rubycurls Posted 7 Jun 2011 , 9:43pm
post #1 of

Hi

So I was wondering what tools you would recommend that a new decorator has in their kit? What can you absolutely not do without and if you could only have 5 things what would be on your list? X

31 replies
sweettreat101 Posted 7 Jun 2011 , 9:55pm
post #2 of

Wilton 789 cake icing tip, spatula, turntable, couplers, bake even strips.

sparkle25 Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 3:32am
post #3 of

Just 5 is hard, I feel like I have so many icon_biggrin.gif
I love my fondant rolling pins, gumpaste tools (ball tool, etc) I have the Wilton kit. Turntable, angled spatulas, ribbon cutter, edible glitter dusts, clay extruder, various cutters for flowers, shapes,etc.

There's tons of simple things too that I use all the time like toothpicks and lollipop sticks, paring knives, viva paper towels etc.

Sorry I know that's way more than five. I recommend you start with what you feel you'll use the most, there's a lot of stuff out there and it can add up quickly. Maybe figure out what types of cakes you will be starting with and go from there. I started with just buttercream cakes and only bought tools for those initially, then added other stuff later. I also try to improvise with what I find around my house as much as I can.

yummy_in_my_tummy Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 3:41am
post #4 of

I'm going to tackle this one with the assumption that you already have a few basic kitchen tools, like I did when I started decorating cakes. You probably already have a spatula, whisk, rolling pin, etc. so this is what I would go with:

* Cake Leveler
* Cake Turntable
* Basic Fondant toolkit (Wilton makes one available at Michaels, Hobby Lobby etc)
* A nice, big canvas piping bag (I think they're a lot easier to work with than the plastic ones)
* A set of tips

Thats what I would start with. Then you can just buy a tool every now and then as you need it and build your arsenal!

hollyml Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 6:13am
post #5 of

I end up buying new stuff based on the design of each new cake I decide to make. icon_smile.gif (This is especially true of cake pans...seems like every time I design a cake I need *some* shape or size I don't already have.) I'm sure it's different if you're starting a business, but if you're getting into this as a hobby it's a pretty reasonable approach!

I started with almost no special tools -- just basic kitchen items like a serrated knife for carving/leveling/trimming -- and I decorated some very fun cakes with just a shortish icing spatula and a sandwich bag with a hole snipped in the corner for piping. icon_smile.gif Of course those cakes were amateurish but they were cute and the people I served them to thought they were awesome.

Then I decided to get a few nicer tools, like a long offset icing spatula and a basic set of tips, couplers & disposable bags (normally I hate disposable products but piping bags are too hard to wash, it's just not worth it), and a turntable. I use those now on every cake, so I would include them in the top 5 for sure. I finally just got a bench scraper and I don't know what took me so long -- that belongs on the list. If I can count all the piping stuff as one item, that's four, and for #5 I'd probably go with my itty bitty offset spatula that gets nicely into the tight spaces.

After messing around with fondant a time or two I got a fondant smoother and a set of Fimo clay modeling tools (smaller and cheaper than the Wilton basic gumpaste/fondant tool set) which have come in handy. (I already owned a nice rolling pin so I'm not counting that.) But you certainly don't need those things if you're not going to work with fondant. I bought things like food coloring stamps, mini shape cutters, fondant embossing tools and so on when I had a cake design that called for them. My mom gave me a bunch of kind of random decorating stuff one year for Christmas, too, and some of it's been fun to have but hardly critical starting tools.

But you know, I think a lot of what really makes a difference is the "consumable" supplies that "real" decorators know to use: Cardboard rounds, parchment paper, Viva paper towels, dowels or straws for stacked cakes, gel food colorings, luster dusts, and so on. Those aren't tools per se, but they're more important than, say, gumpaste molds or five different sizes of star tip.

Holly

indydebi Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 11:29am
post #6 of

- a good turntable.
- a large knife (for leveling .... I had a big beef carving knife that had a 14" blade)
- multiple sizes of baking strips
- GOOD pans (I recommend Magic Line)
- A Melvira roller
- bench scraper

My line of thought on these specific items is to get a good base cake. the pans and baking strips bake a nice cake; the large knife gives you an even and level cake; the turntable enables the icing to be put on efficiently and evenly; the roller and scraper help make the icing super smooth.

WIth a good base cake, the decorating part is (as we say in the trade) "a piece of cake"! thumbs_up.gif

Mexx Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 11:44am
post #7 of

Everyone else has pretty much covered the basics...but two things I couldn't do without are my Agbay cake leveler (expensive, but worth every penny) and my KitchenAid stand mixer.

Coral3 Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 11:53am
post #8 of

I think it depends...are you planning to work with just buttercream, buttercream & fondant or ganache & fondant...are you planning to make flowers?...model figurines? or a bit of everything? The tools I'd recommend for someone wanting to work with ganache and fondant would be slightly different to those you'd want if you only plan to work in buttercream.

Having said that everyone needs a good turntable. (If you already have a good, strong, LEVEL lazy susan then that would do), a couple sizes of spatulas (cranked is good) and a good scraper (minimum 4" wide)

The thing I use most of all are my modelling tools...if modelling people/animals etc is your thing then definitely get a set of good basic modelling tools.

I'd skip on the leveller...you can do the same job with a long knife, using your cake tins as cutting guides if necessary. (And the cheaper levellers are all junk anyway)

Narie Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 12:18pm
post #9 of

1.off set spatula
2. turn table
3. a long serrate knife for leveling
4. really good pans, start off with 8 inch rounds, magic line. You can add other shapes and sizes as you need them.
5 a good stand mixer- there are several really good brands.

mombabytiger Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 12:23pm

I'm trying to think of the things I use most often:
turntable
bench scraper
gumpaste tools
toothpicks
exacto knife

JessicakesBakes Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 12:29pm

I think everyone is saying about the same thing..

Good pans
turntable
bench scraper
offset spatula
I love my Kitchen Aid!

I have the Wilton turntable and find it a little small and sometimes is drags and doesn't turn smoothly - any recommendations?

indydebi Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 12:42pm

With so much discussion on turntables, I thought I'd share pics of what I have. There is definitely no name brand anything involved. Basically just two pieces of word on a lazy susan mechanism. Details about it are in the pic caption on the link(s):

Pic of turntable:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/55969028@N00/5811800448/in/photostream

Pic of underside of turntable to show the construction:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/55969028@N00/5811800344/in/photostream/

cakesmith_duane Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 12:46pm

I think it really depends upon what type of cakes you are creating. In my case -

1. Cake Pans - 1/4 sheet, 1/2 sheet, 6"/9"/12" round
2. A spatula (maybe a nice large one and a small one)
3. A decent knife for sculpting
4. Dowels, PVC, wiring, smoke machines, kitchen sink, - hahahaha just kidding - well kinda.
5. That little Wilton's tool kit with all the cutesy multicolored handles (very handy). That's about it!

I usually purchase other little things for each project, but with the stuff above you can create just about everything I have created. Take care - Cakesmith

Alfiesmom Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 12:50pm

a must-add to cakemaking basics is Dawn dishwashing detergent. nothing gets rid of the butter, shortening, etc

Debbie

newcakester Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 1:17pm

VIva papertowels for smoothing buttercream

AmbitiousBeginner Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 2:16pm

Sparkle25 mentioned a clay extruder.

I was at Michaels yesterday and wondered over to the clay modeling aisle. There were a lot of tools that seemed like they would be useful for cake decorating, like molds and cutting/shaping/texture tools, and a clay extruder.

Do you guys use clay tools also? Are they food safe?

The clay extruder looked great for shaping fondant. Is it?

I

cakegirl1973 Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 3:01pm

Everyone else has pretty much covered the "essential" basics, but I thought I'd add a couple of comments. First, I know that the Magic Line pans are more expensive, but get them. I wish that I would have bought them from the start. If you don't, you will find yourself, down the line, replacing your Wilton pans with ML and kicking yourself that you just didn't buy them in the first place.

Second, a lot of people have mentioned a bench scraper, and I totally agree. Bench scrapers come in all plastic and also a metal "blade". I never use my plastic one, but I use the metal one every time that I make a.cake, so I'd recommend a metal bench scraper.

HTH!

cakegirl1973 Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 3:05pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmbitiousBeginner

Sparkle25 mentioned a clay extruder.

I was at Michaels yesterday and wondered over to the clay modeling aisle. There were a lot of tools that seemed like they would be useful for cake decorating, like molds and cutting/shaping/texture tools, and a clay extruder.

Do you guys use clay tools also? Are they food safe?

The clay extruder looked great for shaping fondant. Is it?

I




I use a clay extruder that I got at JoAnn's for like $15. I love it. It is perfect for making hair for fondant figurines, tassels, ropes, etc. I use mine quite a bit.

amygortoncakes Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 3:58pm

Can someone share how they use the Viva Paper towels to make buttercream icing smooth? I am very intrigued!

Also a sidenote about the clay stuff: I am actually enrolling in a sculpting class through a community college in Fall to better perfect the molding and sculpting aspects of cake decorating.

cakegirl1973 Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 4:06pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by amygortoncakes

Can someone share how they use the Viva Paper towels to make buttercream icing smooth? I am very intrigued!

Also a sidenote about the clay stuff: I am actually enrolling in a sculpting class through a community college in Fall to better perfect the molding and sculpting aspects of cake decorating.




If you google "Viva cake decorating" all kinds of articles and videos will pop up.

Kaykaymay Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 4:11pm

1. Piping bags
2. Spatula
3. Round Tip
4. KitchenAid
5. Rolling Pin

sparkle25 Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 6:35pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmbitiousBeginner

Sparkle25 mentioned a clay extruder.

I was at Michaels yesterday and wondered over to the clay modeling aisle. There were a lot of tools that seemed like they would be useful for cake decorating, like molds and cutting/shaping/texture tools, and a clay extruder.

Do you guys use clay tools also? Are they food safe?

The clay extruder looked great for shaping fondant. Is it?

I




I use my clay extruder for all kinds of things, everything from hair for figures, rope, borders, etc. It does a lot. The one I have I picked up from Michaels, not sure what brand it is. I also use a lot of the Makins clay items in my decorating. I love their texture sheets (way cheaper than embossing sheets) and some of their cutters.

rubycurls Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 8:02pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coral3

I think it depends...are you planning to work with just buttercream, buttercream & fondant or ganache & fondant...are you planning to make flowers?...model figurines? or a bit of everything? The tools I'd recommend for someone wanting to work with ganache and fondant would be slightly different to those you'd want if you only plan to work in buttercream.

Having said that everyone needs a good turntable. (If you already have a good, strong, LEVEL lazy susan then that would do), a couple sizes of spatulas (cranked is good) and a good scraper (minimum 4" wide)

The thing I use most of all are my modelling tools...if modelling people/animals etc is your thing then definitely get a set of good basic modelling tools.


I'd skip on the leveller...you can do the same job with a long knife, using your cake tins as cutting guides if necessary. (And the cheaper levellers are all junk anyway)




I am hoping to do a bit of everything really. I have been baking since I was little with my Nana and have inherited her tools and (count myself lucky)a little bit of her talent!
I have the basics for baking, kitchen aid artisan, ka blender and ka food processor. I have my Nan's ancient but high quality tins and crockery.
I have taken everyone's advice and got myself a turntable and bench scraper.
I really want a nice set of tips and couplers etc but don't know what I should look for? I don't mind about cost and they will be a pressie from my lovely hubby anyway. What would you all recommend I go for? I can see myself using some of the specialised tips like the grass one and I have seen some lovely cupcakes lately with a large piped rose like swirl so I would like to know what tip that is. If I was to buy a good set what should I get?

hollyml Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 10:03pm

You can buy the tips, couplers & bags as a set, often that comes in a storage box or chest of some sort. There are smaller basic kits with something like 5 tips (round, star, petal, leaf, maybe basketweave) and larger deluxe ones with multiple sizes of the basics plus some variations of the star shape, multi-opening and other more specialized shapes, and it's a great way to get started. Then you can add more specialized tips individually as needed or at whim. The big cupcake swirl is usually done with a 1M tip -- basically an oversize star.

On the clay modeling tools, I think they are fine to use on food as long as you keep them for use only with food. It's not as if they have prolonged contact with the food like storage containers or cake boards do. But I wouldn't use them one day with Fimo or Sculpey and then the next day with fondant! I chose plastic tools because I figured they'd be easier to wash/sterilize than ones with wooden handles.

You can also extrude fondant/gumpaste/candy clay using a garlic press, or a colander, or other kitchen tools that are actually meant for a different application. icon_smile.gif

Holly

Coral3 Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 10:29pm

Just on the clay extruders - the ones that you wind to push out dough are easier to use if you have to do a lot of extruding for a cake. I have a green aluminium(?) Makins one which works well, holds a good amount of dough, and is easy on hands.

I initially bought a Sculpey one (I *think* it was sculpey) which was a little silver metal one, very simple, which you had to push on the plunger at the back. It's fine for little things, but for bigger jobs it's pure torture on hands. Owch!

sabre Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 10:48pm

Kitchen Aid stand mixer and KA roller attachment, heating core, metal ball tool, metal cookie cutters, cosmetic sponges, Wilton gumpaste modeling kit.

rubycurls Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 11:04pm

Cosmetic sponges? That's interesting. How do you use those?

sabre Posted 8 Jun 2011 , 11:24pm

I use cosmetic sponges to press gumpaste into leaf or flower veiners.

dguerrant Posted 9 Jun 2011 , 1:07am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiesmom

a must-add to cakemaking basics is Dawn dishwashing detergent. nothing gets rid of the butter, shortening, etc

Debbie




I have to agree with the Dawn, especially for cleaning bags and tips, I like the one with bleach or the anti-bacterial.

the other things:

*a goood smooth turning turntable, mine is a 12" round on one side and about 3/4 sheet cake rectangle on the other, so you can pick what you need

* good off-set spatula

* cooking spray - use with waxed paper and you don't have cakes that stick, and you can use it to wipe on fondant for a shiny look

* various paint brushes for painting, and a wide flat one for brushing off powdered sugar

*my grandmother's rolling pin

cab333 Posted 9 Jun 2011 , 1:23am

I have to agree with Cakesmith.... I use my Wilton sculpting tool set for pretty much each cake I do. Thats the set that comes in the hard clear plastic case with the multi coloured handles. LOVE IT! And my bench scraper is my best friend too icon_smile.gif

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