Can Vanilla Go Bad?

Decorating By chocomama Updated 8 Aug 2010 , 3:09am by Loucinda

chocomama Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 2:33am
post #1 of 23

I made a WASC cake and some BC. The cake tastes fine, but the BC is awful! I use Wilton's basic BC recipe so unless I got a weird batch of powdered sugar or my Crisco went bad (Doubtful!) I'm assuming it must be the vanilla. It's only about a month old but the alcohol smell is very strong. Unfortunately, I don't have another bottle to compare it to and will have to wait till morning to get more, but this cake is for a baby shower tomorrow! Luckily, I know the recipient, but I'm still so upset! Can vanilla go bad?

The only other thing I can think of that may interfere with the taste is that I dipped a brush into the bottle when I was sticking fondant strips together for a bow and the fondant is Wilton's icky brand.

Any ideas???

22 replies
Melvira Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 2:43am
post #2 of 23

Oh, yes it can! And when it does, bleugh! I had some (a big dang bottle of course!) and it went south... smelly yuk-yuk!

"When good vanilla goes bad... tonight on Geraldo!"

Anyhoo... I'd definitely not dip a brush in there simply because you're (for lack of a better term) contaminating the extract/flavoring. Just like the little pots of gel food color, they tell you to never double dip in them (don't touch something to your icing, then dip back in the gel) because the sugar/ingredients in the icing can contaminate the gel.

chocomama Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 2:46am
post #3 of 23

That's exactly what I thought when I first dipped the brush so I really doubt that was the problem b/c I did it only once or twice.

There's no way I can make a new cake in time! I'm freaking out!!!

chocomama Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 2:57am
post #4 of 23
Skirt Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 3:11am
post #5 of 23

I buy the Costco brand and it does have an expiration date. Mine says 2015 mind you but it does expire...eventually

chocomama Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 3:19am
post #6 of 23

It's Wilton's Clear Vanilla so it does have artificial flavors and it smells very strongly of alcohol now. I wish i had sniffed it before I made the cake. I just threw everything out and will have to try to pull something together in the morning. I'm so angry and will not buy their vanilla again. My kids and I ate a few cake scraps and I hope no one will get sick from it.

Bakingangel Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 3:28am
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chocomama

It's Wilton's Clear Vanilla so it does have artificial flavors and it smells very strongly of alcohol now. I wish i had sniffed it before I made the cake. I just threw everything out and will have to try to pull something together in the morning. I'm so angry and will not buy their vanilla again. My kids and I ate a few cake scraps and I hope no one will get sick from it.




I think is has more to do with the contamination issue. When I first started out I only knew to use Wilton vanilla and butter flavoring. It was fine. I prefer to use other mfg. products now. Next time you need to use a brush, pour some in a saucer or cap and then throw away any that might be left.

So sorry you have to start all over.

chocomama Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 3:37am
post #8 of 23

I really don't know why I dipped the brush into the bottle b/c I normally pour the vanilla into a little bowl. I guess I just had a lapse in judgement or something.

I normally use Wilton's vanilla b/c it's so easily accessible and there isn't a cake shop nearby. And I only use their fondant for decorations - I make MMF or use Satin Ice to cover a cake. I don't really make enough cakes to warrant buying large quantities online but I'm done with Wilton! Thanks for letting me vent.

kansaslaura Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 3:40am
post #9 of 23

I've never had it go bad and I buy my clear by the gallon--I'm sure it's because you dipped your "dirty" brush into it. I have little cups I pour mine into for that very reason and the extra is thrown away.

Melvira Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 2:46pm
post #10 of 23

Yah, I use Magic Line ButterVanilla, and Tone's Almond because I can get those in B-I-G jugs and have never had one go bad. I don't think I realized you were using Wilton at first, sorry if you said that and it didn't sink in. I have unfortunately bought several bottles of Wilton vanilla and they ALL taste spoiled to me. Smell awful, taste awful. thumbsdown.gif SO sorry this happened, I hope you can pull this off today and get it all made. I just wish I could come help you, then we'd get it done for certain! icon_lol.gif

meLisa76 Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 3:46pm
post #11 of 23

So I just went to check my bottle of Wilton clear vanilla.... low and behold it smells like alcohol too.
It's gone down the drain now, thank goodness I saw this post as I was about to use it to make cupcakes for a bbq tonight!
I will no longer be buying Wilton clear vanilla.....

pmarks0 Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 4:10pm
post #12 of 23

I recently bought a new bottle of the Wilton Clear Vanilla and thought it tasted really alcohol-ly. I asked my friend who's been caking for over 12 years and teaches for Wilton and she said it was fine...but I don't know. I don't think it has a lot of vanilla taste. I prefer the real stuff, but obviously when doing a white cake it will change the colour.

Has anyone tried making their own? There seems to be recipes on line where you put a few vanilla beans into a small bottle of vodka and let it sit for 3 weeks.

I'm not sure I can find any other brands of clear vanilla up here.

Joyfull4444 Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 4:16pm
post #13 of 23

I used to buy the wilton clear vanilla, but changed to Watkins as the wilton always seemed to smell a bit off, even if it was a new bottle. Love the Watkins clear vanilla, as well as their almond extract. Bit dissapointed to find they've downsized the bottles in my area, last time I purchased. I did fill out a complaint card that the rep had on hand, but doubt they'll change the size back just for me.. icon_sad.gif

kansaslaura Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 6:32pm
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joyfull4444

I used to buy the wilton clear vanilla, but changed to Watkins as the wilton always seemed to smell a bit off, even if it was a new bottle. Love the Watkins clear vanilla, as well as their almond extract. Bit dissapointed to find they've downsized the bottles in my area, last time I purchased. I did fill out a complaint card that the rep had on hand, but doubt they'll change the size back just for me.. icon_sad.gif




I buy the Watkins clear by the gallon. Their caramel flavoring is the best!! But I can't get the larger bottle of that either. The only flavor I have found of theirs I don't care for is the root beer flavor. I occasionally make a root beer float cake and I was having to use nearly a bottle by the time I made frosting and the cake. McCormicks root beer is much stronger--a little goes a long way. Sorry--I kinda wandered there!

Kimmers971 Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 6:57pm
post #15 of 23

Wilton Clear Vanilla is imitation so it is going to taste & smell different than pure vanilla. I would never use imitation extract in my food - the cost is well worth it to use genuine flavor.

As for going bad, yes they all can. Make sure the bottles are well sealed and stored in a cool, dry place and they will last longer.

And NEVER dip anything into the bottles, pour it into another dish for whatever you need to do.

Good Luck!

artscallion Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 7:06pm
post #16 of 23

If I'm going to be painting with extracts I use those holders you keep your contact lenses in overnight. You know, it's like two tiny cups attached to each other with screw on (or snap on) lids.

I can use pure extract or I can mix it with luster dusts to paint. Then I can screw the lid on so it keeps, without evaporating, til I need it again.

Joyfull4444 Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 7:55pm
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimmers971

Wilton Clear Vanilla is imitation so it is going to taste & smell different than pure vanilla. I would never use imitation extract in my food - the cost is well worth it to use genuine flavor.

As for going bad, yes they all can. Make sure the bottles are well sealed and stored in a cool, dry place and they will last longer.

And NEVER dip anything into the bottles, pour it into another dish for whatever you need to do.

Good Luck!




To each his or her own right? Pure or imitation, theres a place in the baking world for both. If you only use genuine thats great..

I also use pure or genuine vanilla in some of my baking. I also use scraped vanilla beans in some of my baking. I also use madagascar bourbon cold pressed vanilla bean paste, as well as bourbon vanilla sugar mixed with with my extract. And, I also use Watkins artifical clear vanilla in my WASC cakes, as its makes them taste absolutly wonderful!

Shoot.. I'm game to try any type of extract or flavoring. Thats how you learn what tastes good and what doesn't. Even good old genuine vanilla can taste awful if you get stuck with a crappy brand.

Elcee Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 8:18pm
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimmers971

Wilton Clear Vanilla is imitation so it is going to taste & smell different than pure vanilla. I would never use imitation extract in my food - the cost is well worth it to use genuine flavor.




Agreed...I don't think any of the problems being talked about in this thread are brand related, I think they are imitation related. So if you don't like the smell of your Wilton imitation vanilla, you won't like the smell of another brand of imitation vanlla, either. icon_smile.gif

Joyfull4444 Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 9:49pm
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kansaslaura

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joyfull4444

I used to buy the wilton clear vanilla, but changed to Watkins as the wilton always seemed to smell a bit off, even if it was a new bottle. Love the Watkins clear vanilla, as well as their almond extract. Bit dissapointed to find they've downsized the bottles in my area, last time I purchased. I did fill out a complaint card that the rep had on hand, but doubt they'll change the size back just for me.. icon_sad.gif



I buy the Watkins clear by the gallon. Their caramel flavoring is the best!! But I can't get the larger bottle of that either. The only flavor I have found of theirs I don't care for is the root beer flavor. I occasionally make a root beer float cake and I was having to use nearly a bottle by the time I made frosting and the cake. McCormicks root beer is much stronger--a little goes a long way. Sorry--I kinda wandered there!




Watkins butter nut was awesome too! I used that in most of my sweet bread & quick breads. I was so bummed to find they discontinued it for vanilla nut. The rep tried to convince me it was better, but no way, not even near it! I haven't tried the watkins root beer, I used to buy a store brand that was good, but switched to the new (in my area)high concentrate Lorann Gourmet root beer flavor. Its pretty good, flavor lasts well through baking. I'll try the McCormicks when this runs out or gets too old, whichever comes first. Probably the too old, like me! icon_lol.gif

Dayti Posted 7 Aug 2010 , 11:47pm
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmarks0



Has anyone tried making their own? There seems to be recipes on line where you put a few vanilla beans into a small bottle of vodka and let it sit for 3 weeks.




Me! I was sick of paying like 8 for a teeny bottle of Wiltons or Neiman Marcus (SP?), so I looked into making my own. I got a recipe with photos off a blog somewhere, and haven't looked back. It doesn't come out clear though, reckon you'd have to add a bunch of chemicals to do that.
You basically buy vanilla beans (I buy from The Organic Vanilla Bean Company, you can Google it), cut 8-10 of them in half across (i.e. not down the length), put them in a glass jar (I use a mason type jar with the rubber seal), fill to top with vodka (cheap works better than top shelf apparently) and put it in a cupboard. Shake daily or whenever you remember for about a 3 weeks or a month, it will then be caramel coloured. I then empty that liquid (including any caviar though you could strain it I guess) into another clean jar, and reuse the same beans. I wouldn't reuse them more than twice though because I think you wouldn't get the same vanillaey yummyness.
No need to add sugar or anything else to it, just vanilla and vodka. You could also rustle yourself up a nice cocktail with it icon_biggrin.gif

chocomama Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 12:16am
post #21 of 23

Well, I had to start the cake over this morning and got it done just in the nick of time. Had to get another bottle of Wilton's b/c that's the only clear type that is easily accessible, but when I make the trek to the cake shop this week I will be sure to purchase something better. Luckily, this bottle smelled fine.

The cake turned out OK - it wasn't exactly what I wanted to do - but everyone was very pleased with the look and the taste so that made me happy. icon_smile.gif
LL

Melvira Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 1:58am
post #22 of 23

It looks gorgeous! Great work!

I have personally been making 'home made' 'real' vanilla for quite a while now and I hate it. I was told not to buy expensive vodka to make it, just some old hooch, you know, the $11 for a gallon (or something like that) stuff. So I poured a little into another container to make some room for the beans... split and put in a ton of beans, then when I scrape one for baking I put it's empty shell in the bottle, because there is still a ton of flavor left in there. Anyway, to me, it tastes like some nasty old vodka with vanilla beans in it. Everything I use it in tastes like nasty old hooch vodka. Even baked goods retain some nasty alcohol flavor. thumbsdown.gif Don't know what to do with it because to me it tastes pretty gross. I love my beans, and using them for custards, baked goods, etc. but the home made rotgut 'extract' sucks.

Loucinda Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 3:09am
post #23 of 23

I am now a vanilla snob icon_biggrin.gificon_wink.gif I make my own. I don't make it with just a few beans though - I stuff about 30 of them in that fifth of vodka. I leave it for at least 1 month, 2 is better. Shake it every couple of days. I get the vanilla beans off of ebay, I have used madagascar, and tahitian, so far the favorite of my family is made with the tahitian beans. I also cut the beans in half horizontally, then in thirds vertically - pour enough of the vodka out so the beans all fit. (I don't scrape them either, just stuff them in there) When you go to use it, you can strain in to get the little seeds out if you want to. If not, just don't shake the bottle before using it - the seeds are all towards the bottom.

I also reuse the beans a 2nd time, but it doesn't make as fantastic vanilla as it does the first round.

You can get a lb. of grade "B" beans which are fine for extracts for about 20 dollars on ebay.

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