When I first started out cake decorating I felt a bit overwhelmed when it came to purchasing the right tools. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend so I wanted to make sure I spent my birthday money wisely. I watched a couple of beginner tutorials and made a list of which tools I would go out and buy. I can’t remember exactly what I bought on my first trip, but I do remember the experience of decorating my first cake. It went well, although I made another trip to the store with a couple things I needed for my next cake. Here is a list of cake tools for beginners that I made for you! These are the tools I would recommend you purchasing before you make your first cake. And if you would like to follow along with my beginners tutorial, click here.
Top 5 Cake Tools For Beginners
1. Cake Pans
One of the most important tools you’re going to need to make a cake is something to bake it in. Any size or shape pan will work. (Just make sure it’s a cake pan and not a pan intended for something else). If you have a bigger rectangle pan (13in X 9in) you can use that. You can make a smaller, square cake by cutting the it in half after it’s done cooling. If you are going to buy new cake pans, I would suggest 6 inch round pans, and at least two of them. I use my 6 inch pans the most. If you are making a cake for a smaller group, this is the perfect size. On the other hand, if you want to make a bigger cake for more people you can add more layers and make it taller.
2. A Mixer
Hand or stand. Whichever you have or prefer. I like to use my stand mixer the most because I can walk away while it’s mixing. If you are making something that has to be whipped for a few minutes or more this will come in handy. I do like to use my hand mixer a lot if I am throwing a batch of brownies together. Or, I also like to use it when I am whipping egg whites. I feel like I have more control over when the eggs are at their desired consistency.
3. Turn Table
You may be wondering how people get those perfect smooth sides on their cakes. YOU NEED A TURNTABLE! I showed in the picture above, some examples of different kinds you can buy. The cheapest one I have was only $10. Now, I’m gonna tell you that the first time you use one of these and try to make a “perfect cake” you will be disappointed. Even though this tool is a must, you also need to practice, practice, practice icing a cake. All those cake decorators that can ice a smooth cake had A LOT of practice. And they still don’t come out perfect. Notice a few lines up how I put “perfect cake” in parenthesis? That’s because there is no such thing 🙂
Another tool you are going to need is a spatula. Something to get that icing from the bowl onto your cake. There are so many different types and sizes you can buy but I will recommend two. A medium flat spatula, and a small angled spatula to start out. The medium flat one works perfect for icing any size cake, and the smaller angled one is great for smoothing and adding the “finishing” touches to achieve that sharp edge.
5. Piping Bags and Tips
This may seem excessive but after you work so hard on icing a smooth cake, you are going to want to add a boarder or some decorations to make the cake look more sophisticated. Don’t get me wrong. I have decorated plenty of cakes without needing a piping bag, but if you plan on making a variety of cakes you are going to need them! You can buy disposable bags or reusable ones (I showed both in the picture below).
When choosing which tips to buy, I would recommend either a closed or opened star tip, a round tip, or you can buy a pack of tips to make boarders on your cake. They are not as expensive as you probably think. I even see some disposable bags at the grocery store that come with a couple plastic tips. There are two sizes of tips you can buy, which I showed both in the picture below. Check out my post if you would like to learn How To Use A Piping Bag And Tip!
Those are my top 5 recommended cake tools for beginners. There are so many cool and unique gadgets out there for you to buy. Once you have made a few of cakes, you will learn what your style is and what tools you will be using the most. Don’t forget to check out my beginner’s tutorial here!
Some extra cake tools for beginners that are nice to have but are not needed:
- Couplers- A coupler is plastic nozzles that go into the piping bag before you fill it, instead of putting the piping tip directly in the bag. This will allow you to change the tip without using another bag or putting the same color icing in multiple bags.
- Straight-Edge- This will help you achieve those perfect sides on your cake. You can get this result with a spatula, but it makes it so much easier. There are a variety of tools you can use as a straight-edge (examples in picture above). You can buy one that is specifically designed for cake decorating, called a cake comb or you can use one that is made for something completely different. For example, a lot of decorators will use a tool that building contractors use for joint-compound. My husband made me one out of a sheet of metal. He folded one side in to use as a handle and the other side is a straight cut.
- Cake Boards- You don’t NEED a cake board to put your cake on because you can use anything (like a plate). I used to cut up cardboard boxes and made my own cake boards. The issues I would run into were; the ones I made myself wouldn’t look the greatest because it was rough cut cardboard. I would have to “sand” the edges to make them look nicer. When using a plate you want to make sure its as flat as possible. When the edge of your plate is raised it makes it harder when icing the bottom of the cake.
- Cake Boxes- These are nice to have if you are planning on transporting the cake when it’s done. I bought a couple reusable ones back in the beginning because most of the cakes I made were for family or close friends. When I would do a cake order for someone I didn’t know as well I would go buy a cake box to deliver it in.
- Acrylic Disk- You’re probably thinking, what is an acrylic disk? There is a method some people use for icing a cake to get a clean, sharp edge. I don’t personally use them, but they seem to make the task a lot easier and beginner friendly. If you would like to check them out and watch a video tutorial by the amazing Cake By Courtney, here’s the link.