Baked desserts from home and fine restaurants leave no bad taste in my mouth. But catered deserts at my workplace or those purchased from a grocery store leave a nasty aftertaste that I can't stand. I've noticed this consistently for years with food supplied by multiple locations. Frequently I resist the temptation to indulge because the yuck factor after is not worth the initial yum. What ingredient could it be that leaves such a terrible taste in my mouth that has me scrambling for a toothbrush and toothpaste?

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    Since taste is subjective and the ingredients list in a dessert will be extremely varied, I'm not sure we can really give you a definite answer. If you happen to find a specific dessert you've noticed this with and the ingredients it contains, I don't think this is answerable.
    – Catija
    Jun 13 '17 at 20:31
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    There must be a common ingredient that is NOT used at home but is included in grocery store bought birthday cake, cookies, brownies, carrot cake, etc. I'm surprised I haven't found others with this reaction. The aftertaste to me is disgusting. What could it be I wonder? Jun 13 '17 at 20:43
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    I can't eat most packaged cookies/cakes because they have an off flavor I've always associated with preservatives but I don't have this reaction to house-made desserts at grocery chains... I'd argue that most in-store recipes are simply large-batch versions of what you might make at home... they aren't designed for long-term storage... things like packaged cakes/cookies etc definitely have chemical ingredients, though.
    – Catija
    Jun 13 '17 at 20:46
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    @LorelC. The thing that's iffy about this is not that there is no answer but that it's probably difficult to actually figure out what it is. There are presumably a lot of things that routinely get added to commercial baked goods but not small-batch baked goods, and "it tastes bad to one person" isn't really enough to narrow that down.
    – Cascabel
    Jun 13 '17 at 23:30
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    Wild guess: The fat - subpar baking margarines (which can taste the unpleasant kind of greasy), or pure butterfat (last time I handled it I found it turns nasty rancid real easy), or... Jun 14 '17 at 1:47

It's possibly whey or something like that. People don't usually use it at home, but it's in lots of stuff at the store. I've heard it can cause issues for some, but I'm not sure about taste.

It may also be the kind of oil they use. Stores are known for using more kinds of oil than consumers usually do, in my observations. Oil can definitely affect aftertastes, in my experience.

The leavening agents they use may be different.

Maybe preservatives of some kind are causing the aftertaste.

It could be the substance or method they use to prevent the baked deserts from sticking to the pan. I imagine they don't always do the same stuff there that cooks at home do.

It's possibly not an ingredient at all that is causing the aftertaste. It may just be unfamiliar fungi and bacteria coming from all the people hovering around the food making unfamiliar byproducts that you smell after you eat the food. This is just a hypothesis, but I do sometimes notice a similar phenomenon around food on tables at indoor parties in other people's houses and such, when it's left to sit more than a half an hour or so, especially if people are talking over the food. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, but it can be unpleasant. If it's at my house, or if other people aren't around, it's not normally an issue, if so.

However, it might rather be a contaminant, like maybe wood alcohol (which is said to be in lots of stuff, due to contamination) although I don't know that wood alcohol contributes an aftertaste.

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    This answer perfectly illustrates why this question is too broad. The realm of possibilities is infinite.
    – Catija
    Jun 14 '17 at 15:19

It might be that they are using canola oil. I find that it has this weird aftertaste that other people don't seem to notice,,, although I can tell the difference when I taste the deli foods at Whole Foods with and without.

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