Mould on the Christmas cake

16th December 2010 | Daily Life | 2 comments

I was so pleased with myself this year for baking my Christmas cake six weeks before Christmas. It’s an especially moist cake because I soaked the fruit in strong tea overnight before baking. The finished cake was wrapped in four layers of greaseproof paper and foil before being stored in an airtight box.

When I unwrapped the cake today to add the marzipan, there were little spots of green mould all over the surface. Panic! I ran round to our local bakery to ask their advice.  ‘Could I speak to the baker?’, I asked. ‘We don’t have a baker’, the assistant replied. How could they not have a baker? ‘Our stuff is brought in by van from the central depot.’

Luckily my phone directory revealed a proper old-fashioned bakery run by an Italian family. They kindly paused in their work to consider the mould problem, and advised me to cut off the top layer of the cake. If there was mould inside the cake, I was to throw it away. If not, I could proceed normally ‘as long as you’ve given it a really good smell and not noticed any smell of mould.’ I sliced off the top few centimetres of the cake and all seemed fine. It smelled good too. What a relief!

2 Comments

  1. Connor

    The fluffy mildew you can see is merely the flowering of the fungi that has invaded your cake. Just like any flower, the fungus slao has roots that penetrate the cake and which you can’t see. Then there are the mycotoxins to consider. Asking a baker to advise you on this issueis rather like asking a pianist to advise one on piano woodworm. If you want to know more about fungi you need to consult a qualified mycologist. If you want to know whether the cake is safe to eat you best consult an environmental health officer or similar.

    Reply
    • Susan Tomes

      Thank you for this expert response – I wish I’d had it at the time I had the cake problem! Happily, the following Christmas I used a different recipe, and all was well.

      Reply

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