Cakes: The Art and Science of Baking

Cakes are often the visual centerpieces of weddings, birthdays, and other festive events. The chefs who create these masterpieces have the dual challenge of baking delicious desserts and designing a works of art. Cakes range from the traditional to the outrageous, and chefs need professional culinary training to meet consumer demands.

The Evolution of Baking and Designing Cakes

Cakes have progressed far beyond the round, rectangular, or tiered varieties featuring chocolate or white frosting, topped with writing or plastic figurines. Today's cakes are sculptural pieces of any form, texture, or color. Chefs have a variety of flavor, texture and color options for the cake, filling, and frosting. You've probably witnessed these magnificent cakes either first-hand or on television. Perhaps you've wondered how they were made, and if you were ready for the challenge of a baking career.

Culinary Training for Baking

To work as a professional chef specializing in cakes, you can earn your associate degree in culinary arts, or you can earn a certificate or diploma in baking and pastry arts from a number of culinary institutes throughout the country. Students will learn the science of baking by focusing on the indgredients, the chemistry of mixing, and special techniques for creating unique cakes and breads. Culinary institutes provide both lectures and hands-on experience, training future pastry chefs to create spectacular desserts.

Career Opportunities for Chefs

Chefs and bakers who have been professionally trained to create cakes can expect to be employed in bakeries, restaurants, hotels, or private businesses where their talents will be appreciated often. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for chefs and bakers will continue to be numerous through 2014. In 2004, skilled chefs could earn as much a $26.75 per hour, depending on the type of business and its location.

Culinary schools are the sweet ticket to baking exceptional cakes and succeeding as a professional chef or baker.