Dessert Classes and Courses Overview

Dessert classes comprise the core coursework for pastry arts degree programs, which are offered at the certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree levels.

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Essential Information

There are dessert courses for nearly every step in the dessert making process, from ingredient selection, to baking, to decorating and presentation. Culinary arts and hospitality management degree programs will require students to take courses on dessert making. Additionally, there are standalone classes in subjects such as cupcakes, macaroons, cookies and cake pops. These non-credit classes may last one day or several weeks.

Here are some common concepts found in dessert classes:

  • Sanitation
  • Specialty work
  • Cost control
  • Personnel management
  • Icing
  • Fondant

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List of Dessert Classes

Baking Fundamentals

Before being able to whip up elaborate desserts, aspiring bakers and chefs must have a firm grasp on basic baking principles. Most programs require students to pass a baking skills course at the beginning of the degree program, which allows them to gain foundational knowledge for upper level courses. Baking fundamental courses cover equipment use and maintenance, baking terminology, mixing techniques and measurements.

Ingredients

Quality desserts are made of quality ingredients, which means bakers need the skills to select proper ingredients. Courses on ingredients are typically offered at the beginning of a degree program. They teach students to how to select quality grains, oils, creams, flavorings and flours.

Pastry Making

Pastry technique courses introduce students to pastry preparation methods such as creaming, lamination, foaming and thickening. Students use these techniques to create a variety of pastries in the kitchen and learn to finish their products with sweet glazes, simple sauces and fruit or chocolate fillings. Discussions on product presentation prepare students to plate pastries or arrange them in a display case.

Cake Baking

Cake baking courses help students prepare both simple and complex cakes and tortes. Instructors guide students through the entire baking process, from measuring and mixing the ingredients into a batter to glazing the finished product. Students study both classical and modern cakes. Advanced techniques like tiered wedding cake construction are sometimes introduced. Most cake baking courses stop short of cake decorating instruction, a complex technique that merits its own course.

Cake Decorating

Students enrolled in cake decorating courses first learn to conceptualize and draw cake designs; instructors the teach them decorating techniques needed to successfully execute them. Cake decorating courses are usually offered at the end of a degree program, after students master baking and cake making. Cake decorating techniques covered in the course include flower making, stenciling, gel transfers and airbrushing.

Sugar Confections and Chocolates

Sugar confections and chocolate making are complicated processes that students in dessert making programs are only prepared to learn toward the end of the degree program. After first learning about the history and production process of chocolates and candies, students are taught to create their own. Chocolate tempering, a technique used to create chocolate truffles and other chocolate desserts, is introduced. Students also experiment with caramel, jelly or sugar filled candies.

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