If you want to create consistent, well made, beautiful cakes and cupcakes, it's important to have a well-stocked arsenal of tools and equipment. Even if you don't need everything on this list, it's a good idea to become familiar with all of the options available. With time and practice, you can become a cake and cupcake home baking pro!
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Kitchen scales are small, affordable and absolutely essential to consistent baking results. A cup of flour can have weight variances of up to 2 ounces depending on whether the flour is spooned or scooped into the measuring cup.
Cake Pans, Parchment Rounds & Cardboard Rounds
Cake pans can be purchased in a variety of shapes and sizes, so pay close attention to the equipment your recipe requires. If the cake will have more than one layer, it's best to use the same type of pan for each layer, because different brands might be made from different materials and yield different results. If you're planning to bake a lot of cake, parchment rounds can be purchased in the same sizes as standard cake pans. Cardboard rounds are also very useful for transporting and storing individual layers.
Cupcake Pans and Liners
Nonstick cupcake pans are available in smaller and larger sizes. You can either use decorative cupcake liners or grease the pans before baking. Nonstick cooking spray is a fast, easy alternative to using liners.
Scoops (also known as "Dishers")
Scoops are especially useful for measuring out cupcake batter evenly. They remove all the guesswork, ensuring that each cupcake will be exactly the same size.
While an electric handheld mixer can sometimes get the job done, there truly is no replacement for a classic stand mixer. This workhorse is perfect for creaming butter and sugar, preparing any type of batter, and creating a velvety, smooth buttercream frosting.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
It's important to have a good set of measuring cups and spoons. Keep in mind that liquid and dry ingredients are measured differently, so you will need both dry and liquid measuring cups.
A baker's essential, cooling racks raise baked goods and other pots above surfaces, allowing air to circulate while cooling and stopping the cooking process.
Revolving Cake Stand, Cake Lifter & Offset Spatula
When it comes to decorating layer cakes, these three tools make a huge difference. The revolving mechanism on the cake stand allows you to spin cakes so you can access all sides and angles for easier icing and decorating. Cake lifters make it easy to transport the cake between the revolving stand and a decorative stand.
Offset spatulas are perfect for scooping and spreading frosting, and they bend slightly at the handle for better leverage. They are also useful for leveling the batter before placing the cake in the oven.
Piping Bags, Tips & Couplers
Piping bags, also known as pastry or decorating bags, are made from cloth, paper, or plastic, and can be used to pipe frosting onto cakes and cupcakes. Decorative tips are sold in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the look you want to achieve.
Couplers are more optional when it comes to cake and cupcake decorating; they're often used for advanced cookie decorating. A coupler allows you to change between decorating tips without changing out pastry bags. It's a two-part device; one piece attaches to the end of the pastry bag and the other screws on to the tip.
Gel Food Coloring, Edible Decorations, Icing Smoother & Icing Combs
Gel food coloring is the best option for cake and cupcake decorating. Just a few drops will create a very vibrant, intense color without diluting the texture of the frosting. Other optional decorations for cakes and cupcakes include sprinkles, decorative sugars and candy.
Icing smoothers will create a very smooth surface on a cake, while icing combs will create various decorative lines and patterns.