Bramsley Posted 7 Feb 2014 , 1:23pm
post #1 of

Hi there, 

 

Next week I will be making a cake that is part vanilla and raspberry, part chocolate and I'm looking for some fresh ideas to use as fillings between the layers that won't shorten the shelf life of the cake.

 

I usually tell people to eat the cake within a week from delivery, and I usually allow myself about 3 days to ice (during which time the cake is kept at room temperature)  - so I'm looking for a 10-14 day shelf life. 

 

Normally with a raspberry filling I add fresh raspberries to raspberry jam, which gives the jam a sharper taste which I prefer. I think the jam helps preserve the fresh raspberries - they always seem to last until the cake is eaten - but I'm not sure and would would welcome your views on this, and any alternative suggestions.

 

At home when I make chocolate cake, I like to use a light buttercream or cream cheese filling, but I'm pretty sure this won't keep, so for clients I often layer chocolate cake with a chocolate spread like Nutella, but personally I find this makes the cake too cloying and heavy in the mouth. So I really would appreciate any ideas for a light, long-lasting filling for chocolate cake. 

 

I'm in the UK, so we don't get a lot of the branded products you have in the US, so if these can be avoided so much the better.

 

Many thanks,

Bramsley.

18 replies
MimiFix Posted 7 Feb 2014 , 6:15pm
post #2 of

Ten - fourteen days is a long time to keep a cake "fresh." Using fresh fruit mixed into jam can taste delicious, but without refrigeration I would be concerned about mold. You really need to do shelf life testing for any product you sell. Good luck.

enga Posted 7 Feb 2014 , 6:36pm
post #3 of

What about a whipped ganache?

 

http://cakecentral.com/t/670555/a-whipped-ganache-question-how-long-will-it-keep-on-cake

 

This paragraph was taken from the website below

 

STORAGE
After making and for storing, always place a piece of plastic wrap firmly against its surface so a film does not form or it won't form a sugar crust on its surface. Classic ganache can generally stay at room temperature for 2 days, as long as it's kept in a cool place, and then it must be refrigerated, where it can stay for up to a month. Let it stand at room temperature to warm up. But, there are lots of exceptions to this rule. Ganache can be frozen for a month or more. Thaw in the refrigerator, and then let stand at room temperature to warm up.

Ganache is perfect to use for a cake or wedding cake that has to sit out for awhile-- to store, place under a covered cake saver or inverted bowl so as not to mar its surface.

 

http://*********.com/learn/baked-goods/chocolate/types/ganache

 

I don't know why it wont post the website :/

kakeladi Posted 7 Feb 2014 , 11:16pm
post #4 of

The only thing I can think of are commercially made jams.  Even then, your 10+ day time frame is overly long.

LeanneW Posted 8 Feb 2014 , 12:25am
post #5 of

I'm not sure there is any product that would be stable out of the fridge for 14 days. Even shelf stable fillings or jams require refrigeration after the container is open. Could you refrigerate the cakes during your production/decorating time up until they are sold? then instruct customers to keep cakes refrigerated at home? 

 

You might have the best luck with shortening/confectioner's sugar/vanilla extract mixed into a buttercream consistency, don't add anything moist like fruit or jam. If you want more moisture or flavor try adding liquors as the alcohol would aid in keeping bacteria at bay. Although, I'm not sure I would leave that out for 2 weeks either.

 

Good luck!

Bramsley Posted 8 Feb 2014 , 5:36pm
post #6 of

Hi all,

 

Thank you all for your replies.

 

Just to clarify my original post. My timeline is that I usually carve/layer/crumb coat my cakes and then put them in the refrigerator overnight. Occasionally I brush a sugar syrup on each layer to make them more moist. I then allow 2 days for icing/decorating during which time the cake will be out at a cool room temperature (ie radiator turned off). So I do try and keep the cake as cool as possible during production, though not actually in the fridge once I have started to ice. I time all this to be finished ready for delivery on the day of the celebration, or possibly the evening before. By now the cake is 3/4 days old and has been kept cool during that time, if not actually refrigerated. Most of the cake will be eaten on the day of celebration, but I tell the client to make sure any left over is eaten within the week. 

 

I should point out that when I say 'client' I mean friend or family member - I'm not a professional, just a hobby baker who makes mostly novelty cakes for friends or family. (Not that this alters the need for food safety.) Most of the cakes have been eaten at the celebration (3/4days old) or within a couple of days (6/7 days old at most). 

 

However, there was one cake where the person refused to cut into it for a week after delivery! I told her I could no longer guarantee it hadn't gone off - it had fresh raspberries in the jam - but she finally cut into it and ate it and reported back that it was delicious - no trace of mould and still fairly moist. On that basis, I have always assumed the cakes would last up to a week after delivery, but perhaps I am wrong to do so on that one example alone and will change my advice.

 

Looking back at my original post, I think I have been guilty of generalising and rounding up as I am so often prone to do. :oops:  Working through it as I have done in this post it is more like 4-7 days in which the cakes are eaten, for the first 3 or 4 days of which the cakes are kept cool. But so that I can give my'clients' better advice on eating any leftover cake, how long a 'shelf life' do others give their cakes?  And are your production timelines similar to mine?

 

Thank you

Pastrybaglady Posted 8 Feb 2014 , 5:51pm
post #7 of

In my experience as a cake baker/eater once the cake is cut and refrigerated it can still be soft on the tongue for about 4 days.  I'm sure it depends on the recipe too.  My chocolate cake reaches maximum density and I hate to say... "moistness" after 2 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Every day after that it starts to lose that soft mouth feel.

MimiFix Posted 8 Feb 2014 , 6:09pm
post #8 of

Are there any food safety experts here? It's been my understanding that mold and bacteria begin to grow long before there are any signs.

liz at sugar Posted 8 Feb 2014 , 6:24pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

Are there any food safety experts here? It's been my understanding that mold and bacteria begin to grow long before there are any signs.


Yes, that is why there is a four hour rule for perishable foods . . . it doesn't matter if there are visible markers or not - once a product is within the danger zone (40 - 140 degrees F) the clock starts ticking.

 

OP, you should look up some food safety information from your local extension or university.  It will help you tremendously!

 

Liz

MimiFix Posted 8 Feb 2014 , 7:11pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by liz at sugar 
 


Yes, that is why there is a four hour rule for perishable foods . . . it doesn't matter if there are visible markers or not - once a product is within the danger zone (40 - 140 degrees F) the clock starts ticking.

 

Thanks Liz. It's also my understanding that when "the clock starts ticking" it does not reset to the beginning after it's been in the danger zone for any length of time and then refrigerated/frozen. So if a product was at room temp for two hours, it only has two hours left even if it's chilled in between. Is that correct?

IAmPamCakes Posted 8 Feb 2014 , 7:57pm

AThat's how I understand it, Mimi.

liz at sugar Posted 8 Feb 2014 , 8:39pm

Yes, the clock never gets reset, for perishable foods.  If it takes you three hours to decorate and the temp has fallen into the danger zone for those hours, there is only an hour left for your product to be consumed.  From what I learned, it is because organisms are multiplying when food is in the danger zone, and the level of bacteria or contaminant reaches a dangerous level at four hours.  That is why it doesn't reset - you already had enough multiplying at 3 hours that can be halted with refrigerating, but can't be reversed.  So once out of temperature, the multiplying continues.

 

Liz

Bramsley Posted 8 Feb 2014 , 11:50pm

Wow! I'm trying to understand what I'm being told here. :shock:

 

Are you saying that perishable food should not be eaten after 4 hours at room temperature? Is that right? How do you make and decorate a cake in 4 hours, let alone allow clients enough time to have them on show, say for a reception, before eating?  And what about commercial cakes on sale in supermarkets that aren't refrigerated but have days on their use-by dates?  

 

I clearly have a lot to learn, and will do some research into this, but have I understood you correctly?

Thank you

MBalaska Posted 9 Feb 2014 , 12:07am

The original post was cake FILLINGS, not baked cake or frosting/icing.  Fillings are a different category, and it would follow different rules which is why the question if asked. Correct.   A pastry cream filling, can not sit out like a buttercream icing may.  In the case of your raspberry jam once you open the jar it recommends keeping it in the fridge............ so each type of filling probably has  a different length of time to sit out at room temperature.

leah_s Posted 9 Feb 2014 , 12:13am

ADont use perishable fillings. Makes life simpler. 14 years of selling, only shelf stable fillings and frostings.

liz at sugar Posted 9 Feb 2014 , 2:55am

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bramsley 
 

Wow! I'm trying to understand what I'm being told here. :shock:

 

Are you saying that perishable food should not be eaten after 4 hours at room temperature? Is that right? How do you make and decorate a cake in 4 hours, let alone allow clients enough time to have them on show, say for a reception, before eating?  And what about commercial cakes on sale in supermarkets that aren't refrigerated but have days on their use-by dates?  

 

I clearly have a lot to learn, and will do some research into this, but have I understood you correctly?

Thank you

 

Hi Bramsley!  It is great that you are willing to learn more about this topic, to keep your family/clients safe!

 

Since you are in the UK, here is a link that might be of help to you: http://multimedia.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/publication/hygieneguidebooklet.pdf

 

It seems to contain similar information to our US ServSafe classes, which are required of at least one staff member or owner of every restaurant here (at least in my state).  The potentially hazardous nature of food depends on many things, including pH, water activity, acidity and nutrient content, along with how it was processed (cooked/fresh/etc.)  So in your original example, I would have felt safe using the commercial preserves in a cake that would be held at room temperature, but I still would only consider a couple of days the maximum total time from beginning to end, if I weren't able to fridge or freeze it.  Your problem was when you added fresh raspberries to the mix - they are a perishable item.  Fresh fruit is perishable.  The berries in the commercial preserves not only were processed (cooked, which helps kill some organisms) they also are being helped along by the sugar and acid in the preserves.

 

The cakes in grocery stores probably contain sleeve fillings, which can be shelf stable.  They are commercially manufactured just for that purpose.

 

As much as customers want to have it all (highly detailed/decorated cakes with all the best, fresh fillings) sometimes you just can't accommodate what they desire, unless you can do your decorating inside of a walk in cooler. :)

 

Please ask if you have any more questions!

 

Liz

liz at sugar Posted 9 Feb 2014 , 2:58am

Also, here is a quote regarding bacteria growth over time, with foods in the danger zone noted above:

 

Under ideal conditions some bacteria may grow and divide every 20 minutes. Consequently, one bacterial cell may increase to 16 million cells in 8 hours.

 

This is how food poisoning happens - you don't see it, and you probably won't taste it, but that bacteria can grow fast!

 

Liz

anaelisabethlee Posted 9 Feb 2014 , 8:52am

As you are in the UK I would suggest this:

http://www.saferfoodhandler.co.uk/

 

Even if you are just doing it as a hobby. It's really reasonable and very informative. 

 

EHOs will tell you to stay away from perishable fillings, such as fruit. Even if there is no mould on it, the bacteria can still be there. Mould is when it has got to the excessive level and can be seen, but to get to that level there is still millions of bacteria. 

The Danger Zone (insert Top Gun tune here) is 5 to 63C.

If you are doing perishable fillings such as fresh cream then you are high risk. My council approval is based on the understanding that I only do shelf stable fillings, which is fine by me!

Anyway, I recommend the course ;-D

Bramsley Posted 9 Feb 2014 , 10:41am

Thank you everyone

 

I panicked when I read some of the earlier posts, hence my confusion. I knew I must have mis-understood something - I failed to realise that it was perishable food that was being discussed. I feel calmer now, but not exactly happier. 

 

Thank you Liz at Sugar and anaelisabethlee - those look like really helpful links which I plan to read more closely and will look into the course. 

 

However, I'm not sure I will continue to make cakes for others in future. I don't want to put anyone's health at risk, but I do this as a hobby for my own enjoyment as much as anything, I enjoy the artistic side of creating of something unique that doesn't look like cake and don't want to compromise that either by trying to rush it. 

 

Thankfully none of my friends or family has ever suffered any ill effects from a cake of mine so far. 

 

This thread has given me a lot to think about. 

Thank you.

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