Below you will find an itemization of some of the baking tools I regularly use when baking my recipes. By this I don’t mean that all the utensils shown here are neither the ones nor essential, but I find them highly useful and these ones work out well for me. And why not, I just like them! The amount of utensils we can find out there is enormous and virtually never ending, so we can easily find ourselves with quite a collection of whatchamacallits and thingamajigs we won’t know what to do with nor even where to keep them. A good practice is to buy them as you need them, that way we’ll buy only what is really necessary for us. I pay special attention to measurements as well as baking methods, so there is quite an array of utensils related to these matters.
·Cups & kitchen scales·
- Generally, cups, as a measuring unit, are very commonly used and useful especially when measuring liquids. They are normally sold in sets with different capacities, mainly: 1 cup (240 ml), ½ cup (125 ml), ? cup (80 ml) and ¼ cup (60 ml).
- There is also the measuring cup or jug. The main advantage is that they usually come with equivalents among the different measuring systems. Also, we can use it as a mixing bowl too:
- Even so, we will get better results if we use a kitchen scale whenever we can. If you find it difficult to use a weight system, please consult the blog Conversions & Substitutions section:
·Tablespoons & teaspoons·
Tablespoons and teaspoons are strictly necessary when dealing with little liquid quantities and even some solids, such as baking powder, salt, baking soda, etc. They are usually sold in sets too: 1 tablespoon (15 ml), 1 teaspoon (5 ml), ½ teaspoon (2,5 ml), ¼ teaspoon (1,25 ml), ? teaspoon (0,625 ml):
Nowadays we can find an endless variety of baking pans in stores. According to the recipe we are baking, we will choose a different type of pan. Generally, we should stick to the appropriate pan the recipe calls for. Below you will find a sample of the ones I use more often:
- If we are going to bake a bundt cake, we will need to use one of those tube cake pans. There are a lot of designs and sizes, but one of the most important things we need to take into account is to make sure it is non-stick:
- Although their design is very similar to the previous ones, angel food cake pans have their own peculiarities. Mainly, they aren’t preferably non-stick, as this particular feature is what makes these divine cakes so tender. That way, the batter can stick to the pan during baking, which is what helps the cakes keep their volume. On the other hand, a removable inner core and bottom is highly appreciated for an easy release, but only if you don’t want to end up eating your cake straight from the pan. And last but not least, remember to make sure your pan has those little tiny feet that allow our cakes to cool upside down as air circulates underneath:
- If we just feel like baking a round cake (such as a cheesecake), all we need is a springform pan to release our cakes easily:
- In case we are planning to bake a layer cake, great as birthday or wedding cakes, we should use as many round pans as the number of layers desired (preferably with a removable bottom):
- In order to bake our loaves, there is nothing better than a loaf pan. Remember to use the right size according to quantities specified in the recipe:
- Whenever we are ready to bake a good bunch of muffins or maybe cupcakes, we will need one (or two) of these pans to hold our liners or paper cases:
- If what we are baking are mini muffins (or mini cupcakes), we must remember this useful tip: 24 mini muffins/cupcakes will need about 70% of the quantities specified in an ordinary 12 standard muffin/cupcake recipe.
- Whenever we are planning to bake either a delicious pie or a tart, we will have to choose carefully the pan we will need. Pies are usually baked and served in the same pan (the filling is quite juicy, so removing our pies from their pan plates is not really convenient). As for tarts, they are commonly served on a serving dish or platter, so it’s highly advisable to use a pan with a removable bottom. Even so, these are only a few general tips; no one better than yourself can know how you’d like your pies or tarts to be baked:
- Perhaps the next pan is not the first one we will think of when equipping our bakeware collection. Nor even the second or the tenth, but it is possible than at certain point, an occasion may arise and we may need to bake some éclairs or lady fingers. Then, one of these pans will suit us perfectly well. Even so, we can just make use of a pastry bag and a round tip to get their distinctive oblong shape, as this batter is really dense:
- Although it is not completely mandatory to reckon on a cake pop pan, they surely have a few advantages. Firstly, all our cake pops will come out perfectly round and all the same size too. Besides, we won’t need any additional frosting to shape them into a ball. We can use the same quantities as for mini muffins/cupcakes.
·Spatulas and special spoons·
- If we want to decorate our cakes or cupcakes with any type of frosting of our choice, it would be extremely useful to count on the help of a good cake decorating spatula collection like this.
- The small offset ones will make our tasks really easy when smoothing cake batter surfaces before baking, cupcake top surfaces or when dealing with the smaller details. They are also an asset when spreading cake fillings:
- Larger spatulas will help us smooth large areas and surfaces.
- Silicone or rubber spatulas are an essential tool in any kitchen worthy of the name, especially when dealing with most batters. They do not only help to beautifully mix ingredients, but also to scrape down the sides and surfaces of our containers perfectly.
- Unlike tablespoons & teaspoons, ice cream scoops are not generally used as a measuring utensil, but they are really useful when transferring our batter into pans, such is the case with muffins or cupcakes: we make sure we use the same amount of batter for every paper case. Even the stickiest batters release easily thanks to their convenient spring action, plus they are leak-proof. We can find them in many different sizes according to our different needs:
·Pastry bags & tips·
When facing the decoration of a cake or cupcakes, we will usually find ourselves on the need for a pastry bag and tips. There’s no need to recoil from using these helpful utensils; it’s fun and besides, our more artistic bakes will turn out great with little effort involved. But once again, practice makes perfect, so you’ll become more self-confident and your creations will have a more professional touch as you keep on trying.
- When we attach a pastry tip to a pastry bag we can decide either to use it with or without a coupler. The main difference is convenience, especially when we need to use different tips with the same pastry bag. I always use disposable bags; they’re really practical and easy to use. There are also reusable pastry bags in different materials, though I find it quite bothersome to remove all those batter and frosting scraps:
- As for pastry tips, we’ll surely find an endless array of designs, materials and sizes in stores.
- The large ones are perfect when decorating our cakes and cupcakes with some frosting. We can also use special pastry tips for our fillings. In some cases, we could even make use of these tools to transfer batter into pans:
- The smallest pastry tips are ideal for detailed decoration or even writing:
- Although they are not vital, the use of an electric mixer, either a hand or a stand mixer, is highly advisable. It is an investment that not only makes our work a lot easier but also very positively affects the final outcome as we can adjust type and speed that best fits each recipe and every step of the process.
- We will use the paddle attachment, very commonly used, when mixing and beating cake and muffins batter, cookie dough, etc. It can be used almost at any speed, especially when mixing at medium speed.
- The dough hook is designed to knead. That is the case for recipes that include fresh or dry yeast, such as bread, rolls and buns, etc. We will use the dough hook preferably at low speed.
- The whisk is usually the one we’ll choose when whipping egg whites, cream, etc. In these cases, we will need to work at highest speeds.
- We could also come across certain recipes that may call for the use of a pastry blender (or pastry cutter). This is a very helpful tool when dealing with less elastic consistencies, such as shortcrust pastry, crumble, streusel, etc. In case you can’t find it easily at your local supermarket, feel free to mix ingredients using two knives or even the tip of your fingers.