The Perfect Guide for Beginning Cake Decorators
We have all seen the beautiful cakes on Pinterest or Instagram and wonder how do they do that? What tools are those bakers using?
Working in the cake and baking industry for ten years, I have picked up a thing or two on how to get the cake job done.
Once you have all your tools, you can start making cakes like this Magical Unicorn Cake!
Below is a list of 16 tools I use to achieve cakes like this.
Each of these tools is perfect for the beginner home baker. Each cake decorating tool is used for multiple purposes. Use a rubber spatula for filling pastry bags or mixing buttercreams and batters, use a bench scraper to separate doughs and clean down workstations.
I figure if I spend all this money on these tools I should be able to use it for more than one use. I only recommend brands and tools that I use and love!
Let’s Get Decorating!
1. Offset Spatula
The offset spatula is probably the most used tool in my cake kit. I use it for almost everything like frosting cakes, cupcakes, removing cookies from the pan, cutting out fondant shapes, and so much more!
The primary purpose is using it for frosting cakes with edges like squares cakes but especially the tops of cakes. I use this spatula by applying a little bit of pressure, and it covers the cake entirely.
I like the wooden handle for the look, and it works in my kitchen, but this spatula also comes in a hard black colored plastic handle. Easy clean up either way!
2. Straight Edge Spatula
Okay so similar to the offset spatula the straight edge spatula is for more than just frosting cakes. Each decorator has their way of frosting and covering cakes.
I use the straight edge for round shapes anything this is like a ball with no sharp edge cake.
The perfect example is putting frosting on a cake for a Princess Doll cake or a basketball cake (really any sports theme cake lol). These cakes are trendy amongst beginner bakers!
3. Bench Scraper
Now a Bench Scraper might be a new thing to you, and you might be looking at me crazy right now, but that’s okay! A bench scraper is a straight edge grip handle that its primary purpose is to clean the table after a task in kitchens.
Professional kitchens usually call their wooden tables’ benches, after cleaning with soap and water then you wooden use the scraper to remove any residue still stuck to the table.
I use it for cleaning purposes, but most importantly I use it for smoothly the frosting on my cakes. I use the cake board as a reference point and turn the cake around to smooth out the icing.
This tool is an easy way to clean the edges of the cake and get it ready for placing fondant over it, or if you are not using fondant then, it’s nice and clean! Oh remember my multipurpose tip; I use the bench scraper for making biscuit folding and cutting the dough!
4. Rubber Spatula
A baker’s best friend is the Rubber Spatula. I use this tool for mixing batters and fillings as well as buttercreams.
I get the heat resistant ones so when I want to make a filling or a pudding on the stove, I don’t have to worry about the spatula melting in the pot. Oh, I also use it for making eggs/omelet in the morning. It doesn’t scratch or ruins your cake pan. It’s a lightweight and easy to clean tool!
5. Cake Circle Cardboards
Cake Circle Cardboards is what cake decorators use to put the cakes on. They are light and very sturdy. It makes for a perfect presentation as they come in a variety of colors.
You can decorate right onto the boards. I feel this way is better than putting them directly onto a cake stand or a plate; it’s way less fragile too!
For an added touch of perfection, I use double sided tape and ribbon to cover the edge of the board. I usually use a color ribbon that matches the cake design. It gives it a finished look this way!
6. Turning Table
A Turning Table is so important when decorating a cake. You need to be able to see all sides at once. So when frosting the cake you can quickly turn it and the frosting time is half.
When I’m frosting I let the turning table work for me instead of killing my arm to make the icing perfect. The one I use for presentations like a cake stand as well. It’s a simple silver and white, so it can pretty much go with anything!
7. Silicone Cake Mat
So for me, I don’t have perfectly smooth counter space and most of it is tiles. So when I’m rolling out dough or homemade fondant, I make sure to use a large silicone mat.
It makes the counter smooth and cleans the fondant or dough clean. I prefer it because it is an easy clean up this way. Sometimes some decorators use a mat to flip the rolled fondant onto the cake instead of using a rolling to lay the fondant on top.
I prefer the second way rolling and then placing but at least I have the option lol! I use the larger mats for fondant, but the smaller silicone mats are great for baking in the oven. Oh did I mention the mat is heat resistant you can put a hot pot directly on it and its okay!
8. Dowel/Rolling Pin
So another great tool is the rolling pin for obvious reasons and some not so evident like smashing graham cracker crumbs for a cheesecake crust.
The main reason is, of course, rolling out dough or in our case fondant for covering cakes. There are two different types I use the one with handles usually aluminum or wood and the dowel like a pin that is so smoothed out the fondant as you’re rolling it out.
The downside of the classic handle rolling pin is the center of the dough tends to be thicker in the center and thin on the outside. The benefit of the dowel rolling pin is that you can quickly get the similar thickness all the way around.
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9. Pizza Cutter or Cake Trimmer
Some of you might be scratching your head why do I need a pizza cutter for cake? Well remember the multiple uses thing I have been talking about, besides cutting delicious pizza, I use this handy tool for trimming the edges of the fondant on the cake.
So when I place and smooth the fondant out on the cake, there is typically an excess amount of fondant that needs to be cut off. Some might think well use a knife, but the smoothness of the pizza cutter can seamlessly cut the excess fondant.
I also use it for cutting strips of fondant for borders and lines to make a pattern design. You can even freehand different designs for decorating. So many use so little time!
10. Fondant Smoother
The Fondant Smoother does what the name tells you; it smooths fondant lol! Once, you have applied the fondant onto your buttercream cake lightly put pressure onto the cake; make sure your cake is cold!
By placing gentle pressure onto the cake, the fondant will smooth out and look perfect!
11. Pastry or Piping Bags
Pastry Bags are the cone shape bags that you use for filling and piping. The ones I use in my kit are disposable.
All you have to do is cut the size desired for decorating as well as placing a tip and frosting immediately. Some bakers use the reusable ones like a canvas base but what I find with those is especially with anything butter based the bags gets so greasy and they are tough to clean.
I prefer the disposable ones because I can cut whatever size hole at the base of the bag, it’s a comfortable grip, and the cleanup is minimal. If you are worried about your carbon footprint, I wash out the bags before recycling them. Piping bags are essential to a baker and cake decorator kit.
12. Piping Tip Set
The Piping Tips Set is a must for beginner cake decorators. The varieties of piping tips can be useful for many decorating techniques!
They range from making leaves to grass to roses and thin lines for a regal drop line design. They are easy to clean and easy to store. The larger tips are better for frosting cupcakes, but the smaller tips are perfect for those small decorative designs!
Note: Oh also if you are wondering about what a coupler is, it’s the white screw top that inserts into the bag, and you screw the tip on to that to hold into place!
13. X-Acto Knife
Many DIYers know about X-Actos knives for various reasons like scrapbooking, but cake decorators use it for decorating all the time. When I need to do fine details like cutting out a stencil into fondant a small, precise knife is what I need.
Since you will be using it on food items, make sure you keep it clean and in a safely stored place so it won’t ruin when you need it. Please be careful its super sharp!
14. Paint Brushes
Paint brushes are essential to decorating. I use paint brushes for a lot like for one of my first cakes I ever made I painted food coloring onto buttercream for a beautiful flower design. I have been painting ever since I was little doodling and painting was one of my favorite past times growing up.
Anyways, I also use the brushes for cleaning any mistakes with water or clear alcohol or gluing fondant to fondant.
Oh, and the edible glitter can be applied somewhat cleanly onto cakes and fondant toppers. The Super Pearl Luster Dust is my favorite!
15. Food Coloring & Other Coloring Dust
So Food Coloring is obvious, it’s the easiest way to make a buttercream or fondant into the perfect color for your design. I know you can find food coloring everywhere, but the ones that I use are gel based.
The gels are super concentrated color so that you will use less in the long run. AmeriColor is my favorite they usually have sales going on all year round, and they have lots of different sizes.
For example, I get a larger bottle of red and black since I have to use a little more than the other colors since it’s such a deep hard color to make. My other must-have is dust colors! Luster dust can make anything pretty and shiny it’s edible glitter! I love the stuff!
I also use the dust to shadow and shade sugar flowers and patterns. The glitters are addicting, and your kitchen will be covered in no time lol!
16. Round Cutters
Now if I only had one optional for cutters, I would always pick the round cutters pack. The round cutters come in 11 different sizes.
I use these for many different patterns and designs like the new modern techniques pictured below. I also use the round shape for easily making roses, carnation, and many other sugar flowers.
Many of my cupcake toppers use the circle background to make the top of the cupcake. I do have to say my favorite use for the cutter is making biscuits and donuts! Just dust in flour on the cutter and the dough won’t stick to them!
This guide will help anyone looking to start cake decorating. I hope I have taught you something new but most importantly entertained you!
With these beginner-friendly tools, you will be making beautiful cakes in no time. With lots of practice, you too can create stunning cakes like this!
Please let me know if this guide is helpful and what other tools are your favorites?
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