Cakes

Baking Processes and Definitions

Find out what went wrong with your last recipe. Or maybe you just want to brush up on your culinary terminology. Learning the baking lingo can vastly improve your baking experience and how your goodies turn out.

A La Mode
Dessert served with or garnished with a topping of ice cream – like pie a la mode – delicious.

Bake
To cook in dry heat in an oven.

Bavarian Cream
A dessert pudding made with a gelatin-cream base. Bavarian cream can be served on its own or used as a filling.

Blend
To mix ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Boil
To cook at boiling temperature which is 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level. This drops to approximately 1 degree for every 500 feet in elevation which is why some recipes have alternate directions for high elevations (above 3500 feet).

Bon Bon
A sweet made of or dipped into fondant.

Broil
To cook by broiler or over coals or any other method of direct heat.

Caramelize
To heat dry sugar or food containing sugar until light brown and caramel flavored.

Charlotte
A dessert made by lining a dish with strips of cake, lady fingers or bread and filling it with fruit, whipped cream, custard or other filling.

Clarified Butter
Butter which has been heated to evaporate the water and separate out the milk solids. The golden fluid that is left is clarified butter.

Cobbler
A deep dish fruit pie made with a rich pastry or biscuit dough top.

Cream
To work or beat shortening until light and fluffy. Sugar and/or flour and eggs may be creamed into the shortening.

Dust
To lightly sprinkle the surface of the food with sugar, flour or crumbs. To sprinkle the surface for rolling out the dough.

Dredge
To coat with flour or a finely ground ingredient.

Éclair
A small custard or whipped cream-filled, finger shaped pastry.

Fold
To combine ingredients by blending with a spoon or wire whisk, using an up and over motion. Used to incorporate a delicate mixture into a heavier one without stirring.

Fondant
A preparation made from sugar syrup and kneaded to creaminess.

Garnish
To decorate foods by adding other attractive and complementary foodstuffs to the food or serving dish.

Glaze
To coat with a thin sugar syrup that has been cooked to the crack stage, or to cover with a thin icing. Can also mean to brush on milk, egg or sugar before baking to produce a shiny golden finish.

Knead
To work soft dough with the heels of your hand, by folding, pressing, and stretching the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Meringue
A beaten foam of egg whites and sugar that is frequently used to top pies or to lighten other mixtures.

Parfait
Ice cream, fruit and whipped cream dessert; or a frozen mixture of egg whites or yolks, cooked with hot syrup and combined with whipped cream.

Scald
To heat liquid to a temperature just below the boiling point. A thin skim forming over milk indicates sufficient heating.

Simmer
To cook in liquid that is just below the boiling point.

Torte
A cake or pastry made of many eggs, sugar and often grated nuts or dry bread crumbs instead of flour and baked in a large flat form pan. Sometimes filled with jam and usually covered with frosting.

Whip
To make food such as batter or cream stiff and creamy by adding air to it with short quick movements, using a fork, whisk, or electric beater.

Zest
This is the coarse outer rind of citrus fruits such as lemons or oranges. You want only the colored outer portion, not the bitter inner white portion. Zests are frequently used for flavoring.

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