Archive for the ‘Hints and tips’ Category

Food Allergy Advice For Cake Decorators – update 22/02/2012

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

I have decided to update my original post of the same name as it is still very popular and a lot of the information it provided has now changed. 

I have been making celebration cakes for people on special diets for as long as I have been making cakes and have spent a lot of time making sure the ingredients are safe to use for individual diets. I constantly check to see if the ingredients have changed or new products come on the market.

As a cake decorator are you are being asked more frequently if you can make cakes for special diets?
Do you get confused with ingredient lists?

I have put together a list of the common icings and sugarcraft ingredients used in the UK and allergy advice on each.

There are hidden ingredients that you may not think about. The main ingredient that causes confusion is Glucose syrup. This ingredient is found in most sugarcraft products.

Glucose can be made from any kind of starch and is used in sugary foods to soften texture and prevent crystallisation of sugars.

Most of the world seems to make glucose syrup from corn and call it corn syrup rather than glucose syrup. In Europe glucose syrup is made with corn and wheat.

If you buy your ingredients from a catering wholesaler there is a good chance the glucose in the product will be made from wheat, – this includes glace cherries and mixed peel.

To be sure what is in a product ask your supplier for the food specifications. This is a printed sheet which gives a description of a product, packaging info, shelf life, origin, ingredients and their derivatives  and any allergy information.

You may be wondering ‘what is the problem with glucose?

Glucose syrup is gluten-free. It can be derived from wheat but the production methods make it safe for people with coeliac disease to eat.

Research on whether wheat derived glucose syrup is safe for a person with a wheat or gluten allergy or intolerance strongly suggests that it should be fine for them to eat. I follow this advice but everyone’s tolerance and reactions are different. Some people with a wheat allergy or intolerance say it does affect them and even some Coeliacs too. If I have a customer who can’t eat wheat, I will ask them if glucose syrup or maltodextrin affects them personally.

Manufacturers do not have to state where the glucose syrup in their products derives from so you will have to contact them to get this information.

The following legislation applies to cake decorators selling cakes directly to the consumer.

Since November 2011 EU law now states that food whether prepackaged or sold loose has to provide information if it contains any of the following allergens or ingredients derived from the following allergens

Peanuts and products thereof – found in sauces, cakes, desserts, groundnut oil, peanut flour.

Nuts and products thereof, namely; almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia nuts, except for nuts used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
– found in sauces, desserts, crackers, bread, ice cream, marzipan, ground almonds, nut oils.

Soybeans and products thereof,
except:

(a) fully refined soybean oil and fat ( 1 );

(b) natural mixed tocopherols (E306), natural D-alpha tocopherol, natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate, and natural D-alpha tocopherol succinate from soybean sources;

(c) vegetable oils derived phytosterols and phytosterol esters from soybean sources;

(d) plant stanol ester produced from vegetable oil sterols from soybean sources;

Soya can be found in tofu or beancurd, soya flour and textured soya protein, some ice creams, yogurts, sauces, desserts, meat products, vegetarian products, ready made meals, margarines, lecithin.

Mustard and products thereof – Including liquid mustard, mustard powder and mustard seeds, in salad dressings, marinades, soups, sauces, curries, meat products.

Lupin and products thereof – lupin seeds and flour found in some types of bread and pastries.

Eggs and products thereof – found in cakes, mousses, sauces, pasta, quiche, some meat products, mayonnaise, foods brushed with egg.

Fish and products thereof,
except:
a)fish gelatine used as a carrier for vitamin or carotenoid preparations;
b) fish gelatine or isinglass used as fining agent in beer and wine

– found in some salad dressings, pizzas, relishes, fish sauce and some soy and Worcestershire sauces.

Crustaceans and products thereof
– shrimps, prawns, , scampi, crab, shrimp paste, crayfish, lobster

Cereals containing gluten, namely: wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, Kamut,or their hybridised strains, and products thereof,
except
a) wheat based glucose syrups including dextrose
b) wheat based maltodextrins
c) glucose syrup based on barley
d) cereals used for making alcohol distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
– found in cereals such as wheat, rye and barley and foods containing flour, such as bread, pasta, cakes, pastry, meat products, sauces, soups, batter, stock cubes, breadcrumbs, food dusted with flour. Most oats are also contaminated with gluten containing cereals in the milling process.

Sesame seeds and products thereof
 – found in bread, breadsticks, tahini, houmous, sesame oil.

Celery and products thereof
 – including celery stalks, leaves and seeds and celeriac, in salads, soups, celery salt, some meat products.

Sulphur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations of more than 10mg/kg or 10mg/litre in terms of the total SO2 which are to be calculated for products as proposed ready for consumption or as reconstituted according to the instructions of the manufacturers
– found in meat products, fruit juice drinks, dried fruit and vegetables, wine, beer.

Milk and products thereof
except
a) whey used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
b) lactitol

 – including milk products. Cream, butter, cheese, yogurt. Found in many ready made foods.

Molluscs and products thereof – abalone, clams, mussels, octopus, oysters, squid and scallops.

Also if you are still using one or more of six food colourings being voluntarily phased out, you must include a warning on products. In addition to the standard required information,

labels must also have a warning using the following wording: ‘the name or E number of the colour(s)’ may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’. The colours are:

  • sunset yellow (E 110)
  • quinoline yellow (E 104)
  • carmoisine (E 122)
  • allura red (E 129)
  • tartrazine (E 102)
  • ponceau 4R (E 124)

From January 2012 food producers cannot label their food as gluten free unless it has been tested for the gluten levels. It now has to be labelled with – No gluten containing ingredients. See this link for further information:

www.icedgembakes.co.uk/special-diet-blog/hints-and-tips/new-gluten-free-food-labelling-for-caterers

Take a look at the list below for a one-stop guide to popular sugarcraft products and their allergens. If you want to add any brands I’ve missed or let me know of any changes, please do get in touch.

Product ingredients and their derivatives can change from batch to batch so always check the label. 

Key:
v = vegan / does not include any animal ingredients including eggs, dairy, gelatine or honey.
df = dairy / lactose free
nf = nut free
gf = gluten free
ef = egg free

Sugarpaste / Rolled Fondant

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Renshaws sready to roll icing Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Made in a factory that handles nuts glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Dr Oetker Regal-Ice Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free May contain nuts  Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Pettinice vegetarian Gluten Free Contains dairy Egg Free Nut Free  Egg and gluten in the same factory
Covapaste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Silverspoon Ready To Roll Icing Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free may contain traces of egg May contain traces of nuts Glucose derives from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
M & B Sugarpaste Vegan Gluten free Dairy free Egg free Nut free Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Satinice vegetarian Gluten free Dairy free contains egg Nut free  completely free of wheat and corn products

 

Marzipan – Almond paste

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Odense Vegan Contains gluten Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts
Ingram Brothers vegetarian Contains gluten Contains dairy Egg free Contains nuts
Dr Oetker Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Silverspoon Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Sainsburys Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Waitrose Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Asda Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Tesco Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten

 

Flower paste (gum paste)

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen
Flower paste
vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Sugar City Platinum Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free
Sugar City Diamond Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free

 

Mexican / modelling paste

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Mexican Paste vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen Instant Mix Mexican Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen Sugar Dough Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen Pastillage Vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut  Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Sugar City Mexican Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Nut free
Sugar City Modelling Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Nut free

 

Fondant/ Poured Fondant

Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Fondant Icing Mix Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free  Egg Free  May contain traces of nut
Tate & Lyle Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free
Silver Spoon Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain egg Nut Free
Almondart block fondant Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free egg free Nut Free

 

 

Chocolate Paste

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen dark chocolate Cocoform vegetarian Gluten Free May contain traces of milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen milk chocolate Cocoform vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen white, green and red chocolate Cocoforms vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen flavoured cocoforms (English mint, Brazillian orange, cappuccino and strawberry) Vegetarian except strawberry Gluten Free Contains milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Regalice luxury white chocolate Sugarpaste vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk Egg free May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Regalice luxury chocolate Sugarpaste vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk Egg free May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Tracey Mann dark chocolate paste vegetarian Gluten Free May contain traces of milk Egg free May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten

 

Dried egg white

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen pure albumin vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut
Dr Oetker egg white powder vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg Nut free
Meri-White vegetarian Contains gluten from wheat made in a factory that handles dairy Contains egg Contains wheat

 

Royal Icing Mix

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut
Tate & Lyle vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg Nut free

 

Supermarkets now stock Dr Oetker writing icing which does not contain any of the allergens and is handy for piping a simple message or decoration. Always check the label as ingredients change all the time. Alternatively, use watered down sugarpaste, which works well piped from a piping tube. Water down with pre-boiled water to prevent bacterial growth.

Food colouring

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Powder colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut
Squires Kitchen paste colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Sugarflair powder colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free Egg Free Nut free
Sugarflair paste colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free Egg Free Nut free
Sugarflair liquid colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free Egg Free Nut free
Orchard cake tools powder colour vegetarian Gluten Free Contains dairy Egg Free  contains lactose and cornflour

 

Glucose Syrup

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen glucose syrup Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Dr Oetker’s glucose syrup Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free  Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Silver Spoon’s glucose syrup Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Glucose made from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten

Silver Spoon Designer Icing – review

Friday, August 26th, 2011

I had been wondering if Silver Spoon Designer Icing was any good to use as an alternative for royal icing when decorating an egg free or vegan cake.

My sister in law bought a tube to decorate some cupcakes so we both gave it a try.

The icing comes in a 120g tube with three piping nozzles – small round writing nozzle, star and ribbon. It is available in white, pink, blue, chocolate flavour, red, green, yellow and black. The red is not suitable for vegetarians. It is labelled as ‘May contain wheat and gluten’.

The writing nozzle was quite easy to squeeze from the tube but I couldn’t pipe a neat message with it because of the bulkiness of the tube. Once piped, the icing did spread a little too.

The ribbon and star nozzles were quite hard to pipe with. I had to really squeeze the tube with both hands which made them ache very quickly. As the tube emptied, the harder it was to pipe.

I think this product is convenient to use when decorating cakes with children but I wouldn’t use it to decorate a cake for a customer.

A better idea would be to pipe with watered down sugarpaste –

 Mix 20g coloured sugarpaste with 1ml cold water.
Use a small palette knife to paddle the sugarpaste on a plate to remove any lumps.
Make a paper piping bag. You can fit a piping nozzle in the bottom, fill the piping bag with the watered down sugarpaste, fold over the top of the bag and use to pipe.
This can be used for fine piping such as wording or patterned piping such as shells or scrolls. It is slightly stretchy so practise before piping onto a cake or biscuit.

New ‘Gluten Free’ Food Labelling for Caterers

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

The rules on making claims about gluten in food are changing on the 1st January 2012 and you may no longer be able to call your food gluten free unless the food has been tested for the gluten levels.

The Food Standards Agency has produced three guides to explain the new rules.

The second and third factsheet explain the rules clearer to small food producers and caterers.

So as a caterer you can only label your food as ‘gluten free’ or ‘very low gluten’ if you buy in manufactured gluten free food and do nothing more than serve it or if you conduct appropriate tests on batches of meals ahead of service and reduce cross contamination using HACCP type processes.

If you have previously labelled your homemade, untested food as gluten free – you can now label it with ‘No gluten containing ingredients’. You can provide additional information to back this up. If you do this, it is advised that you speak to your local Trading Standards to check you are doing this correctly.

The following information is taken from factsheet – Guidance on the Composition and Labelling of Foodstuffs Suitable for People Intolerant to Gluten 

Factual statements and further information about the risk of cross-contamination with gluten in either the manufacturing or catering environment can be communicated in a variety of different ways, including on websites, on product labels and in verbal communication between the customers and staff. By extension, product lists such as the Coeliac UK Directory would be allowed to communicate the absence of gluten-containing cereal ingredients in products. This information could also be provided via retailer product lists and customer care lines. 

Factual statements are not permitted on foods specially prepared for people intolerant to gluten (Parnuts foods), where only “gluten-free” or “very low gluten” statements may be used.

Other allergy labelling information can be found on the Food Standards Agency website www.food.gov.uk

Cake decorating for dairy free, gluten free or vegan cakes

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

It’s finally here. After months of late nights and a 7lb 14oz baby boy!

Iced Gem Cakes and BakesYour guide to making dairy free, egg free, wheat free, gluten free and vegan celebration cakes.

Over 200 pages of all you need to know.

So if you’re a professional cake maker who’s fed up with turning down orders, or if you want to make beautiful creations in your own kitchen, this book will show you that catering for special diets really is a piece of cake!

The book includes:-

  • Cake recipes for all of these diets and combinations of the diets too.
  • Vegan flower paste and modelling paste recipes.
  • Diet information, cross contamination, tips for preparing special diet cakes and instructions to make 12 fabulous cakes and cookies.

Techniques include:-

  • Royal icing style piping without the egg.
  • Vegan / dairy free white chocolate roses
  • Vegan / dairy free chocolate gananche 
  • Dairy and gluten free Croquembouche

For a full list of contents, see here

I hope you like it!

How to make gluten free and dairy free pastry.

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Ingredients for the sweet pastry:

1 x 8inch flan ring

100g dairy free margarine (I used Stork Pastry Marg –  see here for alternatives).
50g caster sugar
1 medium free range egg
100g Doves Farm plain gluten free flour
100g maize flour (see resource list)

To part bake (bake blind) - 190°C | 375°F | gas mark 5 for 15 minutes.
To fully bake – bake for an extra 5 minutes.

Gluten Free Play Dough

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Gluten Free Play Doh.

I found a recipe for gluten free play dough a couple of years ago and decided to give it a go.

It used cornflour and rice flour in place of wheat flour. The rest of the ingredients were the same as for usual play dough.

I have to say it was awful. The cornflour made it really starchy. It reminded me of silly putty. After rolling it in your hands for a minute it started to get really sticky so you had to stop using it.

So I made another batch using maize flour instead. This came out the same as usual homemade play dough using wheat flour.

If you’re worried about your children eating shop bought play dough (which normally contains flour), try this recipe:

2 cups (about 290g) maize flour (Infinity Foods call this corn flour as it is called in America)
1 cup (about 300g) salt
4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups (500ml) water
food colouring
vanilla or other flavouring- to make it smell nice

Place all of the ingredients together in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the mixture combines and becomes thick.

Pour the mixture on top and knead until smooth.

Store the play dough in a freezer bag to stop it drying out.

I will make a note of how long it lasts and update this post. You can store it in the fridge or freezer to make it last longer.

How To Make a Paper Piping Bag

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

For decorating cakes or biscuits you may need a paper piping bag to pipe the icing.

Here is a useful video instruction.