Baking is an art-form that requires the right tools for success, but it's not to be feared. In the course of writing thousands of baking recipes, we've discovered which products make life easier and those we would deem 'essentials' for keen bakers and absolute beginners alike.

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Following your recipe to the letter is the first step to baking success; this is our top tip and the science behind the process that will put you in the best possible position for creating successful bakes. It's important to to remember that most recipes are written for specific baking kit. For example, cake recipes such as our ultimate traditional Victoria sponge recipe offer measurements and cooking instructions for baking in 20cm cake tins.

Springform cake tins are a simple update to the traditional cake tin that makes releasing your bakes or even chilled puddings like cheesecakes much easier - just one example of where smart essentials can level-up your bakes. If you're looking to save time, small gadgets including hand mixers or the larger and sturdier stand mixers are the workhorses of the kitchen and take tricky, repetitive tasks such as creaming butter with sugar and or whisking egg whites off your hands.

Our team of reviews experts bring you this definitive list of tried-and-tested favourite baking tools and equipment large and small, top-rated for their performance, value for money and a host of other criteria. Our guide to successful cakes is a great place to find practical guidance for mastering the process every time.

Love baking? Discover our picks of the best baking tins, the best stand mixers and baking gifts for fellow baking lovers. Or, for budding chefs, our kids' baking set guide brings you our recommended picks of kids' baking sets.

Baking essentials checklist at a glance

Cake tins

  • Cake tins: Le Creuset springform round cake tin, £22.46
  • Loaf tin: Circulon Momentum loaf tin, £12.99
  • Bundt cake tin: MasterClass Talan non-stick round fluted cake pan, £15.78
  • Square baking tin: Lakeland 18cm deep square loose-based non-stick cake tin, £11.99

Gadgets and appliances

  • Stand mixer: Cuisinart Precision stand mixer, £247
  • Food processor: Ninja Food Processor with Auto-IQ, £100
  • Hand whisk: Cuisinart Cordless Power hand mixer, £84
  • Kitchen scales: Jean Patrique digital kitchen scales, £11.26

Baking equipment

  • Cooling rack: ProCook stainless steel cooling rack, £12
  • Measuring cups and spoons: JosephJoseph eight-piece nest measuring cup set, £12
  • Measuring Jug: Pyrex 1-litre classic prepware measure jug with lid, £14
  • Mixing bowls: Joseph Joseph nest 9-plus, £33.45
  • Sieve: ProCook double walled stainless steel sieve, 20cm, £8

Baking tools

  • Flour dredger or shaker: Judge fine mesh shaker, £7.99
  • Icing smoother: PME plain edge side scraper tool, £4.55
  • Marzipan spacers: PME marzipan/sugar paste spacers (set of two, 38cm), £2.85
  • Baking parchment: ProWrap professional baking parchment roll 300mm x 50m, £7.98
  • Palette Knife: Wilton 13-inch angled palette knife, £11.23
  • Pastry brush: Matfer natural pastry brush, £4.99
  • Rolling pin: Sous Chef tapered rolling pin, £8.99
  • Skewer / cake tester: Borough Kitchen stainless steel flat skewers (six-pack, 30cm), £5
  • Zester: Microplane gourmet fine grater, £26.98
  • Spatula: KitchenCraft Colourworks silicone spatula, £5.98
  • Wooden spoons: KitchenCraft three-piece spoon set, £2.75
  • Whisk: Bakery Bits Danish dough whisk, £12

25 pieces of essential baking equipment we love

Round cake tin

cake tin with a coloured background

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. Read our review of the best cake tins for our full guide, including loaf tins and bundt pans.

Recommended product: Le Creuset springform round cake tin

This Le Creuset tin is a cut above your average springform tin. It has a clasp with a heat-resistant silicone cover to make unclipping that bit easier and is worth spending a little extra money on. It was awarded best easy to secure springform cake tin during testing. Read our full guide to the best cake tins.

Loaf tin

Loaf tins aren't just for bread. The cakes they turn out produce endlessly snackable slices that are also great with a hot drink or for stashing as a treat in lunchboxes. Banana bread, lemon drizzle loaf and double chocolate loaf cake are some of our most popular recipes.

Recommended product: Circulon Momentum loaf tin

Awarded 5/5 stars and named the best budget loaf tin when tested by BBC Good Food experts, this Circulon is a dishwasher-safe tin that produced a nicely risen bake. It's also a reasonable price for the sturdiness and quality.

Square baking tin

square cake tin

Square cake tins are essential because they are great for all sorts of bakes, including upside-down fruit sponges, layered cakes and of course, brownies. It is best to go for non-stick tins and ones with a handled rim edge so that you have easy transfer in and out of the oven.

Recommended product: Lakeland 18cm deep square loose-based non-stick cake tin

This square cake tin is great quality, made from non-bending alloy steel and also has a non-stick coating, great for smooth cake edges and an easy clean up, post-baking. Its heavy-gauge construction provided in the material allows for an even bake, where heat is passed through the tin equally.

Bundt cake tin

bundt tin

The ultimate speciality bake tin with truly stunning results. These decorative pans have a distinct ridged design in a traditional ring shape. Read our review of bundt cake tins.

Recommended product: MasterClass Talan non-stick round fluted cake pan

Nordic Ware are the king of bundt cake tins (they even trademarked the name) and their intricate tins don't disappoint. We loved the sharp peaks and leaf-shaped pattern on this gilded tin – the cake slid out easily after being left for 10 minutes to cool.

More like this

Available from Wayfair (£13.29)

Stand mixer

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 often come with different attachments to help with non-baking tasks. Read our review of the best stand mixers to find the perfect investment mixer for you.

Recommended product: Cuisinart Precision stand mixer

The build quality, ease of use and excellent results of this Cuisinart machine make it a worthwhile investment for keen bakers. Both the main body and its flat paddle mixer, large whisk and paddle beater accessories have a heft that denotes quality, and they sit low in the bowl to reach all the ingredients.

Food processor

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

Recommended product: Ninja Food Processor with Auto-IQ

Ninja is known for its powerful appliances and for the price, this machine performs the basics of chopping, kneading, grating and slicing extremely well. It has a neat footprint and its smart design would look good on show in a kitchen.

Hand mixer

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. Read our review of hand mixers.

Recommended product: Cuisinart Cordless Power hand mixer

The major perk of cordless appliances is the flexibility of movement they give you. The battery power on this mixer is indicated by three progress bars so you get a warning when running low. You only use them for short periods each time so one full charge should allow for use multiple times. It's also powerful for the price.

Cooling rack

Cooling rack with 3 leg supports

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.

Recommended product: ProCook stainless steel cooling rack

This budget-friendly rack ticks a lot of boxes being both non-stick and dishwasher safe, as well as made from sturdy stainless steel. This all-rounder is large enough to handle two large cakes at the same time.

A dredger or shaker

Judge flour sifter

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. Read our review of the best shakers.

Recommended product: Judge fine mesh shaker

This model is a classic dredger design and is strong and high-quality for a good price. It has a high-grade gauze lid that screws on tightly and a pleasing, well-sized shape.

Icing smoother

PME icing smoother, steel and plastic handle

A handy tool for cake decorating, a smoother helps to give you a professional finish, smoothing down your marzipan or fondant ready-to-roll icing after you've applied it to the cake. You can buy this from specialist cake decorating shops. Read our review of cake decorating gadgets for more ideas if you want to create showstopping layer cakes.

Recommended product: PME plain edge side scraper tool

This smoother is highly versatile and effective for all sorts of bakes. It will help to reduce air pockets in icing, buttercream and ganache. It is also ideal for handling dough and scraping out any leftovers from the bowl.

Available from The Cake Decorating Co. (£4.55)

Baking parchment

baking parchment box with roll

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. Baking paper or greaseproof paper is also useful bakes and is available in supermarkets.

Recommended product: ProWrap professional baking parchment roll 300mm x 50m

For home and professional bakers alike, this baking parchment is great for wrapping cakes or lining baking trays. Perfect for pastry work, it also has an easy cut safety blade for fuss-free cutting to size.

Marzipan spacers

marzipan spacers with a rolling pin and dough

If you like to decorate cakes with marzipan or sugar paste, then spacers will help you achieve an even thickness. These can be bought from specialist suppliers. Follow our marzipan recipe collection for all things almond flavoured.

Recommended product: PME marzipan/sugar paste spacers (set of two, 38cm)

These simple but effective tools will allow an even layer of marzipan or icing so that cakes look effortless and very neat. Easy to use and clean, these will sure be a winner if you're a keen baker!

Available from Cake Stuff, £2.85

Measuring cups and spoons

Stack of measuring cups

People often under- or overestimate the size of a teaspoon or tablespoon. Measuring spoons ensure an accurate amount is used, important in baking. If you like to use American recipes, it's also worth buying a set of measuring cups to avoid tricky conversions. We've got guides outlining the best measuring cups and spoons for you to stock the cutlery drawer.

Recommended product: JosephJoseph eight-piece nest measuring cup set

This cup set looks sleek and fresh. The handles have a non-stick coating, which is great for buttery fingers. The pointed scoop is so logical that you wonder why this design hasn’t been done before.

Measuring jug

pyrex measuring jug with lid

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.

Recommended product: Pyrex 1-litre classic prepware measure jug with lid

A classic homeware brand, Pyrex provides great quality glassware kitchen accessories for easy cooking and baking. This measuring jug has a multifunctional lid, with two different sized spouts for fast or slow pouring and a full cover lid function for keeping contents fresh. A 1-litre measurement capacity, it is the perfect universal size for baking and cooking and is made from sturdy borosilicate glass.

Mixing bowls

mixing bowl nest with coloured background

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. Read our review of best mixing bowls.

Recommended product: Joseph Joseph nest 9-plus

This nest of bowls is an impressive all-in-one option. The large mixing bowl is 4.5 litres, a good size for getting big bakes underway, while the little bowl is perfect for smaller tasks. Neatly stacked inside, the colander and sieve are big enough to tackle standard tasks. The handles are easy to grip and the set is lightweight.

Palette knife

palette knife with rounded edge and black handle

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. Read our review of cake decorating gadgets.

Recommended product: Wilton 13-inch angled palette knife

Larger palette knives, like this 13-inch one, are perfect for icing larger cakes as their wide metal edge helps cover more surface area.

Pastry brush

pastry brush on a coloured background

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. Read our review of pastry brushes.

Recommended product: Matfer natural pastry brush

This professional-standard natural brush comes with a super-strong plastic handle for easy cleaning. It doesn’t flake or leave lines or pools of liquid in the pastry as some of the silicone brushes do, and the floppy bristles are ideal when you’re working with a delicate egg glaze. The brush is also nice and flat and very affordable.

Sieve

sieve on a counter top

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. We've reviewed the best kitchen sieves for you to try.

Recommended product: ProCook double walled stainless steel sieve, 20cm

This sieve will make it easier to sift flour and icing sugar whilst baking. This will allow for smoother consistencies of batters and buttercreams. Made from anti-rust stainless steel, it is sturdy and substantial and will ensure ingredients get sifted effectively. It could also be used to drain liquids.

Rolling pin

rolling pin on a coloured background

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. Read our review of rolling pins.

Recommended product: Sous Chef tapered rolling pin

Wooden pins are often favoured by bakers as flour tends to cling to them. This simple rolling pin is cheap and effective, and while officially designed to make pasta and pizza, it doubles as a baker’s best friend. It’s also lightweight so can be used on more delicate raw materials.

Available from Sous Chef (£7.95)

Skewer or cake tester

skewers

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.

Recommended product: Borough Kitchen stainless steel flat skewers (six-pack, 30cm)

These stainless steel skewers are so multifunctional. They can be used for meat and poultry on a barbecue, to hold marshmallows over a fire and of course, to test the bake of a cake. The ring handles are for an easy hold, perfect when tossing over a barbecue. These are also available in 15cm and 20cm lengths.

Available from Borough Kitchen (£5.00)

Zester

micrograter or zester on a coloured background

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. Read our review of the best graters and zesters.

Recommended product: Microplane gourmet fine grater

This is a kitchen classic for good reason. The trademark fine blade is exceptionally efficient, making light work of citrus peel, as well as hard ingredients like nutmeg. The handle is comfortable and can be stored on a hook, making it a space-saver, too.

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.

Recommended product: Jean Patrique digital kitchen scales

This ultra-slim set of scales measures dry ingredients up to 5kg. It has a clear and easy-to-read LCD display with multiple options for unit of measurement, and a tempered glass top that offers plenty of room for accommodating large bowls. It also has a handy tare function, which will allow you to weigh ingredients in the same bowl. After use, it can be wiped clean and stored in a dry place. Read our full guide to the best kitchen scales.

Available from Lakeland (£19.99)

Spatula

pink spatula on a coloured background

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

Recommended product: KitchenCraft Colourworks silicone spatula

This bright KitchenCraft spatula has the right edge for scraping mixture and icing. It’s available in a range of pastel shades including purple, green and pink, and despite the light colour, it's made from stain-resistant material should you want to use it with cocoa or spices.

Spoons

3 set wooden 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.

Recommended product: KitchenCraft three-piece spoon set

This three-piece set of wooden spoons will be a game-changer for non-hand-mixer owners. Made from beech wood, these spoons are great for non-stick surfaces and can provide a useful mixing tool when not in possession of a hand mixer or stand mixer. The set includes a 20cm spoon, one 25cm spoon and one30 cm.

Available from Wayfair (£8.13)

Whisk

balloon whisk on a coloured background

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. Read our review of whisks.

Recommended product: Bakery Bits Danish dough whisk

This unique whisk makes light work of mixing dough compared to a wooden spoon. Its purpose is mixing the ingredients for bread prior to kneading. It proved brilliant at breaking up the lumps and getting the water, flour and any sourdough starter mixed up.

Available from Bakery Bits (£9.10)

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
18 of the best baking gifts
Best cake stands
Best serving dishes and platters

Best hand mixers
Best cake stands
Best cake tins
Best serving dishes and platters
Best food processors
Best blenders
Best slow cookers
Best stand mixers
Best pressure cookers
Best multicookers

Baking recipes

Easy baking recipes
Brownie recipes
Traybake recipes
Meringue recipes
Bread recipes
Sponge cake recipes

If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

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