I have a cake due in a few weeks for a friend who's neice has a severe nut allergy. I've never baked for an allergy concern before, so I don't really know what I need to do to get as close to 100% nut-free as possible. I know that there are plenty of options for nut-free ingredients out there, but I don't know where to start. Any suggestions/favorites from CCer's would be greatly appreciated. Also, if there are any suggestions on how to ensure that I don't contaminate the cake in some other way, they would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!
severe nut allergy
Disregarding the cake/filling/frosting, can you guarantee that your kitchen is "nut-free" ? It is rarely the product that causes the reaction, but rather cross-contamination from other sources ..
Tracy - be very careful....that's the best advice I can give.
I make nut-free cakes for a friend of mine that has a very severe nut allergy. I use completely separate everything (new bags of flour, sugar, butter, etc.) and "never been in contact with nuts" hardware (beaters, measuring cups, spatulas, bowls, etc.) when I bake for her, and clean my oven right before baking for her.
I also make absolutely sure that all of the ingredients I use are labeled nut-free (not all baking powder is, for example) - and that the manufacturers do not make nut products on the same lines/equipment/ factory.
In addition to that, I always tell her - and I make a big sign on the box of the product - that I cannot guarantee it is completely nut-free. That way, she always has an epipen and/or other medication handy.... I only do this for her because she's a good friend, and an adult who can make her own decision. But I would never sell a product as "nut-free" (if I could sell that is) or make it for someone I don't' know very, very well.
hope that helps!
I can't be emphatic enough in my support of the previous posters. IF you can't guarantee that your kitchen is nut-free (which you can't do if you ever bake a regular cake with regular ingredients in it, because of the cross contamination in so many of these ingredients), I wouldn't touch the order. As the previous poster mentioned, separate equipment is needed, separate bags of ingredients, and only ingredients that are specifically labeled to be nut-free.
A "severe nut allergy" means that the affected person could die very quickly if exposed to a contaminated ingredient. Heck, I've even had patients who reacted because they touched a contaminated ingredient, without ever having put it in their mouths. Be extremely careful on this one!
Thank y'all for the responses. I think I'm just gonna pass on the order... I'm just too nervous!! I wouldn't want anything to happen to her niece, and the only way I'd feel comfortable would be if I bought all new pans & utensils and ingredients, and I just can't afford all that! Thanks again!!
The biggest question I have here is will the parent of the child (not the aunt) allow her to eat anything made in your kitchen, knowing that there is a chance of cross contamination. Even if you purchase new ingredients and clean your oven and pans well, there is still a chance. As long as you disclose that you are not a nut free facility, it is up to the client to make the decision on whether or not to eat the cake.
As a parent of a child with a nut allergy I am extremely careful of where I will allow my child to eat baked goods from. If it is truly a "severe" nut allergy, there is no way the parent will allow her child to eat from your bakery (though I'm sure your cakes are delicious!). I wouldn't and my child does not have a "severe" nut allergy.
If you have any specific questions, you can pm me and I'll be happy to help you in any way possible.
If I get asked, I just say my kitchen is not nut-free. Usually that is enough to get them looking for another baker.
If I get a cake request for an allergic child I make sure the allergy is not severe, and I also make sure its something that won't be cross-contaminated...dairy and eggs are a little easier to control than nuts.
I was so upset last year I had an order from someone who never mentioned a nut allergy, and the birthday lady had multiple food allergies, including a nut allergy, and her lip became tingly from a cupcake. GRR! But they were fine and ordered again.... that was kinda messed up.