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Glossary of Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Aerate

A synonym for sift; to pass ingredients through a fine-mesh device to break up large pieces and to incorporate air into the ingredients to make them lighter.

Airbrush

An artist's paint gun using an air pump to spray food coloring finely and evenly on cakes, cupcakes or cookies. Excellent for making backgrounds.

Airtight Container

Available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and materials, vessels that exclude air are widely used in baking to store icings and cakes. Airtight containers prevent food from becoming dried out. The most popular type of airtight containers are plastic with tight-fitting lids, traditional metal tins with lids are also popular for storing cakes and cookies. Unused airtight containers and lids should be washed thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinsed and dried, the lids and containers should be stored separately.

All-Purpose Flour

A blend of soft and hard wheat flours with a medium amount of gluten, suitable for most baking purposes.

Almond Paste

A smooth, heavy dough made of ground almonds. Used in candies and pastries.

Angle Food Cake Pan

A round, high-sided pan with a hollow cylinder in the center that provides the traditional angel food cake shape. It is typically two-piece with a removable bottom for convenient cake removal. Standard size is 10" diameter and 4" deep, just right for a mix. Smaller pans (4" and 7" diameter) are also available. These pans are also great for chiffon cakes, quick breads and gelatin molds.

Attach

Affixing decorations, such as flowers or icing decorations, to your cake using dots of icing. Use your icing to attach these items as you would use "glue".

Australian

A method of cake decorating using the fine art of detailed extension and curtain work comprised of delicate stringwork and icing lace on a rolled fondant cake.

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Backdrop

Fabric or paper background that is either draped or hung smoothly. Used to highlight a wedding cake setting, or for taking professional pictures for a portfolio or album.

Bag Striping

A technique of applying stripes of color--either icing or color paste-- on the inside of the decorating bag for multi-color decorating effects.

Bake

To cook raw food in the oven using dry heat.

Basketweave Tip

A decorating tip with at least one serrated side for making ribbed stripes and for producing a basketweaving effect by piping interwoven vertical and horizontal lines.

Batch

Batch baking is where a large number of cookies are made at one time. The cookies may need to be cooked in rotation in the oven.

Batter

A mixture of flour, fat, and liquid that is thin enough in consistency to require a pan to encase it. Used in such preparations as cakes and some cookies. A batter is different from dough, which maintains its shape.

Beat

To agitate an ingredient or combination of ingredients vigorously, using a spoon, whisk, electric mixer or fork. Beating can be used as a method to soften and blend ingredients or to incorporate air into a mixture.

Beaten

Ingredients or an ingredient that have been agitated vigorously using a spoon, whisk, electric mixer or fork.

Bind

To thicken a sauce or hot liquid by stirring in ingredients such as eggs, flour, butter, or cream.

Blanch

To boil briefly to loosen the skin of a fruit or a vegetable. After 30 seconds in boiling water, the fruit or vegetable should be plunged into ice water to stop the cooking action, and then the skin easily slices off.

Blend

To thoroughly combine two or more ingredients together or to process food using an electric blender or mixer.

Bloom

A whitish coating on chocolate, caused by separated cocoa butter.

Boil

To cook a liquid at a temperature of 100°C when bubbles rise rapidly to the surface. Always use a saucepan large enough to prevent ingredients from boiling over the edges of the pan.

Boil Vigorously

To cook a liquid at a temperature of 100°C, without the temperature falling below the specified temperature.

Border

A continuous decoration used around the top, side or base of a cake.

Bain-Marie

Also known as Mary’s bath or water bath, refers to the method of placing smaller pans within a large pan containing hot water to stabilize the heat from reaching the food and allows food to cook evenly all the way through without the food burning or drying out or can be used to keep food warm. The bain-marie technique is traditionally used for preparing delicate items such as custards, milk-based sauces, mousses, and other foods that need to be gently warmed without scorching, burning, breaking, or curdling.

Bring to a Boil

To heat water in a pan, with or without other ingredients until it reaches 100°C.

Brush With

Using a pastry brush or crumpled wax paper, cover lightly with melted fat, salad oil, cream, beaten egg white. etc.

Bud

The first stage of a growth for a branch, leaf, or flower.

Building Up

Creating larger decorations by leaving the tip in the icing for a longer time continuing to squeeze the bag (example: a dot becomes a ball if tip is left in the icing).

Bundt-Style Pan

This one-piece pan bakes a cake with a hole in the center but is distinguished by fancy, fluted indentations. Used for pound cakes, fruit cakes and mousses.

Buttercream Icing

The most versatile and best tasting decorating icing. Icing is smooth and creamy with decorations remaining soft. Stiff consistency is used for flowers with upright petals, medium consistency is used for borders and flat flowers, thin consistency is used for icing the cake, writing and making leaves.

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Cake Board

Corrugated cardboard sized to provide bases for cakes. Can be found in single or double thicknesses.

Cake Circle

Corrugated cardboard rounds sized to provide bases for standard circular cakes. Can be purchased, waxed, unwaxed, patterned or with ruffles already applied.

Cake Pan

Cake pans come in various depths. Professional cake pans have sides at least 2" high; the taller sides result in taller cakes. Round, square and rectangular shapes are typical, and hundreds of shaped pans are also available.

Cake Rack

An open metal round or rectangular wire rack used to cool cakes and other baked goods, after they have been removed from the oven.

Calyx

The cuplike green portion of the flower connecting the petals to the stem. The outer protective covering of a flower, which folds back when open in segments called sepals.

Candy Clay

A combination of chocolate and corn syrup to keep the chocolate pliable. Used to form woven baskets, ribbons and flowers like the rose. Also known as Candy Modeling Clay.

Candy (Sugar) Thermometer

A thermometer used to check the temperature of sugar when making sweets. A sugar thermometer is also invaluable for checking the setting point when making jams and jellies. A sugar thermometer can also be used to measure the temperature of oil when deep frying.

Caramelization

Browning sugar over a heat, with or without the addition of some water to aid the process. The temperature range in which sugar caramelizes is approximately 320° F to 360° F (160° C to 182° C).

Caramelize

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt granulated sugar, stirring constantly, until sugar caramelizes into a golden-brown syrup. Superfine sugar caramelized in less time.

Cascade

A continuous flow of decorations from one level to another.

Cast Sugar

Sugar that is boiled to the hard crack stage and then poured into molds to harden.

Casually Iced

A loose, free-flowing way to ice your cake that is easy for anyone to achieve. Unlike perfectly smooth iced cakes, the casually iced cake surface has a textured look, achieved with a light stroking motion of the spatula.

Celsius Scale

The metric system of temperature measurement, with 0° C at the freezing point of water and 100° C at the boiling point of water.

Chiffon Method

A cake mixing method involving the folding of whipped egg whites into a batter made of flour, egg yolks, and oil.

Chill

To place in the refrigerator, at a temperature of less than 40°F, to reduce the temperature of food.

Chilled

A food that has been stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of less than 40°F, in order to reduce its temperature before serving.

Chocolate Compound Coatings

Available from many companies in sweet, semisweet, butterscotch, peanut butter, and a variety of colors for great versatility in candy making. Eliminates the tempering process necessary for real chocolate.

Chocolate Liquor

Unsweetened chocolate, consisting of cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

Citric Acid

Helps prevent sugaring and improves flavors, especially in fruit candies. Comes in liquid or crystal powder form. Crystals can be mixed with an equal amount of water to form liquid citric acid.

Clarify

Remove impurities from butter or stock by heating the liquid, then straining or skimming it.

Coat

To evenly cover food with flour, crumbs, or a batter.

Coats a Spoon

When a cooked egg-based mixture or sauce leaves a thin layer on a metal spoon as a test for doneness.

Cocoa

Powder of roasted cacao beans, when added to oil makes an excellent substitute for processed chocolate. The dry powder that remains after cocoa butter is pressed out of chocolate liquor.

Cocoa Butter

A white or yellowish fat found in natural chocolate.

Coconut Dough

A chewy, coconut filling for candy bars or centers.

Coconut Oil

One of the ingredients in man-made chocolate. Used to thin chocolate or soften finished candy and make it less brittle.

Color Flow Mix

A prepared, pasteurized egg white based powder that produces Color Flow icing when mixed with water and confectioners’ sugar. Used to create decorations to be placed on a cake. First the decoration is outlined on wax paper with regular strength color flow. Then the color flow is thinned and allowed to flow into the outlined area. Once dried the piece is removed from the wax paper and placed on marshmallows, sugar cubes, or wax paper or parchment paper outline so that the decoration does not come into contact with the grease or humidity of the icing.

Combine

To mix or toss to distribute ingredients evenly. Use a fork or wooden spoon.

Confectioner’s Sugar

Granulated sugar that has been processed into a powder. Contains either cornstarch or wheat starch to keep the powder from clumping. All confectioner’s sugar is pre-sifted but with different gauges of mesh. The size of the gauge is sometimes indicated on the packaging, such as 4x, 6x, or 10x. Used to make icings, gum paste, fondant, or sprinkled on top of cakes, cookies, or donuts. Also known as Icing Sugar or Powdered Sugar.

Cookie Cutter

A metal or plastic tool with a sharp edge that is used to stamp out shapes from dough to make cookies or designs on a cake. A wide choice of shapes are available ranging from plain or fluted round cutters to novelty shapes such as stars, hearts, Christmas trees and flowers.

Cookie Sheet

A flat pan with one edge (and sometimes two) slightly curved for ease in handling. Standard sizes are 10" x 15" and 11" x 17".

Cooling Rack

An open metal round or rectangular wire rack used to cool cakes and other baked goods, after they have been removed from the oven.

Core

The central inedible part of a fruit which contains the seeds or pips. To remove the central inedible part of a fruit, for best results use an apple corer to core smaller fruit.

Cornelli Lace

An elaborate piping technique using a series of curved lines that yields a lace-like pattern.

Cornstarch

A powder created from maize used as a thickener in cooking, to dry Gum Paste when working, or to dust the work surface when rolling out fondant. Also found in confectioner’s sugar to prevent clumping.

Corn Syrup

A corn product used to prevent sugaring in candies. Often adds a chewy consistency.

Coupler

A grooved insert and retainer ring for the decorating bags that allows tip changes without changing bags. The coupler has two parts; the inner coupler base and the outer coupler ring. Decorator bags are cut so that only the first thread of the inner coupler is exposed.

Couverture

Natural, sweet chocolate containing no added fats other than natural cocoa butter; used for dipping, molding, coating, and similar purposes.

Covered Wire

Florist wires covered with paper not plastic, used when making Gum Paste flowers.

Cream

The fat content of milk, the thicker the cream the higher the fat content. To beat fat (usually butter) and sugar (usually granulated sugar) together to form a pale and fluffy mixture which resembles whipped cream in texture and color. This mixture is used as a basis for a wide variety of cake, pie and pudding recipes.

Cream of coconut

A sweet thick liquid made from fresh coconuts, and added sugar and stabilizers.

Cream of Tarter

Potassium bitartrate; a white powder used to hold beaten egg whites and to harden flowed sugar.

Creaming

The process of beating fat and sugar together to blend them uniformly and to incorporate air.

Creaming Method

A mixing method that begins with the blending of fat and sugar; used for cakes, cookies, and similar items.

Cream Together

To beat fat (usually butter) and sugar (usually granulated sugar) to form a pale and fluffy mixture which resembles whipped cream in texture and color. This mixture is used as a basis for a wide variety of cake, biscuit and pudding recipes.

Crimp

Press together two pastry layers on edge of pie crust, sealing the dough and at the same time creating a decorative edge using fingers, a fork, or other utensil.

Crumble

To break into small pieces or crumbs.

Crumbled

An ingredient that has been broken into small pieces or crumbs.

Crush

To condense a food to its smallest particles, usually using a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin.

Crystallize

To form sugar- or honey-based syrups into crystals. The term also describes the coating.

Cube

Cut into small (about 1/2") cubes.

Cupcakes

Small cakes usually round in shape baked in cupcake papers in a muffin pan. Can be arranged in tiers to resemble a larger wedding cake.

Curd

Custard-like pie or tart filling flavored with juice and zest of citrus fruit, usually lemon, although lime and orange may also be used.

Curdle

To cause semisolid pieces of coagulated protein to develop in food, usually as a result of the addition of an acid substance, or the overheating of milk or egg-based sauces.

Custard

A mixture of beaten egg, milk, and possibly other ingredients such as sweet or savory flavorings, which is cooked with gentle heat, often in a water bath or double boiler. As pie filling, the custard is frequently cooked and chilled before being layered into a prebaked crust.

Cut In

To mix a cold fat, such as butter or margarine, with flour or dry ingredients by hand until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs using a pastry blender or two tableware knives.

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Dash

A measure approximately equal to 1/16 teaspoon.

Decorating Bag

The container that holds a decorating tip and decorating icing. Bags can be made of plastic, polyester or parchment paper.

Decorating Tips

Specially-shaped, open-end tips used to form icing decorations. The size and shape of the opening on a decorating tube determines the type of decorations the tip will produce. Sometimes called decorating tubes.

Decorating Tubes

Specially-shaped, open-end tips used to form icing decorations. The size and shape of the opening on a decorating tube determines the type of decorations the tip will produce. Sometimes called decorating tips.

Decorator Brush

Nylon brush used for color striping, smoothing icing details, painting sugar molds, painting chocolate molds, applying vanilla and piping gel to fondant, and moving outlines.

Desiccated Coconut

A finely cut, dry, unsweetened coconut. Sometimes referred to as macaroon coconut.

Dice

Cut into very small (about 1/4") cubes.

Direct Heat

A cooking method that allows heat to meet food directly, such as grilling, broiling, or toasting.

Dissolve

To add a solid to a liquid and to stir or heat it until the solid becomes an integral part of the liquid.

Disposable Bag

Clear plastic decorating bag used to hold icing, coupler and tip. Ideal for creating fine lines of melted chocolate or for writing on chocolate. Also, ideal for using with colorflow. The end of the bag is uncut allowing you to determine the size of the opening.

Dot

Scatter small bits, as of butter or margarine, over surface of food.

Dotted Swiss

Texture effect made by dotting the surface area.

Double Boiler

Also known as a double saucepan this consists of a set of two pans that stack on top of each other. A double boiler is used, where water is heated in the lower saucepan and the top pan is used to carry out any cooking process that requires gentle indirect heat.

Dough

A combination of ingredients including flour, water or milk, and, sometimes, a leavener, producing a firm but workable mixture for making baked goods.

Dragees

Round, edible sugar balls coated with silver or gold which are used for decorative purposes.

Drain

To remove water from ingredients cooked in liquid or from raw ingredients that have been washed in water by placing them in a sieve or colander. Water can also be drained from ingredients cooked in water by placing a lid over the pan of ingredients and cooking water and inverting it.

Dredge

Coat or sprinkle lightly with flour, sugar, etc.

Drizzle

To pour a liquid over other ingredients, usually in a random design and often as a finishing decorative touch.

Drop Flower Tip

Decorating tip used to make icing flowers quickly and easily.

Dry Fondant

A commercial powdered cane sugar product that needs to be reconstitute with liquids to make a simple fondant.

Dust

To sprinkle lightly with a powder.

Dusting

A light covering of a fine powdered ingredient.

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Egg Wash

A mixture of beaten eggs (yolks, whites, or whole eggs) with either milk or water. Used to coat cookies and other baked goods to give them a shine when baked.

Electric Hand Mixer

A hand held mixer which usually comes with various attachments including a whisk attachment for whisking cream, batters and egg whites and sugar. Dough hooks are also available for some models to mix and knead yeast mixtures.

Electric Mixer

A large worktop piece of equipment which has the capacity to mix large amounts of bread, cake, icing and pastry dough. Food mixers also often have useful extra attachments such as a blender, juice extractor, pasta maker or coffee grinder.

Elongated

To taper an icing decoration by relaxing the bag pressure and movement before stopping the technique.

Embroidery

A delicate technique that creates a pattern on the top and sides of the cake using a series of straight and curved lines, dots and flower shapes resembling fine embroidery.

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Featherweight Bag

Reusable polyester decorating bag.

Figure Piping

A decorating technique used to form figures out of icing. The form figures normally consist of fruits, vegetables, animals, or people.

Filling

Frosting, preserves, and/or pudding that is spread between layers of cake to hold them together.

Filter

To remove lumps, excess liquid, or impurities by passing through paper or cheesecloth.

Finely Chop

To cut food into very small pieces using a sharp knife or food processor.

Firm Ball Stage

A term used in connection with making sweets to determine the temperature of a sugar and water syrup. When a teaspoon of the boiled syrup is dropped into cold water and it forms a firm ball, which does not flatten when removed from the water, the syrup is at firm ball stage or has a temperature of 242-248°F.

Firm Peaks

When a whisk is removed from a well whisked or whipped ingredient, the mixture stands up in small points known as firm peaks.

Flan

An open pie filled with sweet or savory ingredients; also, a Spanish dessert of baked custard covered with caramel.

Flower Former

A curved plastic form used to dry icing flowers and to create curved petals.

Flower Nail

Round, flat surface on a stem that is finger-held and can be rotated. Used for making icing flowers.

Fluffy

When a mixture is beaten or mixed until it has a soft texture.

Flute

Press together two pastry layers on edge of pie crust, sealing the dough and at the same time creating a decorative edge using fingers, a fork, or other utensil.

Foaming

The process of whipping eggs, with or without sugar, to incorporate air.

Foamy

When a mixture is beaten or mixed until it has a frothy and bubbly, semi-liquid texture.

Fold In

To combine a light ingredient such as whipped cream or whisked egg whites into a heavier mixture such as melted chocolate and butter. By folding in the lighter ingredient the heavier mixture becomes lighter. To fold in, pass wire ship, rubber spatula, or metal spoon vertically down through the mixtures across bottom of bowl and up opposite side. Rotate the bowl a quarter turn with each stroke. Repeat until evenly combined. Do not stir in circles. Also refers to incorporating ingredients like chocolate chips or nuts into a cake or cookie dough.

Fondant

A sweet, elastic icing made of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin that is rolled out with a rolling pin and draped over a cake. It has a smooth, porcelain finish and provides a firm base for hand molded sugar flowers, decorative details, and architectural designs. Cakes iced in fondant have a layer of buttercream, apricot glaze or ganache underneath to keep the fondant soft. Flowers made with fondant are generally not as delicate as Gum Paste flowers. A fondant covered cake should not be refrigerated unless it contains perishable items.

Fresh Flowers

Can be added to a cake as long as they are non-poisonous and organically grown. All stems are poisonous. Can be placed in plastic holders or on plates, specifically designed for holding fresh flowers on cakes.

Frost

To cover a cake with icing.

Frothy

A light foam-like texture created when liquid has been whisked until a collection of small bubbles have formed.

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Ganache

A sweet, rich chocolate, denser than mousse but less dense than fudge. It is made by pouring hot cream over chocolate and beating it with a wooden spoon until the mixture is glossy and smooth, and will soften in very humid weather.

Garland

Swags of icing used to create a draped decoration along the top of the cake.

Garnish

To add a small decoration, often edible, to a dessert just before serving to enhance its finished appearance.

Gelatin

Ingredient of Gum Paste used to strength the final product. Also used to thicken some fillings.

Glaze

Glazes are used to give desserts a smooth and/or shiny finish or to seal in the moisture. Cake glazes can be water icing (confectioners’ sugar mixed with liquid), melted chocolate in combination with cream, butter and/or sugar syrup, or fondant (a thick shiny opaque icing). Caramel is used to glaze some cakes and small pastries; and sugar cooked to the hard-crack stage can be used to give pastries sheen but no color. Tart glazes are made from sieved jam, preserves or jelly, or a combination of the above. Pastry glazes (brushed on dough before baking) can be an egg glaze made with whole eggs or yolks; milk, cream and/or butter glaze (these produce a duller finish); sugar glaze (sugar sprinkled over milk or cream glaze), or any combinations of the above.

Glucose

A type of sugar used in commercial candies and frosting, baked good, soft drinks and other processed foods because it does not crystallize easily. Also called dextroglucose or dextrose. Used in making fondant.

Gluten

A protein formed when hard wheat flour is moistened and agitated. Gluten is what gives yeast dough its characteristic elasticity.

Glycerin

A colorless, odorless, syrupy liquid made from fats and oils and used to retain moisture and add sweetness to foods. It also helps to prevent sugar crystallization in foods like candy. Stir into icing to restore consistency or use to soften fondant or royal icing. Can be used to soften dried icing colors, and when making rolled fondant.

Grate

To rub food downwards on a grater to produce shreds or slices of varying thicknesses.

Grease

To apply a layer of fat to a surface to prevent food from sticking.

Grind

To mechanically cut a food into small pieces.

Gum Arabic

A powdered resin that is taken from two sub-Saharan species of the acacia tree. It is used primarily in the food industry as a stabilizer. Also, an ingredient used in making gumdrops.

Gum Paste

A sugar paste dough with a gum stiffening agent, this mixture is most often used for handmade flowers and other three-dimensional decorations. Flowers made from Gum Paste usually look the most lifelike. It dries hard and breaks easily if not handled gingerly. Gum Paste is susceptible to heat and humidity. If properly stored, Gum Paste decorations will last for years as keepsakes.

Gum Paste Flowers

Realistic-looking fruits, flowers, ribbons and bows molded from a paste of sugar, cornstarch, and gelatin. Gum Paste decorations which can be used to garnish a cake, are edible and will last for years as keepsakes.

Gum Tragacanth

Powdered resin that is essential ingredient for Gum Paste to ensure its elastic qualities.

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Hard Ball Stage

The stage or temperature at which a small quantity of heated sugar syrup forms a hard ball when dropped into cold water. This temperature is usually between 250°F and 265°F. A candy thermometer is a handy tool for determining the proper temperature. The hard-ball stage is important because certain candy recipes require this in order to be prepared successfully.

Hard Crack Stage

The hard crack stage is the highest temperature you are likely to see specified in a candy recipe. At these temperatures, there is almost no water left in the syrup. Syrup dropped into ice water separates into hard, brittle threads that break when bent. the syrup is at hard crack stage or has a temperature of 300°F to 310°F.

Heat

To increase the temperature of ingredients, either to cook or to make it more palatable.

Heath Crunches

Include peppermint, toffee, pecan crisp, lemon and cinnamon. Ready to add to chocolate to make barks and fillings.

Hull (also Husk)

To remove the leafy parts of soft fruits, such as strawberries or blackberries.

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Ice

To cool down cooked food by placing in ice; also, to spread frosting on a cake.

Icing

A mixture of sugar, butter, and flavorings used to cover a cake and from which decorative, edible designs are created.

Icing Color

Concentrated color formula used for adding color to icing and other foods.

Icing Comb

A plastic triangle with toothed or serrated edges; used for texturing icings.

Icing Pearls

A technique using icing, piping gel, and tips to form pearls on a cake.

Invert Sugar

Created by combining a sugar syrup with a small amount of acid (such as cream of tartar or lemon juice) and heating. This inverts, or breaks down, the sucrose into its two components, glucose and fructose, thereby reducing the size of the sugar crystals. Because of its fine crystal structure, invert sugar produces a smoother product and is used in making candies such as fondant, and some syrups. The process of making jams and jellies automatically produces invert sugar by combining the natural acid in the fruit with granulated sugar and heating the mixture. Invert sugar can usually be found in jars in cake-decorating supply shops

Invertase

A yeast derivative, used in fondant centers to make them creamier as the fondant ripens. Usually only a few drops are necessary. Can be omitted from any recipe.

Iridescent Powder

Powder that give cakes and decorations a pearl-like finish.

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Jell

To cause a food to set or solidify, usually by adding gelatin.

Jelly-Roll Pan

A rectangular pan with about 1" deep sides originally designed to make sheet cakes or sponge cakes for jelly rolls. Today, the pan is commonly used for baking cookies, rolls and pizzas. Standard size is about 10-1/2" x 15-1/2" x 1".

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Kirsch

A clear alcoholic beverage distilled from cherries.

Knead

To work dough either with your hands, in a food processor with a dough hook or using a whisk with the dough hooks attached until it is smooth and elastic.

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Lace Points

Royal icing piped filigree which extends past the edge of the cake.

Lambeth

A method of using intricate, dimensional overpiping of borders on a rolled fondant cake. Overpipe scrolls, scallops and stringwork plus other decorations for the layer-upon-layer look.

Latticework

A detail that crisscrosses with an open pattern. The lattice can be piped on the side of the cake or pressed into the cake.

Layer

An individual horizontal part of a solid.

Leaf Tip

Decorating tip used to make icing leaves and some flowers such as the lily and poinsettia.

Leavener

An ingredient or process that produces air bubbles and causes the rising of baked goods such as cookies and cakes.

Lecithin

An emulsifier made from soybeans and used to keep oils from separating.

Leveling

Removing the rounded top part or "crown" of a cake to provide a flat surface for frosting and decorating.

Lightly Grease

To apply a thin layer of Pan Release or fat to a surface to prevent food from sticking.

Line

To place layers of edible (cake or bread slices) or inedible (foil or wax paper) ingredients in a pan to provide structure for a dish or to prevent sticking.

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Marble

To partly mix two colors of cake batter or icing so that the colors are in decorative swirls.

Marzipan

A paste made of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites, used to mold edible flowers or fruit to decorate the cake. Marzipan can also be rolled in sheets, like fondant, and used as icing.

Melt

To apply heat to a solid ingredient to turn it into a liquid.

Meringue

Egg whites beaten until they are stiff, then sweetened. It can be used as the topping for pies, or baked as cookies.

Meringue Powder

Mixture made with pasteurized dried egg whites; used to make long-lasting, hard-drying royal icing. Safe to use uncooked in icings, meringues and mousses. Also adds strength to sugar molds and buttercream flowers. Stabilizes buttercream and whipped cream icings.

Milk Chocolate

A combination of chocolate liquor, added cocoa butter, sugar and milk or cream. It must contain at least 10% chocolate liquor. It may also contain optional ingredients.

Miniatures

Individually decorated wedding cakes served to each guests.

Mix

To combine two or more ingredients by stirring in circles with a wooden spoon until ingredients are distributed evenly and there are no clumps of one ingredient. Or, to combine with an electric mixer on low speed.

Mixer

A large worktop piece of electrical equipment which has the capacity to mix large amounts of batter or dough. Food mixers also often have useful extra attachments such as a blender, juice extractor, pasta maker or coffee grinder.

Modeling Chocolate

A thick paste made of chocolate and glucose, which can be molded by hand into decorative shapes. Also referred to as Candy Clay.

Moisten

Adding enough liquid to dry ingredients to dampen but not soak them.

Mousse

A very light and airy filling similar to a dense whipped cream flavored with fruit or chocolate. Mousse is not recommended for cakes that will be displayed at room temperature for any length of time.

Mull

To slowly heat wine or cider with spices and sugar.

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Nondairy Liquid Coffee Creamers

The frozen liquid type is excellent in candy. Use in place of milk or cream in fudges.

Nougat

A mixture of caramelized sugar and almonds or other nuts, used in decorative work and as a confection and flavoring.

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Outline

A line of icing which helps define shapes on the cake. Often used on character cakes in which a feature is first outlined, then filled in with stars or zigzags. Also used when you need a straight or curved line, such as hair and mouths.

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Paramount Crystals

Vegetable oils, mostly coconut oil, in small solid pieces and used as coconut oil.

Paramount Paper

A heavy, heat-resistant paper used in cooking.

Parchment Bag

Disposable decorating bag formed from a parchment paper triangle.

Pare

With knife, remove outer covering, such as with apples.

Pastillage

Rolled Fondant without any of the softening ingredients (glycerin, cornstarch or shortening). It is used mainly for decorative ribbons, three dimensional shapes and appliques, as it dries bone-dry and crusts more quickly than Fondant. It can be rolled very thin. It is also used to make sugar greeting cards, picture frames, bells, boxes or other containers which can then be decorated with piping or sugar flowers. Decorations made from pastillage should not be eaten.

Pastry Cream

A delicate milk and egg-based filling similar to pudding. Pastry cream can be flavored with vanilla, chocolate or coffee.

Pastry Cutter

A tool which is used to stamp out pastry, biscuits, scones, sweets and canapés. Pastry cutters are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes from the most popular plain or fluted round cutters to novelty shapes such as stars, animals, numbers and letters and can be made from metal or plastic.

Pastry Wheel

A small hand held tool with a fluted wheel on the end for cutting pastry and creating a decorative edge

Pattern

An illustrated design which can be transferred to an iced cake, then decorated.

Peaks

The mounds made in a mixture. For example, egg white that has been whipped to stiffness. Peaks are "stiff" if they stay upright, or "soft" if they curl over.

Pearls

Round, edible sugar balls coated with a pearl dust (in almost any color) used for decorative purposes. Pearls can be individual or in strings.

Pear Nectar

A thick, sweet, slightly grainy juice that is extracted from pears. Bottled pear nectar can be found in most supermarkets.

Peel

Pull off outer covering, such as with bananas or oranges.

Penuche

A fudge-like candy made from brown sugar, butter, and milk, using no flavorings except for vanilla. Penuche often has a tannish color to it and is lighter than regular fudge. It is formed by the caramelization of brown sugar, and thus its flavor is said to be reminiscent of caramel. Nuts, especially pecans, are often added to penuche used for texture, especially in the making of penuche candies.

Petals

The outermost segments of a flower.

Pie Dish

A deep round glass, earthenware or metal dish with sloping sides and a wide rim. Pie dishes can be used to make double crust (with a base and topping of pastry) or single crust (with a top crust only) pies.

Pillars

Used in a tiered cake, such as a wedding cake, to separate the tiers of cake. They can be made of plastic or wood in several lengths to achieve the desired look.

Pinch

An approximate tiny measurement of a powdered ingredient usually obtained by picking it up with the finger and thumb.

Pipe

Squeezing icing out of bag through a decorating tip to form decorations.

Piping

Decorative details created using a decorating bag and various metal decorating tips. Piping details include leaves, borders, basketweave, and flowers.

Piping Bag

A triangular shaped fabric or greaseproof bag that has large opening at one end and a small opening at the other. A nozzle is inserted into the small end, the bag is filled with a smooth, semi-solid mixture and forced out using pressure from both hands.

Piping Gel

Transparent gel that can be tinted any color for decorating, writing or pattern transfer.

Pit

Remove pit or seed, such as with cherries or prunes.

Practice Board

Hard surface that can be used flat or upright for practicing decorative effects. Also used to prevent Gum Paste and fondant flower sections from drying before assembling.

Preheat

To set the oven or grill to a specific temperature to allow the internal temperature to increase sufficiently before cooking.

Press

To apply pressure.

Proof

To let yeast dough rise.

Pulled Sugar

A technique in which boiled sugar is manipulated and pulled to produce flowers and bows.

Purée

Press through fine sieve or food mill.

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Raw Chip Coconut

Unsweetened coconut in wide strips, used to make excellent brittle.

Reconstitute

To take a dried food such as milk back to its original state by adding liquid.

Reduce

To reduce volume of liquid by rapid boiling in an uncovered pan.

Reserve

To place food or ingredients to one side until they are needed in a recipe.

Ripe

Ready to be eaten, the term ripe is most commonly used with reference to the flavor and texture of fruit.

Roll

To reduce the thickness of pastry or dough by applying equal pressure.

Rolled Buttercream

A sweet and very pliable icing similar to Rolled Fondant that is rolled out then placed on the cake as a covering. The cake is first covered with a very thin layer of buttercream icing, and the rolled buttercream is laid on top. It can also be used to mold flowers.

Rolled Fondant

A thick, malleable dough made of powdered sugar, corn syrup, gelatin and glycerin with added flavor and then optionally tinted. Typically, it is rolled out and then draped and smoothed to conform with the shape of the cake for a flawless matte finish, making it a popular covering for wedding cakes. Rolled fondant can also be modeled, formed, twisted, imprinted, cut out to form eyelet lace and used to make scrolls and flowers. It can be used to cover cake boards. It acts as a smooth base for pastillage flowers and royal icing details. Sometimes referred to as Sugarpaste.

Rolling Boil

When water in an open saucepan reaches boiling point and all of the liquid is moving with bubbles continually rising and breaking on the surface.

Rolling Pin

A long, smooth cylindrical roller mainly used to roll out pastry. A variety of types are available: without handles, with integral handles or with handles that are attached to a central rod in the roller. Rolling pins are usually made from wood but can also be made from marble or plastic. A rolling pin can also be used to crush ingredient (in a plastic bag) to make crumbs.

Room Temperature

The average temperature of a kitchen.

Rose Tip

Decorating tip used to make the rose, daisy, primrose, daffodil, pansy, rose bud, sweet pea, ribbon, bow and ruffle border.

Round Tip

Decorating tip used to make dots and outlines. Also used for writing and figure piping.

Royal Icing

Icing that can be made with raw egg whites, meringue powder, water, confectioner’s sugar or cream of tarter. It can be tinted in any color. This icing is piped from a decorating bag to create latticework, beading, bows, and flowers.

Royal Icing Flowers

Decorated flowers made of royal icing. When dry, the texture is hard and brittle and keeps virtually indefinitely. Do not refrigerate dried decorations.

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Scald

To heat a liquid almost to the boiling point.

Scald

To heat a liquid almost to the boiling point.

Score

Using a knife, fork or the edge of a spatula, make shallow slits or gashes by gently pressing it against the surface.

Seize

To form a thick, lumpy mass when melted (usually applied to chocolate).

Self-Rising Flour

All-purpose flour with added salt and leavening (baking powder). See How to make self-rising flour.

Semisweet Chocolate

A combination of chocolate liquor, added cocoa butter and sugar. It must contain at least 35% chocolate liquor. Most commonly know in the form of semisweet chocolate chips.

Sepal

One of the green, leafy parts which make up a flower’s calyx.

Separate

To divide an egg into its two distinct components - the egg yolk and the egg white.

Separated

Tiers of the cake are separated using plastic pillars. The space can be left empty of filled with flowers or icing decorations.

Set

Let food become solid.

Shavings

Very thin, often long or curly pieces of a solid ingredient that have been sliced off a whole block using a vegetable peeler.

Shortening

Any fat used in baking to tenderize the product by shortening gluten strands. A white, tasteless, solid fat that has been formulated for baking or deep-frying.

Shred

To cut or shave food into slivers.

Side Decoration

Icing decorations used around the sides of a cake such as strings or garland.

Sift

To pass dry ingredients through a sifter or sieve to aerate and remove lumps.

Simmer

Cook just below boiling point—about 185°F. at sea level when small bubbles will rise slowly to the surface. A mixture simmers before it boils.

Simmering Point

The temperature of a liquid when it is heated to just below boiling point.

Skim

To ladle or spoon off excess fat or scum from the surface of a liquid.

Slice

To cut into even-sized thin pieces using a sharp knife or food processor.

Sliced

Food that has been cut into even-sized thin pieces using a sharp knife or food processor.

Slivers

Long, small fine pieces of food.

Soak

To immerse a solid in a liquid.

Soft Ball Stage

A term used in connection with making sweets to determine the temperature of a sugar and water syrup. When a teaspoon of the boiled syrup is dropped into cold water and it forms a soft ball, which flattens when removed from the water, the syrup is at soft ball stage or has a temperature of 234-240°F.

Soft Crack Stage

A test for sugar syrup describing the point at which a drop of boiling syrup immersed in cold water separates into hard though pliable threads. On a candy thermometer, the soft crack stage is between 270°F and 290°F.

Soft Peaks

When a whisk is removed from a lightly whisked or whipped ingredient, the mixture just stands up in points known as soft peaks.

Soften

To change the texture of an ingredient or combined ingredients to make them softer or a room temperature.

Softened

A food that has been made soft.

Sotas

An elaborate piping technique using a series of curved lines dropped in a random manner that yields a lace-like pattern.

Spatula

Broad, flat metal utensil used to spread icing smoothly and evenly. Also used to put icing in decorating bags and cutting fondant.

Split

To divide horizontally.

Spray

An icing flower arrangement on a cake.

Springform Pan

A round pan with high, straight sides (2 1/2 to 3") that expand with the aid of a spring or clamp. The bottom of the pan can be removed from the sides when the clamp is released—this allows cakes, tortes or cheesecakes to be easily removed from the pan.

Sprinkle

To scatter a powdered ingredient or tiny droplets of a liquid.

Squeeze

To apply pressure to fruit or vegetables to obtain their juice.

Stabilize

To maintain a texture or prevent separation, as in adding piping gel to whipped cream or meringue powder to buttercream icing.

Stacked

All tiers of the cake are placed directly on one another. Dowels are placed inside the cake to support the cake placed on top of it.

Stamen

One of the reproductive parts of a flower usually found in the center of the flower.

Stand

To leave ingredients for a specified period of time to enable the flavors to develop or to rise.

Star Fill-In Method

Covering part or an entire decorating surface with icing stars. Also used to decorate character cakes.

Star Tip

Decorating tip used to make a shell, star, rosette, rope, zigzag design and ribbed stripe.

Stir

To agitate an ingredient or a number of ingredients using a hand held tool such as a spoon. Also, to move spoon in circular motion to incorporate ingredients. Usually refers to combining liquids or melted ingredients. To stir ingredients cooking on the stove top, use a wooden spoon and stir from the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching.

Strain

To pass wet ingredients through a sieve to remove lumps or pieces of food.

Stringwork

A technique using a small round tip to create garland on the side of cakes.

Sucrose

The chemical name for regular granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar.

Sugar (Candy) Thermometer

A thermometer used to check the temperature of sugar when making sweets. A sugar thermometer is also invaluable for checking the setting point when making jams and jellies. A sugar thermometer can also be used to measure the temperature of oil when deep frying.

Sweet (Dark) Chocolate

A combination of chocolate liquor, added cocoa butter and sugar. It must contain at least 15% chocolate liquor and has a higher proportion of sugar than semisweet chocolate.

Swiss Dots

A piping technique that forms tiny dots in random patterns that resemble a fine dotted Swiss fabric.

Syrupy

Liquid that has a consistency similar to syrup -- thick and viscous.

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Tart Pan

This pan is distinguished by its short (about 1") fluted sides and removable bottom. Various shapes and sizes are available.

Tempering

The process of melting and cooling chocolate to specific temperatures in order to prepare it for dipping, coating, or molding.

Texturizing

A procedure for putting a finish onto the surface of the cake.

Thaw

To allow food that has been frozen to come back to its original non-frozen state.

Thawed

Frozen food that has been removed from the freezer and has reverted to its original non-frozen state.

Thermometer

Use to measure the temperature of food that is cooking or cooked, two main types of thermometer are used in cookery, a sugar (candy) thermometer and a meat thermometer.

Thicken

To increase the thickness of an ingredient or a mixture of ingredients by heating or freezing.

Thin

A narrow piece. To add a liquid to a thicker mixture to make it runnier.

Thread Stage

A test for sugar syrup in which a drop of boiling syrup forms a soft 2" thread when immersed in cold water. On a candy thermometer, the thread stage is between 230°F and 234°F.

Throat

Trumpet like center of a flower.

Throat Former

Object used to shape and dry orchid centers.

Tier

To stack cakes of graduating sizes.

Tier Separators

Constructed supports that separate stacked cakes.

Tip Brush

Small brush that is used to clean icing out of decorating tips.

Tip Position

For tips which have irregularly shaped openings, the direction the tip is held must be specified in order to produce correctly formed decorations.

Toasted Coconut

Fine, sweetened golden brown coconut.

Tongue

Sausage-shaped protuberance near the center or top of orchid throat.

Toothpicks

Thin, sharp matchstick-sized pieces of wood or plastic used trace designs on icing or add small amounts of food coloring to icing or dough.

Torte

A dense cake that does not use leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda.

Torting

Splitting a single cake layer in half horizontally to form two layers.

Turntable

Revolving cake stand for easier decorating. Some turntables can be tilted to decorate the sides of the cake.

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Unleavened

Baked goods that contain no agents to give them volume, such as baking powder, baking soda, or yeast.

Unpeeled

A fruit or vegetable with its skin left on.

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Washed

An ingredient that has been thoroughly rinsed and scrubbed to prepare it for cooking or eating.

Water Bath

A gentle cooking technique in which a container is set in a pan of simmering water.

Waxed Paper

Paper that has a waxed surface making it ideal for using as a non-stick lining for cake tins and baking trays.

Whip

To beat rapidly using a fork, hand or electric whisk to introduce air into a mixture or single ingredient to increase the volume and become fluffy.

Whipped

A mixture of ingredients or a single ingredient that has been rapidly beaten using a fork or hand or electric whisk to introduce air into it to increase the volume.

Whipped Cream

Made of heavy cream and sugar and usually has some type of stabilizer to prevent it from separating. Whipped cream must be kept refrigerated. Not recommended for outdoor settings.

Whisk

A hand or electric tool used to introduce air into ingredients to increase their volume. Also, to beat rapidly using a hand or electric whisk to introduce air into a mixture or single ingredient to increase the volume. Similar to whipping but not as fast a motion or for as long a period of time. Ingredients are whisked until blended or smooth-but not fluffy.

Wire Rack

A metal rack with feet to raise it slightly above the surface on which it is placed. Wire racks are invaluable in baking to allow freshly baked cakes, loaves and biscuits to cool before storing.

Wrap

To encase food in plastic cellophane or aluminum foil.

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Zest

Sometimes known as peel or rind. Thin, colored outer coating of citrus fruit that contains the essential oil extracts that gives the fruit its distinctive flavor. A small amount of zest gives a strong characteristic flavor of the fruit. Citrus zest is used extensively in sweet or savory dishes wherever the flavor of citrus fruit is required. Zest can be grated from fruit using the fine side of a standard grater - be careful to only remove the colored zest and not the white pith underneath which imparts a bitter flavor, the best way to avoid this happening is to turn the fruit frequently when grating. Alternatively use a zester - a small tool which efficiently removes the zest by running it down the skin of the fruit.

Zester

A hand held tool that removes the zest from citrus fruits. It has a metal rectangular head with several holes in it. The holes are passed over the skin of the fruit and fine shavings of the zest are removed.

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