This guide aims to help you get to grips with the basics of bakeware, looking at the variety of baking tins and trays available to create a whole host of different cakes and bakes, as well as the range of materials you can expect to find them constructed of!
It’s difficult to complete a bake without some other crucial supplies. Your bakeware will hold and bake your cake mix, but that’s the last step in the process. Before then, you could need to measure your ingredients, sift the flour, whisk the mix, roll and scrape the dough, cut out shapes, line your baking tin, or even blind bake with beans! With all this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of baking accessories that may well come in handy.
Baking can be a messy process, so most bakers will wear aprons to protect their clothing from unwanted splashes and spills. Available in a whole host of colours and designs, choose an apron that truly represents your personality to add a little fun to your baking attire!
Made primarily from heat conductive ceramic, baking beans are usually used in the blind-baking technique. Used to prevent empty pastry cases rising while baking, these beans evenly distribute weight onto the pastry to ensure a traditional case shape, ready for filling.
Baking mats are often made from silicone or another flexible, non-stick material and give you a large space to roll out pastry and dough. Alternatively, you could use oven-safe baking mats to line a baking tray or cake tin before baking goods, for an extremely easy clean up.
Ideal for lining baking tins and trays, baking parchment is a non-stick silicone paper that can withstand high temperatures in the oven. Using this paper means that you won't have to grease your bakeware before use – the cake releases quickly, easily and damage-free once baked.
Perfect for caramelising sugar toppings or browning meringues, blow torches are ideal for adding that quick and easy theatrical finishing touch to desserts. They'll generally feature a refillable gas cylinder and an adjustable safety flame, but should always be used with extra care and attention.
A necessity if transferring cakes from the cooling rack to a cake stand, cake lifters are generally made from stainless steel and are specifically designed to prevent broken cakes. These thin, but sturdy, tools will slide under your cake, giving it a large surface to sit on when transporting.
A cake slicer is an alternative to knife, but designed with cake cutting and serving in mind. This handy tool has a triangular shaped head with sharp sides, allowing you to cut up your cake into precise slices, balancing the slice perfectly when transferring to a plate.
Convenient baking tools, cake testers are the most reliable way to test whether your cake is thoroughly baked in the middle. To use, simply insert it into your cake once baked for the recommended time, then pull it out again. If there's no batter stuck to it, your cake is fully baked!
Cookie/cake pop sticks are very versatile as they can be used for a wide variety of bakes. Tiny baked treats are all the rage right now, so these simple sticks will allow you to transform a basic cake or cookie into fun, exciting party treats or even into fancy, elegant hors d'oeuvres.
Allowing you to precisely cut out a variety of shapes with total accuracy, cookie/pastry cutters are perfect for making jam tarts, mince pies, scones, cookies and much more. Available in a variety of sizes, these cutters are generally circular shaped with fluted, serrated or plain edges.
As the name suggests, cooling racks are a place to stand your cakes to naturally cool once baked. Generally featuring a 'grid' design to allow air to circulate through the bottom, cooling racks often have a non-stick coating and can have anywhere between one and three tiers.
Cupcake cases, or 'baking cups', are used to dress up your cupcakes, but are also essential when baking on a practical scale. These cases can be constructed from paper, silicone or foil, and are available in an enormous amount of sizes, colours and patterns to suit your preferences.
Used to scrape dough from work surfaces or portioning into accurate sizes, dough scrapers are must-have tools for avid bakers! Generally constructed from stainless steel or silicone, the blade is usually a rectangular or curved shape with a variety of measurements printed onto it.
Perfect for sifting flour or dusting cakes with icing sugar, flour sifters make the baking process that little bit quicker and easier. Available in either 'hand crank' or 'shaker' form, this tool produces clump-free flour or sugar for perfectly refined results every time.
Measuring spoons often come in sets of four, five or six, and allow you to accurately measure the quantity of an ingredient – liquid or dry. Constructed from plastic, metal or ceramic, they're available in many different sizes. In a set, each spoon will be an increment larger than the last.
Mixers are basically electronic whisks, so are a quicker and arguably more efficient way to ensure all your ingredients are entirely mixed together. Mixers are available in either a larger 'stand' size, coming with dials and a large mixing bowl, or as a 'hand' tool which allows you to hold and steer the mixer while it's mixing.
Ideal for handling hot trays and pans when removing them from the oven, oven gloves are an essential baking accessory. Protecting your hands from harsh temperatures, these mitts are available to buy constructed from traditional cotton or as the favoured non-slip silicone alternative.
Used to glaze pies and pastries, pastry brushes have handles traditionally made from wood with thick, natural bristles. Modern pastry brushes, however, have a silicone handle and bristles which is often preferred as they don't clump together or fall out, and are extremely easy to clean.
Pork pie dollies are usually made from hard wood and are perfect for making traditional hand raised pies with a hot water crust. To use, simply roll out your pastry and place the dolly in the middle, drawing the pastry edges up and moulding them around the dolly to create the traditional pie case shape.
Used to flatten and shape dough, rolling pins are ordinarily made from wood, however they're available in a huge variety of materials, sizes and shapes, with or without handles. Starting in the middle, use both hands to roll the dough away from you with a consistent, even pressure.
Essential baking utensils, whisks are used to mix and blend all of your ingredients together when creating dough. Usually made of metal (however silicone whisks are also popular), they consist of a long handle with several wire loops at the end to catch and combine the mixture.