01: A damn good stand-up mixer!
We love love LOVE our KitchenAid Artisan mixer. Love it. We’ve used others, but they’ve just not kept up with our demands. They’re also pretty beautiful as well as being incredibly robust and reliable. We love ours so much that we’ve already convinced a fair few people to buy a KitchenAid (one person even changed their kitchen to match their mixer). We don’t work for them we swear. Anyway, everyone has their own preferences though so shop around, if you can try some out or really look at the parts in store before you succumb to KitchenAid desires (JOKE… seriously though they’re perfect).
Scales are important. They’re so important we capitalised the title for this section. Cups just don’t do it. They’re not as accurate, convenient, professional or even worldwide. Most recipes list ingredients in weight measurements so if you do use cups you’re then going to have to faff around converting the amounts. Invest in some good scales (digital are best) and you’re ready to bake!
03: Good quality spatulas and utensils!
Don’t scrimp on any tools or you’ll regret it later. A well made spatula and a cheap spatula can make all the difference between a perfect macaron or the a butt-ugly macaron sent from Satan’s yard sale. Our top brands for utensils are Tala, Mason Cash and KitchenCraft. Depending on where you live in the world you’ll find brands and styles that you prefer to work with, so shop around and find what you’re most comfortable with!
We’ve amassed a small collection of thermometers that help us run our kitchen pretty efficiently. Two main thermometers you will need to invest in are an oven thermometer and a candy thermometer. Use your oven thermometer to check your oven temperatures are accurate. They’re handy as not many people realise that oven temps drop every time you open the oven door. Candy thermometers can be used for making Italian meringues or Sucre Cuit method macarons as well as for candies, chocolates and sauces.
05: Excellent baking pans or tins!
Cheap or bog standard (British for ‘average’) baking pans and tins just won’t do. Instead spend a few extra pennies on some good, durable, straight-edge cake tins. Our absolute favourites are by Silverwood. They are amazing. They’re well made, sharp, strong and seamless. Alongside this tip we’d also recommend opting for loose bottom pans and staying away from springform which can cause odd shaped sides on a cake.
06: Cooling surface!
Whilst most people use wire racks to help set their bakes out of the way to cool we prefer a good marble slab or marble pastry board. It’s permanently cold, sturdy and won’t leave annoying wire lines across your cakes and cookies. The last thing you want on a naked cake are those wire indentations running along a cake you aren’t covering up!
It happens. You put a cake in the oven and you think you’re going to remember when to take it out, but someone calls or you have work to do. You forget about the cake until the distinct smell of burning finds its way to your nose and the panic sets in. You can pick up a small kitchen timer from most grocery or department stores. You can even find some really cute novelty timers out there too. If you’re more tech-y then utilise your iPhone or tablet. We use our iPads to mainly keep track of things in the kitchen because we’re often on ours replying to emails, managing social media or playing Plants vs Zombies. There are apps to time multiple activities too such as Timer+ which is perfect for a busy kitchen!
08: Measuring spoons!
Sometimes a recipe calls for a teaspoon of this or a tablespoon of that. It seems like it’d be OK to just use an actual teaspoon or tablespoon right? Wrong. Different designs and companies tend to yield different sized tea and table spoons which is pretty annoying. Grab a good quality set of stainless steel measuring spoons to help make all your bakes more accurate.
09: Rolling pins!
We have three main rolling pins in our kitchen. Three. Main. If we counted all our rolling pins then we’d have around 7. Crazy, but at times essential. We have a heavy 6lb Kingpin rolling pin, a long PME silicone rolling pin and a super SUPER long silicone rolling pin by The Little Venice Cake Company. Each have different jobs… the Kingpin is perfect for quickly flattening out stiff fondant (or a lot of it) or cookie dough. That 6lb in weight is so useful. The long rolling pin is good for cookies and rolling fondant / sugar paste for small to medium cakes. The super long rolling pin is ideal for covering both large and deep cakes. Then there are smaller rolling pins for cupcake work, florals and sugar craft.
10: Sharp knives!
Good quality knives of varying sizes that are kept in tip top condition are a must in any kitchen. For baking you’ll find them handy for a whole list of things from chopping and transferring ingredients, freeing the sides of cakes from baking pans, cutting custom shapes from rolled cookie dough and tidying up the edges of fondant / sugar paste cake boards. Make sure to have a selection of styles, sizes and edges to help you out with different tasks!