Without further ado, we’ll jump into part two of Top Tools for Home Bakers! I already gave a list of the bigger tools that are a great start to a home baker’s arsenal, but let’s not forget the smaller items that no home baker should be without! These items are things I find myself reaching for constantly – some are obvious (measuring cups, anyone?) some maybe not so much! None of the are super expensive, and certainly won’t break the bank if you’re adding to your collection an item or two at a time. Of course, if you enter the Shopping List contest every month, you have an excellent chance of scoring a $20 Amazon Gift card to help pay for some of these little goodies!
If you’re planning to up your game at all and want to start trying out some of the great from-scratch recipes that are out there (one of them coming from me in May!), then you definitely need a reliable kitchen scale. It needs to measure both ounces and grams, and as evidenced in our LIVE session with the Delicious Fudge Brownies & Baileys Facebook LIVE session, it needs to be easy to switch between the two! I use my kitchen scale all the time for measuring ingredients and for measuring batter when I add it to pans so that I can be sure I’ll have even layers! I just this second ordered myself this Accuweight Scale from Amazon.com. Check it out!
I am not one of those people who can use the “ball stage” method of determining the temperature of candy. My talents do not lay in dropping a tiny bit of sugar into cold water and deciphering if said sugar turned into a hard, soft, or I don’t even know what other form of “ball”. Being one who knows my own weaknesses, I knew that a candy thermometer was a must in the kitchen – how else would I ever be able to make amazing treats like salted caramel toffee or Italian merengue buttercream? I wouldn’t, that’s what. So I invested less than 20 dollars in a thermometer. I prefer an instant digital read and I also am jonesing for the laser thermometer that I ordered this very morning! (yes, it’s been a busy day already!)
If you don’t have an oven thermometer, please invest the less than $10 and pick one up. Oven temperatures vary. They truly do. If you’re baking a beautiful, and sometimes pricey (hello pink champagne cake!) cake, you really want to take the best care of that baby as possible! You only put it in the oven when you need it (otherwise it gets all burned and grungy, don’t ask how I know this!) and it may show you surprising things about your oven’s temperature settings! Rubbermaid has one for about $6.50, get one now!
- Pyrex Bowls – If you don’t have the 3-piece Pyrex Mixing Bowl set, I want to know why. Seriously, they are one of the most-used items in my kitchen – I’ve had them for at least 15 years and they’re so versatile and useful I can’t imagine my life without them. As I’m out here on Amazon buying some other goodies, I’m honestly thinking about picking up another set!
- Whisk – If you’ve watched me live, you know I loves me a good whisk. I have several – I even have this ginormous one I bought but have never and probably will never use. One whisk stands out in the crowded drawer in the kitchen and that is my Oxo 11″ Balloon Whisk. I love it, I use it constantly, and I want about 10 more.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons – I’ve pretty much decided that the “liquids and solids measure differently”, hence the glass measuring cups for liquids and the standard measuring cups for dry is an old wive’s tale of some sort. I’ve tested this with both liquid and dry ingredients, and I can’t see a difference. However, I do still like to have both kinds on hand Now, I “collect” measuring cups and spoons, I have some that are absolutely gorgeous, but not very practical – No matter how many sets I have, I still go back to my stainless steel Oxo measuring cups and spoons. Of course, for liquids, I have the 1 cup, 2 cup and 4 cup glass versions. Anchor Hocking has a 3 cup set for less than $15.00!
- Spatulas – Silicone spatulas are something that you’ll want to keep on hand and you’ll want plenty of them. I’m not a huge fan of “spoonulas” – I like my spatulas with crisp edges and of course, I always love the ones with designs on them, like my bunny spatula in honor of my husband! Of course if you’re not into paying about 8 bucks for a single spatula (it’s a sickness, I tell you!), then look for an option that offers a set of spatulas for less than $10 , like these AreaJD 3-Piece Full Silicone spatulas.
- Offset Spatula – a must for getting a great finish on your iced cake! If you don’t have one already, I recommend getting this set of three.
- Bench Scraper – A bench scraper is a must for a perfectly smooth finish! Make sure you have one that’s completely flat, like this one from Norpro.
- Cake Torter – I can’t torte a cake with a knife to save my life. It’s one of those skills that I’ve promised myself I’ll work to improve, but in the meantime, a cake torter is a lifesaver! This one from Wilton works just fine and is inexpensively replaceable if it inexplicably breaks, like mine did!
- Turntable – The turntable is by far the most expensive item on this tools list, but if you invest in a good one, it provides a smooth turn, sits high enough to be comfortable and will last forever! I have the Ateco Turntable, but lately I’ve heard wonderful things about the Fat Daddio’s version as well. You can’t go wrong with either choice!
- Disposable Piping Bags – Who wants to clean out re-usable piping bags? Not this girl! All that greasy buttercream…. ugh. I always use disposable bags now, and it’s made my life so much easier! I keep two sizes on hand, the 12″ and the 16″ – I buy them in boxes of 100 and they last for quite a while – To start off, a box of Ateco 12″ disposable bags costs less than $15 for 100.
- Piping Tips – You’ll want some basic piping tips and supplies for borders, simple flowers, and fillings. A starter kit can be had for $12 and then you can add to your collection as needed.
- Cake Pedestal – Do yourself a favor and invest in at least one pretty cake pedestal. You worked hard on your gorgeous cake or cupcakes or brownies (or whatever delectable things we come up with!) and it deserves to be shown to it’s best advantage! Don’t throw that beautiful confection on a dinner plate, show it with pride on something equally lovely! There are great resources for cake pedestals that I use, Homegoods, Marshalls, TJMaxx, and Ross being just a few. Homegoods especially. They typically have a great selection at any given time, and they’re much more reasonable than getting them anywhere else. I won’t divuldge the number of cake pedestals I have, let’s just say it’s extensive and leave it at that, ok?
All in all, I’ve provided you my list of the 20 top tools that I use all. the. time. Of course, I add to them constantly, and I’m just a sucker for new and interesting things to try (please don’t come and look in my kitchen cupboards), but if you are just starting out or looking to up your game, I highly recommend making sure you have these in your kitchen.
Is there anything here that you don’t have but want? What’s the one tool you can’t do without? Share in the comments!