Maybe you’re brand new to cake making or maybe you’re just looking for more cake tools to add to your collection- either way, we have you covered!
I have spent years of my professional career as a cake baker and decorator so I will be sure to guide you in the right direction and show you the tools you really, truly need (and maybe a few tools that you might just really want…).
So without any further delay, let’s dive into the world of cake baking tools and equipment and help your cake making experience get a little easier, a little more professional, and a whole lot more fun.
1 – Mixer
While you can certainly mix ingredients by hand for some recipes, there comes a point when that just won’t be good enough. Many cake recipes require you to ‘cream butter and sugar’ which definitely requires more power than mixing by hand will provide. And besides, who wants to stand around stirring all day- we have cake to eat!
I highly recommend investing in a stand mixer. Stand mixers sit on the counter and have a bowl connected to them. Most come with numerous attachments to suit all different types of recipes.
The best part about a stand mixer is that you can add the ingredients, turn it on, and walk away- the mixer will continue mixing while you are free to measure the next ingredients, do some dishes or consult your recipe for the next steps.
The fact that the mixer does all the work really speeds up the cake making process. And don’t be scared into thinking all stand mixers are expensive. You can spend anywhere from $30 to $1000 on a stand mixer- whatever fits your budget!
We’ve rounded up several of our favorite affordable mixers, if you’d like to stay on the lower end of that spectrum.
Hand mixers are also a great option if you do not feel like giving up your counter space. Hand mixers are smaller than stand mixers but do require you to hold on and manually mix the cake batter.
But hey, they are still way more powerful than using a simple spoon to mix with and your batter will come out much better. Yes, a mixer of any kind is very important for cake baking.
2 – Rubber Spatulas
You cannot truly know the joys of using a rubber spatula until you have scraped your first bowl with one. Rubber spatulas conform to the sides of the bowl as you mix and make sure every ounce of your ingredients are incorporated into your batter. They are easy to clean and last for years upon years.
Buy a set that has a few sizes of rubber spatulas (maybe small, medium, and a large?) as you will find yourself using them for everything in the kitchen, not just cake making!
3 – Offset Spatulas
If you plan on icing your cakes, an offset spatula is necessary. Offset spatulas have a very straight edge which makes it easy to keep the frosting on the sides of your cake nice and straight.
While there are many sizes of offset spatulas, I recommend getting a large one and also a small one. Both sizes have their benefits and as you make more and more cakes, you will find more and more uses for this awesome tool!
For example, offset spatulas are also great to make batter in a cake pan flat and evenly spread in the pan before baking. And speaking of cake pans…
4 – Cake Pans
You could probably fill your kitchen with a wide variety of cake pans- there are thousands to choose from! They are of course, very important to baking any cake.
You really don’t need to have the fanciest pans and as far as cake baking goes, non stick metals really aren’t that beneficial. What is important is the size of the pans and the shape.
I recommend starting with a set of round pans as well as a set of square pans. About 3-4 sizes of round and square pans will suffice and with these basic shapes, you will be able to create almost any cake you need to.
A cake pan that has at least a two inch high side is preferable- anything skinnier will not hold much cake batter and anything taller just takes up too much space in the kitchen.
5 – Cake Decorating Tips
There are a million different types of pastry tips that you can buy and each one makes its own cool little pattern. Luckily, there are convenient sets of pastry tips already picked out for you!
While a simple star tip, round tip and writing tip would do just fine, a set of 50+ pieces doesn’t cost much more and will give you endless decorating options. I do suggest opting for reusable stainless steel piping tips rather than plastic- they decorate smoother and will last you a long time.
6 – Pastry Bags
Once you have your pastry tips picked out, you will certainly need pastry bags to go with it! Stock up on 12 inch and 18 inch pastry bags, those two sizes should cover instances when you’re decorating a whole cake or if you are just writing a simply happy birthday in frosting.
Either reusable or disposable will do but keep in mind that even the reusable bags will get old and sometimes moldy after a few washes. Pastry bags are an ongoing purchase but very important to cake decorating for sure.
7 – Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups
A good, quality set of measuring spoons and measuring cups is important to cake baking- accuracy is needed when whipping up cake batter!
When looking into a measuring spoon set, make sure there is at least a 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon- with these four, you can make just about any recipe. The same goes for your measuring cup set, 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, and 1 cup are requirements, anything more is just a bonus!
Measuring spoons and cups are also very fun to pick out as there is a wide variety of styles. Pick a set that matches your kitchen, looks cool or, most importantly, feels good in your hand.
8 – Mixing Bowls
While we are on the topic of sets of kitchen tools, don’t forget about mixing bowls! Having a small, medium and large mixing bowl is very important and something you will use with almost every cake recipe.
Plastic, stainless steel or glass, there are lots of bowls you can choose from. I especially like the bowls with matching lids so you can easily cover and store batters or ingredients.
9 – Pastry Brush
From spreading butter on cake pans to soaking cakes in simple syrup, a pastry brush is a little tool that is very useful in cake baking. It is often over looked in the required tools a baker should have but it is necessary.
You will love this simple tool and appreciate it more with every cake you make.
10 – Serrated Knife
Whether you are cutting the top off of a cake or slicing a cake into layers, a long serrated knife will be useful for cutting cakes of all kinds. Find one that is at least 8 inches long so it can reach across the entire cake and cut the cake layers evenly.
11 – Paring Knife
Perfect for cutting fruit to add into a cake or for cutting that first slice, a sharp paring knife is key for any cake maker to have. With so many to choose from, I recommend finding one that feels good in your hand as you cut.
A bright orange paring knife that brings some radiance into the kitchen is also nice!
12 – Cooling Racks
Once your cakes are out of the oven, you want them to cool in the pan for a little bit but not too long (the exact time is a science!). Pop your warm cakes out onto a cooling rack to ensure that they don’t stick in the pan forever or continue baking from carry over heat.
A cooling rack is the perfect in between spot to put a cake after the oven and before the fridge. Since cakes tend to be on the larger side, you should get at least two cooling racks (or one very big one!)
13 – Cake Turn Table
Once you are at the decorating stage in cake making, you are definitely going to want a turn table. Having your cake raised when you are decorating is a huge plus.
Once you begin to ice the cake, the ability to spin it while applying the icing will ensure that the frosting is even and straight. When you pipe boarders on cakes, you will also want that cake to be able to spin!
While you can get by with an inexpensive plastic cake turn table, if you are serious about your cake decorating, you should opt for a turntable with a sturdy cast iron base – this turntable will never move while you decorate (trust me, once you have a turntable move from under a cake, you will want something heavy that stays in place!).
14 – Convection Oven
So I know it’s improbable that you will buy a new oven just to bake cakes but if you do so, make sure to get a convection oven! Convection ovens blow hot air throughout the oven as the cake bakes which makes it bake faster and more evenly.
If it is your first time baking with a convection oven, there may be a few quirks to get used to (aka bake at a lower temperature, rotate the cakes halfway through baking). Also, keep the fan on low as you don’t want the batter to blow away and make a crooked cake!
Despite those warnings, a convection oven is so worth the extra money.
15 – Gel Food Coloring
While this is more of an ingredient rather than equipment, it is an important tool for decorating and dying cake batters. Forget about those liquid food colorings you can buy in the grocery store, gel food coloring is what you want when you are dealing with cakes.
One drop of gel will make your cake a brilliant color without watering down your batter or frosting. A set like Americolor gels will last you a very long time and you will never go back to regular food coloring again!
16 – Scale
Measuring ingredients using measuring cups and spoons is great but measuring with a scale will make your recipes even more precise and flawless every time. Measuring by weight is more accurate than measuring by volume and besides that, most professional recipes are written using weights.
A nice kitchen scale is a must for any cake baker!
17 – Parchment paper
Perfect for the bottom of cake pans and cookie sheet trays, parchment is the multi purpose, non stick tool that every baker should use. But a big pack of pre cut parchment sheets of a simple roll- using parchment will greatly help your cake baking skills.
18 – Whisks
Even if you are lucky enough to have a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, you will still want to buy at least one nice whisk to have in your kitchen cake making collection. From whipping eggs to fluffing four, a whisk is a tool you will find yourself reaching for again and again.
19 – Cake Stand
Once you have used all of your awesome cake making tools, you will want to display that beautiful cake you made.
Choose a simple cake stand that will compliment a wide array of cake styles however also make sure to consider your own personal style when choosing a cake stand. Cakes can, after all, be the perfect centerpiece to any table.
If you have all of these tools checked of your list and stocked in your kitchen then you are more than ready to bake some amazing cakes! So get out all of your cake tools and put them to good use- making cakes has never been easier or more fun!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.