Food safety question: fruit preserves in cakes?

I'm making a wedding cake for a friend, and she is really hoping to incorporate a fruit (pineapple) filling in some form. The cake will be outside for a full day in the spring, so perishable fillings (curds, etc.) are out of the question. The tricky thing is, I've been reading a lot of mixed things about whether homemade (or even storebought) fruit preserves or jam would be safe to use here. Some say these are safe in a cake left at room temp for a day or two, while others say jams cannot ever be left out at room temp for over two hours. If the jam is acidic (pH below 4.6) and contains enough sugar (I'm thinking a 1:1 ratio?), do you think it would be safe in a cake left out all day? Or, alternatively, do you know of any food safety resources I can use to find out? Thanks folks!

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  • Posted by: ariel a
  • March 11, 2019
  • 200 views
  • 2 Comments

2 Comments

LE B. March 12, 2019
AH, FOOD SAFETY IS SUCH A TRENDY and polarizing SUBJECT. BUT ME, 40 YEAR PROFESSIONAL CHEF AND PASTRY CHEF, SAYS, oooosorrycaps,
when an obscene amount of sugar is in a food,as in most cakes and jams, ave. spring all-day temps are not remotely limiting , imo. Of the unique concerns of pineapple, i know not, but citrus jam is just fine. both sugar and citrus are major food preservatives, so i hope you will be confident, having the cake at room temp. if you do, however, want to go the other route, there is an easy solution.

from the wedding's rental co., add an enclosed rolling rack and sheet pans. upon arrival on site w/ the cake, place ice, pref'ly a large block, on a sheet pan in the ~lower part of the roll'g rack. place the cake on a sheet pan as close to the ice as possible. close rack/refrigerator and bring cake out whenever needed. because my wedding cakes were always iced with a swiss buttercream, which can melt in heat,we never presented them until an hour or so before serving if it was a warm day. Cool day was NoWorry.
 
Nancy March 12, 2019
Ariela -
Have a look at this USDA food safety site fo rmore info.
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/shelf-stable-food-safety/ct_index
Speaking as one who's worked in commercial pastry kitchen and restaurants,
I think the request for fruit preserves in the cake is most likely unsafe and complicating an already difficult situation.
24 hr exposure to spring outdoor temperature puts it in the danger zone (41 to 135F for more than two hours and may make the guests sick.
Pineapple also has an enzyme (papain) that breaks down other foods. I suspect it doesn't survive the preserve-making process, but something to be aware of if you end up using fresh.
Last suggestion, maybe the bride and groom can have a 1st anniversary celebration indoors with a refrigerated cake incorporating pineapple preserves.
 
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