Baking & Cake Decoration Glossary

Absorb – Take in or soak up.
Aerate – To incorporate air or carbon dioxide during production to make the product more digestible and an increase in volume.
Airbrush – An paint gun using an air pump to spray food coloring finely and evenly on cakes.
All-in-One Method: A baking mixing method in which all ingredients are added to the bowl at once.
Almond Paste – A smooth, heavy dough made of ground almonds similar to marzipan.
Angel Food Cake – A light meringue based cake made with egg whites, sugar and flour.
Bag Striping – A technique of applying stripes of colour, either icing or gel colour to the inside of a piping bag for multi-colour decorating effects.
Bain-Marie – Also known as a 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.
Ball Tool – A rounded tool used to shape and soften the edges of sugar petals as well as being used for other sugar modelling.
Basket Weave – A piping technique that features interwoven vertical and horizontal lines like a wicker basket.
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.
Batter– When fat, sugar, eggs and flour are mixed together the finished product is known as a batter.
Beat – Making a smooth mixture by whipping or stirring with a wire whisk, spoon, beater or electric mixer.
Bind – To thicken a sauce or hot liquid by stirring in ingredients such as eggs, flour, butter, or cream.
Blanch – A processes for removing the skins of nuts by plunging in hot water and then into cold water.
Blend – To thoroughly combine two or more ingredients together or to process food using an electric blender or mixer.
Bloom – A white coating on chocolate, caused by separated cocoa butter.
Blossom Tint – Fine coloured powders used for dusting sugar flowers, dry surfaces and edible decorations to add variation of colour.
Blown Sugar – Pulled sugar that is made into thin-walled, hollow shapes by being blown up like a balloon.
Boil – To cook a liquid at a temperature of 100°C when bubbles rise rapidly to the surface.
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.
Brush Embroidery –  Is a decorative technique where a paintbrush is stroked through royal icing leaving behind brush strokes which resemble stitching in fabric
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 Tin – A round cake tin with a hole in the center but is distinguished by fancy, fluted indentations.
Cacoa – Tropical evergreen tree cultivated for its seed pods from which cocoa powder and cocoa butter are produced.
Cake Board – Thin Cardboard usually covered in textured silver foil sized to provide bases for cakes.
Cake Card – Thin cardboard sized to provide bases between layers in tiered cakes.
Cake Drum – Thick Cardboard usually covered in textured silver foil sized to provide bases for cakes.
Cake Dummy – Round, square, rectangular polystyrene pieces which are are then frosted/decorated on the outside to simulate a real cake.
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.
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.
Caramel– Sugar heated above its melting point until it turns amber brown.
Caramelization – Browning sugar over a heat, with or without the addition of some water to aid the process.
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 moulds to set.
Casually Iced – A loose, free-flowing way to ice a cake with a textured look, achieved with a light stroking motion of the spatula.
Clarify – The removal of water from butter by gentle heating.
Clear Alcohol – Clear alcohol such as vodka can be used for thinning down paste colours or adding to dust colours to make edible paint.
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 Butter – A white or yellowish fat found in chocolate.
Combine – To mix or blend two or more ingredients together.
Compote – Fruit cooked in a sugar syrup.
Cookie Sheet – A flat pan with one edge lightly curved for ease in handling.
Coupler – A grooved insert and retainer ring for the decorating bags that allows tip changes without changing bags.
Creaming – The process of beating fat and sugar together to blend them uniformly and to incorporate air.
Creme Anglaise – A light vanilla-flavored custard sauce made of milk, sugar, and egg yolks.
Crimping – A technique carried out with the thumb and fingers or with special pincers to give a decorative edge to pastry, shortbreads and icing.
Crumb Coat – A base coat of icing, usually buttercream, to seal in the crumbs on a cake and provide a good base for sugarpaste.
Crystallize – To form sugar or honey-based syrups into crystals.
Cube – Cut into small cubes of around 1/2″.
Curdle – The separation of an emulsion (fat and liquid)
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.
Decorating Tubes –  Specially-shaped, open-end tips used to form icing decorations.
Dice – Cut into very small cubes, around 1/4″.
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.
Dowells – Long round plastic or wooden pillars which are pushed into cakes to add support for tiered cakes.
Dragees – Round, edible sugar balls coated with silver or gold which are used for decorative purposes.
Dredge – Coat or sprinkle lightly with flour, sugar, etc.
Dresden Tool – A tool used for drawing veins on sugar leaves and petals. One end of the tool is fine and one wide. Can also be used for figure modelling.
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 ingredients – Refers to the ingredients in a recipe, such as flours, sugar, leavening, salt, baking cocoa, spices, that may be blended before adding to another mixture in the recipe.
Dust – To sprinkle with sugar or another dry powder.
Dutch Process Cocoa – Cocoa that has been processed with an alkali to reduce its acidity.
Edible Glue – Made from CMC powder and water it can be used to attach decorations to cakes.
Egg wash – Beaten egg ,sometimes with added water, used to give a golden glaze on a baked product. (1 whole egg beaten with 1/2 egg shell of water)
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.
Emulsion – Oil and water do not mix easily, when they do it is known as an emulsion. eggs. Eggs contain lecithin which acts as the emulsifier allowing the two ingredients to emulsify. 
Essences – Compounds used for flavouring i.e.vanilla, lemon almond etc. Can be either natural, synthetic, or blends of both.
Feathering – A decorating technique using two or more colours.  Also called marble icing.
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.
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.
Florist’s Tape – Used for taping the stems of sugar flowers to secure them in place and strengthen them.
Flower Former – A curved plastic form used to dry icing flowers and to create curved petals.
Flower Nail – A 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.
Foaming: The process of whipping eggs, with or without sugar, to incorporate air.
Fold – To gently combine two or more ingredients or a delicate mixture into a heavier, thicker one by cutting vertically through the mixture and turning it over by sliding the mixing tool across the bottom of the bowl or pan with each turn.
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.
Ganache – A rich cream made of sweet chocolate and double cream.
Gel / Paste Colour – Can be used for colouring buttercream, royal icing and pastes or can be diluted with clear alcohol for painting onto icing.
Gelatine – A virtually colourless and tasteless water-soluble protein prepared from collagen. i.e bones ,seaweed.
Gelatinization – Starch (cornflour) cells, when mixed with boiling water, rupture and form a thick jelly on cooling. Ideal for thickening stocks and sauces.
Genoese (Genoise) – A plain cake or sponge used to produce Torten, Gateau and small fancies.
Glaze – Give a product a gloss finish by using an agent such as apricot puree 
Gluten – An elastic substance, formed from proteins present in wheat flours, that gives structure and strength to baked goods.
Glycerine – A colourless and odourless syrup with a sweet taste. It is used for its hygroscopic property (attracts moisture).
Grease – To apply a layer of fat to a surface to prevent food from sticking.
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.
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.
Hard Crack Stage – This 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.
Hull / Husk – To remove the leafy parts of soft fruits, such as strawberries or blackberries.
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.
Incorporate – Blend and combine ingredients together.
Infuse – Soak in a liquid to extract the flavour.
Inversion – A chemical process in which a double sugar splits into two simple sugars.
Invert Sugar – A mixture of two simple sugars, dextrose and laevulose, resulting from the breakdown of sucrose.
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.
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.
Leavening – The production or incorporation of gases in a baked product to increase volume and to produce shape and texture.
Lecithin – An emulsifier made from soybeans and used to keep oils from separating.
Levelling – Removing the rounded top part or “crown” of a cake to provide a flat surface for frosting and decorating.
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.
Lustre Dust – Fine coloured powders used for dusting sugar flowers, dry surfaces and edible decorations to add variation of colour.
Marble – To partly mix two colours of cake batter or icing so that the colours are in decorative swirls.
Marble Icing – A decorating technique using two or more colours.  Also called Feathering.
Marzipan – A paste made of ground almonds, sugar, and egg to cover fruitcake underneath the 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.
Mix – To combine two or more ingredients by stirring in circles with a spoon or mixer until ingredients are distributed evenly and there are no clumps of one ingredient.
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.
Molasses – A heavy brown syrup made from sugar cane.
Nib – Small bits of a product such as Almonds or Sugar.
Palette Knife – A thin bladed knife with a rounded edge used for spreading.
Parchment Bag – Disposable decorating bag formed from a parchment paper triangle.
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.
Pinch – An approximate tiny measurement of a powdered ingredient usually obtained by picking it up with the finger and thumb.
Pipe – Squeezing an edible medium out of a bag through a decorating tip to form decorations.
Piping – By placing a mixture in a bag and forcing it out of a small hole that can be shaped or plain to form a decorative finish.
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 – A transparent, sweet gel used for decorating cakes.
Pit – Remove pit or seed, such as with cherries or prunes.
Posy Pick – Small plastic food safe tube with a pointed end that can be placed directly into a cake for your wired flowers to fit into.
Pulled Sugar – Sugar that is boiled to the hard-crack stage, allowed to harden slightly, then pulled or stretched until it develops a pearly sheen.
Purée – Press through fine sieve or food mill.
Reduce – To reduce volume of liquid by rapid boiling in an uncovered pan.
Rejuvenator Fluid – Used for thinning down paste colours or adding to dust colours to make edible paint.
Rice Krispie Treats (RKT) – A mixture of puffed rice cereal and marshmallow melted together and modelled into shape and covered in icing to form part of a cake.
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.
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.
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 – A form of icing made of confectioners’ sugar and egg whites; used for decorating.
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.
Savoy Bag – A large piping bag in which different shaped savoy tubes are placed  to give different finishes. Used to deposit soft mixings such as meringues, choux pastry and soft biscuits.
Savoy Tube – A nozzle used in a savoy bag , can be plain or shaped and of different sizes. Can be made of plastic, nylon or metal.
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.
Scraper – A shaped piece of plastic used to scrape down the sides of a mixing bowl. Can be used to coat the sides of a cake with cream etc.
Seize – To form a thick, lumpy mass when melted (usually applied to chocolate).
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.
Separators – Constructed supports that separate stacked cakes.
Set – Let food become solid.
Shortening – A solid fat made by hydrogenating vegetable oils –a chemical process of completing hydrogen bonds to make the fats solid at room temperature.
Sift – To pass dry ingredients through a sifter or sieve to aerate and remove lumps.
Simmering Point – The temperature of a liquid when it is heated to just below boiling point.
Smoother – A flat plastic tool used for polishing the surfaces of freshly sugarpasted cakes to leave a flawless finish.
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.
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.
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.
Spray – An icing flower arrangement on a cake.
Springform Pan – A round pan with high, straight sides 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.
Sprinkle – To scatter a powdered ingredient or tiny droplets of a liquid.
Spun Sugar – Boiled sugar made into long, thin threads by dipping wires into the sugar syrup and waving them so that the sugar falls off in fine streams.
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 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.
Stringwork – A technique using a small round tip to create garland on the side of cakes.
Sweating – Moisture that is unable to escape from a product during cooling eg. bread left in the tin on removal from the oven.
Swiss Dots – A piping technique that forms tiny dots in random patterns that resemble a fine dotted Swiss fabric.
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.
Thread Stage – A test for sugar syrup in which a drop of boiling syrup forms a soft 2″ thread when immersed in cold water.
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.
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.
Topper – A decoration or model that sits on top of a cake.
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.
Trex – White vegetable fat used for rolling out pastes instead of icing sugar or cornflour.
Turntable – A pedestal with a flat, rotating top, used for holding cakes while they are being decorated.
Two-Stage Method – A cake mixing method, beginning with the blending of flour and high-ratio shortening, followed by the addition of liquids. Also called the high-ratio method.
Unleavened – Baked goods that contain no agents to give them volume, such as baking powder, baking soda, or yeast.
Wafer paper – An edible paper sometimes referred to as Rice paper.
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.
Yield – The number of units to be produced from a recipe.
Zest – The outside rind of citrus fruit which contains the essential oils of the fruit.