SINCE cake-making unexpectedly entered my culinary lexicon with the horrifying realisation I couldn’t just go out and buy one, I’ve relied happily on Dr Oetker for icing. The supermarket own brand fondants all seem to be ‘may contain nuts’ so it was a blessed relief to have a ready-to-roll I could easily track down in most stores.
Until now. If you’ve come across Dr Oetker Regal-Ice lately you will no doubt have noticed ‘may contain nuts’ has arrived there, too. All of a sudden I’ve realised we have another birthday on the horizon and I need to find out exactly what the risk is – and possibly hunt me down a safe alternative elsewhere.
So, I’ve just got off the phone from the Dr Oetker care line, and I’m told the risk is largely from almond: production has changed and marzipan is now produced on the same lines as the formerly safe Regal-Ice. Why the catch-all ‘may contain nuts’? Because those almonds come from a factory where walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios are also handled. The risk of contamination from the latter three is probably extremely low, but there you have it.
What now? I’m hoping to pull together a list of several safe egg and nut free brands but, for the time being, the first confirmed safe icing I’ve come across is M&B.
According to M&B director Graham Scott, “our sugar paste is completely nut and egg free”, with the brand’s marzipan made on a “completely different manufacturing line”. It comes in a rainbow of colours and can be bought online here, here and here. (PS other than the ‘may contain nuts’ irritation Dr Oetker is usually decent for labelling, so there is still a good range of toppings that remain nut and egg free).