Glossary of Wedding Cake Terms

Basketweave – A piping technique that features interwoven vertical and horizontal lines made to resemble a wicker basket.

Buttercream – A smooth, creamy icing that stays soft. It can be in any color and flavor. Also makes a good filling. As the name suggests, buttercream contains a lot of butter, so it melts easily in heat and humidity.

Cornelli – An elaborate piping technique that yields a lacelike pattern.

Dotted Swiss – A piping technique that forms tiny dots in random patterns that resemble dotted Swiss fabric.

Dragees – Round, edible sugar balls coated with silver or gold coloring and used for decorative purposes.

Fondant – A sweet, elastic icing made of sugar, corn syrup and gelatin, then rolled out and draped over a cake. It makes a nice firm base for gum paste flowers and decorative details. A fondant cake should not be refrigerated.

Ganache – A sweet, rich chocolate that is made of chocolate and heavy cream. It is denser than mousse but less dense than fudge, and can he used as either an icing or filling. It becomes very soft in humid weather.

Genoise – A light and airy sponge cake. Melted, unsalted butter is added to the batter, making it more tender, flavorful and less sweet than a regular sponge cake. This cake is named after its place of origin, Genoa, Italy.

Gum Paste – A mixture of sugar, cornstarch and gelatin. It is used to mold realistic- looking flowers and fruits garnishes for cake. These decorations are edible and will last for several years.

Latticework – A piping technique that uses an open criss-cross pattern.

Marzipan – A paste made of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. It is used to mold edible flowers and fruit garnishes for cake. It can also be rolled into sheets like Fondant and used as icing.

Pastillage – An icing made of sugar and gum based paste. It is rolled out and used to cover cakes and to mold flowers or sculptures.

Pillars – Used to separate the layers of a tiered cake. They can be made of plastic or wood in several heights to achieve the desired look.

Piping – Decorative details created using a pastry bag and various metal tips. Piping details including basket-weave and lattice patterns, borders, flowers, leaves, dots, etc.

Pulled Sugar – A technique in which boiled sugar is manipulated and pulled to produce flowers, bows and other sculpture pieces.

Royal Icing – A mixture of egg whites and confectioners sugar. It is an icing that begins as a soft paste and can be piped from a pastry bag to create garnishments on a cake. When it dries, its texture is hard and brittle. Refrigeration is not recommended.

Torte – A dense cake that does not use leavening agents (baking powder or baking soda).

Whipped Cream – A heavy cream that is beaten to achieve a thick consistency. This is not recommended as an icing because it melts easily in warm temperatures.

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