Prepare and present gateaux, tortes and cakes hpa. C 07

Use correct techniques to assemble cakes for gateaux, tortes and cakes

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3.4 Use correct techniques to assemble cakes for gateaux, tortes and cakes

All good recipes will have instruction on how the product should be assembled.

The role of the competent pastrycook/Patissier is to interpret the instruction then replicate what has been written:

  • Cutting of the cake

  • Filling of the choux balls for Gateaux St Honore so the crème filling does not cause the toffee not to fall off

  • Consistency and thickness of the crème on the side of the gateau before adhering roasted nuts to the outside

  • Temperature of the crème on outside of the product before warmed ganache is used to enrobe the chilled gateau.

Decoration of cakes become eclectic and incorporates the personal style of the pastry cook.

Good decoration skills need to be practiced.

Spreading of cream:

  • Requires even thickness all across the layer of sponge cake.

Piping rosettes:

  • Single layer, double layer all need to be the same size. Size needs to be in balance with the size of the cake.

Curling Chocolate

Properly tempered chocolate is able to be shaved and curled as it is setting on the cooling bench. Planning, practice and expertise is required to be able to execute this action.


The action of applying a glaze (icing or ganache) to the exterior of a cake so that the covering fully covers the outside of the cake.

Correct temperatures need to be achieved because:

  • If the glaze is too hot it will just fall off the cake

  • If it is too cold in will not run properly and the glaze will be too thick when it is set.

Consistency of design

When decoration certain considerations need to be taken account:

  • Symmetry

  • Consistency in size of decorations

  • Balance across the product.

Many cakes and gateaux look spectacular when finished:

  • Gateaux: Multiple layers of cake and filling that has been enrobed and decorated.

When designing your spectacular masterpiece other things need to be looked:

  • Is the product going to be sold in one piece?

  • Is the product going to be served in house?

  • Can the product be cut easily?

  • When cut, will all the slices look the same?

  • Will the customers all get equal looking serves?

Expectations of customers change but all of the above points need to be considered when constructing and decorating.

Cutting, layering and masking

Cakes and especially gateaux require a concentrated effort to cut evenly, straight and cleanly.

Before the sponge can be layered with the chosen filling and topping, it needs to be cut (with a serrated knife) into appropriate horizontal even size layers. It takes practice to master an even straight cut but it makes all the difference in the presentation. Once cut, it needs to be covered to prevent drying until ready to use.

The filling should be weighed or evenly divided to gain the required yield.

Each layer should be levelled with a cranked or straight palette knife so that all the levels are even.

The top and sides take a lot of skills as they needs to be straight for best presentation; this is called ‘masking’ (coating).

When finished, the sides can be masked with roast nuts, chocolate shaving and ‘hundred and thousand’ (little coloured sugar drops) and the top decorated with the appropriate decoration.

When coating with a ganache or glaze, the cakes need to be placed on wire racks to drain with a tray under it to collect the extra. Remember nothing should be wasted in a kitchen.

The cake should then be placed on an appropriate board and doyley for sale.

When using a knife to cut slices, mark the surface for the number of pieces required by marking cuts directly through the middle of the cake.

A cake divider greatly helps when learning how to mark even number of portions.

If a soft icing, cream or chocolate coating is used it may be necessary to pre-cut the sides using a knife dipped in hot water to cut through the hard crust and to prevent the soft icing or cream from being flattened.

Cut through the cake carefully ensuring you submerge the blade of your knife (preferably a long thin blade) in hot water (in a tall jug or tin), then dry the warmed blade between each cut. It is important to cut with even motion and pressure (not to tear and squash) and to hold the blade very straight to prevent cutting in an angle.

Use a moistened cloth or some paper towel to clean the blade from any sticky fillings or glazes before the next cut.


  • Each cut must be the same size for the purposes of presentation and portion control.

Cakes can sometime be semi frozen for easier portioning.

Note: The knife be must sharp in order not to flatten the cake and to keep the decorations from being damaged between cuts.

Work Projects

It is a requirement of this Unit you complete Work Projects as advised by your Trainer. You must submit documentation, suitable evidence or other relevant proof of completion of the project by the date agreed to with your Trainer.

The student need to decide on a selection of products to produce.

Assembly of all components required.

2.1 Each student will need to construct a range of gateaux and Tortes:

  • Supply a diagram of how the gateaux will be constructed

  • Each layer will need to be marked either by a colour or shape in the diagram

  • Relative thickness will need to be supplied.

All needs to be approved by the Trainer before moving to the next step.

2.2 Student will then need to construct the selection of the gateaux to the point before decorating.


Assemble gateaux, tortes and cakes

Assemble Commodities:

Mise en Place

Before any assembly can take place all of the parts have to be in place

Parts? A gateau is a structure, so all parts must be present or the structure cannot take place.

Assemble gateuax:

Gateau traditionally have been constructed from the bottom to the top

Some modern styles are constructed upside down

Mousse or flavoured cream is placed into plastic lined forms or moulds and bottom layers are placed on top. The product is then chilled or frozen

Upon setting the product is then removed from the mould and turned over before final décor is added.

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