23 essential pieces of baking equipment

Which pieces of baking equipment should you buy for your kitchen? The BBC Good Food team provide a gadget checklist, plus handy product reviews…

Baking is an artform that requires the right tools for success. In the course of writing thousands of baking recipes, we've discovered which products are essential for keen bakers.

Read on to discover our recommended buys, plus find specific product suggestions courtesy of our expert buyer's guides. For more on equipment, visit our review section.

Cake tin on a block coloured background

1. Cake tins

Read our review of cake tins

There are many tins on the market of all shapes, sizes and materials. At BBC Good Food, we prefer heavy-duty tins, like springform cake pans. Dark-coloured silicone bakeware has a tendency to absorb heat and make the sides of the cake dark. It's essential to use the correct tin size and shape stated in the recipe, or cooking times will need to be adjusted.

2. Cooling rack

Read our review of cooling racks

This is an essential piece of equipment for helping air to circulate around your freshly baked cake or biscuits, avoiding sogginess during the cooling process.

Flour shaker on a block coloured background

3. A dredger or shaker

Read our review of the best shakers

A dredger – also known as a shaker – is useful for lightly dusting surfaces with flour or icing sugar when rolling out doughs or icing. However, a tea strainer or sieve can perform the same function perfectly well.

4. Icing smoother

Read our review of cake decorating gadgets

A handy tool for cake decorating, the smoother helps to give you a professional finish, smoothing down your marzipan or sugarpaste (ready-to-roll icing) after you've applied it to the cake. You can buy this from specialist cake decorating shops.

Food mixer on a block colour background

5. Food mixer

Read our review of food mixers

A food mixer (also known as a stand mixer) is not essential for cake-making but it does save time and minimise effort. Plus, they can come with different attachments to help with non-baking tasks, too.

6. Baking parchment

This type of paper is ideal for wrapping food, particularly greasy or fatty foods. It's often suggested as a suitable wrapping for fruit cake before placing it in a tin. It can be used in the freezer as well as the microwave and oven. If you are using it for lining a cake tin, you should also lightly butter or oil the paper before spooning in the cake mix.

Food processor on a block coloured background

7. Food processor

Read our review of food processors

Useful for so many functions both sweet and savoury, the food processor can also be used for many cake recipes and is good for rubbing fat into flour when making pastry.

8. Marzipan spacers

If you like to decorate cakes with marzipan or sugarpaste, then spacers will help you achieve an even thickness. These can be bought from specialist suppliers.

Measuring sets on a block coloured background

9. Measuring spoons

Read our review of measuring spoons

People often under or overestimate the size of a teaspoon or tablespoon. Measuring spoons ensure an accurate amount is used. If you like to use American recipes, it's also worth buying a set of measuring cups to avoid tricky conversions.

10. Measuring jug

Baking recipes often include oil, milk or other liquid ingredients, so a measuring jug is essential for getting the quantities right. As a measuring jug is needed for so many cooking purposes, it's always useful to have one to hand.

Mixing bowls on a block colour background
11. Mixing bowls

Read our review of mixing bowls

It's useful to have at least two large mixing bowls as many recipes require more than one. Choose glass, metal or plastic according to preference but it's worth having heatproof ones so that you can put them in the microwave or over simmering water when melting chocolate.

12. Palette knife

Read our review of cake decorating gadgets

A palette knife is a long, thin implement with a rounded end. It has a wide range of uses, including smoothing on icing or cake fillings, scraping bowls and cutting butter into flour.

Pastry brush on a block coloured background
13. Pastry brush

Read our review of pastry brushes

A pastry brush can be used to glaze your pastry with egg wash or milk or for brushing filo pastry with melted butter. It's also good for brushing off excess icing sugar when cake decorating.

14. Sieve

A fine sieve made from metal or plastic is ideal for sifting flour and icing sugar, which is highly recommended when cake-making. It can be easier to use a small tea strainer to dust surfaces and decorate desserts with icing sugar or cocoa.

Wooden rolling pin on a block colour background
15. Rolling pin

Read our review of rolling pins

You can buy one-piece rolling pins or the type with a fixed handle at either end, depending on which you find easiest. For really smooth results make sure the pin is wide enough to fully cover the width of dough or icing you are rolling out. If you do a lot of cake decorating with sugarpaste or ready-to-roll icing, it's handy to have both a wide pin made from smooth plastic and a mini pin for intricate work.

16. Skewer

A metal skewer will help you determine whether your cake is cooked. If you insert it into the cake and it comes out clean, your cake is ready.

Set of yellow scales on a block colour background
17. Scales

Read our review of digital weighing scales

As accuracy is key in baking, a good set of scales are necessary for measuring out ingredients. Choose from digital or manual – we like digital as they can usually accurately measure right down to a gram or two. 

18. Zester

Read our review of graters

It's handy to have a zester, fine grater or microplane, as many baking recipes require citrus zest. The latter two can also be used to grate nutmeg.

Pink spatula on a block colour background
19. Spatula

Read our review of spatulas

Avoid leaving cake mixture or melted chocolate in your bowl by using a bendy spatula to easily skim around the sides.

20. Spoons

A wooden spoon is a great all-rounder in the kitchen. If you don't have a food mixer, use it for beating your cake mixes. A large metal spoon is handy for folding in flour or whisked egg whites.

Whisk on a block colour background
21. Whisk

Read our review of whisks

Whisks are designed to give volume and aerate foods, so are useful in cake-making. A balloon whisk is a hand-held tool with metal loops that form into a bulb shape at the end of a long handle. It's always handy to have one of these in the kitchen as an addition to whipping cream, whisking egg whites and gently folding in flour, and you can also use it to remove lumps from sauces. An electric whisk or a food mixer make short work of whisking and creaming. The food mixer, with its different attachments, is more versatile but also much more expensive.

22. Hand mixer

Read our review of hand mixers

Electronic hand mixers – sometimes called beaters – are a good choice for people lacking storage space in the kitchen. They make quick work of creaming butter and sugar, whipping cream or whizzing batters, and take up a fraction of the space of stand mixers. 

Golden Bundt cake tin on a block coloured background

23. Bundt cake tin

Read our review of bundt cake tins

The ultimate speciality bake tin with truly stunning results. These decorative pans have a distinct ridged design in a traditional ring shape. 

More on baking... 

Our best-ever baking recipes
Our cakes & baking section
Guides to baking
Baking videos
8 new gadgets every baker needs to own

What baking kit do you rely on? We'd like to hear your product suggestions... 

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Comments, questions and tips

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2nd Oct, 2019
I’m only missing one item off this list, the bundt tin, but I probably wouldn’t use it anyway. Personally I would add baking beans to the list.
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Moderator BBCBoard
22nd Jan, 2019
Every one of these are essential to quality baking and cooking! Thanks for the article, I certain want to share it. https://probake.com/
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