|The Business of Cake Decorating #8
by Earlene Moore
Out of all the ingredients we use in our sugar work, eggs seem to
cause the most concern. The following information was compiled to
hopefully help all of us know a little bit more about this essential
little ingredient in our sugar world.
This egg info was taken from info on the internet at http://www.aeb.org/foodservice-professionals/egg-safety and edited and condensed for our baking and decorating
Buy refrigerated eggs with clean, uncracked shells. Keep eggs refrigerated
in their carton at 45° F or below.
Wash your hands and utensils in hot soapy water before and after
they come into contact with raw eggs.
If you buy eggs at the store and they have raw egg on the outside
of the shells - do not wash them until just before using them
Discard cracked eggs or even suspicious marked eggs. Salmonella bacteria can enter cracked eggs
and contaminate them. Check eggs for cracks before you use them
and discard any questionable eggs. Only a very small number of eggs
might contain Salmonella enteritis. Even in areas where outbreaks
of salmonellas have occurred, tested flocks show an average of only
about 2 to 3 infected eggs out of each 10,000 produced. Conservative
scientists liberally estimate that, across the country, only 1 out
of every 20,000 eggs produced might contain the bacteria. The likelihood
of your finding an infected egg is about 0.005% (five one-thousandths
of a percent). If an egg does contain the organism, the numbers
in a freshly laid egg probably will be small and, if the eggs are
promptly refrigerated, will not multiply enough to cause illness
in a healthy person.
Salmonella enteritis will not grow at temperatures below 40°F. Freezing
does not destroy Salmonella but it may impair some cells.
Temperatures above 160°F will kill the organisms.
An inexpensive egg separator can be used to separate yolks and whites
so that contents do not come in contact with the shells. If a bit
of shell falls into the broken egg contents, remove it with a clean
utensil not the egg shell.
Although egg white does not readily support bacterial growth, it
is possible for Salmonella to be in either the white or yolk of
The acidity of a product is expressed as pH. Salmonella will not
grow in an acid medium with a pH below 4. The lower the pH, the
more acidic the product. When prepared with a sufficient quantity
of lemon juice, vinegar or other acid ingredients, recipes will
have quite a low pH. These might be considered relatively low risk
for healthy people. Unfortunately, there is no practical and simple
way for the home cook or the food service operator to determine
the pH of the finished product. Since the recipes used and the acidity
of the ingredients may vary a great deal, it is better to prepare
these items by cooking the eggs or to use a pasteurized liquid egg
product to assure safety.
I called the Egg Boards phone number 847-296-7043 and talked to Elisa
for more information specifically about our sugar work. They recommend that we make 7 minute or royal icing as follows
In a heavy sauce pan or a double boiler stir together the egg whites
and sugar from your recipe. Using a minimum of 2 T. granulated sugar
per egg white and 1 t. water and 1/8 t. cream of tarter per 2 egg
whites. Cook over low heat beating with a portable mixer at low
speed. Do not let the mixture foam but just keep the mixture moving.
Cook until the eggs reach 160 degrees. (If using an unlined aluminum
saucepan, do not add cream of tartar. It will react with the aluminum
to produce an unattractive gray product.) Pour into a large bowl
and beat at high speed until the egg whites reach high peak for
7 minute icing. She suggested that for royal icing we follow the
above only adding powdered sugar to the desired consistency.
When I am making lace points or something small I only use one egg
white, lemon juice and powdered sugar. After further discussion
she gave me another solution to make sure these are safe. After
the fresh egg white royal icing lace points, flowers or plaques
are totally dry we can put them into the oven at a temperature of
200 degrees. Leave them in long enough for the total sugar piece
to reach the 160 degree temperature. How long you leave the sugar
piece in the oven would be determined by how large the items are.
Lace points - shorter time Roses - longer time. We will have to
determine this ourselves with the help of an oven thermometer. She
said wet or dry the egg needs to reach 160 degrees to be totally
safe. This seems to be a good practical solution for those of us
who prefer the strength of the egg white royal icing.
I knew that I had been taught that these fresh egg white lace points,
flowers and etc. were safe to use. I tracked down that information
for you. Nicholas Lodge was taught in his schooling in England that
fresh egg white royal icing is a safe product because the quantity
of sugar we use in the fresh egg white royal icing inhibits bacteria
growth. That along with the acidity of the lemon juice reduces the
chances of passing any bacterial contamination to our customers
to almost nothing.
Sure we must be careful and follow good hygiene habits to insure
we don't use contaminated eggs. But we also must use a little common
sense about the food products we use. Milk products must also be
handled with care. Fresh strawberries used in or on a cake tend
to mold easily. Cakes that are under cooked can mold or spoil and
be unsafe for our customers. We must use good judgment and care
with our cake and sugar products to protect ourselves as well as