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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 reviews section.
1. 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. Read our review of cake tins.
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.
2. Cooling rack
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. Read our review of cooling racks.
Tala non-stick cake cooling rack
This budget-friendly tray ticks a lot of boxes being both non-stick and dishwasher safe. This all-rounder is large enough to handle two large cakes at the same time.
3. A dredger or shaker
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.
Borough Kitchen stainless steel 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, which feels good in the hand.
4. Icing smoother
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. Read our review of cake decorating gadgets.
Tala flat edge icing smoother
This Tala smoother is cheap and effective, and will help to reduce air pockets, which you can also remove using a little pin before smoothing over.
5. Food 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 can come with different attachments to help with non-baking tasks, too. Read our review of food mixers.
KitchenAid 6.9-litre Artisan stand mixer
KitchenAid is a renowned, heritage brand for a reason. The build quality, ease of use and excellent results of this iconic machine make it a worthwhile wishlist product for bakers. The Artisan model has only been around since 2012 but is already a classic.
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.
7. 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 rubbing fat into flour when making pastry. Read our review of food processors.
VonShef 750W food processor
For the price, this machine packs a punch, coming loaded with various functions. It’s easy to use and does the basics well. It has a neat footprint and its smart design would look good on show in a kitchen.
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.
9. 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. Read our review of measuring spoons.
Wilton Scoop-It measuring cups
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.
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.
11. 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. Read our review of mixing bowls.
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, the little bowl perfect for smaller jobs. 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.
12. Palette knife
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.
Wilton angled palette knife
Larger palette knives, like this 13in one, are perfect for icing larger cakes as their wide metal edge helps cover more surface area.
Available from Amazon (£4.99)
13. Pastry brush
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.
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.
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.
15. Rolling pin
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.
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.
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.
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 graters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
22. 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.
Morphy Richards Total Control hand mixer
This hand mixer is solidly built, and powerful for its price bracket. In addition to five speed settings, there is a turbo button for extra bursts of power. The attachments slot in easily and can be detached quickly with the eject button. The beaters have rounded edges that reach well into the curves of bowls.
23. Bundt cake 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.
Nordic Ware Crown Bundt® 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.
Available from Amazon (£43.80)
More on baking…
Our best ever baking recipes
Our cakes & baking section
Guides to baking
8 new gadgets every baker needs to own
This review was last updated in April 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What baking kit do you rely on? We’d like to hear your product suggestions…