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Best way to keep sliced cake from drying out?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've been having problems with a restaurant I supply with cakes. One of them is how the cakes are stored. They're kept in a case and customers (sit down and to go) order by the slice. When the cake is cut, the cut sides are left exposed and they dry out. I've talked to the owner about using pieces of cello up against the cut side. We use this at my PT bakery job on our bars of poundcake. The icing holds it right on and it really does keep the air off and the next slice is always moist. Anyhow, he basically ignored me, but I've had complaints about dried out cake from my friends who eat there so I've decided to try to enforce some kind of rule or I will stop supplying him. My husband talked to the owner tonight and brought up this point and he agreed to cover the cut sides from now on. But my hubby is wondering if there's another method that can be used that's easier b/c he knows this guy and his staff are pretty lazy about this kind of thing. I have NO ideas. I don't think it gets any easier than slapping a piece of cello up against the side after each time making a cut...???
post #2 of 17
When I worked at a bakery in SW CO, we used to do this with iced cakes. Iced cakes are difficult to protect because you don't want to mess up the icing. Take a small square of plastic wrap and press it gently against the freshly cut cake. Do this on either side. It keeps the exposed portions very moist. Store it this way until the next lucky diner has cake! If the cake is freshly cut, the plastic should stick well.
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Food is sex for the stomach.
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post #3 of 17
How frustrating!

Your way is definitely the best. The only other things that come to mind are :

1) asking them if they could store the cakes in clear plastic domes. This way there would be some type of covering, and the customers could still see the product.

2) precut the cakes yourself and put a clear acetate strips on all the cut sides. If you chose to do this you should definitely up the price. The advantage is that you know it's protected. Also, the people who don't seem to care would have one less job to do.

Good luck. I have the same problem myself.

Schiznick
post #4 of 17
Ditto to Schiznick's post: pre-slice it yourself and insert acetate in "v" shape around each portion.

This is very very typical and to be expected (not having cakes covered properly)......be glad their not in the same case with their un-covered fish. And I'm not joking.

P.S. I've tried the plastic dome route.....but nothing makes the person seal the dome back up.........and many employees won't.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #5 of 17
I ditto Wendy's answer. I used to precut the cakes then insert wax paper patties(comes in a box already precut 6" squares ) into the cuts.
post #6 of 17
Soak the cake in rum :)

Kuan
post #7 of 17

problems with cakes drying out

If the cake is in a hot case it definately dry out. Most cakes should be soaked in a flavored simple syrup (or etc). The papers take along time to do and the cake doesnt look great with them anyway. I find that just design cakes that are moist to begin with. Such as: cheese cake over cake, flourless cake that you take out of oven 3///4 way, citrus over cake and so on. The best way, I think, is to make individual cakes and surround witlh acetate. This helps in the shipping also. Have the restaurant show one of each cake in the case and store the rest in 2" fish tubs.(new ones only) Individual desserts are easier and faster for garde manger or whoever to plate and garnish. Hope this helps.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you to everyone for responding!

What makes this so difficult is that:

1). I can’t just make a different type of cake that is more moist; these have to be vegan cakes and the recipes I developed, while moist, can’t withstand being soaked in syrup. I have a fine mist spray bottle for my simple syrup (I don’t like dealing with the messiness of a pastry brush) and spray some on and that’s about it.

2). I can’t do the plastic dome thing because the cakes are in a refrigerator case and on display. Plastic Rubbermaid domes aren’t exactly pretty, unless there’s nicer ones out there? And true Wendy, it doesn’t mean someone will actually seal the dome!

3). I can’t pre-wrap them myself because I WILL have to charge more and Hari won’t pay anything extra. He was used to paying the old cake lady’s prices and mine are $3 - $6 higher per cake. Even though you get more portions from my cakes and he actually makes MORE profit off them, he ALWAYS forgets that part. Anyhow, if he doesn’t follow through with keeping them covered and I get any more complaints, I may have to wrap them myself and tack on the extra fee (if I lose his business, then oh well, but I want to give him a chance to do it himself first). How much extra should I charge for this if I completely wrap them in acetate? How much extra to cut and insert wax paper squares method? They are 9” cakes scored for 12 portions.

4). I considered individual desserts, but cost wise, it doesn’t work for him. If he can’t double the price, he’s not interested. And his customers are only willing to pay so much.

I did a delivery on Weds night. After the phone call with my husband, Hari was so polite and nice to me. I think it helped that my husband came with me to do the delivery. Side note: long story, but Hari has SCREAMED at me before to take things out on me because he had a bad day; so bad that as soon as I left, I drove around the corner and pulled over to bawl my eyes out (I had had a long day too). So I was scared to go alone and risk being screamed at over this (this is why I had my husband call him in the first place; I knew he would scream at me, but not at him). Anyhow, Hari asked me what kind of paper he should use. I couldn’t remember the name of the stuff we use at my PT job. I don’t think my boss would actually buy acetate since it’s so pricey, but it’s something similar. We just call it cello, but cellophane is that thin crinkly stuff and this stuff is thick. Anyhow, he asked me to bring him a piece of it in so he can show it to the guys at his restaurant supply store and get a roll. This is the most agreeable he’s been over the whole topic so I think he might actually be serious.

I want to move to a land where things like this aren’t even an issue! And where restaurant owners don’t scream at you because they had a bad day. Is there such a utopia?
post #9 of 17
LCS,
You're on the right track with the acetate. If you use a thicker piece of acetate you can score it in the middle to make it bend. Actually non transparent works best so it doesn't make the slice look bad.
If you have a 10" X 5" cake you will need a piece the same size.
We acually use a tupperware type piece of plastic scored in the middle. This slips in after the first slice and you bend it in a clockwise fashion as the cake is being used. If you can't get the middle limber enough to bend all the way around, you can cut it and tape it.
These are easy to clean. After half the cake is served you flip the plastic so you don't dirty both sides.
Boy! I'm going to assume you are not going to understand this!LOL.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #10 of 17
The point here is LAZY staff, it is simple but the simple things seem hard to get across to some people now-a-days. Get on their case, yell, scream, threaten! The Cake MUST be fresh when served, dried out sides is un acceptable and you have to make them aware of this. Make them eat one thats dried out, then make them pay for it, the message will get across!

Hogan
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Panini, the first 2 times I read that, I had no idea what the heck you were talking about. But after reading it for a third time, I get it! :D I'm going to dig around for plastic scraps and see what I can make. I've made a really cool dealy out of tofu containers that I use to press paneer in, so the Martha inside of me will come up with something.

Ya know Hogan, I would really like to blame the staff; I really would; but it's all on the owner. He doesn't enforce it and doesn't even do it himself and he personally serves out a lot of the cake. He has a new cook I'm getting to be chums with so the when Hari finally gets the acetate, I'm gonna have a demonstration: Acetate Application 101. Making them eat dried out cake is a good idea. Thanks for the tip!
post #12 of 17
Hello again all!


Acetate tends to cost a lot so I like to use overhead shhets that can be bought at any office supply store. They are great. Try them!
Chef Isaac... Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com
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Chef Isaac... Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com
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post #13 of 17
I still say hired staff can be compromising. For example, I did a double wedding last night, needed 250 Choco dipped strawberries. The servers always do this. So I come over to where the girl is dipping stawberries, and she is pulling them right out of the flat and dipping them. I says to her, " did you wash these berries first"? She replies, "if I was them, the chocolate will not stick"? I inform her that there are pesticides and dirt on the berries, and she replies, "so, I don't care, I am not eating them". I fired her on the spot and was short one server for the weddings. No biggie, I washed all the berries, dried them in paper towel so the choco would stick! Her reply should of been, Yes Chef, I will wash them right now".

Hogan
post #14 of 17
Chef Hogan,
Lotus supplies this establishment with desserts as a wholesaler.
You really don't have control over those employees.
I have been in this position many times. It can really drive you crazy. If fact, over the years, I've have learned that you can fix almost everything about your business but the customer.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #15 of 17
I find that consumption helps me prevent sliced cakes from drying out. :)
At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.
www.kyleskitchen.net
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At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.
www.kyleskitchen.net
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post #16 of 17
:lol:
post #17 of 17

c Best-------cake from drying out

:rolleyes: Careful KyleW, too much cake makes too much Kyle:bounce:
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