The Cake Lexicon

Tiered cakes: cakes of multiple layers of graduated sizes; may be made in many different shapes and/or flavors

Sculpted cakes: cakes cut and formed to resemble three-dimensional objects; usually made from pound cake and covered with rolled fondant

Rolled fondant: a sugar paste made from confectioners' sugar, gelatin, glucose or corn syrup, and glycerin that is similar in texture to pastry dough; it can be colored, and once rolled, it can be embossed or draped plain over cakes iced with buttercream, providing an alabasterlike smooth surface for decorating

Gum paste: a modeling paste made from confectioners' sugar, gum tragacanth or gelatin, glucose, and water that is used to make decorations such as ribbons, figures, and delicate three-dimensional flowers; it dries hard and can be painted or brushed with powdered colorings

Royal icing: an icing made of egg whites, confectioners' sugar, and a small amount of lemon juice or cream of tartar; used for outlining, writing, or piping lacy string work directly on cakes; dries hard

Pastillage: a sugar paste made from confectioners' sugar, water, and gelatin that is rolled out, cut into molded shapes, and dried; it can be sanded and pieced together with royal icing

Marzipan: a paste made from ground almonds, confectioners' sugar, and glucose or corn syrup that can be colored and used for modeling flowers and figures; in Europe, it's molded and eaten as candy and also rolled out to cover fruitcakes

Definitions adapted from The International Dictionary of Desserts, Pastries, and Confections.

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