23 essential pieces of baking equipment

Which pieces of baking equipment should you buy for your kitchen? The BBC Good Food team provide a checklist of baking gadgets for beginners and recommended buys.

Caramel cake

We’ve picked products we think you’ll love and may earn commission from links on this page. Read about why you can trust BBC Good Food reviews. This page was updated in April 2020.

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.

Cake tin on a block coloured background

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.

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.

 

 

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.

Recommended product: 

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.


Available from Amazon (£8.32)

Flour shaker on a block coloured background

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.

Recommended product: 

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. 


Available from Borough Kitchen (£8)

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.

Recommended product: 

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. 


Available from Amazon (£3.99)

Food mixer on a block colour background

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

Recommended product:

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.


Available from John Lewis (£699)

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

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.

Recommended product: 

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.

 

Available from VonShef (£68.99)

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

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.

Recommended product:

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.


Available from Amazon (£5.40)

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

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.

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, 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.

Recommended product:

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)

Pastry brush on a block coloured background
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.

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.


Available from Nisbets (£4.90)

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

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)

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.

Microplane fine grater on a block colour background17. Zester

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.

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.

 

18. 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. 

Pink spatula on a block colour background
19. Spatula

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.


Available from Amazon (£6.95)

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

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)

 

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.

Recommended product: 

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. 


Available from Amazon (£29.99)

Golden Bundt cake tin on a block coloured background

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.

Recommended product: 

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
Baking videos
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 goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

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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Rmc74
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.
Moderator BBCBoard's picture
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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