Rho’s Top Tools for Home Bakers – Part 2

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!


Tools for Bakers - Scale

A must-have for scratch recipes!

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  Check it out!

Cooking Thermometer

Tools for Bakers - Laser Thermometer

I just ordered one today!

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!)

Oven Thermometer

Tools for Bakers - Oven Thermometer

Get in my oven!

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!


Baking Hardware

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.

Decorating Hardware

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!


Rho’s Top Tools for Home Bakers – Part I

Welcome to part one of my Top Tools for Home Bakers!  The right tools for the job are essential for success and often we go a little overboard (I know I do) when stocking up on tools and pretty much anything baking-related!  But if you’re starting out, you can definitely invest in an assortment of tools that should help you finish most baking projects and won’t break the bank!

This is the list of bigger investments – the ones that perhaps you can’t go out and buy all at once – perhaps you need to plan for some of them, I know I did!  But spending wisely in the beginning will save money in the long run, I promise!


Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer (or both, if you’re a lunatic like me)

Tools for Bakers - KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Love these beauties!

I think I would die without my mixer. Ok, perhaps that’s a little dramatic, but I can promise you that I would cry real tears if anything were to happen to one of my precious babies. Having a great quality stand mixer is a huge help in doing so many things in the kitchen and they’ve become really affordable in recent years. My recommendation is to get the right mixer for the job – Not everyone needs all the bells and whistles! Trust me, getting a good 5 quart KitchenAid will serve most home bakers just fine!

Tools for Bakers - KitchenAid Hand Mixer

Absolute Workhorse

Of course, if a stand mixer is just out of your price range right now (and we’ve ALL been there), I’d recommend getting the absolute best hand mixer you can afford. Again, I recommend KitchenAid, because they are beasts and last forever! That yellow mixer in my kitchen (you’ll see it in the videos) is about 13 years old and I have never once had a problem with that lovely lady!

8” x 3” Round Cake Pans

If you invest in any baking pans, I would strongly recommend making your first investment in 8” x 3” round pans. Most recipes that you find are written for the 8” pan, and if you get the 3” deep version right off the bat, you’re not going to have to buy them a second time (like this girl) when you realize that you want to get a full 2” tall cake and don’t want to mess with parchment or risk spill-overs.

Tools for Bakers - Magic Line 8x3" Round

So Versatile!

I discuss it in my first video – I prefer Magic Line pans or Fat Daddios. Magic Line is truly my favorite, as they have sharper edges than any of the other pans I’ve found. This is incredibly helpful when covering cakes.   It’s just a personal preference of mine, but believe me, I have about a million pans of all shapes and sizes and the Magic Line are just my favorite. Ok, so I probably don’t have a MILLION pans, but maybe 500,000.

9” x 13” x 2” Cake Pan

Tools for Bakers - Magic Line 9"x13"2" Quarter Sheet

You’ll use it again and again

While you’re at it, get a good quality 9” x 13” x 2” pan as well. This one is a must-have for sheet cakes, and for the home baker, it should be sufficient to start out. At this point, I wouldn’t worry too much about half sheet and full sheet pans. Instead, if I were truly tempted in indulge in another size, I’d invest in a 9” x 9” x 3” pan to go along with the rectangle. This seems to be the pan size that’s preferred for many brownie and bar cookie recipes, although I don’t know why in the name of all that is holy anyone would want to make that few brownies. WHY?

Cookie Sheets

Tools for Bakers - Cookie Sheets

Must. Buy. More.

Ahhhhh….   Cookie Sheets – so versatile, so necessary! I have 4 high-quality, heavy cookie sheets. I just found these on Amazon and I may need to get me some!  They have a lip on them and they are NOT those crazy air-filled ones. Personal preference, but I have never liked those things and my cookies and other goodies don’t bake as I’d expected when I’d tried using them. Just a regular old cookie sheet works – I like a sheet with some heft to it, not the less than stellar version that you get in that “250 pieces of bakeware for $10.00” box, but a more heavy-duty version. They may cost a little more than 4 cents each, but they will last forever and a day and if you use Parchment paper (and really, why wouldn’t you?) they stay close to pristine!

Cooling Racks

Cooling Racks – not terribly exciting but oh so necessary! I remember the days of cooling cakes on a dishtowel on the counter when I was younger – Did anyone else do that? We cooled cookies on paper towels or something similar – we didn’t need any of that “fancy cooling rack” nonsense, not us! Then I got older – I moved out on my own, and a rebel was born – I can remember almost furtively buying them and bringing them home – As the years passed I became proud of my racks! I showed them off – I encouraged others to buy them – I gave them away whispering, “The first one’s free” –

Tools for Bakers - Cooling Racks

Come to mama!

Cooling racks are an important part of the baking process. Allowing the air to flow all around your delicious treats cools them more quickly, but it also prevents them from getting soggy and no one wants a soggy cookie! I have found my version of the perfect cooling rack – it’s a grid, rather than a grill and I have about 10 of them. SO useful –

Look for more of Rho’s Top Tools for Home Bakers later this week!  In the meantime, do you have any favorite “go-to” tools in the kitchen that are regulars in your baking arsenal?