Last Updated on January 3, 2022
Whether you are a novice or pro baker, knowing cake decorating terminology can help you when you are creating your next baking masterpiece. Learning these common decorating terms can help you get a better understanding of different items and methods you use while baking.
When making cakes, you want to know all the proper terminology to ensure you get the best-finished product. There are many different phrases bakers use, each that is important to know when making a cake. In addition, they will help you sound like a pro when talking to your friends and family.
Common Cake Decorating Terminology
Before you get started on baking your next cake, these terms will be helpful to learn. No matter your experience level or how often you bake, these phrases are good to know.
Buttercream is a popular type of frosting used to decorate cakes. Made with butter, it has a smooth and creamy texture that tastes delicious. There are many different types of buttercream such as American, Swiss Meringue, Italian Meringue, French, and German.
Fondant is sweet icing with an elastic texture commonly made from sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin. It is carefully rolled out and shaped, then draped over cakes to give them a smooth appearance. Decorations can then be added to the top of the fondant.
Ganache is made from melted chocolate mixed with heavy whipping cream. It has a sweet, rich flavor and can be used for fillings or as icing. It is often made with milk, dark or semi-sweet chocolate.
4. Royal Icing
Royal icing is made from powdered sugar, water, and meringue powder or egg whites. Though it is commonly used to decorate cookies, it can also be used for detailed designs on cakes. It starts off as a soft paste before it hardens.
5. Crumb Coat
A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting you apply to your cake before decorating. After applying the crumb coat, cakes are put in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set. The crumb coat seals in the crumbs and gives you a good base to work off of.
Dowels are used to give support to cakes that are several layers tall. They are placed in the center to give tall cakes stability, preventing them from tumbling over due to weight. Dowels are often made from wood, plastic, or straws.
7. Cake Flour
Cake flour is a special type of flour used for baking cakes. It has a fine consistency that gives cakes a fluffy texture. It can also be substituted by measuring one cup of flour then removing two tablespoons from it and adding two tablespoons of cornstarch.
8. Gum Paste
Gum paste is similar to fondant but is more elastic and turns very hard when it dries. It is often used to create different decorations such as sugar flowers.
Marzipan is also similar to fondant, though it is typically made of almonds, egg whites, and sweeteners. It is often used for sculpting and molding figures, though it can also be used to cover cakes.
10. Cake Boards/Cake Circles
Cake boards, also known as cake circles, are a base for setting cakes on. They are typically made from cardboard or plastic and come in various shapes and sizes. Though they are not edible, they are often covered in decorations.
11. Meringue Powder
Meringue powder is a substitute used for egg whites. It can be used in royal icing or added to buttercream to make it more stable.
Piping involves decorating a cake using a piping bag with a tip. When piping, you can create letters, designs, and patterns. There are many different piping tips available for decorating cakes.
13. Petal Dust
Petal dust is an edible, glitter-like powder. It is used to add sparkle and shine when decorating cakes.
Latticework is a piping style that crisscrosses with an open pattern. It is used to create intricate designs on cakes.
Basketweave is a decorating technique used with frosting or fondant to create a crosshatch pattern. It creates the appearance of a woven basket.
Beading is a technique to create a border on cakes that resembles small pearls. It is often done on tiers of cakes.
17. Icing Spatulas
Icing Spatulas are long, smooth spatulas used to frost cakes. They can be angled (offset) or flat, depending on your frosting needs.
Know Your Terms
There are a lot of different terms used when baking cakes. Though it might seem overwhelming at times when reading recipes, learning these phrases will be helpful for your baking.
Do you have any questions on cake decorating terminology? If so, please ask them in the comments down below.