You’ve been scrolling your social media feed for hours savoring pictures of artisanal cakes and their ornate designs, and now you’re ready to try your hand at the art form. But where to begin? What tools are essential for professional cake decorators?
It doesn’t matter if you’ve yet to buy any tools at all or if you’ve already purchased your first cake decorating kit and need an overview of your new decorator’s toolbox. Here’s a review of all those crucial cake decorating utensils. We’ll cover the most essential tools, those that are good to have, and advanced tools for cake decorating. You’ll be a cake decorating aficionado in no time!
Let’s take a look at professional cake decorating tools and uses!
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Cake Decorating Tools and Uses
There are several fundamental tools you’ll want in your collection for basic cake decorating. Let’s overview some of the staples.
Cake spatulas are different from regular cooking spatulas – they’re thinner and more flexible. The first tool you’ll want to purchase is an offset spatula, considered one of the most essential tools for cake decorating.
An offset spatula (sometimes also called a palette knife) is a thin, flexible tool with an angled handle and rounded blade. Offset spatulas are indispensable for spreading frosting evenly, creating a flat smooth surface for decorating. In contrast, they can also be used to build textured frosting with fantastical swoops, stripes and swirls in icing, leading to insta-worthy designs.
Additionally, offset spatulas are a helpful tool for lifting delicate toppings from parchment paper or easing cake from a pan.
A cake turntable or revolving cake stand is another must-have tool for cake decorators. Stop running circles around your cake or turning the plate every two minutes. A cake stand will provide you with a nice steady rotation to your cake, saving you time and frustration when decorating.
Piping Bags and Tips
Another elementary tool for aspiring cake decorators is the pastry piping bag. Piping bags come in both reusable and disposable varieties and often include an array of different tips for creating three-dimensional designs on cakes. You’ll want an assortment of tips to inscribe lettering, create borders, and design eye-catching cake embellishments.
Round tips create dollops, while leaf tips are intended for ruffles and leaves. Yet the most versatile tip you’ll find will be star tips, essential for creating rosettes, seashell-like borders, and star textures.
Couplers will also be needed if you’re using different tips with the same bag of icing. The coupler will go inside the bag, while different piping tips will attach to the outside.
Make it easy on yourself and purchase a set with bags, couplers, and a small assortment of tips all included together. This is one of the first and the best professional cake decorating kit you’ll need.
If you want to learn how to master the skill of piping, take a look at this buttercream piping masterclass from Cupcake Jemma!
Also called a bench knife or dough scraper, the bench scraper is a wide tool with a broad blade and handles used for a variety of baking activities. It can be used to section dough, scrape flour from a prep surface, or most often, smooth frosting. You’ll also find it useful for a range of other activities, like sectioning bars and other baked goods or quickly cubing butter.
It’ll come in most handy for the average cake decorator in conjunction with a cake turntable for frosting. Hold the blade to the side of the cake and slowly spin – you’ll find yourself with a seamless buttercream edge in no time.
Nobody likes a domed cake for decorating. To correct this you’ll want to invest in a cake leveler. Although there are more hands-on ways to level a cake – say a serrated knife, steady arm, and lots of luck – practiced bakers will appreciate the aid of a cake leveler.
How do these creations work? Most cake levelers will have flat legs that rest on your countertop, an adjustable wire, and a handle for holding. You’ll just adjust the wire to your desired height, ensuring the legs are touching your counter or stand and glide across evenly.
Just be sure to use it on a cool cake – warm cakes will crumble much more easily.
By relying on a cake leveler, you’ll now have consistently even layers every time, whether you’re leveling the top of a cake or splitting a layer in two.
Not sure how to use a cake leveler? Take a look below!
More Tools for Home Bakers
Looking for slightly more advanced tools to up your pro-baking game? Let’s kick it up a notch. Here are some tools every aspiring pro-baker will need.
Fine Mesh Sieve
Ever tried dusting a cake with powdered sugar using a spoon? You won’t get an even spread – clumps and patches will abound. A fine mesh sieve, however, will give you photo-worthy dusting, whether it be on a sugared bundt cake or cocoa-dusted chocolate torte.
A cake comb or decorating comb is similar to a bench scraper but comes with a grooved edge for creating patterns in the icing as you run it along the cake’s side. Many cake combs are three-sided, each with a different grooved pattern. You can use a cake comb to apply ridges, waves, or stripes.
To use a cake comb, you’ll want to apply a thick layer of frosting (thick enough that the comb will not scrape the cake when being applied). Hold to frosting and drag across the surface. For best results, use a bench scraper for smoothing your frosting first.
This might not seem like the most necessary tool, but I promise, it will be sorely missed if you don’t have one! You went to all that trouble of decorating a beautiful cake, whether covering it in rosettes, striped columns, or a snowfall of powdered sugar, only for it to sit amongst the basic commoners of your countertop on a serving plate?
Elevate your creation to its rightful place by lifting it, if even just a few inches from your table or counter. Cake stands signal significance and celebration, add dimension, and make your decorated masterpieces more prominent. Select a basic wood stand for versatility or colored stands for vintage vibes.
Trust us on this, you’re going to want a cake stand to show these treasures off, whether on social media or just to your kitchen inhabitants.
So, you’ve reached the top tier of cake decorating and now you need the tools to accompany your newfound position? Be sure to invest in these professional kits and tools for advanced cake decorators.
Are you a cake artisan intrigued by the allure of fondant? Why wouldn’t you be? This edible covering can be tinted, sculpted, molded, and imprinted with decadent patterns among other countless designs.
The arsenal of fondant tools includes everything from special silicone rolling pins and fondant smoothers to cutters, embossers and modeling tools. Additional tools include molds, cookie-cutter-like shapes and plunger cutters which can yield leaves, snowflakes, letters and numbers. That’s right, a whole new world of possibilities just opened for you.
Advanced bakers may wish to invest in a cake airbrushing kit. These pricey kits come with a compressor, spray pen or gun, and an assortment of food colorings that you’ll mix with water to achieve stunning results on iced and fondant-covered cakes. Airbrushing kits for cake decorating can yield exciting ombre cakes or ornately stenciled masterpieces.
Different effects can be achieved by angling the pen or nozzle at different angles. Spraying at a 45° angle will leave you with softer, broader lines. A 90° angle will give yield definition and sharper lines. Practicing on paper will likely be necessary to achieve the best results.
Decorating Pen or Food Pen
Trying to take your cake decorating to the next level? Consider trying out a food pen or
edible markers. These food-safe decorating tools are fun for both advanced bakers and children alike.
Food pens are as simple to wield as regular pens – they simply use concentrated food dye instead of ink! They’re intended for use on royal icing and fondant (although not on frosting). Many find that applying them on fondant is comparable to drawing on thick, squishy paper – but definition is still achievable. More finely-tipped food pens can be used to attain almost illustrative results and double as a useful tool for decorating holiday cookies.
More advanced food pens even come with small piping bags inside or plunger-like features which suck up frosting when you pull on the plunger and draw lovely smooth lines when pressed on.
Best Professional Cake Decorating Kit
The best cake decorating kit for you depends on where you are in your individual cake decorating journey. You may not need a 400-piece decorating set complete with fondant molds if you’re just starting out and getting a feel for the trade. In fact, you probably won’t end up using half the pieces.
Instead, start with a basic cake decorator set.
As you grow more advanced, expand your tools, replacing the most frequently used ones with higher quality versions. I mean, do you really need a set of 75 piping tips when you’re a cake decorating newbie? By contrast, if you don’t even possess a decent cake pan yet, a set complete with springform pans, cake carrier, whisks and measuring spoons might be right up your alley.
And hey, if actually you do need 75 piping tips, that’s fine – we believe you. Pipe away!
We’ve explored an entire range of baking tools from the essential to the advanced. Just starting out as a cake decorator? Be sure you have an offset spatula, cake turntable, piping bags and tips, bench scraper and cake leveler. Feeling a little more confident? Incorporate a fine mesh sieve and cake comb into the mix, including a cake stand to present your creations to the world. Positive you’re ready to advance to the next level of cake decorating? Consider fondant tools, an airbrush decorating kit and food pens.