Cake courses are typically offered through associate's and bachelor's degree in baking and pastry arts, although culinary arts degree programs include some related coursework. There are also short-term certificate programs in cake baking and decorating available. Common among all these programs is hands-on experience creating cakes in a kitchen on-campus or through an externship. Programs in baking and pastry arts also prepare students to make breads, pies and other confections, while culinary arts programs include instruction on making full meals. Degree programs in this field usually include courses in hospitality and food services management, such as cost control and customer service.
Some common concepts in cake courses include:
- Safety and sanitation
- Business planning
- Menu development
- Styling and plating
- Essential baking techniques
- Custom cakes
List of Courses
Theory and Practice of Baking
Before beginning in the kitchen, students enrolled in a theory and practice of baking course participate in lectures in which they learn the basic science behind baking, including chemical and biological interactions, characteristics of ingredients, heat transfer and fermentation. With this background knowledge, students create a variety of baked goods in the kitchen, including cakes. Additionally, students develop a baking vernacular and learn how to apply math principles through recipe conversions.
Pastries, Confections and Plated Desserts
As in other cake classes, this course furthers students' understanding of the science and theory involved in pastry production, while they practice making a variety of classic and contemporary desserts. Baking projects may include creating and combining cakes, donuts, chocolates, mousses, ganaches, sorbets and ice creams. In addition, students begin working with ingredients such as marzipan and chocolate as cake-decorating ingredients.
Advanced courses in cakes include cake decorating practices such as coloring icing, and using it to decorate cakes for birthdays, weddings and other special occasions. Techniques for creating legible letters and even making little cake scenes are discussed. Usually, students practice creating flowers, vines, shells and roses for cake decorating purposes. In this class, students bake cakes and decorate them.
Advanced Pastry Arts
The advanced pastry arts course is the culmination of previous cake courses, with the aim of cultivating expertise in the creation of cakes and other pastries. Students create finely textured mousses and buttercreams upon learning the principles of new ingredients. They develop skills pairing ingredients to enhance flavor, presentation and menu development. They also explore advanced decorating techniques using modeling chocolate, gum paste and sugars. The special occasion and holiday desserts students make in advanced cake courses could be served proudly by retailers and restaurants.