2018 is going to see me trying my very best to get a blog post up every week and have a mixture of topics again to get my creative juices flowing. So, we are starting today with a post about my baking essentials, things that I need when I’m baking and would recommend you have too if you’re looking for an easier baking life!
- A decent mixer.
I’m lucky enough to live with mum who loves to bake too and several years ago invested in a Kenwood mixer which is a-maz-ing! But you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds, I just think, for me especially, having a mixer do the hard work for you eliminates a whole load of time and stress!
2. A range of spatulas, spoons and pallet knives.
Regardless of what you’re baking, at some point you are going to need to scrape out that tiny morsel that’s left in the bowl or smooth on some icing onto a cake. Therefore, having a range of equipment is always handy.
3. Weighing scales and measuring jugs and spoons.
We have electric scales which I find to be much more accurate and reliable (unless the batteries run out halfway through the weighing process!) A decent measuring jug which you can read clearly and spoons to get those table and teaspoon measurement just right are also important to have to hand. I recently got some cup measurements from Tiger because so many recipes that I find online often come with American measurements and rather than having to figure out the English measurement, its easier to have your own cup measurements. I think I only paid £1 for it, so it really didn’t break the bank.
This changed my life! Seriously, I am not exaggerating here! Putting a crumb coat on a layer cake and then finalising the icing takes a lot of work and turning so being able to pop my cake on the turntable and spin away makes the whole process SO much easier – if haven’t got one, this would be my top piece of equipment I’d advise you to buy!
5. Side scrapers and icing smoothers!
I feel more like a painter decorator here and believe me, until a year or so ago, I wouldn’t have had these in my cupboards but they do make icing cakes and finishing them professionally much easier. Before getting a scraper I used a pallet knife to smooth the side of my cakes which does work well but can take a lot of practice and patience where as with your cake on a turntable you can scrape away quickly and efficiently and feel like a pro at the same time! Also, since starting to make cakes covered in fondant icing, I purchased an icing smoother to get rid of any little lumps and bumps and ensure the surface is ready for decorating. Again, I got mine from Home Bargains for around £2.
6. Cake lifter and cake leveller.
These were two of my Christmas presents and I must admit, I haven’t used them yet but can’t wait to! I find levelling cakes quiet tricky and seeing a leveller used on Bake Off made it seem so easy – I’ll let you know! Also, one of my issues tends to be lifting and moving my iced cakes from surface to surface so again, this should help me a great deal.
7. Decorating stock!
I make sure I have lots of different cupcake cases, sprinkles, flags, boxes, gel colours all ready to go to suit the orders I get or what I fancy making that day. If I see a bargain in a shop, I tend to buy it and keep it for those being emergencies. They don’t take up much space but enable you to get creative when baking and of course, make it colourful and look inviting which is what you want for your bakes.
8. Cooks blow torch!
Now, this is not an essential but it’s what my brother got me for Christmas because, quite simply, I liked the idea of having one! In the next few weeks I will be making some lemon meringue pies and will use it on them and will let you know what it’s like and if my house is still standing at the end of it!
9. Decent baking trays and tins and pre cut baking paper.
Having a variety of tins, trays and moulds allows you to have at your fingertips what you need. I am lucky to have inherited several moulds and tins so do have a vast collection. I must admit I don’t use the silicon ones very much but mum always raves about them so I should give them ago.
Again, a little cheat here, but I do like to use the pre cut baking circles for tins as it’s quick and easy but obviously having a normal roll of baking paper is always needed for differing shapes of tins and trays. Little hint – if using a mould shape such as a pram or dinosaur – you know the ones I mean, please don’t just use your normal wipe of butter to make it non stick – it doesn’t work! You can buy a special anti stick spray, make sure you get all the nooks and crannies and it’ll work a treat!
10. Piping bags, nozzles and other decorating tools.
Since baking a lot more I have taught myself how to pipe a lot better and that works much more easily if you have piping bags and nozzles to choose from. As always, practice makes perfect but it’s a fun hobby to have! I have used a dual piping bag once to get two colours piped on to create an effect but this is something I need to rehearse more. I also have letter stencils, little plastic knives to work fondant details with, edible glue and paintbrushes which mean I can paint on details if needed.
11. Something nice to display your bakes on or in.
Spending so much time on baking needs to be rewarded with displaying your creation beautifully. We used Lakeland vouchers we had to buy a display dome but we do also have several lovely air tight tins and plates which make all the difference when you open them to reveal your creation.
So there you have it. My top 10 baking essentials – what are yours? Have I missed any that you wouldn’t dare miss off? I’d love to know!
Happy baking all!