So its maybe not the first topic you’d expect to read about on a wedding cake blog but allergens come up a lot in the enquiries I receive so thought it might be a good subject to cover.
There are now 14 major allergens that must be declared for all food items.
- cereals containing gluten – including wheat, rye, barley and oats
- crustaceans – such as prawns, crabs and lobsters
- molluscs – such as mussels and oysters
- tree nuts – including almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts
- sesame seeds
- sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million)
The main allergens that I encounter in my cake kitchen are of course cereals including gluten, eggs, milk and tree nuts. Gluten free cakes are often requested and the gluten free flours now available definitely make it a suitable alternative to wheat flour. Making sure the end result is just as delicious requires some trial and error in terms of matching your dry and wet ingredients. Some gluten free cakes can become very dry but it just takes a bit of tweaking. There are some amazing blogs out there for inspiration. Bristol-based www.wutheringbites.co.uk has great recipes as well as excellent eating out recommendations for Bristol and beyond. www.ohsheglows.com has both gluten and dairy free baking recipes.
For those with Coeliac disease or a severe nut or dairy allergy it’s extremely difficult to guarantee an allergy free cake because of the risk of cross contamination in the kitchen. However, another great option is order a separate cake for any guests with allergies from a specialist cake maker and have your main cake with traditional ingredients. Another option would be a cupcake tower with a section for gluten / nut / dairy free.
Usually there’s not a lot of worry about fish, molluscs or mustard in cakes (or id be slightly concerned about the flavour profile!)
Not the sexiest of subjects for the cake blog, but with many more people becoming aware of the effects of allergens in their food it’s certainly something that we take seriously at Hannah Hickman HQ.
I’m always happy to discuss requests (however weird and wonderful) so please do contact us for a chat. Have a great week!