Updated: Feb 15
You’ve seen the materials I can’t cake without (if you haven’t, be sure to check out my last blog post)! Therefore, it only seems appropriate to share the equipment I really couldn’t cake without.
Let me start by saying THERE IS SO MUCH EQUIPMENT available, literally tons. When looking through my equipment storage I feel like Ariel from The Little Mermaid, because I have no clue what the majority of it actually does/is for! Whether it’s twenty different brands making the same product, or one brand inventing something new and innovative, it bombards you. The cake decorating industry is becoming jam packed with ‘new’ products, so it’s especially important to understand which products are actually worth the money (before you spend hundreds of pounds on ‘use once’ equipment).
The vast majority of equipment that I am going to list could be classed as ‘basic’ equipment, however I’m going to refer to it as ‘primary’ equipment. If you have these pieces of equipment, I highly doubt there will be any cakes that you aren’t able to make. Instead, use these pieces as a starting point, allowing yourself to expand upon more specialised equipment as/when you need it.
Okay, dresden tools are the thing of gods. Essentially, they’re just a tool with tiny pointed spatulas at either end (I know, it sounds dull), but they have so much potential.
Originally they were used to vein sugar flowers, but I use them for such a wide variety of tasks. Whether, I’m using it to create a wood-grain effect, bringing out a nose on a modelling paste figurine or even just smoothing out a small crack in fondant; the possibilities are endless.
The best part is that they’re crazy cheap (my last one was from eBay and cost less than a morning coffee), meaning there is no excuse not to have one in your toolkit at all times (I think I would have a breakdown if I ever broke mine and had to make a cake without it).
Although I bought mine from eBay, I’m sure they’re available from most cake supply shops.
I’m making a slight assumption right now, and am assuming that anyone reading this already owns regular/flat smoothers (if you don’t, make sure you get your hands on a pair asap). However, I feel that flexi smoothers are just as important and incredible underrated. Commonly, they’re advertised to help you achieve sharp edges on cakes, but in reality they’re capable of so much more.
I mainly use my flexi smoothers to smooth non-generic/sculpted cakes (pretty much anything that isn’t circle or square). These are perfect because they bend with the cake, allowing the exterior of the fondant to flow better. A separate product has actually been released for this exact job, although I’m yet to try it.
There is another INCREDIBLE use for these smoothers though. This is when dirty icing/crumbcoating a sculpted cake with buttercream (or ganache). By using a flexi-smoother, you are able to get a perfectly smooth buttercream covering on sculpted cakes.
The only (slightly trivial) issue I have is that they’re are usually made from clear plastic, making them EXTREMELY difficult to find amongst other equipment, I couldn't even find them both to take the photo (to be fair, I’m probably just a bit blind)!
Flexi-smoothers are sold in pairs and available from most cake supply shops.
I’m fairly certain that every cake decorator has at least one paint brush available at all times. However, far fewer have make-up brushes at their constant disposal.
Make-up brushes (particularly the ones used for blush), are really soft and gentle meaning they will never damage your cake. I use mine with dust colour, allowing myself to get an even colour all over, while exentuating any texture/depth and blending multiple layers of colour together. They are also ideal for removing any bits of icing sugar or cornflour.
Dependant on where you look, make-up brushes can be crazy expensive. Luckily, Poundland sell some that do the job just fine.
PLASTIC ROLLING PINS
This one seems fairly straightforward, but I am quite particular with which ones I choose to buy.
My first preference is that; I will always use plastic rolling pins. This is due to the issues surrounding wood. Firstly, wood is a porous material making it extremely difficult to ensure that it is hygienic. But also, have you ever tried washing/drying a wooden rolling pin immediately before use? ITS HARD. Wood seems to take years to dry completely, meaning that if needing to use straight away will cause some sticking issues to your fondant.
However, I also wanted to point out the need of having multiple different sizes. I have rolling pins ranging from 4” all the way to 24”, and each of them are needed. This is solely due to it being incredibly difficult to roll out a tiny amount of fondant with a huge pin and vice versa.
(Shockingly) Rolling Pins are available pretty much everywhere.
TURNTABLE (THAT HAS THE ABILITY TO STOP)
More and more people are beginning to use the large Lazy Susan’s from Ikea. While, these are great for cakes, particularly large ones (I have two Ikea Lazy Susan’s myself), I really struggle to use them because they move so easily!
I confess that I am VERY heavy handed, but I just find turntables that don’t stop too hard to use when decorating a cake.
By using a turntable that stops, you have the ability to lean on the edge when adding small details and focus on one area at once as well as many other things. I’d be completely lost without mine!
I bought my turntable years ago and it still works just fine. I’ve never tried using a tilting turntable (I don’t do much piping work, so feel it would be pointless?), but if you swear by them, let me know!
Turntables are available from most cake supply shops, as well as the Lazy Susan’s being available from Ikea.
Airbrush (I mean I’m still freakishly scared of mine I’m not gonna lie, BUT it’s undeniable how useful they are)
Ruler (literally just a ruler from WHSmith for making straight lines and measuring things)
Icing Scraper (similar to a palette knife but sits flat against the surface and is FAR easier to use/get good results)
Steamer (I just use one made for clothes)
OKAY SO, like I said there is SO much equipment that I’m bound to have forgotten some key items, if you’ve noticed any that you couldn’t cake without; let me know!
Remember, like my last post, you have to find what’s right for you! I’m useless when it comes to using some pieces of equipment so only use what I feel confident with (and you should do the same)! Or perhaps, like me, you have drawers of equipment that you have no idea what to do with (curse those Deagostini magazines), post a picture/describe it below, maybe I or someone else will be able to help.
Thanks for reading this today and STAY TUNED! My goal is to release a new post every week (usually every Wednesday), from wordier pieces like this, to tutorials and anything else I feel appropriate! If you have any ideas, I would LOVE to hear them (I’m probably gonna be out of ideas by the end of February ;)).
Talk Later ✌️