I get told time and time again that my treats look & taste professional and could sell in a bakery. It’s a compliment that I never grow tired of hearing! I’ve been baking for a LONG time and have learned some amazing tips & tricks over the years that help me create bakery quality treats that everyone loves, but the magic really lies in the gadgets, brands & ingredients that help me prepare recipes properly, which is the key to baking success. I’m sharing my favorite, tried & true products that are also practical (hint: dishwasher friendly) & cost effective for the everyday baker! Everything from appliances, pans, ingredients & presentation accessories and how they help me create perfect, beautiful, baked goods!!
I hope you enjoy these products as much as I do!
I have two appliances that I cannot live without; my stand mixer and my hand blender set. I feel that between the two, I can pretty much make any culinary creation I desire! I am constantly using both machines for both baking and cooking.
If I can serve one piece of advice, it is to invest smartly in the cornerstone appliances needed for baking.
This stand mixer was the best thing I ever bought. I know a lot of people pick up the standard KitchenAid, but I would highly recommend springing for the pro-series if you can. I did a lot or research prior to making the purchase and found that the biggest advantage is that this mixer has the strength and force to mix & knead stiff dough and larger batches. I also love the bowl-lift mechanism compared to tilting the whole top back as with the other models. The bowl is much more sturdy during mixing. There’s nothing this mixer can’t handle.
And as a bonus, I guarantee you’ll be making things you’ve never thought you could! Once I got my stand up mixer, I started experimenting with yeast dough, meringues and even candy making, such as marshmallow & nougat. As a bonus, you can buy tons of attachments to expand your culinary skills!
I absolutely love multi-purpose tools. They are space savers, usually less expensive and they just make sense! Why buy multiple appliances when you can have one that does it all?
I have a set just like this one and use it ALL the time. It probably wouldn’t come to mind as a baker’s bff, but it is. Use the hand blender for making silky fruit purees, use the whisk attachment for 45 second whipped cream, and the mini food processor cup to quickly chop nuts, coconut and chocolate. This hand blender set comes with everything you’d ever need, all under one unit.
Like I said earlier, between my stand mixer and hand blender set I feel like I’m covered to make anything under the sun.
However, having a quality hand mixer in your baking arsenal isn’t such a bad idea.
It’s great when you’re making small batches or want to have a little more control when mixing. I also love using this because it’s easier to clean up (great for one-bowl recipes). The attachments for stand up mixers are generally not dishwasher safe but hand mixer attachments are, so that’s a nice bonus! Also, obviously if you don’t have space for a huge stand mixer, this one comes in handy (PUN!).
This awesome flour sifter gets 5 stars! I love how you can just put it right on top of the bowl to avoid a huge flour mess. A sifter is essential for getting dough perfectly airy and soft and it is a must have for making fluffy cakes by scratch. You can even use it to dust powdered sugar on top of bars and cookies. It’s dishwasher safe.
stainless steel measuring cups
Measuring spoons & cups is one of those thing I feel should be stainless steel. Over time, plastic gets grimy, stained and can crack or break. I love the set I have. They are dishwasher safe which is ideal when you’re measuring out oils, honey or molasses and I know they will last for years!
I have all of my dry ingredients stored in these round canisters. You can fit a full 5lb bag of flour or sugar in these containers, perfectly. They’re completely air-tight to keep my ingredients fresh. PLUS, they look ADORABLE with chalkboard labels. It’s an inexpensive, EASY way to jazz up the look of your pantry. The chalk ‘ink’ is durable, too. My labels have gotten wet and rubbed with flour and it haven’t smudged at all.
I’ve gone through many sets of spatulas. Why? They usually end up getting used for cooking…then, they melt. Lesson learned! I only buy spatulas that are heat resistant up to 600º. Other kinds that are resistant to less than that, usually end up melting on me. 600º is a safe bet! Now I don’t have to worry about storing baking spatulas separately from cooking spatulas. These are also dishwasher safe.
glass nesting bowls
Glass nesting bowls are so très chic and so helpful when it comes to mise en place (organized food prep!) I have 2 sets and it’s so easy to stack and store them away in a small space.
a set of hand graters
I use my graters all the time, especially for grating frozen butter for pie crusts and pastry. Best hack ever. I’ve found that most graters have cheap plastic handles that crack or break after time. This set is completely stainless which means it will last. Dishwasher safe is also a super important attribute for this tool- it’s really tough to clean out lemon zest washing by hand!
digital food scale
A digital food scale is may not be often thought of as a need for everyday baking since the majority or recipes are measured in cups, tablespoons & teaspoons. However, for some recipes you just need to weigh your ingredients (technically weighing all ingredients is best). For example, my Ricotta Cookies require exactly 256g of a superfine type of flour. This flour doesn’t quite measure to the 2 cups expected, I find that weighing the flour is the best way to go for perfect results every time.
coated & uncoated pans
I have a mix of both coated & uncoated, depending on what I’m making. I find it’s easier to use coated pans for things with a lot of nooks and crannies, such as madelines, ornate bundt cakes etc. I don’t trust my abilities to be able to grease every last centimeter of the pan, so it’s good to know you have that extra layer of protection. I also don’t make these treats all that often so I’m not worried about these pans holding up to everyday use. I used to have only coated cake pans but after time, some of them ended up getting scratched and the coating began to chip off which was concerning.
My favorite coated bakeware brand is Chicago Metallic. Every item I’ve ever bought has been sturdy and long lasting. I’m so happy with their products AND they also make some really cool pans, like this brownie pan, trio lasagna pan and this set that will fit in a toaster oven (perfect for small batches!).
I also have a bunch of pans by Fat Daddios and they are FABULOUS. This brand has a huge range of pan sizes, perfect for all kinds of custom layered, tiered cakes, square cakes and more.
vanilla bean paste
Vanilla Bean Paste is SO much easier to use, is much more cost effective and has a better shelf life than vanilla beans. I love using this in place of extract for frosting, whipped cream, ice cream and custards. For when you do need just plain ‘ol extract, go with a high quality brand, like this one. I always have it in my pantry and the flavor is more rich than your usual extract.
If you’re into the salty/sweet thing, make sure you’re using the right salt! Flaky Sea Salt gives your treats the right amount of saltiness and the pieces are flat, allowing more surface area so you’re not crunching on a big chunk of salt.
Espresso powder is an essential baking ingredient whenever you’re making a chocolate dessert. Just a small amount of espresso brings out the richness and flavor of chocolate. I like to add it to my brownies and chocolate cake to amp up the chocolate flavor. It’s also great to have on hand for making coffee ice cream or Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies.
I discovered this syrup upon researching apple pie recipes. Also known as boiled cider, cider syrup is an all natural, concentrated apple flavor made from cider that is reduced into a thick syrup. It is sweet & tangy and it packs a serious punch in any apple dessert. It is my favorite secret ingredient for apple pies, danishes, cobblers & crisps. It is the best way to crank up the apple intensity without artificial ingredients! I also love to use it for cocktails and in marinades/sauces for chicken & pork and you can drizzle it on pancakes, granola & yogurt too!
edible flower petals
high quality cocoa powder
Here are my favorite cocoa powders- I always have Dutch Cocoa, Unsweetened Cocoa powder & a Blend of each in my pantry at all times. Why 3? They type of cocoa powder you use in a recipe depends on a lot more than just flavor. I found this out when blogging about my Crazy Chocolate Cake, you can read more about my research here. Anyway, flavor & quality is definitely still important! I recommend this brand the most when making something like homemade brownies, cake or frosting.
vibrant food coloring
On to Food coloring. Gel is the way to go when adding a pop of color to your frosting or cake (or cookies!). My favorite brand is AmeriColor. The colors are easy to use; just squeeze the gel right from the bottle. They remain vivid after baking and come in every color imaginable! I love having the ability to make custom colors to achieve the exact look I’m going for. Even when you’re not using ‘color’, it’s a great idea to have a bottle of white gel in your pantry. I use it to brighten up my buttercream to offset the yellow and brown hues which appear naturally from butter and vanilla extract- a bakery secret!
This is my favorite brand of meringue powder. It has a beautiful flavor and is essential for making royal icing. Meringue powder is basically dehydrated egg whites, so it can be used anytime you need egg whites (without worrying about raw-egg risks!).
Another way to add new flavors to your desserts is by using emulsions. I learned about emulsions a while back and they really changed up my baking game. Why? Unlike extracts, emulsions do not contain alcohol so the flavor doesn’t bake out. You can use them just as you would for extract to flavor all your desserts (1:1 ratio).
Psst!! Ever wonder why bakery cookies/frosting always have a…well, that flavor that you only get in bakeries? It’s because of this!
Guesstimating where to slice your layers is a thing of the past. This slicing guide is a must to achieve perfectly even, cake layers.
A turntable makes it 1000x easier to smooth out frosting on a cake. This one is rated 5 stars on Amazon and comes with 3 different style combs to create professional looking designs. I made a beautiful watercolor cake for a birthday by dabbing different shades of frosting around the cake, and using the turntable to smooth it out into a beautiful blend of color.
I cannot live without my offset spatulas! Especially when it comes to frosting cakes or cupcakes, these give you so much control and they fit so easily in your hand. I like keeping a set of all different sizes for different jobs. This set is dishwasher safe.
heavy duty piping bags
Piping bags can be used for more than just buttercream, which is why I like to buy industrial grade, extra large piping bags in a bulk roll. These are SO durable and can withstand the force of piping cookie dough (like my Churro Cookies) and other fillings. I also always go with the 18″ size so I never have to go through the hassle of refilling a bag.
every piping tip
LAST THING about piping…you really should pick up this lil’ set for piping frosting on cupcakes. Ever since buying mine, I have not had to hand-frost a cupcake at all, and the final result is more consistent, polished look! Cupcake Wars, here we come!
angel food cake slicer
Alright, this one might be a tool you haven’t seen before, but I cannot LIVE without it! If you have angel food cake often, you need this little gadget. It is an angel food cake slicer and with this, no more squished slices. Cut the perfect lookin’ piece without using a knife!
Cookie scoops are absolutely necessary for making consistently sized cookies, which is absolutely necessary for them to bake evenly, which is absolutely necessary for perfect cookies. Not that I need to say much more, but it also makes scooping out dough faster and when your scoop is dishwasher safe like this one, it makes cleanup a breeeeeze. I recommend picking up a few different sizes!
Last but not least, now that your baked goods look like they came straight from the bakery, share them in a classic bakery style box or packaging. They make your treats look so special and your friends won’t need to worry about returning a plate or Tupperware back to you. I always have boxes on hand, just in case!