The cake world has a huge variety of tools and equipment to use. A few are must-haves. Others are good to have. And some that we'd love to have, if we can afford it. Below I've listed a few of the ones I know you will want to have. Ones that will definitely not be wasting your money on.
The internet has lots to offer; more than one tool for the same job. I know tools make life a lot easier but picking the right tool for the right job is key. When I just started off I kept buying everything people recommended! Cake toys that I did not need!
True - there are some that I have still not opened out of their original packaging cause I have had no use for them. I got them just because some cake person I admire has them.
Tools vs. skills
Again, I know tools make life a lot easier but the truth still remains that your talent is what is key. So if you got a tool that a cake artist you admire is using and you still don't get the same results - don't go buying another tool. Collecting more tools is not the answer there; right?
What you need to do is practice! Yes, practice more and work on your skills. Perhaps use that money to buy a class that shows you how to achieve that results. For example, if you want to learn to model don't go on a shopping spree for modeling tools. Instead, take a class and learn that skill; and often you will see that if you spend time practicing which tool you use won't matter much.
Having said that, here are a few tools I think are worth investing to make your cake decorating life easier.
So this is for those of you that are just starting off. What should you buy and what you absolutely cannot live without?
- If you bake often, it would be a good idea to invest in a cake mixer. Because, often, we try to mix by hand, and then we are too tired to give it enough creaming or mixing. So, if you are making this cake go ahead and remove that K-Mix or Kitchen Aid from your kitchen cabinet.
- You don’t have to buy an expensive stand mixer, a simple hand mixer also works great.
- I believe in measuring ingredients by weight, which makes my kitchen scale one of the most valuable items when baking.
- And the same goes for my measuring cups and measuring spoons. It’s always a good idea to have these handy and use them when baking rather than trying to guess measurements.
- Also, I think one set of baking pans is a must for anyone a home baker. I often use three 6-inch round cakes, which I often split into 4 layers for a tall display.
- Some times, I use three 8-inch round pans or three 7-inch cakes.
- Additionally, I like to bake my coffee cakes in bundt pans or loaf pans.
- For my coffee cakes, I like to use my 8 x 8 square baking pan or 9 x 3 inch round baking pan or 9 x 13 sheet cake pan.
- Once baked, always invert your cakes on a cooling rack. This enables air circulation and prevents the steam from pooling at the bottom of the pan.
- Lastly, every oven works differently. So the baking times are just guidelines. In the case of cakes, a skewer inserted in the center is a great indication.
- If the cake bakes too fast or too slow compared to the time given, it might be a good idea to check if your oven needs calibration.
- An oven thermometer is a great little gadget to help keep the oven temperature in check. All you need to do then is adjust the temperature accordingly.
Basic for cake decorating
- I use my bread knife to carve and trim the cakes.
- A set of spatulas work great for frosting the cake. Straight edge spatulas for the sides and off-set spatulas for the top
- I use my fondant sculpting tools such as ball tools when working with novelty cakes.
- A sharp serrated knife and a pizza wheel work better for working with fondant.
- I like to put my cakes on a cake board or cake stand.
Sugar flowers & cutters
- If you plan to venture into sugar flowers I highly recommend buying a basic pack like this one first. See if you are interested in making sugar flowers or if you would rather outsource the job. (I have a huge bag of sugar flower tools that I have never used)
- Some of the basic sugar flowers cutters you may like to start with are roses and blossoms
- Silicon molds are an addiction and you can never have enough (I know!)
- If you are new to cake decorating then I highly recommend buying things you know you will need like these texture mats, woodgrain silicone mats.
- Marvelous molds have a hugely impressive selection and I do have personally gone crazy buying so much more than I actually use. Having said that there are a few that are tremendous time-savers such as ruffles, swags, borders, sequins,
- Airbrush is an important investment. It's not cheap so buy the best and you will never have to buy it again.
- I have my Dinkydoole airbrush and its never ever given me any issues. The other highly recommended airbrush is by Clairella.
- You do need to invest in a basic collection of piping tips so you can pipe simple borders and designs even if you do not do many buttercream specialized cakes.
- These days the Russian piping tips have become the most popular.
Cake lace and molds
- Lace is the new trend in cake decorating and it's here to stay. You can make your own lace or buy the ready to use paste.
- There are plenty of new wonderful designs available these days. I suggest starting with a few in your collection and then adding based on customer requests. I think this and this lace molds are very versatile
Gravity defying cake structures
- If you like gravity-defying cakes. There are two ways to go about it. You can go the DIY route and visit the hardware shop for all the nuts and bolts or
- You can buy the ready to use cake structures available these days by Cake Frame or innovative sugarworks. Here is the animal cake structure that will allow you to make any animal cake. Or you can use this 2 leg cake structure to make a standing figure cake
Gum paste modeling of figures
- Personally, I'm a huge fan of these sugar shapers or sculpting tools from innovative sugarworks
Do you have a tool that you think you cannot live without? Do let me know in the comments below so I can add them to the list here and check them out myself.