It's been a great summer for some lovely local businesses, beginning with local opticians Haine & Smith. They celebrated an epic 40 years in business - and never has there been more need for celebratory corporate cakes! Haine & Smith has 40 practices dotted in and around Wiltshire, and each practice got a cake with their name on it, starting with Regent Street, Swindon.
An important part of the bespoke order request was for them all to be nut-free as they would be shared with the employees and general public.
Catering for specific allergies is a feature I happily offer on all cake orders. The huge benefit of my cakes being baked freshly to order every time is that I can accommodate any allergy needs such as this, if you simply state it at the time of ordering.
Furthermore, I don't charge a penny more for these special requests - because nobody should be punished for having an allergy or intolerance, and everybody deserves to eat cake!
The larger cake for the Head Office staff based in Pewsey was also made Gluten-Free, but I'll share my foolproof gluten-free sponge cake recipe with you soon. For now, this is a nut-free zone!
Cakes typically don't contain nuts, unless you specifically buy a nutty flavoured one of course. However, there's always a risk of finding traces of nuts in the fondant icing (also known as 'ready to roll' or 'sugarpaste') that you can buy in the shops. And I mean ALL fondant icing - there are LOTS of brands available, many of which are European, and many are American, but as I always check the labels for allergen info, it occurred to me that none of them could promise to be entirely free from nuts. If you do find one that promises to be nut-free, let me know right away! (Dr Oetker's smaller packs of Regal-Ice used to be safe, but not anymore.)
The reason for this being, I assume, is that they are made in large factories, and these factories also make marzipan and other products. It's simply impossible for them to avoid all traces of nuts, because even a small amount of dust from the products can contaminate everything. And contamination is scary, and bad.
While the risk is low, I know that unlike gluten intolerance, a nut allergy can be deadly - and no cake should put your life at risk!
However, nobody deserves to avoid cakes, and so I'm rather passionate about ensuring that anyone can order cakes from Little Miss Cake Maker, and be assured that they won't have any negative reaction to any of the ingredients. So, I make my own fondant for nut-free orders, and I thought it worthy of sharing my method and recipe so if you fancy making your own cakes and sharing them with someone with a nut allergy, you'll be very much loved.
Compared to the ready-made fondant you typically buy, the ingredients list is extremely short. 5 ingredients - which is exactly the same number of ingredients you find in my cupcakes. 5 is the magic number it seems!
The first step I took was to measure out the liquid glucose (2 tbsp), as letting this sit over a jug of boiled water makes it much easier to eventually pour into your mixture. If you've ever made Royal Icing, the next few steps are essentially the same. Pour 1 egg white into your mixing bowl, and gradually add approximately half of the sieved icing sugar (approx 350g). Stop and add the lemon juice (half a lemon, or approx 2 tbsp), then mix for a few minutes. Stop and add your melted liquid glucose and the glycerine (1.5 tsp), and then mix together, gradually adding most of the remaining icing sugar (approx 350g), until the texture becomes stiff and sticky.
Gather the mixture together and knead with a sprinkling of icing sugar (coat your hands well with the icing sugar to avoid creating fondant gloves!) until it forms a nice ball. You can wrap it in cling film and keep in an airtight container until you're ready to use (ideally use within 24-48 hours as it can dry out and be harder to work with).
As well as the Haine & Smith cakes featured above, I also used this fondant to make some corporate cupcake toppers for another business celebration - Openworks 10 Year Anniversary.
As with any ready to roll fondant, coat your work surface in a light sprinkling of icing sugar and roll out, cutting out with the ideal size cutter.
So there you have it - you can go nuts and share your cakes with everyone, with no fear of anaphylaxis, if you simply make your own fondant icing. If you give it a go, I would love to see your pictures so please feel free to share them with me - either on the blog, or through facebook or twitter.
If you'd like me to do all the hard work for you, I'll happily bake any style of cake for you, whether it's another business celebration, a birthday or wedding - you can quickly & easily order your corporate cakes or any occasion cakes at www.littlemisscakemaker.com