The huge number of cake decorating products out there can be a little daunting when you’re first getting started in cakes - we should know, we have thousands of products at Lollipops!
The good news is you really only need a few essential tools to start with and then you can gradually add more products to your tool kits as you go, depending on what you need or what you love the most.
We asked all our caking staff members here at Lollipops what products they couldn’t have lived without in the beginning and the top choices were pretty common across the board! So here are the top ten essential tools you need when first starting out with cakes.
A turntable is essentially a cake stand that got together with a lazy susan. The top spins around and the base stays put. A good turntable will help you ice your cake faster, easier, and with much better results. Your buttercream and ganache will be smoother than ever and piping details will be far easier, especially if you are piping borders.
Turntables can range from plastic and affordable to stainless steel professional level. For a beginner Karin recommends the Mondo turntable which has a brake to still the table as well. However if you were looking for a stainless steel turntable the Loyal Stainless Steel or Loyal Heavy Duty Aluminium are both great choices, with the Loyal Heavy Duty being a top of the line turntable that will last you a lifetime!
A angled spatula, also known as a cranked or offset spatula, will be your most reached for tool when decorating cakes. They are made especially for applying and working with soft, spreadable icing. The angle of the blade helps spread icing or fillings without your fingers getting in the way. A good quality 4 inch or 6 inch spatula will be able to handle most icing jobs.
Along with your angled spatula, a cake scraper will always be out on your bench. A half moon scraper is ideal for applying your crumb coat and smoothing out your buttercream and ganache, and is also perfect for cleaning out buttercream and ganache from bowls.
You probably already have a standard rolling pin lying around in your kitchen drawer so you’re already halfway there! Definitely start out with that and as you start working with more fondant, cookie doughs, modelling chocolate etc you might want to look into having two or three rolling pins. A nice small one is really handy when working with small amounts of fondant or gum paste for decorations, whereas a larger pin will help you with covering a cake in fondant or rolling out large amounts of dough or pastry. All our loyal non-stick rolling pins come with guides to help you achieve an even thickness throughout.
Speaking of rolling out fondant, a duster pouch is that tool you probably never thought you’d need but once you have it you won’t know how you lived without it! A duster pouch allows you to perfectly control the amount of icing sugar of cornflour you need when working with sugar paste, flower paste, gum paste or fondant. The fine weave of the dabber ensures that only a small amount is dispensed time and time again. We have two styles, the FMM Dab & Dust or the Wilton Dust N Store, both work brilliantly.
If you’d rather not roll directly onto your kitchen bench, then fondant mats are exactly what you need. Our Fondtastic Two Piece Fondant Mat Sets are non-stick and come with fantastic measuring circles so you know exactly when you’ve rolled out your fondant to the correct size. You can also place the second mat over the top of the fondant you are rolling out and roll the fondant out between the mats. This gives you a smooth silky texture to your fondant, and if you walk away, the fondant does not dry out between the mats!
There is a never ending number of cake tins available but when starting out you only need a few. We recommend starting with a few round tins in the most common sizes, 6in, 8in and 10in. The Mondo Three Tier Pan Set has all these sizes in one set, which is a great money-saver. They are also a nice 4 inches high, which is perfect for when you’re making layer cakes. If a recipe asks for a pan size slightly different from what you have just adjust the cooking time a little and you’ll be fine.
These may not seem too essential, after all you can just cut out baking paper with scissors right? But everyone we asked swears by them! They save you time, effort, and stress, not to mention paper wastage as they fit perfectly in the bottom of the baking pans.
If the number of tins seem daunting then prepare yourself for piping tips. There are hundreds of different tips, many of them very similar to another tip. So how do you know which you should buy? We recommend starting with a piping kit like our Loyal 6 Piece Piping Set. It’s the ideal kit to start decorating cupcakes and cakes and includes the most popular piping tips: the 1A, 1M, 2D and 234 grass tip. It also comes with a coupler and a pack of disposable piping bags. From there you can start to build your collection a few piping tips at a time, or go all in and buy one of our bigger piping tip sets.
Like the name promises, fondant smoothers help smooth the fondant onto the cake and help to release air bubbles from under the fondant. This is a must have for your collection as soon as you start working with fondant. Check out our range of smoothers here.
A caker’s kitchen is never complete and there will always be something new and incredible to add to your tool kit, but even just starting out with these ten essentials you will be amazed at the cake you are able to create. Be warned though, it is an addiction! Pretty soon you’ll have an entire room dedicated to storing your amazing cake tools.