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Pentaor The Art of Food Technology

The Multifunctional Additive for 
Long-life Cake Manufacturing

Frequently Asked Questions
Q1 What is the PentaCake? Is it a preservative? Does it replace the preservatives? Why do we have to add potassium sorbate? Isn't it enough to put potassium sorbate only?
A1 PentaCake is not a preservative and it does not replace it.  PentaCake is a multifunctional additive contributing to the characteristics of the cake in three levels: (1) physical - texture, (2) chemical - antioxidation, (3) microbial.  Potassium sorbate is active only in the antimicrobial level (mold growth inhibition) and has no influence on the physical and chemical stability levels.  The potassium sorbate preservative is not included in the PentaCake.  Therefore, the manufacturer has the opportunity to decide whether or not to use it and in which concentration (reducing or omitting the potassium sorbate would shorten the shelf-life period, in the microbial aspect).  However, PentaCake has also an influence on the effectiveness of the potassium sorbate, due to the synergy between them.

Q2 Do you have more cake recipes than the basic cake recipe mentioned in the PentaCake brochure?
A2 Yes, download the Excel interactive cake recipe, which may assist in the implementation of the PentaCake. This interactive cake recipe enables the user to "play" with different parameters (like: cake texture and volume, microbial stability, humidity, costing, etc.).  By changing the options in the bottom-right, the cake recipe is being changed automatically. The recipe also enables the user to enter the local costing of each ingredient (per Kg) and to automatically get the total costing per Kg batter. 

Q3 What is the shelf-life of the final cake, while using the PentaCake?
A3 The shelf-life of the cake is determined by the combination of the following factors:
  • Type and quality of the raw materials used (mainly the oil type and quality).
  • Baking conditions.
  • Sanitary conditions.
  • Packaging.
  • Storage conditions.
  • Modifications, if done, in the recommended cake recipes.
Generally, while the conditions are optimal, the shelf-life of the final cake ranges between 3-9 months. However, every bakery plant has to determine the shelf-life of the cakes by itself, according to its own conditions and criterions of shelf-life.

Q4 Is the PentaCake relevant and suitable also for small bakeries, caterings and other foodservice businesses, while the extended shelf-life is not critical?
A4 The PentaCake improves the quality of the cake either in "time zero" (i.e., while the cake is fresh) or during the entire storage period of the cake.  Therefore, also non-mass production bakery warehouses would find the PentaCake to be beneficial by its contribution to the high specific volume, the increased moistness, the softer texture, the improved mouth feel and the reduced crumbliness.

Q5 Is the PentaCake suitable also for the manufacturing of muffins (cupcakes)? Is there need for any modifications?
A5 Yes, the PentaCake is suitable for muffin manufacturing too.  The batter for the muffins is usually the same as for a regular (300-400g) cake.  Therefore, usually, there is no need for making any changes in the cake recipe.  Naturally, the baking time will be shorter (usually, 20-30 minutes, can be determined by using a toothpick).

Q6 Is the PentaCake suitable for layer cakes, cakes with fillings or toppings, wedding cakes, cakes with pieces?
A6 The PentaCake is destined to be used in any type of battercake, but it is targeted only to the battercake fraction.  That is to say, the non-battercake fraction has to be treated separately, mainly in case that it is humid.  Usually, while the cake contains dried pieces only (e.g., chocolate chips, nuts, dried preserved fruits), there is no need for further care.

Q7 Is the PentaCake suitable for bread, doughnuts, croissant and other yeast/dough based products?
A7 The PentaCake was especially formulated for battercakes and related products.  In some instances, it may contribute also to the shelf-life elongation of other products too, but it has to be specifically tested according to the required application.

Q8 Is the PentaCake suitable for cakes without sugar?
A8 For this diabetic cake category, there is need to use the PentaCake DB (5204), which is especially destined for sugar free and reduced calorie cakes.  Recommended sugar free cake recipe is available upon request.

Q9 Is the PentaCake suitable also for eggless cake manufacturing?
A9 Yes, the eggless cakes (egg free cakes), which are mostly popular in India, can be manufactured using the PentaCake, according to our specific recommended eggless cake recipe.

Q10 We have our own traditional cakes recipe.  However, we would like to commercialize our cakes by the elongation of the shelf-life using the PentaCake.  How can we adopt the PentaCake without totally changing the unique characteristics of our product?
A10 There are two options, which have to be tested in parallel:

Start from your original cake recipe and make the required changes:

  • Omit the following ingredients (if they exist in your cake recipe): baking powder, soda, emulsifiers/improvers, preservatives, stabilizers, antioxidants etc.  I.e., keep only the basic ingredients: sugar, flour, eggs, water/milk, fat, cocoa, flavorings, supplements (e.g., chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, etc.).
  • Add the PentaCake in a ratio of 5% of the total batter (50g per 1 Kg batter) and potassium sorbate (dissolved in water) in a ratio of 0.25% of the total batter (2.5g per 1 Kg batter), subject to your local regulations.
  • The batter has to be partially fluid, similarly to the thickness of honey (at room temperature).  If the batter is too thick, add more water.  If the batter is too watery, add less water (in the next experiment).
Start from our PentaCake basic cake recipe and add your unique flavorings and supplements:

If part of your supplements is in a liquid form (e.g., condensed milk, honey, yogurt, apple sauce, fruit juices, etc.), reduce the amount of water accordingly, while taking care that the final thickness of the batter will be remained as in the original cake.  Always bake also a reference cake exactly as recommended in our cake recipe.

As a part of our technological support, Pentaor provides also tailor-made formulary services, for the ones who are interested in recipe modifications and adaptations.

An interactive recipe for the adaptation of the PentaCake based on your own batter cake recipe

Q11 What is the most suitable package for the cakes?
A11 The most recommended type is a PE+BOPP+Aluminum laminate or metalized polyethylene.  However, even while using a non-optimal packing material, like cellophane packages, the PentaCake "compensates" the inferiority of the package and elongates the shelf-life (however, the shelf-life would be shorter).

Q12 What is the most recommended oil to be used?
A12 Every country has its own "favorite" oils - i.e., the oils having the cheapest cost.  Some of the oils are more suitable than others.  Although the PentaCake contains an efficient antioxidation system, it is important choosing the oil which would be the most stable during the entire shelf-life period of the cake.  The oil quality is also a significant factor, since different suppliers may have different qualities of the same type of oil.  Our experiments show that the best types of oils are palm and sunflower oils.  However, before making the final decision about the oil to be chosen, it is recommended to make experiments by baking cakes with different kinds of oils and checking the organoleptic characteristics of the cake after enhanced spoilage tests (7-14 days incubation at 45C).

Q13 While carrying out laboratory experiments using the PentaCake, what oven shall be used? What are the most important parameters?
A13 The laboratory experiments shall imitate the real conditions of industrial baking - generally, convection rack ovens.  Therefore, the experimental baking can be even done in a home turbo oven.  A toaster-oven or any similar small oven or a deck (pizza) oven are not suitable for that purpose.  While making the baking experiments, there is need to care for the following:
  • To preheat the oven (180C) about 1 hour before baking - in order to ensure proper heat homogeneity.
  • To put the cakes onto a "grill" shelf, and not onto an integral tray, which blocks the heat transfer from the bottom.
  • To load only one shelf in the oven (unlike in the industrial ovens), placed in a height of about 1/3 of the total height of the oven (about 10-15 cm from the bottom, in a standard home turbo oven). 
  • To bake in proper time: until a toothpick goes out clean from the cake.

Q14 We have done pilot trials with the PentaCake and after one-month mould appeared.  How shall we solve this problem?
A14 Definitely, one month microbial stability is not satisfactory for industrial cake plants.  Usually, the microbial stability of the cake is achieved mainly due to the right combination of the water activity of the cake and the effectiveness of the preservative used, together with reasonable hygienic conditions.  Additionally, sometimes the microbial stability is being affected from the storage conditions and the type and way of packaging. 

The full microbial protection is being achieved due to the right combination of all of these parameters.  While one of the parameters is "weak" (e.g., non satisfactory manufacturing hygienic conditions, "problematic" composition of the cake, limited allowed concentration of the preservative, improper storage conditions, improper baking, etc.), there is need to compensate by strengthening other barriers against the microbial spoilage. 

Hereby are the main general guidelines and tips related to the improvement of the microbial stability:

Baking conditions:
We consider the baking conditions as the most important issue to be cared during the product development trials and during the mass commercial cake production.  Sometimes, while carrying out trials with the PentaCake, the baker sets the oven temperature to a certain temperature (e.g., 170C) and the oven screen apparently shows that indeed this is the temperature inside the oven.  Out of our experience with various ovens in different countries, most of the times, the set temperature and the temperature shown on the oven screen are completely different from the real temperature measured inside the oven.  Thus, we strongly recommend measuring the real interior temperature by an independent oven-resistant thermometer.  It really worths the $10 investment... Our basic cake recipes were adjusted to temperatures of about 170-180C.  If the temperature is lower (e.g., 140C-150C), and the baking time is not elongated accordingly, the cake will be too humid.  During the cake shelf life, the water would migrate from the interior of the cake to its surface, which would develop a "pudding texture" after a while.  Then, there are chances that mould would shortly appear.  On the contrary, while baking in too high temperatures, the cake apparently looks ready and well browned after a short baking time, and then taken out from the oven.  However, the interior remains wet, and, again, the above mentioned phenomenon may occur.  Thus, although they are oppositely correlated, the baking time is even more critical than the baking temperature.  Accordingly, in every trial with the PentaCake, it is recommended to bake a few cakes in different baking times.  Of-course, needless to remind also the correlation between the baking time to the size of the baking mold.  For example, the baking of small muffins/cupcakes may take about 15-30 minutes and the baking of large trays (each with a few Kg capacity) would take 60-90 minutes.

Cake composition:
In the recommended cake recipes for the implementation of the PentaCake, we recommend the usage of potassium sorbate as a preservative.  The default value in the cake recipes is 0.24% of the total batter, which was calculated according to a limitation of 2000 ppm sorbates in the final baked product.  In some countries, the maximum sorbate limit is smaller.  Then, there is need to compensate this lack of preservative by other means.  The potassium sorbate is mostly active in acidic conditions.  Thus, while its concentration is low, there is need to increase its effectiveness by increasing the acidity of the cake (i.e., reducing its pH).  This can be done by the addition of acetic acid and sodium acetate (choose the extra microbial protection option in the interactive cake recipe) or by the addition of citric acid, in order to achieve a pH of about 6.0-6.2.  Additionally, elongation of the baking time reduces the water activity of the cake and improves its microbial stability.

Hygienic production conditions:
The microbial contamination of the cakes usually happens in the time slot between its chilling (after baking) to its packaging.  In some bakeries, the cakes stay uncovered, opened to the unclean atmosphere, for a long time, until they are being packed.  In some products, such as bar cakes and sliced cakes, the cake slicing is being done by the touch of the hand of the worker.  Needles to mention the importance of planning the production procedure in a way that would give proper hygienic conditions.  However, in some industrial bakeries, the production procedure and conditions are an existing fact, which cannot be changed.  In these cases, if there is a microbial problem, it is recommended to elongate the baking time and to reduce the pH of the cakes (see the two above-mentioned clauses). 

Q15 We baked a cake according to your recommended basic cake recipe and the cake interior texture was too opened (i.e., with large holes).  In our country, the closed texture (small "spongy" holes) is more popular.  How can we achieve such a texture?
A15 The PentaCake is suitable also for the closed texture cakes.  The difference is in the manufacturing procedure, which is based on prior whipping of the fatty fraction, together with the PentaCake and part of the flour.  For that, in the interactive cake recipe, choose the "Spongy" texture option.

Q16 The cake according to your recommended basic cake recipe has a shape of a hill with a crack in its center.  Our customers prefer a flat top of the cake, without a crack.  How can we get such a shape?
A16 By reducing the baking temperature from 170C-180C to 140C-150C, the shape of the cake becomes flatter and the crack usually does not exist.  While having this temperature reduction, it is critical to significantly elongate the baking time.  Otherwise, the resulted cake would be too wet and moulds may shortly appear.  Alternatively, in order to achieve a flat cake, try to test the procedure described in clause 15 above (for a spongy cake), without reducing the temperature. 

Q17 We would like to increase the volume of the cake even more.  How can it be done?
A17 Try choosing Enhance Leavening or Extra Leavening in the interactive cake recipe

Q18 We produced the cakes according to your recommended cake recipe, but the batter was very fluid and the cakes collapsed after baking.  What shall we do?
A18 That may happen due to a poor quality of eggs or flour.  Choose the "batter too fluid" option in the interactive cake recipe

Q19 We are trying to implement the PentaCake for cakes with dried fruits and for cakes with chocolate chips.  However, during baking, they tend to sink to the bottom of the mold.  How can we stabilize the batter?
A19 Choose the "batter too fluid" option in the interactive cake recipe.  Possibly, accordingly, you will have to shorten the baking time, in order to eliminate having a too dry cake.  You may try also the well known trick of immersing the pieces in flour before adding them to the batter.

Q20 Besides the general technological guidance that you hereby give for the implementation of the PentaCake, do you also give technological support according to specific requirements? 
A20 Definitely yes.  Our interest is that the cake manufacturers would implement the PentaCake in their products 100% successfully.  Thus, we are opened to give technological guidance to any specific requirement.  In cases of mass-industrial bakery plants, we also give in-site support in the plant itself, while participating in the pilot trials in the customer's production facilities (Currently available in Europe, America and South-East Asia).

Q21 Does the usage of the PentaCake affect the costing of the final product?
A21 Apparently, since the PentaCake clusters together a variety of expensive minority ingredients, one may think that the contribution of the PentaCake to the final product costing is not negligible.  However, besides the great economical benefit of having long-life products, the usage of the PentaCake may reduce the total costing of the cake recipe.  By using the PentaCake, based on our recommended cake recipes, the user may reduce or omit the usage of expensive ingredients such as: eggs (which their content may be reduced), margarine (which is being replaced by oil), milk or milk powder, butter, sorbitol, stabilizers, emulsifiers and so on.  In any case, one may try to implement the economical version of the recommended recipe, by choosing the "Economic version" in the interactive cake recipe.

Q22 It seems that the PentaCake contains many additives, are all of them indeed necessary?
A22 The PentaCake is a multi-functional additive and the combination of all of its ingredients provides the optimal effect of the shelf-life elongation and of the quality in "time zero" (while the cake is fresh).  Since the PentaCake is mainly destined to industrial bakery plants, the "clean-label" is not critical.  Moreover, the market segment of "all-natural" cakes is quite negligible, while the low-cost long-life cake market is the main stream and it opens many business opportunities like nationwide mass-distribution and export.

Q23 Can the PentaCake be purchased from another origin rather then Israel?
A23 Yes.  Bakery plants in countries not having trade relationships with Israel can get the PentaCake from a "mirror" production site in the European Union. 

Q24 What is the custom (HS) code for the PentaCake?
A24 1901200015 (Mixes and doughs for the preparation of pastries, cakes and similar sweet baked products, including gingerbread; pudding, contain less than 40% cocoa powder). 

Q25 How is the PentaCake packaged?
A25 The PentaCake is packaged in 25 Kg cartons with PE bags, 24 cartons onto an 80X120 cm EU pallet (600 Kg per pallet - 1.5 CBM, 1 pallets per 20-ft container).

Q26 Is the PentaCake Kosher certified?
A26 Yes, Kosher Parve, under the supervision of the Ramat-Yishai Rabbinate - Rabbi Josef Yitzhak Volosov.  Also available under the "Badatz" supervision.


Disclaimer: Any recipe, advice or technological assistance related to the implementation of the PentaCake is given by Pentaor or its representatives as a gratuitous general advice for further trials to be done by the bakery.  There is no guarantee to the shelf life period of the final cakes.  It is the responsibility of the bakery to ensure the conformity of the products to the laws, regulations and patents in force in the countries where they may be implemented.