Top 5 cake baking tools

Hey cake virgins! 

Before we can go on about baking cakes and decorating them, let's talk about the basic tools that you'll need.

This is my list of the top five cake baking tools that will make your life easier. These tools don't include the things you'll need to do intense cake decorating, but these are tools I use every single time I bake a cake and prepare it for decorating. 

1. Cake pans: 
Yes it seems like an obvious choice, but there are a wide variety of pans that you can choose from. Round pans, square pans, heart shaped pans, etc.

Now, I've been fond of simple round pans, but if you bought square or sheet pans, you could easily make several circle cakes out of those pans. It would be much harder and much more limiting to make a square out of a circle. 

The best pans I found come from the cake gurus, Wilton.Wilton offers both round and square pans, as well as a variety of sheet pans at a variety of price points. I recommend going for the decorator preferred pans, as the extra-thick aluminum will dispense heat efficiently on the larger pans. They do run a little more expensive, depending on where you buy them from, but for those who have older ovens that disperse heat unevenly. I know my oven certainly does, and these pans make baking the cakes evenly much easier.

2. Spatula: 
Again, another basic choice, but I wouldn't go for just any old spatula. Wilton has an angled spatula that is great for icing cakes. Straight spatulas can be used as well, but the angled spatula keeps your fingers away from the cake, preventing any smudging that might happen if your fingers grazed the sides of the cake.

3. Cake leveler: 
This is a nifty little tool that can be used time and time again. Wilton has two varieties of cake leveler, one for large cakes and one for smaller cakes. Depending on what kind of cakes you are baking, you can decide which size would suit your needs. All you do is place the adjustable wire in the notches that equal the desired height and move it through the cake in a slow, sawing motion. 

Warning though! DO NOT DO THIS WHEN THE CAKE IS HOT!! If you do, your cake will crumble and fall apart right before your eyes, and your icing job will be much harder. 

4. Food coloring: 
Food coloring comes in three main types: liquid, liquid-gel, gel-paste, and powder. 

Liquid food coloring is the most common, but the worst for cake decorating. It gives the weakest color and will thin out whatever it is being mixed with.

Liquid-gel gives a deep, rich color without thinning anything out.

Gel-paste gives deeper, more vivid colors than gel or liquid. It is very concentrated, so you don't have to use a lot of it to get the color you desire.

Powder food coloring very concentrated. It can be used in a variety of cake decorating techniques, but I wouldn't worry about buying it now. Powder food coloring is a much more advanced technique.

I recommend using gel-paste, available at craft stores and at Wal-Mart. It will last you a lot longer, since you have to use less of it to get your desired color. 

This is a cupcake cake I made for my sister's birthday. Right as I was about to start decorating it, I had discovered that  my parents had thrown out the food coloring that I had bought. I was left with liquid food coloring. The coloring ended up being completely off, the icing was extremely thin, and I ended up having to use flour to thicken everything. Lesson of the story: stay away from liquid food coloring....oh....and keep food coloring away from your parents. 

5. Cake lifter:
While probably one of the least necessary things, a cake lifter will come in handy for when you don't have an extra set of hands to help you stack cakes. Because it is such a strong, flat piece of metal, it can easily squeeze under your cake without damaging it. Wilton offers one with a no-slip grip too, which will come in handy when you've been elbow deep in icing, flour, and cake batter.

As you may have noticed, I've recommended Wilton products for the cake baking basic tools. I actually recommend Wilton products for everything related to cake. From experience, I know their products to be quality and to provide the best results for an affordable price. Other products and companies can be used though, so if you find the same thing at a better price, go for it! 

However, all the Wilton products should be available at your local craft store or at Wal-Mart. 

Until next time cake virgins!


Mak said...

I actually bake whenever I get the chance and I've never thought about investing in a cake leveler.

P.S.-Love the Starry Night cupcakes. SO creative, even if you did use liquid food coloring!

Cathy said...

The cake leveler is useful for cakes that you plan on stacking. For those who are trying to build a cake that is two or more tiers, the cake leveler helps to ensure good balance and a straight cake. Unless of course you wanted to make one of those topsy turvy cakes. If you are just baking a one layer cake, it is not as important.
However, I use it even for one layer cakes because I like how it makes things level for my cake toppers, which I usually make myself. Plus, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I like when things are level.
All up to you and what you want to achieve with your cakes, cake virgins!

Veronica Norton said...

I really like how this post makes it so easy to find the right tools to use. The links are very helpful, and they all work which is nice :) I like the picture of your work too! I look forward to seeing more pictures!

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