I had a friend call today and wanted to order a cake for her grandmothers 90th birthday. I asked her to email me some pictures of what she had in mind, she also asked me on the phone if I offered peanut free cakes I told her that I didn't because I do have peanut products at home. she sent the pictures and again asked in the email if there was anyway that I could keep all nut products away just till I made her cake. I am sitting here thinking is that even possible?? sure I can put the stuff away , lock it in the pantry or whatever. I really don't know what to say to her? I feel I defiantly have to turn it down due to the the some guests having peanut allergies. What would you guys do in a case like this have any of you had to deal with this issue?. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this.
Peanut allergies can be very serious. We had a relative that died in a restaurant while celebrating his college graduation with his family. They assured him that there we're no nut products in his entree; but, after his throat closed and he subsiquently died on the restaurant floor it was discovered that the chef had used the same spatula that he had previously used on nut encrusted chicken.
My point is peanut allergies must be taken very seriously. If you have any doubts you may not wish to take any chances.
I run a bakery that specializes in food allergies, and I have severe food allergies myself (to peanuts, nuts, and eggs). It is certainly possible to bake a peanut-free cake as long as you are very careful about avoiding cross-contamination and only use ingredients where the manufacturers have also avoided cross-contamination. Note that porous surfaces (for example, wood) cannot be adequately sanitized and should always be considered unsafe.
If you aren't comfortable declaring the cake peanut-free, just tell the customer that you will do everything you can to avoid cross-contamination with peanuts, and have the customer sign a release to that effect. It isn't fair to the customer to just reject the order outright, everyone with allergies has a different level of risk tolerance and should have the opportunity to make the decision for themselves.
food guy and jason_kraft thank you both for your replies, I unfortunately did decline the cake I would be to worried. My work surfaces are all granite so that wasn't my concern. I was more concerned about possible hidden peanut oils in possibly fondant as I do not make my own or maybe hidden in any other product. I apologized in the email and did tell her that I was sincerely sorry for not being able to accommodate her request. Thanks again guys for your replies.
That's too bad...the customer may have been OK even if you couldn't guarantee no cross-contamination and would have simply told the guests with peanut allergies not to eat the cake (that's what I would have done if I were the customer). Chances are you've probably already made a cake for an event with at least one food-allergic guest in attendance, since 4% of the US population has food allergies.
FYI we use Satin Ice fondant and it is completely safe for people with peanut allergies.