Classic European Style Pastries: Baking Terms

Bavarian Cream – A thick custard pastry cream with the added ingredients of either gelatin or heavy cream.

Buttercream – A delightfully rich, but not too sweet, combination of butter, sugar, water and egg whites whipped to a smooth texture and complements all cakes and fillings.

Cake – In American usage, cake refers to a broad range of pastries, including layer cakes coffeecakes and gateaux. It can also refer to almost anything that is baked, tender, sweet and sometimes frosted.

Charlotte – A dessert made in a mold, lined with ladyfingers and filled with a custard cream.

Crème Chantilly – A whipped custard cream or pastry cream made using heavy cream.

Crème Chiboust – A vanilla pastry cream folded into a meringue and traditionally used in Gateau St. Honore.

Croquembouche – A pyramid of bite-sized cream puffs coated and held in place with caramelized sugar. Often a French tradition for Christmas and weddings, it is sometimes decorated with spun sugar or marzipan flowers.

Custard Cream – A dessert made of eggs, sugar and milk that either is baked boiled or frozen.

Fondant – A sugar dough rolled thin and molded over a buttercream coated cake. The taste is sweet and texture a bit chewy. It has a matte finish as long as the weather is dry, and gives a more polished look overall.

Ganache – A thick chocolate sauce made with cream.

Garde Mange – Meaning “keeper of the food” and refers to a cool, well-ventilated area where cold dishes (such as salads, hors d’œuvres, appetizers, canapés, pâtés and terrines) are prepared and where other foods are stored under refrigeration.

Gâteaux – French word for cake. In America gâteaux refers to any cake type desserts. In French it refers to various pastries.

Genoise – French word for sponge cake.

Glaze – A flavored coating poured or dripped onto cakes or pastries.

Gum Paste – An edible smooth dough used in making decorations.

Hors d’oeuvres – Small bite sized sweet or savory foods.

Linzer torte – A nut and jam filled tart from Austria.

Napoleon – A many-layered pastry made from baked sheets of puff pastry filled with pastry cream or whipped cream.

Pastry Cream – A thick custard made with corn starch, milk and eggs. The French term is crème patissiere.

Pâte – French word for dough.

Pâte à Choux or Éclair Paste – A soft dough that produces hollow baked products with crisp exteriors used to make éclairs, cream puffs and savory products.

Patisserie – French word for bakery.

Petite Four – A small bite-sized confectionery or savory appetizer. In French it also means “small oven.”

Torte – A rich, multilayered, cake filled with whipped cream, buttercreams, mousses, jams, or fruit. The cooled torte is glazed and garnished.