What are the essential tools to make cakes at home? Which cake pans should I choose? Which cake tools for beginners? I give you my 10 best cake-decorating tools in this complete post to make amazing cakes!
Cake decorating supplies
We often hear that baking is an exact science, that you have to measure your ingredients to the gram, follow the instructions to the letter and your cakes will be successful.
But what about the decorating tools you use? Do you think you can reproduce theese perfect fondant cakes using only what you have in your kitchen?
Your grandmother's old baking pan, a meat knife to cut your sponge cakes, a tablespoon to fill it, and your kid's graduated ruler to smooth it out 😅.
Contrary to what you think, you don't need to buy too many tools, nor the latest trendy ones to make your cakes successful!
You just need a basic set of materials that will serve you for each of your cake projects and will help you finally reproduce that beautiful cake seen on Instagram ;-)!
My favorite cake tools
I've been in the cake decorating business for more than 10 years now and at that time cake design was not known at all in France. I had to learn all the techniques on the job and try different tools myself to finally find the secret of a perfect cake!
But I have good news for you! You won't have to repeat my mistakes to get there ! Because I have listed for you my 10 favorite tools that I use almost every time I make a layer cake.
This top 10, is your must-have if you are a beginner or if you want to take your baking to the next level!
1 - Stand mixer
A stand mixer is like a right arm in the kitchen! So versatile, it is almost perfect for everything in pastry making! Knead, Whip, Cream! Nothing can resist it!
If you have to start somewhere, it's with the purchase of a stand mixer. They are expensive but efficient! It is a real long-term investment that you should not consider!
KITCHEN AID ARTISAN
So inevitably my choice was made on the most popular, the most elegant, the Kitchen Aid Artisan and I even chose a color that matches my universe and puts me in a good mood when I enter my kitchen 🥰.
I use it regularly in all my cake recipes, frostings, and cupcakes and even to make savory recipes like bread or pizza dough.
Can it be replaced by an electric mixer?
Yes and no! The ideal is to have both! One is more appropriate for some preparations like sponge cakes, and buttercreams, and especially for large quantities. The other one is very practical for simpler recipes and smaller quantities.
If you don't know which sponge cake to make for your cakes >> The Molly Cake
2 - Cake pan
This is definitely the question that comes up the most. Which cake pan to choose? How much do I need? What size? Which brand?
The most important thing to remember is that it must absolutely be made of aluminum for good heat conduction and optimal cooking.
For the brands, the most used without real difference in quality are Wilton, PME, USA Pan and Fat Daddios,
What size pan should I use?
You can't use the same material that you normally use to make a chocolate coffee cake or an apple cake.
In cake design, we make layer cakes, which are very high cakes. The cut-out portion is therefore smaller.
To start with, take two 6-inch / 15 cm round baking pans which correspond to about 10-12 servings.
Tip: The cake pans should be lined with parchment paper and I always add baking spray for perfect unmolding.
And don't forget to use this method to : How to line pans with parchment paper
3 - Tools for cutting a cake
To achieve several cake layers of equal thickness and level with a simple serrated knife, you will need a little experience. But don't worry, there is a magic tool to do it "the cake leveler".
A cake leveler
Simply adjust the level of the cake leveler and easily cut your cakes into several layers of sponge cakes of the same thickness. This tool is great and doesn't cost much, you will finally have nice straight sponge cakes.
You can also watch my video on "How to cut a cake in several layers" I show you how to do it with a cake leveler, a large saw knife, and a simple kitchen knife.
4 - Cake decorating turntable
In my early days I learned without a cake turntable can you imagine 😅 ? Today I can't do without it! It's so convenient, you spin the cake and finally stop turning around 😄!
There are several more or less professional models like this cake stand Ateco turntable. It has a perfect height to be comfortable during all stages of smoothing and decorating cakes and decorating cupcakes (thank you my back).
It rotates in both directions and has a non-slip pad included that stabilizes the cake and is very useful to prevent it from moving or falling.
5 - Cake boards
Unless you plan to put your wedding cakes on a flat plate, a cake board is a must! I really like the cardboard platters from Wilton (see photo), they need to be pretty rigid because a layer cake is heavy.
The great thing about these platters is that they are also perfect for smoothing the outside using the ganache plate technique you'll find below 😉.
6 - Spatulas
Never without my offset spatula 😅 ! It's so ergonomic and handy, you'll never use the crepe spatula or silicone spatula again to top and smooth your cakes!
This is in my top 3 must-have tools after the turntable and the cake scraper!
The angled spatula is perfect for smoothing the filling and applying an exterior frosting underlay. But be careful, get the right size (9 inch / 22 cm).
7 - Icing Smoother
We're getting into the big time 🥰! The smooth frosting step is the longest!!! This is my favorite step and makes me proud when I haven't spent 3 hours on it 😅.
Whether or not you choose to use a cake lifter will make a difference and show in your finishes!
So do you use an icing smoother and use it correctly? (We'll see this in a future post 😉)
The plastic smoother
This model is exactly the first one I used when I started cake decorating. This plastic icing straightener from PME is great! Correct height, easy to hold, rigid enough, right angles but above all a small price!
The acrylic smoother
These new acrylic smoothers are very efficient. They have a beveled shape that perfectly scrapes the frosting with each pass.
We like the transparent side and the height. They are a little thicker and the grip is easy.
A little more expensive but to know if you will be comfortable with them and if they are made for you, you have to test them!
The stainless steel smoother
This is definitely my favorite, the stainless steel cake smoother is for me the most efficient on the market! Get it from a height higher than the average height of your cakes. And again with perfectly straight corners!
No frosting can resist it, buttercream, cream cheese frosting or a simple whipped cream your cakes will always be smooth.
You will also like : How to frost a cake for a perfect finish
8 - Ganache plates
This cake-decorating technique changes the way cakes are made! The madness of the cakes with ultra clean smoothness and perfectly cylindrical shape with right angles! It was already an obsession with gum paste, which then spread to cakes covered with buttercream and others frostings.
Using this smoothing technique will save you precious minutes and give you a finish worthy of a professional cake designer!
Invest in a set of 2 acrylic cake discs of the same diameter as the pan you use most often. With this technique, you will be able to quickly and correctly apply a covering layer of frosting with a buttercream or chocolate ganache.
9 - Piping bags
No pastries without pastry bags! They are used daily in traditional pastry and also in cake design, to fill, cover and decorate cakes.
Take pastry bags large enough, at least 14 inches / 35 cm and disposable piping bags are more practical.
10 - Decorating Tips
To decorate your cakes and cupcakes, it is not necessary to have a huge collection of piping tips! Here are the main tips to have to decorate a cake simply and efficiently!
- A very useful decorating coupler adaptor to change tips on the go without having to empty your pastry bag and get your hands full.
- Flower tips : 2D , 1B
- Star tips: 1M, 4B and 6B
Buttercreams and frosting recipes :
- Buttercreams best recipes
- Swiss meringue buttercream
- White chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream
- Italian buttercream
- French buttercream
- Italian meringue
- Whipped ganache
- Russian buttercream
- Covering ganache
- Chocolate ganache
Sponge cakes recipes
And you what are your essential tools for your cakes? If you found this article helpful feel free to leave me a little comment at the bottom 😉 !