Baker’s insect cakes bake up a storm

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Flour made from mealworms was used to make cakes at Patisserie Maxime
Flour made from mealworms was used to make cakes at Patisserie Maxime

Related tags: Flour

A bakery in Edinburgh has launched cakes made from insects to boost their reputation as alternative sources of protein.

Cyril Barthelme of Patisserie Maxime has been using flour made from ground up scorpions, crickets and mealworms to help raise awareness of meat alternatives.

He said he got the idea after reading and watching documentaries on how meat supplies and quality had been falling around the word and that eating insects may be the way forward.

However, there is still the perception in the western world that eating insects is not very appealing,” ​Barthelme told BBC Scotland News​.

“I thought if I ground them up into flour first before making cakes then they could be perceived as nice to eat.

‘Insect flour was a challenge’

Barthelme said that making cakes using the insect flour was a challenge, since it was much finer than wheat flour. However, blending the two allowed him to create different types of cakes.

It’s a matter of education,” ​he said. “In the west, we are brought up to see insects as disgusting but that’s not true. Insects are very nutritious.”

One kg of termites provides about 350g of protein, while the same amount of beef contains 320g, according to business services firm Rentokil Initial.

Similarly, caterpillars contain 280g of protein per 1kg, 20g more than salmon, 30g more than pork, and 263g more than tofu.

Unlikely to start replacing

Even with all its benefits, insect flour is unlikely to start completely replacing traditional ingredients at the Scottish patisserie.

The insect flour was 100 times more expensive than plain flour, so Barthelme was making no profit from cake sales, he said.

Edible insects have become more and more popular recently, with David Jago, director of innovation and insights at research consultants Mintel saying there was room from insect products in Europe and the UK.

A demand for alternative proteins has created consumer interest in edible insects –as well as research into lab-grown meat – according to the Food and Drink Federation.

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