Gold on Your Cake
It often times comes up in cakey groups on the best way to get cakes shiny. I have touched on this in the past but I want to really dive into it. People like shiny. I get it. Shiny is pretty. Who doesn't like shiny? Look, just because it says it is non-toxic does not mean it is edible. Likewise, just because one country's agency said it is okay does not mean another country's agency is in agreement. Those glittery strawberries? Sure, they are non-toxic. But they are also coated in plastic. Not sure. Those super gorgeous gold cakes? Many are coated in a gold paint that is listed as "non-toxic" only. I am flat out amazed on how many cakers do not educate themselves on the risks, educate their clients, or try to find viable solutions. I don't know if it is because you can find these items in cake stores, I don't know if it is because other cakers around the world do it, I don't know if fear of not getting an order makes the cake do it anyways, but is simply should not be done.
I know, I know. You think I am over reacting. I mean, it SAYS non-toxic. So how bad can it REALLY be? Look. If plastic is bad for our environment, it stands to reason it is bad for our bodies too. The truth is, eating a wee bit of plastic probably will not harm you in the short term. It will pass through your system in a day. The real problem, is phthalates, which makes plastics soft and bendable. This is not chemically bound to plastic, so it can get transferred to other things easily. What does this chemical do? Oh, no much. Just that is chemical being ingested is known for premature births, asthma, cancer, miscarriage, male infertility, premature breast development, and abnormal male sexual development. Maybe eating it once will not cause these problems. But then again, what if you have IBS and this sets it off? What if it is a young child who is still easily gets sick by foreign items? I mean, is it really worth the risk? You can still have a pretty cake, shimmery strawberries, and a wonderful sheen without taking that risk. It costs a bit more, of course. Here, in the US, we have several FDA approved options. Sure a great many of them are more "yellow" than gold. So, really, spend the extra money. My preference, is the brand Roxy and Rich. Actually, more specifically, Roxy and Rich's Soft Gold . Look at the shine! No worries if you click this link, I am not an affiliate, I just REALLY dig R&R and want to share the love. It looks like molten gold was poured on this cake!!! I have used a great many of their luster dusts with glee. I love how they help bring in the shine. Sure, they are expensive...but they are worth it. They are FDA approved and look FABULOUS! They also have an FDA approved glitter! Now, I have not used this glitter, but if it is anything like their dusts, I probably will be smitten.
Another option is to use edible gold leaf. Now THAT is expensive! Basically, you take SUPER thin sheets of gold and put it on your cake. CHA-CHING! This is going to cost you, as the client. So unless you are ready to pony up insane amounts of cash, maybe ask for FDA approved luster dusts. But if you REALLY want that gold leaf, be VERY weary if the price of that cake is not super expensive. Especially if they are using silver leaf...because consuming silver that is not safe can be a HUGE issue for you. The FDA is aware of bakers using non-edible accents on their baked goods. They even posted a press release. Did you know that companies that make edible glitters and dusts are required by law to include a list of ingredients on the label? Common ingredients in edible glitter or dust include sugar, acacia (gum arabic), maltodextrin, cornstarch, and color additives specifically approved for food use, including mica-based pearlescent pigments and FD&C colors such as FD&C Blue No. 1. Most edible glitters and dusts also state “edible” on the label. If the label simply says “non-toxic” or “for decorative purposes only” and does not include an ingredients list, the product should not be used directly on foods. Make sure to question your baker...what are you using to make my cake shiny, and is it FDA approved? Now, FDA approved shinys are not AS shiny as their non-FDA approved counterparts. If you and your baker REALLY decide to go that route, please make SUPER sure you advise your guests to remove any part that is shiny or sheeny or sparkly. Because it might not make you sick, but you don't know if it will make them sick. Be an educated baker. Be an educated client. Have fun, and eat cake!