By Their Cheese Shall Ye Know Them

Heavy reliance on cream cheese is also a way to spot a compromised baking operation. Lots of carrot cakes, thickly-layered bars and cupcakes piled high with star point-piped toppings are a good indicator that a bakery has gone over to cream cheese as a primary fat (or rather pseudo-fat). Cost is the main reason, since bulk cream cheese can be had for about half the price of butter, and is far less susceptible to wild price fluctuations. Stability is another factor, since cream cheese-based icing can hold up for days in a case without breaking or weeping (though it will dry out around the edges). And then of course there’s the simple fact that people are just getting more used to it.

I’m always a little let down when I walk into a bakery like that. But as slim as baking margins are these days, having a bakery (especially an independent bakery) around at all is something of a miracle. And when it comes to keeping a business operating, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

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