” Qu’ils mangent de la brioche “

” Qu’ils mangent de la brioche “

Let them eat Cake!

Back at it for the Pastry Chefs again. Today, I would like to share my thoughts on cake. A little history, some how to’s, and more….


The term “cake” has a long history. The word itself is of Viking origin, from the Old Norse word “kaka”.

Yes, that’s right “kaka”, you might eat less of it, if you knew, right? LMAO

The ancient Greeks called cake πλακοῦς (plakous), which was derived from the word for “flat”, πλακόεις (plakoeis). It was baked using flour mixed with eggs, milk, nuts, and honey. They also had a cake called “satura”, which was a flat heavy cake. During the Roman period, the name for cake became “placenta” which was derived from the Greek term. A placenta was baked on a pastry base or inside a pastry case.

The Greeks invented beer as a leavenerfrying fritters in olive oil, and cheesecakes using goat’s milk. In ancient Rome, the basic bread dough was sometimes enriched with butter, eggs, and honey, which produced a sweet and cake-like baked good.  Latin poet Ovid refers to his and his brother’s birthday party and cake in his first book of exile, Tristia.

Early cakes in England were also essentially bread: the most obvious differences between a “cake” and “bread” were the round, flat shape of the cakes, and the cooking method, which turned cakes over once while cooking, while bread was left upright throughout the baking process.

Sponge cakes, leavened with beaten eggs, originated during the Renaissance, possibly in Spain. So, to be clear the term cake also included tortes, samr thing different language….as above. Follow this link for a list of cakes from around the world. LIST OF CAKES


Cakes are composed of five basic elements:

Base: This is the bottommost layer of the cake, and it can be a sponge cake, a tart shell, streusel, or anything that has a firm body and can support the components around it.

Body: The body is usually the largest flavor component and makes up most of the cake. It is usually a creamy product, such as mousse or Bavarian cream.

Inclusion(s): These are layered elements inside the body and above the base that can contribute texture and/or other flavors.

Coating: This is the component that surrounds the cake and has the important function of protecting the cake, but it is also a textural/flavor component. Spraying a cake with chocolate velvet spray is better than coating it with glaze for two reasons: Velvet spray acts as a shell that does not absorb off flavors from refrigeration, and it also adds some texture.

Garnish: This is what is used to make the cake visually attractive, but it should also have a functional use, and that is that it should be harmonious with the other elements of the cake. It is also an opportunity to add firm textures that would soften inside the cake.


It is always a good idea to make larger quantities of product than smaller quantities, since many recipes cannot be made for individual quantities successfully. For example, a half sheet pan of sponge cake will yield four to six finished entremets, depending on their dimension. However, it is difficult to make just enough sponge cake for one cake. Freeze the remaining cakes, and this way they will always be available and ready for any last-minute orders. Finishing them is the easy part; assembling them is the time-consuming part.

2. PREPARE THE MOLD(S). The molds need to be lined with a strip of acetate that will fit inside them, meaning the band will be as deep as the cake and as long as its total length, overlapping slightly where both ends of the acetate meet. Lightly grease each cake mold with nonstick oil spray, wipe the excess off with a paper towel, and then line the mold with the previously cut strip of acetate. Make sure that it is flush with the mold. The molds will be placed on a sheet pan lined with a sheet of Plexiglas, which will also be lined with acetate. Lightly grease the Plexiglas with a coat of nonstick oil spray, remove the excess with a paper towel, and then adhere a sheet of acetate onto it. Smooth it out with a clean paper towel so that it has no air bubbles trapped between the acetate and the Plexiglas. Why use Plexiglas? Because sheet pans are seldom flat; even when they are brand-new, they tend to bow down the center. Plexiglas stays flat and even.

3.FREEZE ALL OF THE INCLUSIONS AND THE BASE OF THE CAKE. This will make them easier to handle and push into the body of the cake. Have all of the previous steps completed before you make the body of the cake.

4. MAKE THE BODY OF THE CAKE. You are now ready to assemble the cake. Keep in mind that these cakes are assembled upside down.

5. BEGIN BY PIPING A RING OF THE BODY AROUND THE BASE OF THE MOLD. Start piping from the outside in, always keeping the tip of the piping bag inside the body, because this prevents air pocket formation. If you are only adding one inclusion, fill the body only one-third of the way up the mold. Place the frozen inclusion on top of the cream and push down so that the cream comes up around the inclusion; again, this prevents air pocket formation. If you have more inclusions, consider this when piping the body of the cake in; it means you will have to pipe less in at first if you want your layers to be evenly spaced.

6. FILL THE MOLD ALMOST TO THE TOP. Place the base into the mold, pushing into the body so that it can come up the sides of the mold and prevent air pocket formation.

7. USING AN OFFSET SPATULA, EVEN OUT THE CAKE. Place a sheet of acetate on the filled cakes, and then a sheet of Plexiglas on top of it, and then a flat weight, such as heavy cutting board. This helps produce an evenly shaped cake.

8. FREEZE UNTIL HARDENED. Once hardened, push the cake out of the mold. You may need to apply some heat with a torch to help loosen the outer layer, but don’t get too carried away; you don’t want to melt the cake. Once the mold is off, return the cake to the freezer to re- harden the outer layer. Once hardened, wrap the cakes and reserve them frozen for up to 3 months, or take the strip of acetate off and finish the cake.

9. COAT THE CAKE WITH GLAZE, VELVET SPRAY, OR MERINGUE. It is mostly recommended to finish the cakes on a wire rack because it keeps things cleaner. If spraying the cake, melt the chocolate velvet spray and set up a spray area. Line the area with plastic; you can use clean, unused large trash-can liners). Fill the spray gun with the velvet spray and coat the cakes with an even mist of velvet, rotating the cake one-quarter of the way each time to ensure you are coating the entire surface. If you are using a glaze, make sure to melt the glaze to the appropriate temperature and coat the cakes while frozen. Move the cakes 5 cm/2 in any direction just after glazing and while on the wire rack to prevent formation of feet around the base of the cake. Transfer the glazed or sprayed cakes to the base on which they will be displayed.

10. GARNISH THE CAKE. Only place the non-temperature or non-moisture-sensitive garnishes.

11. DEFROST IN THE REFRIGERATOR. Temper for 30 minutes before serving for ideal texture.

At this point, the cake has been ideally tempered for 30 minutes and is at its peak texture. Just before the cake is served and presented, apply the final garnishes, which may have been too fragile, temperature sensitive, or moisture sensitive to put on the cake previously. The service staff will then present the cake to the table. There are two possible scenarios: The service staff, if they are well trained and qualified (and confident) can cut the cake table side and serve the individual portions. This is a nice touch for upscale service but is not indispensable. More typically, the cake will be presented and then taken back to the chef to cut, plate, and garnish. If this is the case, you should prepare enough garnishes for each slice. If garnishing the cake with one or two components, such as a single chocolate curl and a single macaron, it is a good idea to have the correct number of curls and macarons available to place on each slice of the cake when you send it into the dining room. To cut the cake, you will need to have a hot water bath that is deep enough for the entire blade of the knife to fit. Use a long, thin slicing knife. Dip it in the hot water bath, wipe it dry with a clean cloth towel or heavy-duty paper towel, and then cut straight down, pulling the knife toward you, not back up again. Every time you cut, dip the knife in hot water and wipe it dry. You may choose to go further and serve the cake with a sauce and/or ice cream or other frozen components, which make more sense than a sauce.

Happy Hump Day, eat some cake! Cheers!