May 22, 2019
If you’re practising to become the next Prue Leith or Paul Hollywood, there’s a number of kitchen must-haves that no future Bake Off champion should be without. Aside from the obvious cake tins and mixing bowls, these baking essentials for beginners should be at the top of your shopping list.
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As tempting as it can be to guess how much a teaspoon of salt looks like when you’ve only got a dessert spoon spare, investing in a set of measuring spoons or cups is much better. Not only will it make your bakes taste like they’re meant to, it will also mean you’ve followed the golden rule of baking: to be accurate!
These measuring spoons and cups make it simple to measure out ingredients in all the normal amounts, from ¼ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon! What’s more, they’re made of stainless steel, making them a dream to clean after a busy day in the kitchen.
We couldn’t be without a wire rack. Not only are they a great way of protecting your precious worktops from hot tins fresh from the oven, they’re also essential for cooling your bakes evenly with no ‘soggy bottoms’ in sight.
These stackable cooling racks are perfect for those busy baking days, where you have multiple batches of cookies or sponge layers to cool at once.
Just like the measuring spoons and cups, it’s really easy to measure out the perfect amount of milk, cream or other liquid ingredients when you use a measuring jug. Using the right amount of liquid means you won’t be faced with dough that’s too wet or a pastry mix that’s too crumbly. As we all know in baking, it pays to be accurate!
Invest in two different sizes to make it even easier to measure out larger amounts of ingredients in a 1litre jug, and smaller amounts up to 250ml jug. Try to find one featuring a transparent side, meaning you’ll never get the quantities wrong!
A pastry brush really does what it says on the tin - brushes pastry! You can use one to glaze your pastry with egg wash before baking, moistening filo pastry with melted butter or brushing off icing sugar from decorated cakes. A good pastry brush is certainly one of the baking essentials for beginners to invest in!
Perhaps the most obvious of the baking essentials for beginners, you’ll need some baking tins and trays to help you bake your cakes and biscuits! They come in all shapes and sizes, from flat baking trays for your cookies and loaf tins for your bread and loaf cakes, to square tins for brownies and round tins for your classic sponge cake.
If you’re a member of our Baking Club, we’ve put together a bakeware bundle that contains all the tins you’ll need for your bakes. They’re made from top-quality steel and coated with non-stick material, making them easy to clean too.
Cookie cutters can be the difference between perfectly identical scones and cookies and those that are completely different sizes!
Try our double sided cookie cutters for perfect rounds. Assorted cookie cutters can also make baking really fun for children who love decorating biscuits in the style of gingerbread men, stars, hearts or all manner of other shapes.
Of course every beginner baker needs a good set of mixing bowls, so you may already have some. But are your bowls heatproof? Lots of baking recipes call for chocolate to be melted or for egg whites to be heated in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, so you’ll need to make sure your bowl can cope with the heat first!
Our favourite mixing bowls are these stainless steel bowls, which come in a variety of sizes. Not only can they be used over a pan of simmering water, but they can also be filled with cake batter and then put in the oven to make attractive dome cakes. The stainless steel material also makes them dishwasher proof, which is a definite plus in our book!
Once you buy a palette knife, you’ll wonder how you ever managed to make a cake without one! While the rounded tip and smooth edges give you a really clean finish to icing, palette knives can also help level off batter in cake tins or cutting butter into flour too.
There are two different styles of palette knives available - a flat blade palette knife or one with an angled handle. Which one you choose is down to personal preference, but we like to keep one of each in our drawers for different tasks in the kitchen. The straight handled palette knife is perfect for smoothing down icing on the sides of a cake, while the angled knife makes it easier to ice the top of a cake or level off batter in cake tins without getting it on your hands.
The ideal piece of equipment for giving volume or adding air to your cake batter, a good balloon whisk will quickly become your new best friend. Not only can you use it to whisk egg whites or whip cream, you can also use it to gently fold your ingredients or get lumps out of your sauces.
While many people swear by their electric hand whisk or stand mixers, we believe that nothing beats a good old manual one! Not only will it help you work out those arm muscles, but it’s also much harder to over-whip cream using a balloon whisk. No-one likes over-whipped cream!
A rolling pin is one of those tools that no baker should be without - they’re useful for so many tasks! Of course, you can use one to roll out pastry, biscuit/cookie dough and bread dough, but you can also use one to crush biscuits for a pie base or smashing up brittle for some extra decoration on top of your bakes.
Many of our Baking Club bakes ask for limes or lemons, so if you enjoy the fresh taste of citrus in your bakes, you’ll need a zester in your baking arsenal. You can also use a zester for grating nutmeg or chocolate on top of your cakes for some beautiful decoration.
Depending on your preference, you can choose between the mini zester for smaller pieces of fruit, or our flat fine grater for bigger jobs.
For light and airy sponge cakes, you can use a sieve to sift your flour and other powders. Sieving also makes it easier to fold together cake batters for even distribution of ingredients throughout. Once you’ve got a good sieve, you could also use it for draining tinned fruit or any other wet ingredients you fancy using in your bakes.
As important as it is to measure your ingredients correctly when baking, it’s just as important to measure your time properly too! We’ve all seen on the Great British Bake Off how just 1 or 2 minutes can be the difference between a beautifully golden pastry crust and one that’s slightly singed around the edges.
You’ve already gone to the effort of mixing your bake perfectly, so use your kitchen timer to save you from having to remember when your bake is ready, or to remind you how long you’ve been kneading your dough for! We love this twist kitchen timer with a magnetic back ready to stick on your oven for easy viewing.
If you enjoy making your cakes look extra beautiful, you could invest in a piping set. But remember, they’re not just for decoration! You can also use your piping set to pipe meringues or choux pastry onto a baking tray. Our set is ideal for beginners thanks to the non-slip silicone piping bag that will have you perfecting your piping technique in no time at all.
For some simple ideas on how to decorate your cakes, have a read of our blog post for our favourite techniques.
Learn how to decorate your cakes
A good pair of measuring scales is a kitchen must-have for baking and cooking in general. As baking is more of a science than an art, using your eyes to estimate your ingredients just doesn’t cut it anymore!
While you can buy traditional manual scales where you read the weight on a dial, there’s still an element of guesswork involved so we prefer digital scales for accuracy. Digital scales will give you an exact reading, meaning your baking ingredients will be weighed out perfectly.
A spatula is one of those baking essentials for both beginners and seasoned pros that we really couldn’t live without. Spatulas feature a bendy tip, making them ideal for scraping the bottom of the bowl or mixing cake batter. Just be warned: using a good spatula will make it nearly impossible to lick the bowl!
Perhaps not an essential, but something that is really useful to have if you enjoy decorating is a turntable! When you’re ready to ice your cake, simply place a plate or cake board on top of the turntable, then add your sponges and ice away! Keep rotating the plate for an even covering of buttercream or icing.
Our favourite is this mini decorating turntable. It’s small enough to pop away in a drawer for storage, or to whip out onto your work surface when you’re ready to ice. Once you’ve got one, you’ll never look back!
Once you’ve made your delicious bakes, the best place for them is your tummy, right? Well, if you have made them in advance or need to keep them stored somewhere safe, you’ll need appropriate storage boxes. There are loads of different styles available, from the classic metal cake tins to modern ones that are even dishwasher and freezer safe!
Our cake dome is the perfect size for a three or four-tier celebration cake, but you can also use it to store bread, loaf cakes or cookies too. Or perhaps you’ll like our cupcake caddy - ideal for cupcakes and muffins! The removable tray keeps them perfectly in place and there’s a twist-lock base and carry handle making them easy to transport too.
If you like to look stylish and keep your clothes clean while you bake, invest in a new kitchen apron. You can get messy without fear!
We love this hedgehog design as it matches our brand colours, but it’s the big pockets and adjustable neck strap that makes it a really practical addition to any kitchen.
But if hedgehogs aren’t your style, have a look at our wider range of aprons. We’ve got everything from flamingoes to a plain green style, and even some for the children with adorable unicorn and dinosaur designs - perfect for messy play!
Another baking essential for beginners that can be easily forgotten is the humble oven glove. Your tins and trays will be extremely hot when coming out of the oven, so it’s really important that you protect yourself.
Something like this woodland print single oven glove is ideal. It’s tested up to 250c and complies with all the necessary standards for safety in Britain, so you know you’re safe.
Our least favourite part about baking is the cleaning and tidying up afterwards, but it’s so much more fun to do when we have funky tea towels to help us! While any old tea towel does the same job, we love the tropical design on these flamingo and pineapple print tea towels. They’re made from the finest cotton and are machine washable, making them perfect for all your drying up needs.
If you’re not quite ready to launch into designing your own baking recipes, why not try one of our baking kits? We’ve got a wide range of classic bakes from double chocolate brownies to sticky toffee cake, as well as a Strawberry & Prosecco Cake or Iced Cinnamon Buns when you’re feeling like a new challenge! Browse our Bake Shop for more inspiration.
You could even join the Baking Club where we give you a brand new recipe each month along with all the dry ingredients you need to make it. Just like all our kits, each Baking Club box comes with a step-by-step recipe card, making it really easy to follow along and perfect your Michel Roux OBE approved recipes. You’ll be baking like a Michelin Star pastry chef in no time!
Join the Baking Club!
With these baking essentials for beginners in your kitchen, there’s no stopping you in becoming a seasoned pro that can whip up a batch of cookies or a four-tier celebration cake in barely any time at all! Next stop, the Great British Bake Off!
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