Do You Know So Much About Desserts You Could Be a Pastry Chef?

Jennifer Post

Image: Image by Catherine MacBride/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Baking is a science. They say that you don't use a recipe when baking, but rather a formula. In culinary schools, there is a whole separate class on culinary math that teaches you how to use the proper measurements, how the littlest changes can make a big difference and the importance of volume versus weight measurements.

Once you get past all of that technicality, you can finally start making dessert. Or maybe your style is more just eating the dessert. Whichever you prefer, there is so much to know about these sweet treats. Each culture, region, and person has their own version of desserts or their own type of dessert altogether. Even fast food chains offer different desserts depending on the country. This type of diversity is largely based on what ingredients are available, but also based on the classic flavors of the cuisine of that particular area. 

Pastry chefs create not only delicious desserts, but also very beautiful ones. The craftsmanship that goes into constructing something like a wedding cake or a clean-layered trifle can be taught, but there does have to be some element of natural talent. Most of all, there has to be passion for the deep understanding of desserts. Do you think you know enough about desserts to be a pastry chef? Take this quiz to find out!

Which ingredient below is classic to the dessert tiramisu?

Tiramisu is an Italian dessert consisting of a base of lady finger cookies soaked in coffee liquor, mascarpone cream, and usually topped with whipped cream and cocoa powder or espresso powder.

Of all the types of dough below, which one is a croissant made out of?

Puff pastry, or rough puff, is a dough that is folded many times with butter to create those signature flaky layers. If not folded correctly, or the butter is the wrong temperature, or it is proved too much or too little, you will end up with something resembling a croissant, but not.

When making banoffee pie, what are the two main flavorings?

Banoffee pie is a traditional dessert in England and is the flavor combination of bananas, usually caramelized, and a toffee filling. The sweet dessert has some kind of cookie, or biscuit if you're across the pond, crust and cream topping.

Can you name the main ingredient that gives angel food cake its lift?

Angel food cake gets its volume from whipped egg whites. That's what creates the light, fluffy texture that you wouldn't get from a cake with more flour or leavening agents. Cooling it upside down helps keep the height, as well.

Popular in the southern United States, which dessert has a signature fluttery name?

Hummingbird cake is a pineapple and banana spiced cake that originated in Jamaica and is popular in the southern region of the United States. It is usually covered in a cream cheese frosting and is named after the island of Jamaica's national bird.

Which ingredient really makes chocolate taste more chocolatey in things like brownies and chocolate cake?

There is something about adding coffee to chocolate desserts that give those desserts a deeper chocolate flavor. You can use brewed and cooled coffee, espresso powder or instant coffee. All will work fine in brownies, cakes and cookies.

In a Jaffa cake, what is in between the cookie layer and the chocolate layer?

A classic Jaffa cake consists of a Genoise sponge, a layer of orange flavored jam and a thin layer of chocolate only on the top. They are named after Jaffa oranges, hence orange being the classic flavor.

What trendy dessert is a smaller, more compact version of itself covered in chocolate?

Cake pops are cake crumbles mixed with either frosting or cream cheese so that it can be shaped into a ball. Those balls are then covered in chocolate, sprinkles and other fun decorations. They're sweet and delicious.

Like a brownie, this dessert is vanilla-flavored instead of chocolate. What is it?

Blondies are essentially the same thing as a brownie, but they replace the cocoa with vanilla flavoring, hence their lighter color and name. It also contains brown sugar to give its signature color and caramel-like flavor.

How do you know if you've over-whipped cream?

Butter is made of cream just like whipped cream is, but when cream is beat until the milk solids separate from the liquid, you have butter. For whipped cream, look for fluffy, white peaks that stand up from your whisk but is still homogenized.

Where is kuchen from?

Kuchen is a German cake and is popular to serve when you have guests over for an afternoon coffee. The term "kuchen" is used in many other countries to describe cakes like coffee cake, but in Germany it is a specific dessert.

What makes chiffon cake different than other cakes?

The trick to a good chiffon cake is that the egg whites have to have so much air beaten into them, and then folded into the other combined ingredients until mixed. This is because vegetable oil as opposed to other fats is hard to beat directly into batters.

In the spirit of Mardi Gras, which cake has a tiny baby in it?

A tradition for Mardi Gras is to make a King cake, hide a tiny plastic baby in it, and whoever finds the baby is supposed to have good luck for the year. The cake is decorated with icing and green, purple and yellow sprinkles.

You've probably seen this on social media, but do you know the name of this fish shaped cake?

These fish-shaped cakes are all over Instagram, and you'll see people putting soft-serve ice cream in them, or having them stuffed with traditional fillings like red bean paste or custard, or even sweet potato. They are native to Japan.

This dessert has French, Swiss and Italian versions. What is it?

Meringue is made up of beaten egg whites mixed with either a sugar syrup or regular sugar, and is either cooked or not cooked, depending on which variety you're making. They all serve different purposes, but are all delicious.

What is this candy, made with corn syrup, egg whites and sugar?

Divinity originated in the United States and is a nougat-like confection. Other things can be added like nuts and dried fruit, and if the regular sugar is replaced with brown sugar it becomes a candy called sea foam.

Chocolate truffles are named because of what?

Truffles are fungus that are found around the base of trees and are so rare and expensive because it takes a certain breed of pigs to sniff them out. Chocolate truffles when formed by hand and rolled in cocoa powder look like the real thing.

Made from almonds, which of the below is often made to form shapes like fruit and animals?

Marzipan consists of honey or sugar and almond meal. It can be coated in chocolate, but it is most commonly used to shape, as it is stiff enough to hold its shape but pliable enough to mold.

Popular at Christmas time, which candy below is shaped like a popular fruit?

These candies are not flavored like plums, but instead references their small spherical shape. The Nutcracker was a big aid in these candies being associated with Christmas because of the Sugar Plum Fairy, as well as the book "The Night Before Christmas."

A real thing, this "everlasting" candy broke jaws all over England. What is it?

The word "gob" refers to the mouth in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This candy consists of many layers that dissolve as you suck on it. They come in various sizes and colors, but the flavor is just sugar.

Which of the cookies below is different depending on where you are in New York?

The black and white cookie was founded in New York City by Bavarian immigrants and has different varietals based on location. It is a shortbread based cookie where one half is iced with white icing and the other half is chocolate, hence the name.

Not to be confused with its coconut counterpart, which cookie will you find in French patisseries?

Macaron are made with almond meal and whipped egg whites, while macaroons are made of coconut, sugar and eggs. Macaron get filled with ganache, custard, or another kind of cream and are a sandwich cookie.

The girls really do sell this fresh treat well. What is it?

Thin Mints are one of the various cookies sold by the Girl Scouts of America. While some cookies have different names based on location, Thin Mints are Thin Mints no matter where you go. It's a crisp, minty chocolate cookie covered in more chocolate.

What is this cookie that tries to give you advice?

Fortune cookies are thin and crispy with a sweet flavor that you most often get from Chinese takeout restaurants. Inside (usually) is a piece of paper with some kind of fortune on it. The papers can also include a popular Chinese phrase with a translation.

In the colors of the Italian flag, which sweet treat below is again called something different based on location?

Also called seven layer cake, Napoleon cookies, tricolor cookies and a few others, these cookies are layered treats colored red, green and white, like the Italian flag. They were most likely created by Italian communities in the United States.

Why is Boston Cream Pie actually a cake?

Back when cakes and pies were baked in the same pan and the terms were used interchangeably, the Boston Cream Pie was invented. It is a butter cake layered with custard and topped with chocolate ganache. There are doughnut version of this dessert, and also actual pie versions.

Which custard below has a looser texture than other custards?

This French dessert, for whatever reason, has a much looser consistency than other custards like the ones listed above. It is made like any other custard, but instead of being baked can also be made without milk and frozen.

What dessert is named after two legendary gelding workhorses?

Bob Andy pie is a popular Amish dessert that is similar to a custard pie spiced with cinnamon and cloves. It was supposedly named by an Amish farmer said that the pie was as good as his two workhorses, Bob and Andy.

Considered a home remedy for sore throats, what is this Polish dessert?

The Polish dessert kogel mogel is an egg-based dessert that is similar to eggnog. It is classically served chilled or at room temperature, but it can also be served warm and used a home remedy for sore throats.

Also called an icebox cake, which dessert below is a type of trifle?

Charlotte cakes use sponge cake, lady fingers or another type of moist cookie to line the outside of a bowl or trifle container. It is then filled with some kind of custard or mousse and then a fruit puree.

What makes a magic shell sauce magic?

When cold, coconut oil gets hard, as opposed to the soft or even liquid consistency of room temperature. This is why it's the oil added to Magic Shell sauce that gives it the quality to harden over ice cream.

Of the cherry desserts below, which one gets flambéed?

Cherries jubilee is a sauce that consists of cherries and a liqueur, normally Kirsch, that is then flambéed (lighting it on fire off of direct heat until the alcohol burns off). It is then used as a common topping for vanilla ice cream.

Typical at fairs and carnivals, which dessert gets doused in powdered sugar or topped with ice cream?

Funnel cake is a sweet, fried batter in a swirl shape that is served up at festivals, fairs, carnivals and theme parks. The dessert dates back to medieval Persian times, and then was picked up by the Pennsylvania Dutch who brought a similar treat, Drechderkuche, to America.

Eaten either plain or filled with chocolate, what sugary confection is served as street food in Spain?

Churros are made of choux pastry and are fried to golden brown perfection before being covered in cinnamon sugar. They are normally eaten for breakfast and are dipped in hot chocolate, dulce de leche or coffee with milk.

Not made of ears, this French pastry is similar to a danish? What is it?

Palmiers, or elephant ears, are pastries made of laminated puff pastry, similar to that of a croissant, but there is no yeast in palmier dough. It gets rolled out, rolled into itself and baked. Once baked, in comes the cinnamon and sugar coating.

How does a baked Alaska work?

A baked Alaska is an ice cream dessert with a toasted meringue on the outside. In order for the ice cream to not melt while the meringue is toasting, the ice cream has to be solid and completely covered with meringue. An alternative is to toast the meringue with a blow torch.

What is spoom?

Spoom is like sorbet, except that once it's about to set, you mix in half the volume's worth of Italian meringue. This makes it lighter than sorbet. It is made from fruit juice, wine sherry or port.

How is gelato different than ice cream?

Gelato is an Italian frozen treat that is made with milk, cream, sugar and no eggs. It differs from traditional ice cream because it has less air and a higher percentage of butterfat. It was invented in Florence, Italy.

A classic Italian dessert, affogato is sweet and rich. What traditionally gets added to gelato to make the dessert?

Affogato is an Italian dessert that combines gelato and pours a shot of espresso over it. It's the perfect after dinner treat as it serves as the dessert and the coffee. You can pretty much use any flavor of gelato, but vanilla is traditional.

This flatted, fruit filled cake is found in Lancashire, England. What is it?

Chorley cake is very similar to Eccles cake and a thing called Sad cake, but there are significant differences between all of them. Chorley cakes aren't as sweet as its friends and uses shortcrust pastry, as opposed to puff pastry.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes