Thursday, April 21, 2011

Food for Thought Thursday - Publix Cake Ingredients are Nothing to Celebrate

Looks delicious, doesn't it? The Sprouts thought so too - at least until I shoved it down the garbage disposal. But if you could unwrap this piece of birthday cake like a present, what you'd find inside is anything but a gift. So what brought me to buy a slice of Publix bakery cake just to destroy it minutes after coming home? Let me start at the beginning.

Last night, we attended a birthday dinner at a local restaurant. We're fortunate that most of the parties we attend have homemade vegan cakes without any food dyes, so having to pass up cake is rarely an issue. But last night I knew the cake would probably be coming from the Publix bakery - and I was right.

Now trust me, I ate many a Publix cake in my less-healthy days so I remember how delicious they taste. But I also remember the last time I ever thought about eating one. Before we switched to a plant-based diet, I thought about getting one of the Sprouts' birthdays. But I happened to look at the ingredients label before I did - and it as horrifying. The list is too long to type here (although I did snap you a nice picture), but I remember being shocked that the cake contained propylene glycol. I try to make sure my deodorant doesn't contain propylene glycol, so the idea of it in my cake was enough to make me swear off Publix cakes for good.

So back to last night . . . on the car ride over, I prepared the Sprouts in advance to let them know why we would be saying "no thanks" to the cake. It's certainly a much easier call now that we don't eat eggs or dairy, but it did make me think about how we'd been more permissive with this in the past - as if the other 50 chemical ingredients alone weren't bad enough.

As many people do, I think we justified it by saying birthdays are a special occasion that only come once a year - which is both true and false. My birthday, for example, comes only once a year - but it's always somebody's birthday. We easily attend 1-2 parties a month, so suddenly a "once a year" indulgence becomes a potential 24 healthy doses of propylene glycol (and all the other junk) a year.

I've heard other parents mention a concern about having their child feel "different" or "left out" by not eating cake (or other typical junk food) at a party. While I understand this concern, I firmly believe that this situation can be a wonderful teaching moment. I can't think of a better way to show my kids that it's okay (and in some cases, better) to make a decision that goes against what everyone else is doing. Right now, when they're 4 and 7, it's just cake that everyone else is indulging in at a party . . . 10 years from now, it may be something different.

Last night, passing on cake didn't make the party one bit less enjoyable for us. Preparing the Sprouts in advance really helped them say "no thanks" when the time came, and I did pack them each a Yummy Earth lollipop to enjoy in the car on the way home.

So, how does this story end with Publix cake in my kitchen? Well, I had the idea for this post while out walking this morning, so I headed straight to Google Images to find a photo of an ingredients list for Publix cake. For the first time ever, I was unable to find what I was looking for. Interesting, right? So I ran up to Publix to snap my own photo, but my camera battery was died. My $2 investment in cake was well worth not having to make another trip - and the possibility that there will now be an ingredients label on Google Images for others to see!

So without any further ado, here's the lovely list.


  1. These cakes come frozen from a company that also supplies the cakes for Target bakeries just FYI :)

  2. Oh very good post Jessica!! Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Exactly, except that people hate to hear this because it's easier to keep the blinders on. Way to speak the word, Jessica! I actually send my daughter to parties with a healthy cupcake in tow, and explain that she can't eat certain things. I keep them on-hand in the freezer.

  4. WOW! Thanks for showing this to me. I can't believe they offer this...

  5. Thanks, ladies! Yucky, right???

    Crystal, I had no idea. I thought they actually made them there.

    Tonie, what a great idea to keep cupcakes in the freezer. I thought about making some for them to have the other night, but I didn't want to make (and eat) a whole batch. :)

  6. Thanks, Jessica! I was searching for this info this morning and come across your blog. You've saved me a trip to Publix and $2 for a slice of cake. I couldn't find any nutritional information for any bakery item on the Publix website.


  7. I'm so glad, Stacie! Yes, when I couldn't find any info online, I decided to investigate. I remembered looking once years ago and being horrified but couldn't remember the details. LOL!

  8. thanks for sharing this. Truly horrifying!

  9. Thanks for posting this. I was considering buying one for dd's birthday, as I've been sick and wasn't sure I'd be up to making her one this year. I couldn't find the nutrition info anywhere else. What an nightmare of ingredients. Thanks so much!

  10. buy yourself an Amy's frozen organic cake and it's plain and simple and better for you and the world somewhat if you need to buy a pre made cake, you can decorate it yourself if it's an occasion cake. i understand duncan hines mixes are vegan