Five Simple Tools to Take Your Cake Decorating to the Next Level
Updated: Aug 8, 2022
If you’re looking to elevate your cake decorating skills, just a few easy-to-find tools can make all the difference in the world. These items are easily found online or at your local craft store, and none of them will break the bank. Best of all, they’ll give your cakes a professional touch that will have guests asking which bakery you got it from!
1. Cake turntable: A turntable gives you access to every inch of your cake with ease. It allows you to seamlessly scrape excess frosting from your cake, continuously add piping or other decoration, and get a full look at your final product. Plus, it’s fun to take a Boomerang of your cake spinning around and around when you’re all done :)
Product we love: Wilton’s Cake Decorating Turntable retails for just $11.99. It has a non-slip grip on the bottom and is incredibly easy to clean with a damp cloth. The only downside is that the turntable surface does not have a non-slip grip, but that is easily fixed by taping a small square of contact grip liner to the surface. Seriously, it works like a charm!
2. Bench scraper
While incredibly useful for cake decorating, a bench scraper is actually a great tool to have in your kitchen for a number of other uses–transferring food from a cutting board to a bowl or pan, cleaning up your work surface, or handling and portioning dough. But back to the cakes! A bench scraper, when teamed up with a cake turntable, allows you to scrape excess frosting from your cakes and get a smooth, finished look. Just hold the scraper in your dominant hand–taking care to have it placed parallel to the cake and perpendicular to the turntable–apply gentle pressure to the frosting, and spin the turntable with your other hand until your cake is evenly coated. It might take some practice, but the good news is that you can keep applying and scraping extra frosting until you’re happy with the finished product!
Product we love: An all stainless steel scraper, like this one from Williams Sonoma, is ideal. You want a scraper that’s heavy duty and easy to grip. DIshwasher-safe is always a plus!
3. Offset spatula
You may be thinking, it can’t be that easy to scrape all of the frosting off of a cake…where does it all go? Ok, maybe you weren’t thinking this, but you are now! Alas, using a bench scraper to smooth the sides of your cake will remove excess frosting, but it’s all got to go somewhere, right? While the scraper will take a good portion of frosting off of your cake, it will start to collect where the sides of your cake meet the top. That’s where your offset spatula comes in! By gently scraping from the edge toward the center of the cake, you can cleanly remove this extra collection of frosting. Pro tip: cool the cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes before doing this step to make it even easier!
Product we love: Offset spatulas often come in two sizes–a smaller 4” size and a larger 8” size. Both are handy to have, but if you’re only getting one, the 4” size allows for more precise and accurate work. Plus, the smaller ones are cheaper! Again, stainless steel is your friend here. This offset spatula from Sur La Table checks all the boxes.
4. Cake boards
Have you ever baked a cake in a pan and then wondered how in the world you’re supposed to transport it to a cake stand? The answer is simple: pre-cut pieces of corrugated cardboard otherwise known as cake boards. These boards come in all shapes and sizes, and even different finishes if you’re feeling fancy! They’re perfect for getting your cake from the pan, to the turntable, and finally, to the cake stand.
Once your cake is cooled, place the board on top of the pan, grip both the board and the pan with your hands, and flip! Make sure your pan is well greased or use parchment paper to ensure a smooth release. Pro tip: make sure to buy a cake board that is at least one inch larger than the size of your cake pan. Most brands will include the size of the board, as well as the size of cake it will fit on the packaging, but be sure to look closely!
Product we love: Wilton cake boards (also known as cake circles) are great quality for the price. Best of all, they won’t show grease and you can wipe frosting easily from the boards before serving for a polished look.
5. Cake leveler
Last but not least, the tool that will have your cake looking less like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and more like, well, a cake! A level cake, whether it be one layer or several, is key to giving your final product that professional touch. It’s completely normal for cakes to have mounds, or to have sunk a bit in the middle, after cooling. While this is sometimes avoidable, a cake leveler is a pretty hassle-free option to remove the less-than-level portions of your cake. Plus, it’s IMPERATIVE that we taste test our cakes, right? Right? The small portions you’ll remove with your leveler make for a great snack…err, I mean, opportunity to ensure your cake doesn’t taste like soap (it’s a thing!).
Product we love: Once again, Wilton to the rescue. Their cake leveler is adjustable and should meet most home bakers needs by fitting cakes up to 10” in diameter.
All the talent in the world can be wasted without the proper tools, not to mention the frustration of not having what you need to get the job done. Did you buy any of these tools? Tell us what you think, and be sure to share your before and after photos to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured on the blog!