Aug. 25, 2020
Written By: Adriana
There are massive amounts of cake decorating tools on the market. Choosing the right kinds depend on the types of cakes you want to decorate, your skill level, and how often you use them. I've gone through tons of stuff over the years, from cheap knock-offs, to solid investment tools. Here is my list of basic cake decorating supplies.
Cake turntables are elevated platforms on which to place your desserts (cakes, pies, tarts or other large desserts) to assist in decorating. They prevent you from having to turn and decorate at the same time. Some people can do this manually (you are amazing) but for the rest of us, we need the help of a smoothly turning surface.
I underestimated the "smooth" part of the previous sentence when purchasing my first couple of turntables. They were rickety duds.
And unless you are a seasoned pastry chef, it will be impossible to get the smooth sides and tops for cake decorating with a turntable. I have found my one and only; it is a study aluminum turntable that spins around so smoothly. It will go as fast or as slow as you like.
(See the Ateco Revolving Cake Stand on Amazon) I hemmed and hawed about getting this turntable because it's a little more pricey than the plastic ones I used to own. But it really is an outstanding and indispensable tool. I do enough cakes a year that it made sense for me to buy it. I also use it to decorate tarts and pies.
The only thing is that you have to put a sticky piece of cupboard liner on top so your cake board doesn't slide around. (That's the white rectangle you see above.)
It also has a blue grippy bottom surface so it doesn't scratch or move around your counter top.
These are all Wilton products and they seem to work well for me. You can definitely use a serrated knife to slice your cakes, but I just prefer the leveler. It just give you nice and even tops or layers of cake without any thought. I prefer my layer cakes to have about 1 inch cake slices, since I think that looks the neatest, which is about at the #7 mark on this leveler. (Check Amazon for the Wilton Cake Leveler)
As for spatulas, you only need two: one long straight, and one bent (also known as an "offset spatula").
The long straight spatula is a glorified extra large butter knife with so many uses. I use mine for applying frosting to sides and tops, mixing frosting and batters, getting stuff out of jars and smoothing surfaces if I can keep my arm straight enough. (See the long straight Wilton spatula on Amazon)
The whole arm bendy-problem is why we have the offset spatula. If you've ever tried to get a super straight top of a cake with frosting with the long straight spatula, you'll understand what I'm talking about. Some really experienced chefs can do it but because the way our hands hold a spatula, it's much easier to hold the offset spatula straight for a horizontal surface. It's great for spreading ganache on brownies, caramel sauce on top of cakes, and pastry cream inside your tarts.
These cake scrapers are useful for getting straight tops and sides of your cakes. There are scrapers with large serrated edges or "combs" and those will allow you to make decorative stripes on surfaces.
I've ordered my scrapers from most used to least used from left to right.
The metal one has a perfect straight side and is super lightweight for clean edges. (See Ateco Cake Scraper on Amazon)
The white ones come together as one set, but it's cheap enough to buy them all and have lots of choice when it's time to decorate. 🤗
When I started cake decorating, this was often the one item that I overlooked.
Now you can decorate straight onto a flat plate or cake stand, but when you get to the point where you're doing some intricate decorating and need to transport your layer cake in and out of the fridge, these boards are really necessary.
This is also necessary if you're gifting or selling cakes as you can't put a bottomless cake into a cake box. Not only would that be too risque, 😉 it would also not allow your recipient/customers to move the cakes onto their preferred serving platter for cutting.
I typically bake cakes in 8" and 6" rounds cake pans.
The 8" cake will fit on the 10" round with 1" to spare around the entire a naked cake. Once the cake is decorated with buttercream, you may have less than 1/2" to spare. This is perfect for transporting as lifting up the cake from the cake board won't damage the cake or design. (See the 10" Wilton cake boards on Amazon)
Similarly, if I'm making my smaller 6" cakes, I will put them on a 8" cake board for the same reasons. (See the 8" Wilton cake boards on Amazon)
Now you're probably wondering what the 6" boards are for. They are for two tier cakes, which I typically do with an 8" cake on the bottom and a 6" cake on the top. In that case, I will put the top 6" tier on a 6" cake board. Once it is decorated, you won't see the board as it sits on top of the larger 8" cake. I will then put the entire two tier design on the 10" cake board. (See the 6" Wilton cake boards on Amazon)
I bake tall cakes. That is the trend these days, so I'm not sure why the cake box industry has not caught on with more options for us. There are some really expensive tall cake boxes out there, but I'm not ready to pay for like $10 a box for something people might just toss.
So I hacked together a solution.
The Wilton 12" square boxes with a window on top give us the most hackable solution yet. (See Wilton's 12-inch Cake Boxes with Windows)
What I like about this box is that the bottom section is quite sturdy. It's made of cardboard that is similar to those used in a high-end shoebox. (As opposed to the the cheaper ones that are kind of made of the lighter cardboard they use for cereal boxes.)
It fits the 10" cake board I listed above with room to spare around the sides, but if you're worried about the cake shifting, just put a small square of shelf liner down.
Now the height for this box as you see it above is about 6". I often have to go higher, in which case you can fasten "columns" at every corner to make the box even taller, since the top is detachable, and not connected.
With this solution you're looking at a maximum height of about 12", which is great for tall cakes, even with decorations and cake toppers! (It's on my list to make a video on this soon, so subscribe to my youtube channel to get notified when it comes out 😉)
Alright, that's it for today! I'm off to cut some peach pie for my family 🌈
... the nerdy baker behind the videos and recipes here. I coded this site to not only share my recipes with you but also to build some helpful tools for bakers.Read more here!