Whisks & Mixers
Whilst you can use a hand whisk to make cake batter and icing it will make your life much easier if you have a proper mixer. Mixers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes so make sure that the one you choose if suitable for the tasks you intend to use it for. Particularly check the whisk attachments that come with the mixer. A balloon whisk is essential, especially when whipping egg whites! For those planning on using the mixer regularly or for large jobs it is probably best to opt for one that is mounted on a stand as opposed to a handheld.
Measuring jugs come in a range of sizes and are normally made of plastic or glass. Glass jugs tend to be much more durable than plastic and are preferred by most bakers.
Spatulas are used for spreading icing on to cakes and come in a straight or offset edge. Both will normally have a metal blade and a wooden or plastic handle. The blades come in different lengths from 5inches for a smaller cake up to about 14inches for larger cakes. The stiffness of the blade will also vary from spatula to spatula and so you should try out a few different brands in order to find your preferred flexibility.
As well as a metal spatula you should also get yourself a silicone spatula. They are great for removing all of the mixture (whether cake or icing) from the bowl. They also work really well for folding ingredients together.
Nylon piping bags tend to be the most versatile and easy to clean piping bags. Cloth bags tend to more durable than Nylon but do not clean as easily. A lot of beginners opt for disposable backs because they are fairly fuss-free and are just discarded after use.
Writer Nozzles – Perfect for writing as you might have guessed. They come in different thicknesses so you can play around with the chunkiness of your text.
Star Nozzles – These nozzles create a delicate star shape and come in a range of sizes. They are perfect for icing cupcakes or creating borders around the top or base of a cake.
Petal & Rose Nozzles – These types of nozzles are perfect for icing flowers. The petal nozzle had a wide edge which becomes thinner towards the top. For most flowers you will need to hold your bag so that the wider edge is at the bottom. Try these alongside a leaf nozzle for a a beautiful floral design.
Teeth Nozzles – Teeth nozzles come in a huge range of sizes and thicknesses. They create a shape similar to a flower.
Others include thread nozzles, shells, bands and ribbons. Most people tend to stick with plain and star nozzles as standard.
Molds are used to create decorative items to use on top of cakes. Icing and chocolate can be poured into the molds to create shapes like flowers, buttons, animals and stars amongst others.
Airbrushes are one of the quickest ways to add colour decoration to your cakes. Liquid colouring is sprayed from a nozzle using compressed air. Airbrushing can be tricky to pick up and many decorators tend to go to a special class in order to learn this technique.
A turntable is made up of a circular metal platform on a stand. When your cake is placed on the platform it can be spun around to give you easy access to every side of it for decorating. Turntables can be pricey but they really are a worthwhile investment. Try and choose a turntable with a substantial base so that it doesn’t slip and slide over your work surface. You should also make sure that the turntable spins round smoothly so make sure you give it a whirl in the shop.