Imbc/smbc Stability/refrigeration-Business Quest.

Business By karateka Updated 7 Jul 2010 , 11:55pm by beccad18

karateka Posted 6 Jul 2010 , 6:14pm
post #1 of 17

Gah! I just spent an hour trying to search an answer to my question, and I can't find it.

I want to start offering SMBC as a frosting. I am inspected and can legally do so. I have fridge space....and enough brains not to accept an order for a cake bigger than that space.

I generally deliver 2 hours before the ceremony. I haven't been to a wedding in over a decade. When do they generally cut the cake? (I think mine was fairly late...around 2-3 hrs after it started but that was almost 20 yrs ago!)

I know that a refrigerated butter cake should warm up a bit to taste it's best (I don't like cold cake except for cheesecake), but I also know that servsafe guidelines have a time limit (4 hrs, I think...I need to look that up again icon_redface.gif ) including the time you are decorating with it.

So...I guess what I'm trying to find out is, for you who use meringue buttercreams in their business....when do you deliver, and when is it generally cut and served? I'm paranoid about making sure that nobody gets sick and that I have covered my legal bases.

I see conflicting reports on here about how long that icing can be left out. Rose Levy Beranbaum says 6 hours. That would be difficult!

Any advice, current procedures appreciated.

16 replies
tavyheather Posted 6 Jul 2010 , 7:49pm
post #2 of 17

yep, just took that class, the time/temp safety zone is 4 hrs...

but really the unstable ingredient in there is the butter, which has so much fat it's unlikely to spoil......and u realize IMBC/SMBC doesn't require refrigeration, correct? it spoils, yes, and it's not shelf-stable, but the cooking of the egg whites kills the salmonella and therefor it does not need to be refrigerated....

it's a round-a-bout way of me trying to tell you it's cooked so you don't need to worry about it that much!

karateka Posted 6 Jul 2010 , 8:38pm
post #3 of 17

I hope this doesn't sound snitty (isn't meant that way) but are you sure? All the books I look in say it must be refrigerated. It's getting really aggravating....I can't find anything published that states how long it can sit out on the cake! (and you know Martha Stewart isn't dropping off her cakes in the venue's fridge and letting them move her cake!) When you do long is it generally out of the fridge?

Now I don't KNOW or I wouldn't be asking....just trying to cover my considerable A%$ if you get my drift.....if someone gets sick and I am telling the judge that it doesn't need refrigeration for x number of hours or I have anything to back me up?

What if you fill it with something like pastry cream? Is that more or less dangerous than the meringue buttercreams?

Also...Toba Garrett said something about sealing the cake in fondant so it won't spoil....Does covering that type of frosting in fondant extend it's shelf life?

I feel really ignorant those of you who use this stuff regularly...I'm interested in how you do business.

I guess this is where an internship in a real bakery would come in handy. Or pastry school. icon_redface.gif

Edited to add: Thank you for responding! I'm not questioning your knowledge since I have no basis for that....just doing a lot of cross checking to cover my booty.

tavyheather Posted 6 Jul 2010 , 8:42pm
post #4 of 17

I totally understand, and seriously, get your advise from someone who has done more than read other ppl's advice on here and attended a one-day class on this. I am not pos. but from what I've read it's fine out of the fridge. GL and I hope many more knowledgeable ppl respond!!

SoSasha Posted 6 Jul 2010 , 9:16pm
post #5 of 17

Hi! Let me preface this by saying that I am not a licensed professional caker and will not be for at least another year or two- but from my experience with being the cake guru to friends and family- and from what I've read in various cake books, including I think the cake bible- these types of buttercreams will stay fresh at room temperature from somewhere between 3 to 5 days if made properly.

The main issue you will most likely have is not rancidity, but just the stability of your structure since butter has a lower melting point. I use SMBC exclusively (and am very against refrigerating cakes for longer than 1 hour spurts since it stales the cake itself) and I have never had a problem or detected anything off with cakes that have been out for a few days. That being said, you will have nowhere NEAR the headache of using frostings that are cream or cheese based- these should not be out of a refrigerator for any longer than 3 hours or so which is why I avoid them entirely!

Yes- this is *not* a crusting buttercream- therefore if left exposed to the elements you are dealing with a sweet sticky surface that dust and critters will be very attracted to- avoid this by covering your cake in fondant or just using a meringue based buttercream as a filing and then covering it with an american style buttercream.

Best of luck in your search- I think you'll find that everything is o.k. icon_lol.gif

_christina_ Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:24am
post #6 of 17

She's right, refrigeration will lengthen the life of the BC but not prevent spoilage. It will go in about 1 week unrefrigerated (using an all whites recipe) or about 2 weeks refrigerated.

The bakery I used to work at we would make 10# batches and leave it out because we used it in a matter of days. We did use IMBC but all the same, really since the eggs are being heated. When using a yolks recipe I find they go rancid in a few days.

You'll be fine. We used to do our cakes, refrigerate them, deliver hours before event.

drakegore Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 12:40am
post #7 of 17

are you a home baker?
my state will not allow me to use smbc as a home baker which just gives me fits.

karateka Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 1:11am
post #8 of 17

I am a home baker, but am licensed and able to do "potentially hazardous" foods.

elliespartycake Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 1:34am
post #9 of 17

I do SMBC almost exclusively, but since the whites are only heated to 140degrees, I use pasturized powdered egg whites with great success. There is no problem with the SMBC sitting out for a number of hours. I do tell my brides that if I am doing a SMBC cake the reception venue must be 70 degrees or less since the butter will cause the frosting to melt if it gets too hot. This is usually only a problem for outdoor summer weddings around here.

karateka Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 1:52am
post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by elliespartycake

I do SMBC almost exclusively, but since the whites are only heated to 140degrees, I use pasturized powdered egg whites with great success. There is no problem with the SMBC sitting out for a number of hours. I do tell my brides that if I am doing a SMBC cake the reception venue must be 70 degrees or less since the butter will cause the frosting to melt if it gets too hot. This is usually only a problem for outdoor summer weddings around here.

Thank you for responding. Do you mind me asking how many hours? Do you generally deliver 2 hrs before the reception begins?

MCurry Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:31am
post #11 of 17

For my own business - I use SMBC pretty much exclusively as well. My delivery is usually 1.5 - 2 hours before the event. However if I deliver more than 2 hours in advance I let them know verbally and in writing (I provide a cake cutting and tip sheet with the final invoice) that the cake should be placed in the fridge and removed to come to room temperature about 2 hours before serving. Within 2 hours, I tell them to store in a cool dry place.

Cutting cakes at weddings could be 2 -3 hours into the event.

At the restaurant, I do not leave the buttercream out because the turnover is not as frequent. I have the cakes taken out when the meal comes out. This is because restaurant kitchens tend to be very hot and a cake coming to room temp is very fast.

Since your mentioned culinary school - no buttercreams or pastry cream were left out at The French Culinary Institute. They were taken out to come to room temp, whipped up then used. Of course, buttercreams were used after making as well though. Pastry creams were cooled then re-whipped before use.

There are so many SafeServ courses out there if you feel like you need a refresher.

I'm sure you will make the right decision for you. Good luck!

Hope this helps.

jqorso Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:48am
post #12 of 17

Most universities and extension offices have food safety experts. You maybe able to call them and get advice on your recipe. For a fee, you can submit a sample of your recipe and they can analyze it for it's safety and give you guidelines on storage and such.

Since you are doing this to protect yourself from possible legal problems, it will look a lot better to have a letter from a food safety expert than to say "I heard from so and so." JMHO.

deMuralist Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 2:53am
post #13 of 17

When I took my course to get my kitchen certified the professor from the Ag dept said that they do a test if you will send your frosting (or whatever) and they can tell if you have enough sugar to retard any problems. You may look into that, he said it is often a very minor adjustment to bring into a place where it will not be a problem.

CakeandDazzle Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 3:15am
post #14 of 17

SMBC can be left at room temp (not FL summer melt your skin off temp) for up to 3 days.

karateka Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 3:55pm
post #15 of 17

Thanks to all of you.

I just finished servsafe, so I don't so much need a refresher as some practical usage advice...

So the icing can technically be out for 4 hours. If you deliver 2 hrs before the reception, that's 2 hours you have to work on the cake from start to finish if it's all iced in SMBC, right?

Plus, once it's delivered, unless it's cut right away, it could be out for 4 hours at that point.

Do you see what I'm getting at? Make the icing, apply it to the cake, decorate it, deliver it, have it consumed, all within 4 hours to comply with servsafe? Is that possible?

I know that many of you are professional pastry chefs and you are probably chafing at reading posts like this from people who haven't been to school but are running a business. I know this doesn't help, but once my kids are out of the house, I'm planning on pastry school if I can swing the $$$.

I'm a pharmacist, and there's such a thing as "standard of practice". If a certain standard is maintained by the industry as standard practice, then it is an acceptable MO. Of course it has to be, not totally yanked out of my arse.

I'm just trying to find out what the standard of practice is for dealing with cakes covered in these icings. Surely they aren't all iced, decorated, delivered, and consumed within the servsafe 4 hour window? That's what I'm trying to find out. No....I won't cite you in a court case. Just trying to reasonably decide whether it is possible for me to offer these options.

KKristy Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 6:49pm
post #16 of 17

I'm going through the same troubles as you right now...but I'm wanting to serve imbc in my retail bakery. I have spoke with the local health department 4 times now, and received different answers each time. This last time (today), a very stern woman was positive that this had to be stored in refrigeration...could not be left out at all. Yesterday a man told me that I would need to take a sample to a food lab to be tested - a concern about available water content and ph and sugars. They were not concerned with the egg whites ( I use pasteurized, powdered egg whites).

...and hey, don't worry about not having been to pastry school - there are plenty of successful bakers that don't have that formal culinary education - it helps, but it's not necessary ...and anyway, your cakes rock !
Good luck girl !

beccad18 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 11:55pm
post #17 of 17

The servesafe time window applies to food that is to be kept cold or hot. Cake is non-perishible and does not fall into the time/temp sensitive category.

Buttercreams- whether American style with butter/powdered sugar, or IMBC/SMBC, are perishable, but sugar acts as a preservative, retarding spoilage at room temperature. The egg whites are cooked killing any potential samonella, and again, the sugar is preventing bacteria growth.

And I don't know about anyone else, but I grew up leaving the butter out on the counter so it'd be soft for toast in the mornings, and I've never had an issue.

But my advice comes from just taking the servesafe course, currently being at French Culinary, and practical experience.

Your cakes won't spoil if left out for a day or two. But in this summer heat, they could obviously melt. That's what I'd be most concerned with right now.

Quote by @%username% on %date%