13 essential tools for cake decorators
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A couple of weeks back in the Cake Business Collective Facebook group (not a member yet, come join us here!) we were chatting about the cake making and decorating equipment we just couldn’t be without. Turns out a few of us have even named our stand mixers (phew, I’m not alone!) we love them that much.
Today, I’m bringing you your kitchen must-have list of essential tools for cake decorators so you can get great results with ease – from low cost but essential items to the higher end items us bakers save up to secure – so you can benefit from them too!
I’m a bit of a germ freak (who guessed?!) so I like to keep all my ingredients separately in different tubs and tins, but I also like to keep plenty of plastic boxes on hand to hold my cake tins, food colouring gels, decorating equipment and all the other bits and bobs bakers seem to accumulate.
If you’ve got three cakes to bake in a day, or you’re making multiple loaves of bread, you’re going to be so grateful to your stand mixer. It’ll save you from achy arms and make things so much quicker, so you’ll have your cakes prepped and baked in less time. I personally swear by my Kitchen Aid (she’s called Abigail, in case you were wondering!).
This might sound obvious, but if you’re swapping roles a lot through the day (perhaps doing the school run as soon as a cake is out the oven or having a client come round for a consultation) then you’re going to want to be able to get clean and presentable pretty fast. Have an apron to hand to whip on and off and you’ll find it much easier to juggle your many roles!
Another obvious one, but you don’t forget quickly how sore it is when you accidentally grab a hot cake tin with your hand or touch it through the hole in your old pair of oven mitts!
A good, solid rolling pin is a must-have tool for cake decorators. Even if you’re not rolling out biscuit dough or pastry, you probably will be rolling out icing or marzipan at some point. Some people find the completely smooth rolling pins easiest for this because they won’t leave an indent at the handle ends, but I love my traditional wooden pin, handles and all.
Do you have enough sizes, shapes and depths to cater for your cake needs? A well-stocked cake tin cupboard is essential when you’re in the baking business. If you get any oddly shaped custom orders, you can always hire the right tin from your local cake decorating store as a cheaper alternative to buying it yourself.
You’ve got one – but have you got enough for when the order for 100 cupcakes comes through? Make sure you’ve got plenty of cooling racks so you can properly care for the cakes and give yourself plenty of room. When things get crowded, things tend to get squashed, knocked or dented, which you definitely don’t want.
Whether you’re working with buttercream, ganache or fondant, a smoothing and scraping utensil is an essential tool for cake decorators. You’ll get those crisp, sharp lines everyone is loving at the moment with so much less effort.
There’s also this surprise tool that is amazing at creating sharp edges on buttercream cakes… but you’ll have to check out this post to find out more about that! 😉
I was given a whole set of icing modelling tools a few years ago at Christmas. They’re brilliant because it means whatever project or cake I decide to tackle next, I know I’ll have the right tool in my decorating box to achieve it.
It can be easier to prepare and work with fondant and icing if you’re working with an icing matt, especially when they have dimensions mapped onto them so you know you’ve rolled out big enough to cover your cake!
Icing turn table
Whether you’re sticking to a simpler design or working up an ombre or watercolour effect, a turn table will be your best friend when decorating a celebration cake. You can reach every side without reaching around or leaning over and you can sweep your scraper right the way along, simply turning the cake as you need. Turn tables are the absolute best. This is the one that I use.
They’ll give you the swirls on cupcakes, pipe beautiful rosettes, create all kinds of flowers and petal designs. Wilton nozzles are my personal favourite for quality and ease of use and above is the set I started out with.
I grew up with a re-usable piping bag and it worked great, but the disposable kind are ever so practical if you’ve got a lot of piping to do and don’t want to be washing out the bag each time you change colour or flavour of your buttercream.