With the second lockdown under way here in the U.K. we’re pretty sure everyone is looking for a project to busy themselves. With that in mind we thought we’d put together a handy post about all the different cake icing tools there are. There’s so much choice, but you only really need a few good staples. Obviously, it depends what you are comfortable with. We have drawers upon drawers of different smothers, spatulas, palette knives! Ultimately, we have our go-to pieces. Read on to find out more about cake icing tools and how to use them!
Cake icing tools and how to use them!
Perfect for mixing batter, buttercream, whipped cream and macarons! If you like novelty items or a bit of colour you can easily brighten up a baking day with some cute spatula designs. They’re usually a bendable silicone or rubber and come in a few different shapes. For baking and decorating you should be looking for the second spatula shape in the above graphic. Not only is it great for mixing ingredients, but it can easily scrape icing out of your mixing bowl. You can even use it to roughly cover your cake with buttercream or whipped cream. Amazing if you don’t want too many tools to clean up afterwards!
The spatula we’ve included in the link comes as a set, BUT they’re all rainbow sprinkle patterned. Perfect for a little bit of fun. Plus you’ll get to test each style and see which you really like.
We’ve spotted palette knives labeled or called spatulas at times. We’re not entirely sure why. Maybe it depends on location or what’s available? However, palette knifes are different to the spatulas above and tend to come in three main styles.
Standard, which doesn’t bend out at the handle and usually ends as a rounded rectangular shape. These are great for scooping and dolloping fillings or buttercreams onto your cake.
Cranked, offset or angled, which bend out at the handle. These are perfect for smoothing buttercream, royal icing or ganache. Why? Well, the offset shape makes them easier to handle when spreading coverings onto a cake.
You can also get tapered palette knives that look a lot like some of the tools you can get for oil painting. These are perfect for then adding texture to softer icing finishes (buttercream, whipped cream, etc). You can add pretty lines or a messy look to your cake. You can also ‘oil paint’ with buttercream or royal icing using these too.
Cake coverings like fondant or sugar paste tend to get called icing too, just like their softer counterparts (buttercream, royal icing etc). This is where icing smoothers come in. They kind of look like flat pieces of plastic with a small handle-like grip. Once you’ve iced your cake with your paste you use icing smoothers to refine the look… literally smoothing it. Icing smoothers are also perfect for rolling out even ‘ropes’ of fondant or sugar paste to decorate cakes with.
These are thin and incredibly bendable yet sturdy pieces of plastic. They’re so handy for super sharp edges on cakes. You can also use them just like icing smoothers if you prefer too. They really help you get close to the cake and really see your edges. Back in the day these weren’t all that available so everyone ended up using food safe acetate sheets to achieve sharp edges. Those were insanely thin, flimsy and see-through, which made them a bit of a pain. Thankfully, flexi smoothers came along!
Though this tool isn’t a cake icing tool that comes in direct contact with cake coverings it is still an essential! A good turntable can make or break a cake especially when it comes to smoothing it with buttercream or ganache. This one is the exact model we use by Ateco and it is beautiful. It’s sooo sturdy too. You need to look for one that spins smooth on its own AND with a cake on it so that you can get the most even and smooth icing.
Handy icing scrapers are there to help you get the smoothest possible finish to any buttercream, semi-naked or ganached tiers. This is ideal when it comes to covering your cake with fondant. Why? Well that fondant or sugar paste covering is going to take on whatever the surface is underneath. Rough and bumpy ganache? Then you’ll end up with a rough and bumpy fondant iced cake!