I'm hoping someone familiar with the new Texas Cottage Law can help clarify a few things. I searched the posts and couldn't find any answers here, so if this is a repeat please forgive...and direct me to the link with the answers. I also searched the official law website, but the law is fuzzy with no real answer and the page it referred to wasn't any help either.
Ok, so....(1) Can I use real fresh strawberries on top of the cake? (2)Can I wrap a cake in chocolate? (3) Can I use a homemade mock whip-cream frosting that has milk in it (lots of sugar too). (4) Can I use the pre packaged fillings from the cake supply store such as strawberry, lemon, Bavarian cream, chocolate, etc?
The law says no custards in the cakes and no cheesecakes. Does that mean no cream cheese frosting too even though sugar preserves? I mean butter is perishable but when combined with sugar in a buttercream, it can be left out, so I would think that cream cheese frosting would be the same. Would pre-packaged Bavarian cream sold on a shelf (no refrigeration) with preservatives in it be considered custard? The website says that we need to use our own digression, but that leaves a big window open. I want to stay within the law because I feel so fortunate to actually sell cakes now. However, I also want to be able to make cakes with yummy fillings too. I'm not asking to put fresh fruit inside the cake, but to just put some clean uncut strawberries on top of the cake with some pre-packaged strawberry filling inside the cake.
So can anyone break it down for me? Is there an OFFICIAL list of ingredients that are not allowed? Thanks for any help out there...just wanting to stay within the law so we can all keep baking legally!
From what I understand, if it has to be refrigerated, it's not allowed.
Cream cheese frosting is not shelf stable unless the recipe has been tested and found to be shelf stable, and you follow the recipe exactly. A small amount of cream cheese in a recipe is okay from what I've seen, like Earlene Moore's recipe, but a lot of cream cheese in a recipe would mean it needed to go in the fridge.
I'm planning to take the food safety manager's class soon...I want to know exactly what has to be refrigerated, how long things will keep, etc.
I don't live in Texas, but I have a degree in Food Science and may be able to help you.
The packaged fillings you are mentioning are shelf stable only because they are packaged so no air can get into them, that way they are sterile. Once you open the package, the Bavarian Cream becomes perishable and has to be refrigerated. Where I live in Maine, we have similar food codes and can't use anything that needs to be refrigerated. I'm ok with this because presentation cakes (like birthdays or weddings) will sit out for hours sometimes and you can't refrigerate decorated fondant well anyway. Fruit fillings are complicated because it's all a matter of the amount of sugar/salt or "solutes" in the solution that will bind the water in the filling and create an environment that won't let bacteria breed. I never use fresh fruit. My fruit fillings have sugar and cornstarch that successfully bind the water and are foodsafe at room temperature for a few hours. Cream cheese frostings, whipped cream and mousses are all dangerous territory; most dairy products will breed bacteria like crazy. Butter is the fat from milk with little water and it can sit out for a long time and is safe because most bacteria need air (the notable exception to this is botulinum), water and small amounts of sugar to eat. I hope this is helpful!
Thank you both for your response. This helps a lot!