How do you explain this to a customer?

Decorating By MinaBakes Updated 10 Mar 2014 , 1:45pm by mcaulir

MinaBakes Posted 7 Mar 2014 , 8:42pm
post #1 of 28

AI've thought about this before but never had the opportunity to deal with:

If a customer wants let's say red velvet cake, which of course has cream cheese icing filling, for a wedding, how do you explain that it can't sit out? What do you substitute?

Or can it sit out? Maybe indoors, but how about if the reception is outside? And how long can it sit out in general regardless of what filling it has?


27 replies
Norasmom Posted 7 Mar 2014 , 8:58pm
post #2 of 28

Great news, there is a shelf-stable cream cheese icing.  This is what the TX Board of Health allows as shelf-stable, and TX can get pretty darn hot…

I guess the PH balance is such that it will not cause illness.


Yum…now I want cream cheese icing.

Faradaye Posted 8 Mar 2014 , 9:00am
post #3 of 28

AI'm I tending on making a carrot cake with cream cheese filling next week - but am a bit worried about cream cheese sitting out.

I have purchased some Lorann cheesecake flavoured essence, I've been assured it will give a cream cheese flavour. I'm going to add it to my vanilla SMBC - and I'm hoping it will be delicious!

roanerua Posted 8 Mar 2014 , 10:52am
post #4 of 28

 I have used an instant cheesecake pudding package in my vanilla icing to make it taste like cream cheese. It is great with carrot cake.

ShannonDavie Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 4:56pm
post #6 of 28

I have tried it as well and am not impressed either! I heard great things about it and didn't think it tasted anything like cream cheese! I was hoping to use it for my cream cheese buttercream under my cottage food license but I ended up just using Earlene's cream cheese buttercream instead. It is super sweet but at least had more of the cream cheese flavor (since there's actually a little in it) IMHO.  

AZCouture Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 8:16pm
post #8 of 28

AAre people under the impression that the cream cheese is sitting there with a little timer, and a maniacal grin just waiting to instantly spoil and kill everyone? It's locked away inside the cake, and the few hours it's waiting to be consumed is fine. Seriously.

Faradaye Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 9:38pm
post #11 of 28


Original message sent by AZCouture

Are people under the impression that the cream cheese is sitting there with a little timer, and a maniacal grin just waiting to instantly spoil and kill everyone? It's locked away inside the cake, and the few hours it's waiting to be consumed is fine. Seriously.

Yep, you're totally right. I think I'll make a cream cheese frosting and combine it with SMBC. I might add a bit of the flavouring anyway, just for shizzles, and to make me feel I haven't totally wasted my money. LOL! Actually, I might also use the flavouring when I make my MFF to cover. It might be a nice complement to the carrot cake / cream cheese of the cake.

The dude (at the cake supply shop, of all places) made me paranoid by going on and on and on about how, if I supply a cream cheese item, and the client leaves it out for four days and gets sick, it's still my fault for being the original supplier.

But later I was thinking about it, and realising how ridiculous it is. I mean, if that's the case, couldn't I just then shift the blame back to my supplier. 'But judge - the supermarket sold it to me in the first place! They shouldn't be selling stuff that can spoil!'

Anyway - I shouldn't listen to randoms in shops about this sort of stuff.

Faradaye Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 9:44pm
post #12 of 28


Original message sent by ApplegumPam

Whilst I agree in principle - for those in Australia - it is more about complying with Food Standards Australia legislation than whether or not it will spoil.

The rules for what are deemed High Risk Foods (and they provide a list of those, 1 of which is cream cheese)  are very strict protocols  - not to be ignored.

Although it would appear (if I am to go by the chat on a couple of Aussie forums)  that people just choose to ignore what they are SUPPOSED to do - and just do what they THINK will be OK.....   because they read somewhere it would be OK!!     Most of them are worrying more about how to get a piping consistency .....than EVER considering that .... if they can't store it according to the regulations - they shouldn't be doing them anyway!!

Hi Pam - I would love to be able to provide a cream cheese flavour without using the product. Have you had any success with finding a suitable recipe? I am happy and able to keep my product refrigerated until delivery - if it then comes up to room temp and is served and eaten, a couple of hours after delivery - I'm feeling this is acceptably within the regulations? This is my plan.

AZCouture Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 11:02pm
post #13 of 28

AAnd I would HOPE that people can use their own common sense, in that in average fair weather, is what I am referring to. Obviously if it's nasty hot and humid, then of course you wouldn't leave it out. But I'm not in a part of the world where people are partying outdoors in dripping sweat, nor leaving any kind of food outside. Sensible people that is, anyways.

gadgetgirlcakes Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 11:13pm
post #14 of 28

We had to go through a serve safe class in school. The guidelines were hot foods could sit out for 4 hours and cold foods 6 hours. The reason cold foods could sit out longer was because they first had to reach the temperature danger zone, which is 41-140 degrees with the bacteria growing fastest between 70-114 degrees. SO since a refrigerated food will take awhile to reach 70 degrees where bacteria grows most rapidly, it can sit out for an additional 2 hours. I hope this helps.

AZCouture Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 11:14pm
post #15 of 28


ApplegumPam Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 1:17am
post #17 of 28

You would need to check your local regulations Faradaye  -  you can't just decide whether or not something is acceptable by THINKING you have it all covered.

If something is in the slightest bit of a 'grey area' you should ring your local authorities and seek clarification and get it in writing.

The trouble I see here is.... and not targeting anybody specifically .... is that you can come on and say ... it should be alright - or ... our Foodsafe course says it is OK  -  people DON"T use common sense (it is nearly extinct I fear!)      Australian Food Standards and Council Regulations are far different to those in other Countries.

Some foods that are perfectly acceptable in the USA are banned in Australia - some food colours are too!!    Some guidelines are different as well - use of fresh eggs is a good example!   (our flocks are salmonella free so there is different cautionary guideleines)  and there are VERY specific guidelines for storage, handling and processing of what is deemed (by FSA) High Risk Foods .... of which Cream Cheese is ONE such food!

AND just to show the balance  ... shock horror.....   added folic acid ?? or some other nonsense  means that the VEGEMITE I sent to an American buddy got nabbed by US Customs!!!   whaaaaaaaat -    I would die without my Vegemite!

Faradaye Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 1:38am
post #18 of 28

AThanks Pam, that is good advice.

morganchampagne Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 1:44am
post #19 of 28

AI trust nothing outside here in Texas. Idc idc. I really do doubt that anything bad would happened in a couple of hours as in spoilage. But I wouldn't let cream cheese icing sit outside here. Shelf stable or not lol

gadgetgirlcakes Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 1:46am
post #20 of 28

True I cannot speak of other countries and I ma have wrongly assumed the person starting the thread was American. The Foodsafe Course I spoke of is a certification which allows you to be a manager/owner of a catering business(in the US), restaurant, or any other food related business. The temperature danger zone regulations are a US standard. But of course everyone should get verification from their own regulatory authority. SugarGum, I totall agree that common sense is the one thing lacking cross-culturally(sp?)

MinaBakes Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 2:43am
post #21 of 28

I'm south AMERICAN, but I do live in the US. Anyway, I don't believe I got my question across correctly.. I live in Florida, and it can get pretty humid out. I saw this episode of Amazing Wedding Cakes and the cake decorators delivered a 4 tier cake to an outside wedding. They had also refrigerated the cake covered in fondant. Needless to say, I couldn't do that here without it sweating and getting crazy sticky.


So it got me thinking, what if the bride and groom want a red velvet or carrot cake and its a hot day out, I believe that as I am the one providing the product, it is my responsibility to warn them and not assume that they have common sense. It's like when you get something wrapped in plastic and it has a warning to keep away from kids because they might asphyxiate with it. You woud assume that a parent would have the common sense, but they warn it anyway. How might you go about explaining or warning that this cake cannot stay out in the heat for longer than a certain amount of time? Does it make more sense? Or am I completely off? @_@

gadgetgirlcakes Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 3:28am
post #22 of 28

I would have them sign a disclaimer stating that they have been advised not to leave the cake in (insert whatever temperature your locality regulations state) in excess of (insert amount of time your location states) You cannot force common sense. Sometimes all you can do is cover our own behind from liability.

MinaBakes Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 3:59am
post #23 of 28

Well, I am incorporated, so I was thinking of getting a general liability policy anyway, you never know with people.

gadgetgirlcakes Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 4:32am
post #24 of 28

lol...Seinfeld quote...George "People..." Jerry..."They're the worst"

FromScratchSF Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 5:15am
post #25 of 28



There are three types of contamination - biological, chemical and physical.


Chemical means bleach or solvents spilled into the food making them unsafe.


Physical means stuff that falls into the food that is not supposed to be there - debris, rat droppings, bugs, hair etc.


Biological means disease containing bacteria means molds, yeasts toxins, viruses etc.  i.e. weather a food is prepared properly and if it is shelf stable or required refrigeration to slow the growth of biological contaminates.


Here is science that is a fact - bacteria can only grow in certain environments.  If the water is .85 or lower or it has a pH of 4.6 and above, the time/temp principal does not apply and the food is considered shelf stable.  Salsa is shelf stable - tomatoes are actually NOT shelf stable, but as soon as you add lemon juice it brings the pH so high that it kills any bacteria meaning salsa can stay out for your enjoyment.  Same principal applies to cerveche - it's raw fish that under normal circumstances would spoil quicker then any other food.  But it's "cooked" by using lemon or lime juice - which in reality just brings the pH so high it stops any growth of biological contaminates.


Anyway, I am specifically talking about cream cheese icing made with properly and made with unspoiled cream cheese, powdered sugar, and butter/shortening.  The sugar acts as a preservative and by osmosis eats any water, bringing it to such a low water level that it is impossible for biological contaminates to multiply and grow.  


Weather your health department/country/county etc wants to take that chance and trust that the ingredients when purchased by you were handled properly from store to your home when selling a cake is another thing entirely, but these are science facts.  And why the cream cheese "icing" debate rages on - nobody really posts the science, they just assume that cream cheese kills.  It's just not true.


So there you go.  


I learned this because it was required for me to learn it to run a bakery and get my permits in California.  So when a bride asks me about cream cheese icing, I don't worry a thing about it.


Good luck, and I hope this info starts getting passed around.

FromScratchSF Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 5:22am
post #26 of 28

And I should mention - yes, cream cheese on it's own is a food that requires time/temp principal.  So as long as you are handling it properly, meaning not letting it ride in the trunk of your car for 5 hours, you will be fine.

ApplegumPam Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 8:45am
post #27 of 28

For me - it is simply not that big a deal - wedding cakes/celebration cakes here in Australia rarely use cream cheese filling/icing anyway - it is just a few new decoraters that read things on International sites and think.... oh might give that a go!   not for one minute thinking to check local regulations.

It isn't work risking losing a licence over -   science or no science  -   it is about 'thumbing your nose' at the Food Regulators that give you the permit to conduct your business.   Not a very wise move in anybody's language.

I would make a cake and ice it with cream cheese icing and eat it at home - I would feed it to my family........   I CANNOT sell it !!    because I am not permitted to

(and this rule applies to nearly all of the States of Australia)

And that was the only point I was trying to make

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