Online shopping 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 furnished my first home I picked things I did not need or that weren't the best in quality.
Below you will find products I use in my kitchen to cook, bake, and decorate with confidence. All products listed below are based on my personal experience and preference, not solicited.
The links below are amazon affiliate links. I do get a small commission when you click these links which help support my blog. However, these affiliate links have no effect on the price you pay.
If you cook often and know your way around the kitchen then investing in a block set of butcher knives is worth the investment. My husband got me the Henckels Butchers Block Of Knives before we got married. I use it every single day and yet, after 12 years it still a beauty on my kitchen counter. Having said that if you are on a budget there are three must-have knives for every kitchen. A chef's knife for cutting meats and large veggies, a utility knife for your veggies and other things, and a bread knife for cutting bread. In the interest of good hygiene, it's worth mentioning, don't forget to use a separate chopping board for your veggies and meats.
Kitchen pots and pans
A good quality set of pans in the kitchen will last you a lifetime. Again, If you cook often then investing in a set if often easier on the budget (if you choose the right set). When we got married we invested in a set of non-stick Calphalone and a set of stainless steel Calphalon which I am still using and love very much. Because I take care of my pans very well, often people are surprised that I've had them for over 12 years.
Here are a few pans that I think you need in a family based on what we cook. A large saute pan for chicken dishes and a small saute pan for the sides, a soup pot, a pasta pot. A small fry-pan for omelets and eggs and a large fry-pan for frittatas and French toast. If you love cooking then investing in a cast-iron skillet and a good Dutch oven is like taking cooking to the next level.
Of course, if you cook everything like me then a wok for stir-fry kinda dishes is worth the investment. I'm Indian so cast-iron Tava for my flat-bead is a must. Living here we grill throughout the year so a stove-top grill is a must-have for me.
Basic kitchen must-haves
Whether you are a novice cook just starting out or a chef with 20 years of experience, you will need these essential kitchen tools in every kitchen. A set of whisks, silicone spatulas for cooking, silicon spatulas for baking, wooden spoons, rolling pins, thongs, and of course, kitchen shears, pizza cutter, vegetable masher, potato ricer, grater, peeler, and zester, fine mesh sieve
For the baker in you
If you are a baker then, of course, you want to make sure you use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients (why should I weigh my ingredients) have a set of measuring cups for dry, measuring spoons, measuring cups for liquid, Pastry blender, Pastry Brush, and off-set spatulas.
Counter top appliances & electronics
- Food Processor - I have Magimix
- Hand Blender - I have Braun set
- Immersion Blender - I use Braun
- Stand Mixer - I use Kenwood K-Mix, Kitchen Aid is also good.
- Or Hand Mixer - I use mine a lot.
- Slow Cooker - I use mine once a week.
- Waffle Maker - used usually twice a month
Good to have attachments
- Ice Cream Maker - I use to have a Cuisine Art.
- Pasta Roller - with Kenwood or Kitchen aid or manual
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.
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.
- Sometimes, 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.
- 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 sugar works. 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
- 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.
I have a question about a product listed above, Palette Knife Painting Set. In your video for sharp edges, are you using one of these 3.1 or 3.7 inch off set knifes in the video? I am looking for a small offset spatula, as the one I am using is too large to achieve any type of precision when I try to perfect the top edge of the cake.
Hey Stephen - I usually use these offset spatulas and this offset spatula which I am very fond of. Otherthan that I use my bench scrapers dipped in warm water.