Sunday, March 27, 2011

Propylene glycol mono and diesters of fatty acids

More of a rant today than anything...

Once again, I spend time, designing a cake, pricing out specific flavours, setting a price that reflects my skills, what the specialty cake market prices are, using all the freshest ingredients, nothing frozen, all quality products, no artificial flavours or saw dust filler (yes you read that right - why do you think commercial boxed cake mixes taste like nothing and are so cheap...) and the potential client goes to Costco.  The only comfort I can gain from wasting all that time is that she will get what she pays for, it will be boring and like I hear from a lot of brides "no one ever really eats any of the cake" - ever wonder why?

Let's take a moment and look at the ingredients on a well known boxed cake mix from the grocery store:

"BC Golden Yellow Supermoist - with Pudding in the mix"
enriched bleached flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin, mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), sugar, corn syrup, leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum, phosphate monocalcium, phosphate), partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil, modified corn starch, corn starch, salt, propylene glycol mono and diesters of fatty acids, dextrose, dicalcium, phosphate, distilled monoglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, natural and artificial flavour, xanthum gum, colour and nonfat milk...whew

 Let's look at a comparison with my vanilla bean cake recipe:

Lazy Cat signature vanilla bean cake

Unbleached flour
egg whites (fresh)
vanilla bean

WHAT...?  It's because the ingredients for the "BC Golden Yellow Supermoist - with Pudding in the mix" are cheap to produce and have a shelf life of infinity.


How about Buttercream - here's the ingredient list of the can you buy off the shelf (which has a shelf life of 2 years...):


Salt, distilled monoglycerides, colour, polysorbate 60, sodium stearoyl, lactylate, sodium acid phosphate, natural & artificial flavour, citric acid, nonfat milk, freshness preserved by potassium sorbate. - WHERE'S THE BUTTER?

The Lazy Cat - French Buttercream

Fresh egg yolks
Vanilla Bean

Picking on one of the ingredients in the "BC buttercream" for example - potassium sorbate.  WTF is that?  Colourless salt that is very soluble in water, potassium sorbate is produced by neutralizing potassium hydroxide with sorbic acid.  So then what is potassium hydroxide or sorbic acid?  Sorbic acid  is an organic compound used as a food preservative, that's all, no nutritional value whatsoever.

Then there is distilled monoglycerides?  What about polysorbate 60?  Polysorbates are a class of emulsifiers [the process of combining to ingredients that normally won't combine i.e. water and oil] used in some pharmaceuticals and food preparation. They are often used in cosmetics to solubilize essential oils into water-based products.  A study suggested that exposure to polysorbates was a cause of hypersensitive reactions (aka allergies).

Why do we, as consumers, choose the cheap over quality.  I still can't find an answer.  I find the sweets I make, you eat once or twice a year, because they are considered fattening and 'bad for you', so why buy the chemically created sweets when you eat those chemicals every day?  You eat chemically altered food on a daily basis, in your cereal, your Tim Horton's coffee and donut, your sandwich meat, Wonder bread, your processed dinner you reheat in the microwave, mistakenly thinking because the tv tells you are eating 'steamed veggies' it MUST be good for you, converted rice products etc.  There are even artificial preservatives in the cheap beer that Canadians consider our national pride.  

I would love to hear from anyone as to why they choose price over nutrition and natural ingredients.  I don't understand the "because it's convenient to go to Costco or wherever", it's just as easy to call up your local bakery or cake maker or chocolatier and place your order and have it delivered to you on the day you need it.  Please let me know, because if people just like the store cake mixes, and cans of frosting then I can switch over and charge $10 for a birthday cake, just like Costco or Walmart, it would save me a lot of time and energy and I can keep the good stuff to myself.  

Looking forward to hearing your comments!


  1. Food Grade Propylene Glycol USP is used in many areas such as glycol chillers, glycol beer taper systems, winery glycol systems, outdoor wood boilers, and many other applications where temperature freeze point requirements are below 32F Glycol is very soluble in water and is considered safe in environmental or indirect food contact applications.

  2. Your cakes sound delicious and I would much rather have a homemade cake or bakery cake than one from Walmart or Costco. I usually make my own, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood, ya know? And then TG for bakery's!