is leaving for a big promotion, she is very special so he asked me for the cake. Okay, the potential catastrophe: Last night, long after making the cake, I got a little intestinal "twinge", figured something I ate didn't "set right"; no biggie. I just had this horrible thought - what if it is from the filling I put in the cake?? I samples it after putting the cake up. I did a variation of KHalsted's recipe of 1 small pkg instant pudding and 1/3 cup milk (instead of 1 cup) and about 8 cps. whipped bettercreme (instead of 2 cups. liquid). That should be okay, right? if not, this is the really awful part: there are going to be over 100 people there, it is in the Courthouse for the Prosecuting Attorney, and I cannot contact anyone until I arrive (no phones). I can't get there for an hour, and the party will have started....oh please, someone tell me it will be okay........

36 replies
icingimages Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 10:16pm
post #2 of 37

its fine. there are intestinal things going on. Chances are if you are moving around, its not food poisening, its a viral thing. food poisening knocks you out for the count.

JanH Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 10:27pm
post #3 of 37

Couldn't find any recipes listed by KHalstead in CC's recipe section, and I'm not familiar with that recipe...

Did you NOT refrigerate the cake?

If not, the sugar in the instant pudding isn't adequate to control the water activity in the 1/3 cup of milk you added.

Bettercreme is shelf stable for about 5 days under normal conditions, but I don't know that it can go without refrigeration for more than several hours when you start adding perishable ingredients.

Spuddysmom Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 10:27pm
post #4 of 37

oh, man, what do I do? ... That recipe was given in a thread for someone looking for white chocolate mousse. I was told it was not necessary to refrigerate it because of the sugar/fat content.

Melvira Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 10:41pm
post #5 of 37

Hey Spuddysmom, I am not a scientist or anything, I can only tell you my personal experience. I have made Bettercreme with pudding and milk in it probably 50 times and left it sitting out overnight in/on cupcakes. No one has ever gotten ill from it, and I've eaten it after 2 or 3 days at room temp and never had a problem. It's more than likely that you were just feeling a bit under the weather that evening. Could've even been the stress of getting the cake done. Though I cannot guarantee you will have no problems, I can honestly say I don't anticipate anyone will get food poisoning from it. And like was mentioned... if you had food poisoning, you'd KNOW! icon_rolleyes.gif It can get pretty ugly!

Spuddysmom Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 10:44pm
post #6 of 37

Thank you. I would about die if I got someone sick, not to mention 100 people!!

psmith Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 10:44pm
post #7 of 37

If it was food poisoning, you would have been a lot sicker. Real food poisoning is more than a twinge and it takes awhile to work through your system. If you had it, I don't think you would have been in any shape to drop off the I'm pretty sure you're just fine. I wouldn't worry.

Melvira Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 10:56pm
post #8 of 37
Originally Posted by Spuddysmom

Thank you. I would about die if I got someone sick, not to mention 100 people!!

Oh yah, I'm right there with ya!! That would be an absolute nightmare!

ayerim979 Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 11:05pm
post #9 of 37

Melvira , I had to laugh at you signature

The peanut butter in the crack part, my husband is remodeling the bathroom and he set the tiles down but not the grout, my son dropped his PBJ in the bath while watching his daddy work and thats exactly what my husband shouted. "theres peanut butter in my cracks " lol !!!

JanH Posted 5 Mar 2010 , 11:13pm
post #10 of 37
Originally Posted by Spuddysmom

oh, man, what do I do? ... That recipe was given in a thread for someone looking for white chocolate mousse. I was told it was not necessary to refrigerate it because of the sugar/fat content.

Usually, the sugar/fat content is noted when the question is something like, "does my buttercream require refrigeration when I make it with milk" or something like that.

American buttercreams don't require refrigeration regardless of what liquid is used because the large amounts of powdered sugar (which is hygroscopic) controls the "water activity" of the liquid (which is usally only a small amount).

Water activity & microbial growth:
(Prolonging Bakery Product Life.)

WJ Scott in 1953 first established that it was water activity, not water content that correlated with bacterial growth:

Formulating for increased shelf life:
(Decreasing water activity results in hostile environment for bacteria.)

I've not yet come across any mousse recipe made with significant amounts of perishable ingredients that is rendered shelf stable because of the sugar/fat content. (Because it seems to me, if it had that much sugar/fat - it would no longer be a mousse.)

Would you be so kind as to provide a link to the recipe or a list of the ingredients?


Spuddysmom Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 1:29am
post #11 of 37

Here is part of the thread on "most requested flavor combos" but the recipe also appears in other threads.
"Cheesecake mousse:

2 c. liquid Rich's bettercreme non-dairy vanilla icing (pink carton)
1 c. whole milk
1 small package cheesecake instant pudding mix

Whip the Rich's bettercreme w/ the pudding mix until you get stiff peaks, then gradually add in the 1 c. of milk while continuing to beat.

this is fabulous just piped into a choc. cup too or eaten with a spoon! YUMMMYYYYY

Also, it's safe at room temp. for up to 5 days so it's awesome for wedding cakes!!

To everyone:
thank you so much for your comments. I was totally panicked, couldn't reach anyone by phone, so raced to the party ASAP but the cake had already been cut and served! I told my husband what I was afraid of and he told me that he had sampled the filling earlier and it was fine. Instant relief! Whew! Everyone loved the cake and no one got sick! I've always been extremely cautious when it comes to food safety so I felt like a fool about trying this. I pictured the ultimate "cake wreck".

Kitagrl Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 1:47am
post #12 of 37

I get sick all the time eating buttercream! Haha. Its from the fat content... all that butter and shortening messes me up quite often.

I would think it would be very hard for icing to "go bad".....

JanH Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 2:34am
post #13 of 37

I don't think I would be comfortable NOT refrigerating that mousse recipe.

Just because the Rich's Bettercreme is formulated to be shelf stable doesn't mean you can ADD perishable liquids and assume the resulting mixture is also shelf stable...

Here's the list of ingredients for Rich's Bettercreme:

High fructose corn syrup, water, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains less than 2% of the following: Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), soy protein concentrate, polysorbate 60, carbohydrate gum, sugar, salt, artificial flavor, soy lecithin, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, to preserve freshness (potassium sorbate), xanthan gum.

The science behind American b/c not requiring refrigeration doesn't work for me in this situation because we don't know the proportion of high fructose corn syrup to liquid (only that there must be more high fructose corn syrup than water since it's listed first).

But adding 1 cup more liquid and using only a portion of the Rich's Bettercreme might push the water content into first place - which would definitely not be a good thing...

And Rich's Bettercreme is indeed shelf stable at normal room temperature for 5 days. In fact, I used to post a link to Rich's which stated the safe handling guidelines (but unfortunately, the link is no longer active).

However, the 5 day shelf stability was for the Rich's Bettercreme ONLY - not the recipe posted.


BlakesCakes Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 8:04am
post #14 of 37

I'm basically with JanH on this one. I make a Bettercreme mousse and I NEVER add dairy/perishable ingredients to it. I want to retain that shelf life.

There's no need to add that milk. It "ruins" the shelf stability.

Just take the pudding mix and add hot water to it, mixing with a fork until it's the consistency of runny paste--sorry, for the generality, but that's what works and it can vary according to the flavor of pudding that you make.

Whip the Bettercreme to soft peaks--however much you need. I find that 1 box of pudding mix will flavor up to 2 cups of Bettercreme, beaten. The stuff basically doubles in volume when you beat it.

Take a few TBSPS of the beaten Bettercreme and fold it into the "runny paste" pudding and then add that to the rest of the beaten Bettercreme. I usually beat this mixture for another 30 seconds, or so, to incorporate.

At this point, if necessary, you can loosen up the mixture by adding in some extra liquid Bettercreme. Don't beat it with the mixer if you need to do this--just gently blend it with a spoon or fork. You can also add extracts, compounds, jams, preserves, or flavorings at this point, taking care to be sure that your additions don't create something that has to be refrigerated.

I make all kinds of flavors by playing with various pudding and dry mousse mixes, but I never mix in any dairy products.

I'm glad that this worked out OK for you. Sorry for all of the worry.

Hope my suggestions are helpful for the future.

Melvira Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 2:47pm
post #15 of 37

BlakesCakes, that is very good information! I'll have to add that info about using water instead of milk to the Bettercreme Fun document! It would be an excellent inclusion! I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't want to use the pudding variation because of this exact concern!! thumbs_up.gif

ayerim979 - What a cute story!! Love it! This particular version of that sentiment comes from sleep talkin' man. He is hilarious. I adore reading the bizarre things he says. icon_lol.gif

Spuddysmom Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 4:54pm
post #16 of 37

BlakesCakes; Thank you for that info - I'm definitely going to use that next time! This was the first time I used bettercreme and after reeading all of this I really don't think there was much to worry about - we can't get the liquid form so I used the already whipped stuff (yes, I know have the ENORMOUS 5 gallon bettercreme bucket sitting in my fridge). After re-reading the amounts of bettercreme/milk I used ( 8 cups 1/3 cp) it is a miracle the stuff didn't turn into cement! Guess I'll just stick with good old ABC, IMBC or SMBC. The really funny thing to me is ( aside from the fact that it was my nervousness over making this cake perfect that caused my "intestinal twinge") I received so many compliments later over "the fabulous frosting" (just bettercreme with added extract). That shocked me cuz I don't like the stuff (gasp) - but wanted to try it cuz it was so inexpensive! I think I will go stick my head in that bucket and hide now.....

Melvira Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 5:52pm
post #17 of 37

Spuddysmom, I am SHOCKED that you don't like it!! icon_surprised.gif How DARE you!! Just kidding of course! icon_lol.gif I find that people adore it if you make it with added extract, etc. You know, doctor it a little. People generally like it because it's not tooth rottingly sweet and it's very light. I personally love it because... well... cuz it's FROSTING! Boo-yah! icon_wink.gif

Spuddysmom Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 6:31pm
post #18 of 37

With family and friends scattered across the country I find that some tastes seem to be generational, some regional - for instance, supposedly I made a great gumbo (my husband from the South is an expert gumbo consumer) but, to me it is just "eh".... The flavors of chocolates and cakes that go over big in Seattle just don't go where my daughter lives in a small town in TX. The jello/marshmellow/canned fruit salad my best friend serves to rave reviews in Little Rock wouldn't be touched here. I think it is great that we all have a chance to discover new tastes and try them on for size!

emiyeric Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 7:11pm
post #19 of 37

I REALLY don't want to be negative here ... but being a pediatrician, I need to bring something up. There's one small thing that we may have overlooked throughout this whole conversation. Regardless of the shelf life of the products, and whether or not what Spuddysmom had was food posioning (which, I agree, would be far more dramatic in presentation), the issue still exists that this might still be a viral thing. In that case, if Spuddysmom had a viral gastrointestinal thing, she could still give it to everybody that eats her food. Completely separate from the food poisoning issue as such, but still definitely a food safety concern. Just sayin' icon_smile.gif.

Melvira Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 7:15pm
post #20 of 37

That is so true about regional tastes, etc. You hit the nail on the head. When I go down to KC to visit my sister, I always want barbeque because it's supposed to be famous down there... but they take me to these places that essentially serve deli meat. I mean, it's good for what it is, but it's just smoked and sliced ham, turkey, etc. served with kind of a watery, too spicy sauce. When I think of barbeque, I think of a chicken or a rack of ribs (or similar CHUNK of meat) slow cooked on a grill, sopped with a little sticky-sweet BBQ sauce. Now, what region is that? Wherever it is, I'm GOING! Hahaha. That's how I make it.

Melvira Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 7:18pm
post #21 of 37
Originally Posted by emiyeric

I REALLY don't want to be negative here ... but being a pediatrician, I need to bring something up. There's one small thing that we may have overlooked throughout this whole conversation. Regardless of the shelf life of the products, and whether or not what Spuddysmom had was food posioning (which, I agree, would be far more dramatic in presentation), the issue still exists that this might still be a viral thing. In that case, if Spuddysmom had a viral gastrointestinal thing, she could still give it to everybody that eats her food. Completely separate from the food poisoning issue as such, but still definitely a food safety concern. Just sayin' icon_smile.gif.

Totally valid point. In your honest opinion, do you not think the precautions she took were enough? Mask and gloves, frequent handwashing, etc.? I am very interested in your opinion on this because, as of yet it hasn't happened, but I know eventually I will need to do a cake and end up getting sick just at the 'wrong' time!

Spuddysmom Posted 6 Mar 2010 , 8:51pm
post #22 of 37

emiyeric, good scary point. Even though I have always taken safety precautions (those already mentioned) along with disinfecting all surfaces, I have never done a cake when ill. It would be horrible to make people sick - family, friends or strangers. At work (candy shop) we were never allowed to even come to work when symptoms presented themselves.
Also, I never thought about what would you do if say, hours after decorating a wedding cake, you came down sick? has anyone had that happen?

emiyeric Posted 7 Mar 2010 , 1:32am
post #23 of 37

The problem is, even if when you're mixing and directly touching the cake you're perfectly gloved and masked (which is great!), you will still almost inevitably end up with fomites (objects which you touch and therefore place germs on, and through which you can transmit said germs). For example, before you step into your kitchen (where you mask and glove appropriately), say you cough. You want to be very hygienic, so of course you don't cough into your hands! You cough into your arm, or your shoulder. But say a minute later, you carry out some of your decorating tools in your arms (which are now your fomites) ... and bam, your stuff is infected. The same can happen with the bottle of glue you use to trim your cake board with ribbon (because you don't necessarily feel you need to glove up if it's not food, maybe), or the cardboard box you're going to use to present/transport your cake. Touching your nose (even if you don't really have oodles of secretions coming out of it at the time - hence, you don't even realize you've contaminated your hand), anywhere around your mouth, or any fomite could conceivably transmit a bug. And the handling of food, however sterile you try to make it, just has a potential for ... well ... intimacy icon_smile.gif. That doesn't mean you will necessarily give your bug to anybody that eats your food (and the fact that you use mask and gloves shows that you are generally very aware and very cautious to begin with). But it certainly IS a possibility, and I would be very very wary of giving others goods from my kitchen, PARTICULARLY if it's a gastrointestinal bug (over something that's more droplet-based for infections).

Sorry! Like I said, there's a good chance nothing will happen, but there's always a chance something will, and we're simply not aware of how MUCH we touch stuff around us, and the potential for infection. And no, in general terms I am not a horrible germophobe - it seems my youngest always has a handful of mud in his mouth, I leave my family cakes on the counter as long as they last (though admittedly, that's not usually very long icon_smile.gif ), and when my daughter drops her crackers on the floor and sticks them back in her mouth, I just wipe the floor so we don't slip on the crumbs. But when it comes to my kitchen, and preparing food for others, it's a touchy touchy subject for me ... particularly because I see first-hand how infectious some viruses are!

Melvira Posted 7 Mar 2010 , 1:48am
post #24 of 37

It is amazing how things can be transmitted like that! I mean, you're right... we'd think nothing of touching something like a glue bottle with 'naked' hands! I'm telling you, especially when it comes to dining out, I can't let myself think of any of that or I'd never eat out again. I get creeped out VERY easily about that stuff.

emiyeric Posted 7 Mar 2010 , 11:05pm
post #25 of 37

One other thing I thought I'd mention. When we gown and glove at the hospital, we use a sterile technique, so that we don't touch any surface that will come into contact with the patient. But if you're using your bare hands to put on your gloves to decorate, and you are touching the outside of the glove to do it, the outside surface of your glove is considered contaminated.

So there we go! icon_smile.gif

BlakesCakes Posted 7 Mar 2010 , 11:21pm
post #26 of 37

So, in other words, decorated cakes, by nature, are not sterile because one, or more, of the ingredients, utensils, supports, or decorations have been touched by human hands, or by gloves touched by human hands, or by gloves that have been touched by something that has been touched by human hands...................

I don't endeavor to make a "sterile" cake. I try very hard to make a cake using things that are as clean as is humanly possible outside of an industrial clean room or a surgical suite.

I will NEVER gown up, wash with phisohex, or wear a mask and gloves when I decorate a cake. If someone is that paranoid, they need to check with the Cleveland Clinic here in town to see if any of the surgeons moonlight as pastry chefs...................which they never would because it doesn't pay enough..................


cammyblake1 Posted 7 Mar 2010 , 11:26pm
post #27 of 37

Wow. Going from an MBC to Bettercreme/Buttcreme is like stepping down from a Caddy into a Kia. Very strange.

BlakesCakes Posted 7 Mar 2010 , 11:39pm
post #28 of 37

Hey, different strokes for different folks.............

MBCs are great if you can properly refrigerate EVERY time, but......

Sometimes that's not an option, so it's good to have a nice bag of tricks to open when someone wants a good tasting cake that can withstand room temp for hours (while decorating or on display, or both) without the fear of bacteria having a party.

For many of the cakes that I make, it may take hours to decorate, it may be too big to fit in my fridge when completed, and it may sit for hours at the party before consumption. I don't want to take the chance that the icing OR the filling could make someone sick, so I have an excellent alternative.

The Caddy & the Kia each has it's own pluses and minuses--neither one is good all of time, nor bad all of the time...........


cammyblake1 Posted 7 Mar 2010 , 11:46pm
post #29 of 37

Eh, that's why grocery stores use 'em. Cheap, can withstand nuclear attacks, etc., etc. And MBCs are not the delicate little recipes people make them out to be.

emiyeric Posted 7 Mar 2010 , 11:53pm
post #30 of 37

Not trying to make a sterile cake either. The question was, if I'm sick, can I give it to somebody else if I make them a cake. The answer is yes.

Quote by @%username% on %date%