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WA Cottage Food Law

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 

I did a quick search and didn't see any posts so I hope I am not asking a redundant question. I am pretty new to cake decorating but have decided to give it a go because I love it so much and being a stay at home mom I want something I can do at home. That being said I have been trying to get together my application for a cottage food permit and have some questions about what ingredients I can put in my cakes. It states that commercially bought fruits and veggies or products made from fruits and veggies are not permisible. My understanding was that they just dont want food that would need refrigeration. Does this mean that I can not use pureed strawberry in my strawberry cake or strawberry frosting? I also usually make carrot cake from scratch so no carrots or pineapple? As far as I know these ingredients do not make the cake perishable so would they be permitted?



Thanks in advance!    

post #2 of 53

I got my CFO permit approved recently from WA state. I don't know how much the rules vary between counties, but I can tell you what I know from my county (Thurston). Pureed strawberry is not ok to put directly on your baked goods, such as between layers of a cake. However, you can put fruit in your batter. My banana and carrot cake recipes, which I put fresh bananas and carrots in, were approved because the bananas and carrots will be cooked. As long as there is a cook step, fresh fruit and veges are fine. I don't think it's okay for your frosting though, as there is no cook step, but I can't say that with 100% certainty. I would ask your regional manager to be sure. The Dept. of Ag. should tell you who yours is - it might even be in your packet. Mine was very helpful with all my questions and very prompt in returning my messages.

Hope this helps and good luck!

post #3 of 53
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the help! I have actually talked to the regional manager before but I'm afraid of annoying him with a million questions! If you don't mind my asking how do you do your strawberry frosting or cream cheese frostings? I was thinking of trying Cooks strawberry extract and Lorann's cream cheese emulsion. Not sure it will be quite the right flavor though.

Thanks again!!

post #4 of 53

The people of CC have been so helpful to me that I'm more than happy to help someone else out for a change icon_smile.gif

I didn't want to risk annoying my regional manager either, even though he was quite nice. I compiled as many questions as I could before each call to him vs. calling after each question that came up. 


I have some frostings that are flavored with fruit oils or extracts. I do have a mango buttercream that contains mango puree that was approved. For that one, I believe their rule for being shelf stable is that it needs to either have a cook step or be a certain % sugar (60%?). The same goes for cream cheese frosting. It just needs to have enough sugar in it. When you're calculating it, you have to remember to subtract the cornstarch from the weight of the powdered sugar. I can't remember the exact numbers right now, but it might be in your application packet. You can also put that on your list of questions to ask your regional manager the next time you talk to him icon_wink.gif

post #5 of 53
Thread Starter 

You have been so very helpful! Thank you again...I really appreciate it icon_smile.gif

post #6 of 53

Experimenting - Did you get cream cheese frosting approved? 

post #7 of 53

You're welcome ShannonDavie icon_smile.gif


DanaG21: I did not submit cream cheese frosting for approval. I did ask about it though and they would've approved it as long as the recipe had a high enough sugar content.


Other items that they may not approve according to their rules of being shelf stable, you can send it out to a lab to be tested to show that it will be shelf stable. 


Another piece of advice: The law is still pretty new here in WA and not everyone is on the same page. The lady reviewing my application made at least 2 mistakes during her first round of review. I challenged both. The first was not approving my ganache. The second was that I submitted a list of possible items that might be added to any order, including gel pastes and gum paste. She said that I needed to submit every possible combination there might be instead of just listing them on a separate page. I did this for adding nuts and/or chocolate chips to my cake recipes, but to submit every possible permutation of the other options I might add to decorate a cake with would require me to submit over 2000 recipes. I asked my regional manager about this before my initial submission, and he told me that I could just submit these extra ingredients on a separate piece of paper. I called him to clarify and he cleared it up for me. I guess the advice here is to get a second opinion if you feel something just doesn't make sense icon_confused.gif 

The inspectors vary also in how they conduct their inspections. Don't let someone tell you that it's easy peasy and all he'll do is make sure you don't lick your fingers. Some might be that way, but others (like mine) might be a lot more thorough. 

post #8 of 53

I've been working on my ingredient labels and recipes...this is such a daunting task.  I've been working on it for a couple of months now...there's just so many varibles with cakes.  I've been renting a commercial kitchen and getting licensed was soooo easy although it's a more expensive way to go.   I just wish it wasn't so complicated!

post #9 of 53
Thread Starter 

I know what you mean! I am still working on mine but I think I am just about ready to submit mine! I just have to print off about 500 pages worth of recipes labels and equipment lists :) Fingers crossed once I submit that I don't have to change too much!

post #10 of 53

Thanks to all of you for this info. I also live in th St of WA and I've been putting off filling up an application since I do cakes as a hobby and I'm not sure if I'm going to stop liking the cake-hobby if I start doing it as a business. Does anyone have any input?

"Life is cake!"
"Life is cake!"
post #11 of 53

Hi Rosie2,  


If you can get through all of the paper work for the cottage law this would be the least expensive way to go and figure out if you want to pursue this on a more serious level.  The cost for a health permit (in King County) is about $600.00 for renting  commercial kitchen and then there's the cost of the kitchen.  I also have liability insurance which I will keep regardless of which way I go.   I participated in a bridal show at a local venue recently and they asked for proof of insurance.   Insurance is $500.00 for the year.

post #12 of 53
Thread Starter 

So frustrated right now! I am in the review process right now and I just learned that they are not going to approve my chocolate ganache recipes. Has anyone who went through the process had luck getting ganache approved. They said it is considered tempered chocolate so that is why they can not approve it. The other problem I have is SMBC. I thought it would be ok as long as I used pasteurized eggs but they will not approve those either. Did anyone have any luck with SMBC? Oh yeah and RKT? For goodness sakes I was like a raving lunatic last night looking at all the items they said they were not going to approve. Sooo incredibly frustrating!!!


Thank you!

post #13 of 53

I got both my ganache and SMBC approved. My primary reviewer did not approve my ganache at first. I was her first CFO review. She consulted with someone else and ended up approving it. I used pasteurized egg whites for my SMBC. This was through Thurston County. What county are you in?

post #14 of 53
Thread Starter 

I am in Clark county. I am about to submit my changes so I am going to challange the ganache and SMBC and see what she says. It's good to know that someone else in the state was able to get them approved at least! 

post #15 of 53

Anyone from King County that have gone through the paperwork?

"Life is cake!"
"Life is cake!"
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