Food allergy advice for cake decorators

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Gluten and dairy free wedding cake

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59 Responses to “Food allergy advice for cake decorators”

  1. Jenny Gibson says:

    Hi Gemma, I’ve happened across your blog quite by chance and am so pleased I did! I was hoping to start offering gluten free cakes to customers but I use Covapaste and see this contains wheat glucose. It’s my sugarpaste of choice as I’m not keen on supermarket brands. Is Pettinice available in the UK?
    I was also about to buy more Meri-white and use it for IMBC to top some gluten free cakes, it looks like it is Squires albumen for me!
    Could you tell me, is it acceptable to make ordinary cakes and gluten free cakes in the same kitchen (not at the same time) and advertise/sell them as gluten free?

    I’ll be passing your blog onto my Sugarcraft Guild members :o)


  2. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Jenny,

    Thank you for your comments.

    Pettinice is available in the UK. You could ask your catering supplier if they can get hold of it or I know there is a company Kent way. I’m trying to remember the name – it’s something brothers. I’ll try and find out.

    The Dr Oetker egg white powder from the supermarket works very well if you only need small amounts. I have been searching for a free range version.

    Regarding making gluten free cakes in the same kitchen. If you can keep your ingredients seperated and be aware of cross contamination, it shouldn’t be a problem. The best thing to do would be to give your local Trading Standards a call and discuss it with them. They will let you know if they think you need to change any way you do anything or how to label your cakes. They like to check that you are aware about ingredients, storage, cross contamination etc.

    Good luck. Here is my gluten free sponge recipe if you want to give it a try.


  3. Jennifer says:

    Hi Gemma

    I too am just starting to get cupcake and cake orders from people with food intolerances and my head has been in a spin as there seems to be conflicting information on the web – this is so useful!

    The one area I can’t work out still is re the cupcake decorations such as sprinkles, sugarpaste flowers etc – do you have any advice on these? I asked in the local cake decorating shop and they seemed to think shop bought sugar flowers would be ok but I certainly want to make sure! I’m thinking I might have to make my own to make certain but would sugarpaste be ok?


  4. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks, I’m pleased I can help.

    You could phone the companies that make your edible decorations, they should be able to tell you straight away or your catering supplier can get the food specifications for each product.

    If you can’t find out the information I would not use the product to be on the safe side. A lot of commercial decorations will contain wheat unless they state otherwise.

  5. Indian DJ says:

    Lots of wonderful reading here, thanks! I had been researching on yahoo when I uncovered your publish, I’m going to add your feed to Google Reader, I look forward to far more from you.

  6. Hi Gemma, I wonder if you can help me I’m fairly new to the cake decorating business and have been asked to produce my first birthday cake for a little boy that has a severe nut allergy and is also allergic to uncooked eggs. I am at a bit of a loss as to what icing I can use. I do tend to use Renshaw’s Regalice which I note above contains no nut traces but I’m not sure about eggs. Can you help? Many thanks

  7. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Mandy,

    Regalice icing does not contain eggs.

    When an ingredient is labelled as vegan this means there is not any animal products in it. I have added this to my key in this blog to make it clearer.

  8. Amy says:

    Hi Gemma,

    Thank you so much for providing all this useful information!

    I just have one question though, that I hope you can answer.
    I have to make a nut-free cake for someone with a severe nut allergy.

    I usually buy Renshaw Regalice, and you have said that it does not contain nuts, but there is nothing on their packaging about whether or not it is made in a factory where nuts may be used. Does this mean it is made in a nut free factory?
    I just want to be sure, that there are no nuts and no chance of any trance of nuts in the icing.

    I look forward to your reply!

  9. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Amy,

    Thank you.

    The information on the product specifications states that Regalice does not contain nuts or nut traces so it is safe to use.

  10. Gavin says:

    Hi Gemma,

    Can you recommend any gluten-free white chocolate for baking that is available from UK supermarkets? I’m sure I read somewhere that Dr Oetker’s Continental white chocolate was ok? The problem is that there might not be anything suspicious in the ingredient list of white chocolate but that doesn’t mean there’s no cross contamination on the production line and this is often not stated on the packaging.


  11. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Gavin,

    Try using white chocolate instead of the baking variety as the flavour is better and you would have more options of a gluten free variety.

    The Dr Oetker website contains really good information about allergy advice on all of their products even if foods contain a trace of an allergen. For more reassurance,if you email the company they will get back to you quite quickly.

  12. masey says:

    hi. I am a vegan and looking for an alternative to meri-white in london, any one know of an alternative and where this can be purchased?

  13. Iced Gem says:

    Hi, have you tried Orgran No Egg? You can buy this from whole food shops or Asian supermarkets usually.

    If you haven’t used it before, see my blog post

  14. marzipan says:

    Hi Gemma,
    Thanks for your useful information. I’ve got a slightly different problem, I’m planning to make and ice my wedding cake myself but one of my bridesmaids comes out in blotches if she has artificial colours. I have some Sugarflair food colouring paste which contains artificial colours, so do you have any information on other brands and what type of colouring they use?
    I know that some natural liquid colourings are easily available but I’d rather use paste if I can as it gives a deeper colour.

  15. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Marianne,
    I don’t know of any natural paste colouring. I can only suggest to check the colours you want to use to see what they are made from and check if they may be ok for your bridesmaid. Have a look in Asian supermarkets. Some sell powder food colouring which may be natural.

    If you can’t find anything, could she have a slice of cake from the centre of the cake and peel off the icing from the top?


  16. marzipan says:

    Hi Gemma,
    That’s probably going to be my backup plan. Unless I can get a rich enough colour from natural liquid colours, I might do some cupcakes to give to her & small children with a paler icing as well as the main cake.

  17. Iced Gem says:

    Are you covering the cake with sugarpaste? If so, liquid colour will water down the sugarpaste making it soggy.

  18. Wow, what a site. My 3 year old dtr has coeliacs disease but instead of entering into the world of purchasing a cake every birthday I have decided to teach myself how to make wheat and gluten free yummy birthday cakes! Just did my first batch of fairy cakes on Sunday and now ready to enter the world of iceing. Your page has been a great help as a starting point.

  19. Iced Gem says:

    Thank you. I’m pleased it has helped. Good luck with it.

  20. Michelle says:


    I’m looking for gluten free edible glue and also petal/moulding paste as my dad is coeliac and I am doing cupcakes for their Golden Wedding Anniversary. I have managed to find Rainbow Dust in gold but I need a glue to stick this onto the hearts I am hoping to make.


  21. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Michelle,

    Diamond or platinum paste by Sugarcity is safe for coeliacs and also Squires.

    For glue you could use rose water or gum arabic mixed with a few drops of water to make a thick paste will work.


  22. Lisa Peplow says:

    Hi Gemma,

    Do you know of any places where Pettinice is available to purchase? I do not work in a bakery so cannot go wholesale and do not have a catering supplier.



  23. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I’m sorry but no I don’t. Maybe somebody will read this and let us both know

  24. Enola says:

    Hi, i’m trying to find flavourings and flavour extracts aswell as food colourings suitable for vegans for use in the actual cake itself, I was wondering if you could help?
    Also i’ve noticed under colourings you have not got Dr oetker listed? I thought they were suitable for vegans?
    Any advice you could offer would be much appreciated.

  25. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Enola,

    Nielson Massey flavourings are vegan and gluten free. They have started to produce other flavourings which can be found on their website.
    You will have to contact them to see if they are all vegan. also make vegan flavourings and colourings.

    Waitrose sells a wide range of flavourings which maybe suitable.

    Thank you of reminding me about Dr Oetker food colouring.

  26. laura says:

    hey, just wanted to say a huge thank you for having this page, im fairly new to cake decorating and made my daughters christening cake, but i have a friend with coeliac disease so i bought a ready made gluten and wheat free cake and although it tasted ok it looked terrible!!! so have decided to try and make and decorate my own cakes that cater for people with special diets. this page has helped me loads as was getting conflicting info on other pages! thank you again

    laura xxx

  27. Iced Gem says:

    Hi, thank you. Good luck.

  28. MARIE says:

    I noticed on that some people with nut allergies may be advised to avoid gum arabic and gum tragacanth. Do you know if tylose is ok to use?

  29. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Marie,

    As far as I can find out it depends on the brand. I found this link which may help.

  30. Starry says:

    Are Squires food paste colours vegetarian? πŸ™‚

  31. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Starry,

    Yes they are suitable for vegetarians and vegan.

  32. Katy says:

    what a fantastic website, thank you so much! I was wondering – do you know if Wilton food colourings are dairy free?

  33. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Katy,
    Thank you. I have had trouble in the past trying to get information about these products. I don’t know but if I find out I will let you know.


  34. Cheryl Smith-Wright says:

    Very helpful website! I don’t know if you can help further: I am coeliac but I also have a very nasty intolerance to alcohol. It is so bad that I get reactions if there is any form of alcohol even in things like vanilla essence [I found out the hard way!]. I have sourced alcohol free vanilla etc, but I was wondering about food pastes. Do you know if the Squires food paste has any ethanol or other alcohol-based ingredients? thanks.

  35. Enola says:

    Hi, I noticed you were having trouble with finding info on wilton products, I can relate to that, I contacted them about 3 years ago asking if any products where suitable for vegans, they emailed back asking which products in particular and this is response I got to a few products

    Wilton’s icing colors, clear vanilla extract, pure vanilla extract, contains no
    animal products in the products themselves. There is beef, pork, fish and
    shellfish present in the manufacturing environment where these items are made.

    The foodwriter’s, sparkle gel, shimmer dust, cake sparkles and colored sugars
    contain no animal products in the products themselves or the manufacturing

    This info is like I say about 3 years old now and I don’t know if ingredients or produce line has changed any.
    I have more recently tried again to contact them and am at dead end, the response I got was to phone them, all fair and well except they are an american company.
    I’m still researching various companies some are easier and more friendly to talk to but you have to be vary specific with ingredients and also cross contamination on production lines to get a clear answer.
    A few things i’ve encountered so far are that with some companies the ingredients and produce line maybe clear but the sugar used maybe proccessed through bone char.

    Do you know any thing about vegan suitabilty of sugarflair rejuvenator spirit, I’m looking to paint with their colours and have been reading up that may need to water it down a bit with rejuvenator spirit?

  36. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Enola,

    I know what you mean about getting information.

    I am not sure about the rejuvenator spirit. I use a vegan vodka to water down my colours. If you find the colours dry too quickly with alcohol you can use rose water instead.

  37. Enola says:

    Thanks for that, I did wonder if vodka would be ok, i’d read you can do it that way but was a little worried that it would leave a flavour and also if I was making for children or tea totalers.
    It’s a nightmare trying to decode labels best of times but it’s the things that are not written that are more frustrating.
    another question, i’ve been tryin regalice as found it better than dr oetkers but am now finding regalice very soft to work with…ive covered cake with it but it seemed to dew up and almost sweat sticky, i’m not sure the best solution also wanted to attempt figures or decorations with it that are still edible, i’ve heard xantham gum is good? but that i’m guessing would be for the figures/decoration.

    many thanks

  38. Iced Gem says:

    You don’t get any flavour. Rejuvenator is just iso- propyl alcohol. If you’re worried then use rose water.

    How did you store the Regalice before using it? It will go sticky if it is too cold or was your cake fridge cold? Was your kitchen humid when you used it? I could have been a bad batch?

    I’m trying to get information about certain products at the moment and finding it hard so I know what you mean.

    If you do find it too soft you can add a pinch of gum trag. To make models add 1 teaspoon gum trag to 500g sugarpaste and leave for a few hours to firm up before using.

    Good luck.

  39. Enola says:

    Ah, I see ok , well I always store sugarpaste in the cupboard, I found renshaws soft to begin with but did frosting of cake+ let it fully set in the fridge then rolled+ coated cake in sugarpaste and put back in fridge to firm up a little more, i’m guessing thats where i went wrong, I thought it was best to keep finished cake chilled?
    I’m still fairly new to the whole sugarpaste decorating.

  40. Iced Gem says:

    A sugarpaste cake needs to be kept at room temperature so you can’t use a filling which needs to be kept in a fridge.

    Good luck.

  41. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    Thank you.

    I’m waiting to hear back from Squires. I’ll let you know if I hear.

  42. On the website of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America you will find out how you can take action to prevent or improve the situation of patients suffering from asthma or allergies…

    […]Food allergy advice for cake decorators[…]…

  43. Mini Fitz's Mum says:

    Hi Gemma

    It’s my daughter’s 1st Birthday in a couple of weeks and I’d really like to make her a special cake. Though I don’t intend to give her any of it, I would like it to be bright and colourful. However, I am still breastfeeding and really nervous about using colouring as she had an awful reaction following my gorging on cakes at halloween! I’ve tried googling to get info on ways of colouring icing naturally but have just ended up confused. Please can you offer any help?

    Many thanks

  44. Iced Gem says:

    I only know of liquid natural colours. These wouldn’t be suitable for colouring sugarpaste as it will make the paste sticky but they will work fine in buttercream or royal icing. You will find them in whole food shops. Dr Oetker also produce natural liquid colours but I haven’t seen them anywhere yet?

  45. Belgian Chocolates Store…

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  46. Mini Fitz's Mum says:

    Hi Gemma

    Thanks for that. I’m wanting to make an In the Night Garden cake so the colours are very bold and I think I would need to use sugarpaste to create the characters. I may just have to go with it but not eat the icing myself.

    Thanks again

  47. Janette says:

    What a fantastic source of information!!I have been asked to make a cake for someone with a nut allergy – I normally use Squires edible glue but notice the label states it may contain traces of nut. Any alternatives? It’s for modelling but also gluing decorations to the cake (top and sides). Thanks

  48. Iced Gem says:

    Thanks Janette,

    You can stick sugarpaste cutouts to a cake with a dab of water or rose water.
    For larger decorations or sticking models together I would use royal icing or watered down sugarpaste.


  49. arlene says:

    Hi there, you haven’t listed wilton colours specifically, can you help me with regard if they are GF, I need to make some GF biscuits and i usually use wilton colours and meriwhites so will use alternate for the RI but need advice on colours.

  50. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Arlene,
    Sorry I’m not sure about Wilton. I find it really difficult to get information about their products.
    If you find out, please could you let me know?
    Thanks x

  51. Jenny says:

    Hi, I emailed wilton after talking with Arlene, and receieved this from them… I hope that it helps, your page has been wonderful.

    Dear Jenny,

    Thank you for contacting us and for your interest in Wilton products! I have provided you with the gluten information for a few of our gel products below.

    Decorating Gels: No gluten in the product
    Yes gluten on the line
    Yes gluten in the plant

    Sparkle Gels: No Gluten in the plant or on the line.
    Yes gluten in the plant

    Icing Colors: No gluten in the plant, on the line, or in the plant.

    If you have any further questions, please let us know.
    Have a great day!

    Brittany Gregus
    Customer Service Representative
    Wilton Brands, Inc.

    From: Jenny Derby
    Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 1:20 PM
    To: Wilton Industries Info
    Subject: Gel Colours Question


    I am just wondering if your Gel Colours are Gluten free or if they contain any Gluten?

    I haven’t been able to find an ingredient list anywhere.

    Thanks in advance


  52. Iced Gem says:

    Great , thank you for the information.

  53. Jenny says:

    Not a problem πŸ™‚ I had to go EF, DF, & SF (amongst a bunch of other things) but never had to do GF… and your list, if I’d found it years ago, would have been a great help πŸ™‚

  54. Iced Gem says:

    Thank you. What do you use as a sugar substitute?

    I do have to update the list. I have been collecting information so will get to it very soon. It’s amazing how quickly ingredients change. I will add your information too so thanks again.

  55. Christine says:

    Loads of fantastic information. Thank-you

    Your updated link appears to be dead. :0(

  56. Iced Gem says:

    Thank you for letting me know. It should work now.

  57. Annette says:

    Hi I recently contacted Deco about their edible icing sheets as they contain cornstarchbut didn’t specify the percentage so not clear if it contained wheat – ended up having to contact kopy kolors (who make the sheets) in the US who said that all their products are 100% corn starch so no wheat and safe for ceoliacs and anyone else with wheat allergies/intolerances
    I have also started using satinice gumpaste which states it is suitable for vegetarians (no gelatin) gluten free but does contain egg

  58. Iced Gem says:

    Great, thank you for the information

  59. jenny says:

    I came across your site, you say that Renshaw sugar-paste if nut free but it says on the packet of Renshaws sugar-paste made in a factory that handles nuts. My question is how can you be 100% sure that it’s nut free, when Renshaws are not saying nut free? I just don’t want to kill someone.