The average home baker may think that baking and decorating professional looking cakes is just impossible. Every time you try, it ends up looking like something off of a Buzzfeed Pinterest fail list. I can almost guarantee you that’s because you aren’t using the right cake tools. Making simple, beautiful cakes is actually pretty easy if you come at the task with the right equipment.
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Basic Cake Tools for Success
First of all, I’m going to make a big assumption here that you read my post about the best baking tools and fully stocked up your equipment. You should already have some basic kitchen equipment like:
In my post about the best basic baking tools, I mentioned the hand mixer because it is an affordable and useful tool. For making cakes, it can be great to mix batter and small batches of frosting. But if you’re serious about cakes, you really need a stand mixer. Without a doubt, it’s a bit of an investment but it’s vital to making big batches of frosting. And I’m not sure how using the reverse creaming method would work with a hand mixer. (I used this method for the Coffee Cake Layer Cake.)
Even if you don’t think you want to do a lot of fancy piping work, these cake tools are going to make assembling your sweet treat sooooo much easier. I like to use a wide circle tip to pipe frosting in between cake layers, as a crumb coat, and for covering the cake with frosting. Just use that handy bench scraper to smooth the frosting and you’re walking on easy street. But now that you’ve got these fun tools, feel free to get creative! You can practice piping frosting onto a piece of wax paper. When you’re all done, just scrape it up and frost your cake or keep practicing.
Now that you’ve got your pretty cake baked and frosted, how the heck are you going to get it over to your aunt’s house for the party? This storage and carrying case is cheap and super handy. It can hold one of my 5 layer 6 inch cakes, or a big 9 inch layer cake. Fair warning though, it’s big. If you’ve got the French door style fridge like us, it’s going to take up a nice chunk of space. Not sure you can really get around this snafu though.
Okay, this one is a big of an oddball, I’ll give you that. I got mine as a Christmas gift and I have ended up using it way more often than I thought! It’s super easy to check the temperature of your ganache before starting the drip on your cake. And if you’re making an Italian or Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, use this handy thermometer to make your life easy. The lazy part of me (which is all of me) loves that you don’t have to clean anything!
Obviously, if you’re making a list of basic cake tools, you need to have cake pans on the list. I have fallen in love with this 6 inch set by Wilton because it’s so easy to make a tall layer cake that looks beautiful and unique. But if you’re sticking with a more basic approach, I would go with two or three eight inch cake pans. They are versatile and make great birthday cakes. I’ve also got this tiered set by Wilton that I just can’t wait to use!
The secret to getting those smooth, sharp edges on your cakes is a turntable and a scraper. This set comes with some other awesome cake tools like a large offset spatula and textured scrapers. This piece of equipment is also great for adding decorations to cakes like pretty piping or a tasty ganache drip. It’s important to get one that is solid and moves smoothly, otherwise your cake is going to look sloppy. I like that this one is metal and heavy duty. It turns like a dream! I worry that plastic ones wouldn’t be as smooth. Anyone use one? Thoughts?
I like having a full sized one and a mini spatula to be prepared for any cake decorating situation. These are great cake tools for spreading frosting on your cake and adding texture to the finished look. Even after I pipe the frosting in between cake layers, I like to use one of these offset spatulas to smooth it out and make sure the filling is even and flat. While bench scrapers are fantastic for smoothing out the sides, offset spatulas are better for smaller areas. They are perfect for finishing off the top of the cake.
One of the biggest tips I’ve learned since I threw myself into baking is the power of gel food color! Honestly, I’m not even sure if I was aware of the difference between the gel colors and the supermarket variety. When you’re coloring cake batter or frosting, you really need to use this stuff. It’s super concentrated and won’t water down whatever you’re making. I like this little four pack of primary colors. Whenever I need a special color, I run out to Michaels and grab a little tub of color for a couple of bucks.
The last item on my cake tools list is cake boards. This is going to change your cake game! Cake boards come in standard cake sizes, so just use the same size as your pan. I’ve been sticking to these 6 inch boards recently. These guys are going to allow you to move your cake from the turntable to the fridge, back to the turntable, and then to the cake stand when you serve it.
When you’re working on the cake on the turntable, I like to put down a circle grippy mat (check out Dollar Tree again) under the cake board to hold it in place. You can also use the edge of the cake board as a guide to get even, smooth sides. Once you’ve build up enough frosting (chill between layers), place your bench scraper so that it lines up on the outer edge of the cake board. The scraper should be at a 90 degree angle. This will give you crisp, straight edges.
Now that you’ve got these handy cake tools, get out there and get caking! You’ll find that once you’ve got the right equipment, baking and decorating cakes will be a breeze. It may take you a little bit of practice, but you’ll find that your cakes are going to look much more professional and I guarantee the compliments will pour in. Make sure to pin this list for the future too!
Hi there! I’m Colleen, a novice baker with a passion for learning and improving my bakes… and blunders. On Bakes and Blunders, you can find all sorts of tasty recipes that range in difficulty, but most importantly, I’ll try to explain the reason behind important steps. If you know why a recipe works, you can tweak and adapt it to suit your unique tastes, and you’ll be able to reliably produce some very delicious treats. If you love baking and want to expand and grow your skills, or if you are a casual baker and just need some pointers, my blog is right up your alley! Join me on my baking journey and we’ll learn how to make more impressive recipes together.