In the interest of taking things back to basics I have formed a list of my baking must haves. The basic baking equipment essentials that I couldn’t bake without. We all have must have items in our lives, must have make up item, must have food item, must have statement jewellery. Well this is a list of my must have baking equipment.
I have been baking now for more years than I care to admit. Something that started as a hobby, a way to pass the time when I was little has rapidly become a passion. I have hesitated writing this post for a long time, not because I don’t know what to write but because I didn’t think I would be able to reduce my number of ‘must haves’. There is a corner in Hubby’s office reserved for my baking equipment because it no longer fits in the kitchen and to be honest I’m hoping he doesn’t notice that it is encroaching more and more each month. With every baking project I undertake I find I need more specialised bits and pieces.
So in the interest of taking things back to basics I have formed a list of my baking must haves… The basic baking equipment that I couldn’t bake without.
Honestly as silly as it sounds this stuff is invaluable. Not only can it line cake tins but you can make cupcake cases out of it rather than going and buying them, and on economy of scale it is far cheaper. It can be used to smooth out buttercream on square cakes. Cut out a rectangular shape, place on knife smooth buttercream and smooth further with your hand! Hey presto, no need for a pallet knife or side smoother. Also useful for removing wax from the carpet but that isn’t baking related… more clumsy numpty related!
I’m not talking any old spatula, although most will do the job well enough… I like ones with a firm, rounded handle, a thick neck, which smooth’s out to a thin tip (pretty much the best description I can come up with). A couple of month ago mine broke! Literally snapped in half. I could have cried! Realistically I should have expected it; it was about five years old and I clearly used it to a death! I like this particular style because it bends so well around the curvature of any baking bowl. I have spatulas that are less flexible and I struggle to get all of the cake mix out.
Is this too obvious? Perhaps but it is in here anyway. I have loads of 8-inch tins (20cm if metric is more your thing) Really I should throw some away as they are past their best. So far I have found that the PME ones are by far superior to any other. They are thick and sturdy, they help the cake bake evenly and thanks to the high sides they are suitable for most cake mixes. My one piece of advice is consider a 6 inch tin instead (15 cm… I actually had to use a converter!) I always use the 6-inch tin where possible now because the amount of mix that does one 8-inch cake will usually make two 6-inch cakes. This will bake quicker and therefore more evenly, the longer and slower it cooks the more likely you are to get a rise in the middle.
Of course baking strips can counteract this but I don’t consider then an essential really. With two 6 inch cakes you can cut each in half to make four layers, this will give your cake height without being oversized, I think they look quite classy. Plus you will also be amazed at how many people it feeds!
If you find that you bake cupcakes more than cakes then you will need a good cupcake tin.
I now use greaseproof paper or paper cupcake cases because I give so much of my baking away (it’s all good practice right?) However, I used to use these lovely silicon ones. They are brilliant, so sturdy so very easy to fill with the cake mix and they come in such bright colours, the girls love them. I simply stopped using them because I found they were going missing, I wasn’t getting them back or the girls were throwing them away thinking they were being helpful.
I used to consider this a luxury or professional item but it really isn’t. Every oven is prone to hotspots and chances are the temperature the dials say aren’t as accurate as you think they are. The more you know your oven the better your baking will be. Our oven is two years old, it is an extremely reputable brand and yet it has really bad hotspots! And it does not run at the right temperature. I have learnt where the best and worst place in the oven is when it comes to cakes, but the oven thermometer means I don’t have to think about it.
Glass Mixing Bowl
I have loads of mixing bowls, both plastic and stainless steel but the two that I use all the time are my glass ones. My cake mixer came with a steel one and I eventually invested in the corresponding glass one. Now the steel one just sits in the cupboard getting dusty. The massive bonus is that you can see all of the ingredients and any that have been missed during mixing. The glass bowls are also better for melting chocolate over a pan of water or in the microwave; if you are that way inclined. Some people recommend the stainless steel for meringue but I am yet to have an issue using my glass bowls. I really don’t know why I bother with any other type of bowl.
A good whisk is essential in my house. I use it for everything and not just baking. It has been know that on occasion (ok almost every time) I use it to separate spaghetti in the pan, you know, when it all sticks together, damn pasta! I had one that had a metal handle for years but eventually it broke. The one above is by Sabatier and I love it! The handle is the right size for my hands so when I am making Swiss meringue, which requires a lot of whisking by hand, it is easy to do now.
I am going to leave it there for now, but I will be back with more baking essentials. If there is a particular thing you would like to make but are not sure what you will need then please get in touch and I will write a specific must have list.
Do you have any other essential baking equipment?
*This post contains affiliate links. However, everything in it is equipment I genuinely use and would (and have) recommended to everyone.