Although no formal training is required to decorate cakes, hands-on training or a degree program in baking and pastry arts can train students to incorporate nutrition, mix and bake products properly, and employ a variety of decorating techniques. Many people also learn by completing apprenticeships, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. New York-based students may choose to earn a certificate or associate's degree in cooking, the pastry arts, or a related field. Field experience opportunities are included in such programs.
Certification is available through the Retail Bakers of America and has various education and experience requirements. The following list features ten of the largest schools in New York that offer classes pertaining to cake decorating and baking.
Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park is home to the main campus of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), which provides students with a culinary education that includes practical applications. Learners can complete a stand-alone course in cake decorating or earn an Associate in Occupational Studies in Baking and Pastry Arts or pursue a bachelor's degree concentration in advanced concepts in baking and pastry.
The cake decorating course includes working with filling, icing and food coloring, decorating wedding cakes, making flowers and designing borders. The baking and pastry arts programs include experimentation in the pastry arts, basic and classic cakes and contemporary cakes. Enrollees have the opportunity to work in the CIA's restaurant. They can also join a number of campus clubs, including the Baking and Pastry Arts Society or the Gourmet Society.
Erie Community College
Erie Community College, located in Buffalo, offers a Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate program. Students learn to produce specialty items, such as wedding cakes and baked goods, and work with sugar and chocolate. The program requires that students complete 120 hours of field experience by working at a club, restaurant or bakery.
Mohawk Valley Community College
Utica's Mohawk Valley Community College offers non-credit cooking and baking classes, a Certificate in Chef Training and an Associate in Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts Management with an emphasis in baking and pastry arts. The non-credit courses are offered in varying topics, depending on the semester. The 29-credit chef training program includes a baking course that covers baking cakes, muffins, cookies and other baked goods. The baking and pastry arts emphasis of the associate's degree program covers technical pastry skills, baking, breads and cake decorating.
Niagara County Community College
Niagara County Community College is located in Sanborn and offers a 13-credit Certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts program and a 67-credit Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts program. Both programs cover baking theories and principles, along with creating breads, rolls, pastries, cakes and plated desserts. The associate's degree program also addresses creating candies, confections and specialty cakes, and it includes an internship in pastry arts. Students can join the Culinary Arts Club.
Onondaga Community College
Located in Syracuse, Onondaga Community College is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system and offers a variety of 1-year and 2-year programs. Students can earn a Professional Cooking Certificate, which trains them to prepare food, create menus and incorporate nutrition. They also complete 400 hours of work experience. Course topics include making patisseries, baking artisanal breads, using chocolate in desserts and decorating cakes.
Rockland Community College
Rockland Community College is in Suffern and is the only institution of higher education in Rockland County. Students interested in cake decorating can earn a Culinary Arts Certificate. The program explores professional baking, sanitation management, menu planning and restaurant management. Although the college doesn't have any cooking clubs, other clubs can provide professional experience and connections, such as the Hospitality Club.
Schenectady County Community College
This Schenectady-based college has an Associate in Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts program with an emphasis in baking. In addition to learning to prepare food and sanitize the kitchen, students explore commercial baking, cake decorating and American pastries. The cake decorating course explores methods for producing and decorating cakes. Students can also join the American Culinary Federation, the Slow Food Club or the Hospitality Club.
Suffolk County Community College
The Eastern campus of Suffolk County Community College, which is located in Riverhead, offers both a Certificate in Culinary Arts in Baking and Pastry Arts and an Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts in Baking and Pastry Arts. The 1-year certificate program includes courses in baking and pastry arts, sanitation and hospitality supervision. The associate's degree program takes 2 years to complete and includes three baking and pastry arts classes that address cake decorating, breads, cookies and custards. Students complete a 200-hour internship during the summer.
SUNY College of Technology at Alfred
The Alfred campus of SUNY College of Technology was founded in 1908. Students can pursue an Associate in Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts in Baking, Production and Management. They'll learn how to use bakery equipment, create a variety of desserts and baked goods, develop complex recipes and price bakery items. Courses include introductory, intermediate and advanced baking, along with baking labs. Altogether, there are 1,350 hours of hands-on experience.
SUNY College of Technology at Delhi
Students can earn an Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts at the Delhi campus of the SUNY College of Technology. The culinary arts program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation, and students have the opportunity to gain experience in the baking lab and the state-of-the-art kitchen facilities. Learners can tailor their elective courses to meet their interests, with options in pastries and confections, culinary competitions and meat cutting. They can also join the Escoffier Club, which is designed to develop one's culinary and professional skills.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Cake Decorating Classes Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-19)|
|Culinary Institute of America||4-year, primarily associate's, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Cake Decorating course,
Associate in Occupational Studies in Baking and Pastry Arts,
Bachelor's Degree Concentration in Advanced Concepts in Baking and Pastry
|Degree programs: $18,230 (per semester, 12-18 credits)**|
|Erie Community College||2-year, public; large city||Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate|| $5,575 (in-state)
|Mohawk Valley Community College||2-year, public; small city|| Non-credit cooking and baking courses,
Certificate in Chef Training,
Associate in Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts Management with an Emphasis in Baking and Pastry Arts
| Certificate/degree programs: $5,266 (in-state)
|Niagara County Community College||2-year, public; rural fringe|| Certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts,
Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts
| $4,923 (in-state)
|Onondaga Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Professional Cooking Certificate|| $5,484 (in-state)
|Rockland Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Culinary Arts Certificate|| $5,182 (in-state)
|Schenectady County Community College||2-year, public; small city||Associate in Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts|| $4,944 (in-state)
|Suffolk County Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate in Culinary Arts in Baking and Pastry Arts,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts in Baking and Pastry Arts
| $5,792 (in-state)
|SUNY College of Technology at Alfred||4-year, primarily associate's, public; remote town||Associate in Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts in Baking, Production and Management|| $8,570 (in-state)
|SUNY College of Technology at Delhi||4-year, primarily associate's, public; remote town||Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts|| $8,360 (in-state)
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **School's Website.