Our List of Essential Cake Decorating Tools
Anyone who enjoys a bit of home baking wants to be able to make the perfect cake. Now, the idea of the perfect cake is totally subjective, but pretty much every image has decoration of some kind. Whether it’s a classic Victoria sponge, with a dusting of icing sugar or an elaborate three-tier birthday cake. We all want to master something. What’s great is that there is a simple array of cake decorating tools that can help you to learn a wide array of cake decorating skills.
We’ve put together a list of cake decorating essentials that will help you to cover all the bases. And happily, these tools will work for a wide range of cake designs, from super simple baking to highly complex decoration! Making this the perfect cake decorating tool kit.
Cake Decorating Buyers Guide
What is a Cake Decorating Kit?
A cake decorating kit provides you with all of the key tools and equipment to enable you to decorate your cake exactly as you want it. There are some absolute essentials that are a must-have if you plan to be decorating cakes regularly. Whereas other pieces make not be quite as important, depending on the complexity of the design.
Some folks consider this decorating kit to be just a piping bag with a few tips. Or even just an offset spatula for icing the outer layer. Whereas, others might need a full array of tools and equipment to get the look they design – especially when working with fondant icing. However you choose to compile your decorating tool kit is entirely up to you.
Features to Consider When Buying Cake Decorating Tools
One thing you will absolutely need is a decorating turntable. A turntable works in very much the same way spinning your plate does. But by having your cake on a turntable as you decorate you can ensure that it is completely even all the way around. Additionally, a turntable allows you to see all parts of your cake with ease, which is especially helpful with larger cakes that may be a bit heavier or more cumbersome. A turntable is far more reliable than simply spinning a plate and make decorating much simpler.
There are also a few more things you may want to consider when purchasing the tools to build up your decorating kit:
What design are you going for? If you’re thinking of going with the more rustic design, you may not need the fondant modelling tools, or moulds unless you’re planning and decorating with small fondant elements. However, a simple rustic cake would require an offset spatula, scraper, and piping bags. Keep in mind the kind of cake you’re going for and pick the tools to suit your needs.
How much storage space do you have? We have recommended a storage box that would be ideal for storing your cake decorating bits and pieces. But you may find it doesn’t work with the space you have. Think about where you’re going to be putting everything when it’s not in use and clear a bit of space for it. Fortunately, most of this stuff doesn’t take up too much room, but you’ll definitely need a place for your turntable.
Basic Cake Decorating Set
Okay, so if you’re just starting out and want to get the absolute basics together, you might just want to go with a pre-set decorating kit. The RFAQK Cake Decorating Set would be a good place to start. It contains a basic turntable and a good variety of piping heads for the piping bags that are included. Additionally, they have included a couple of spatulas and scrapers, as well as an ebook to help guide you through your first big decorating job.
This is a great kit to build on, and whilst the turntable may not be the most aesthetically pleasing design, you can always upgrade to something a little more flash later down the line. The more you decorate, the more you’ll get to grips with what you like and don’t like. Such as, you may find that you prefer reusable piping bags, or that you could really do with other methods of adding detail. This comes with time and practice.
- 64-piece set altogether
- Ebook user guide included
- Ideal for absolute beginners
- 24 different piping heads
Why You Need a Cake Decorating Equipment Kit in Your Kitchen
If you’re a big fan of baking and want to expand your decorating knowledge, getting a decorating kit together is absolutely necessary for the long run. Even if you just start simple. Unless you’re 100% sure you’re going to be going all-out on your cakes from now on, you might as well stick to the basics. The basics will allow you to make a beautiful cake with very little effort. For example: have you ever tried spreading buttercream with a butter knife? Well, a large scraper is next level, and allows you to coat the sides of your cake extremely easily.
Depending on the level of decorating you’re looking to do, we have included pretty much everything you could need in our list. It has been put together with the help of one of the writer’s mothers, a baking and decorating hobbyist who is in constant demand for birthday cakes and celebration snacks! This list has everything you could need for making a simple rustic style cake, all the way through to a fondant topped multi-tiered celebration cake.
Best Cake Decorating Equipment
We selected this particular turntable for its irrefutable combination of substance and style. It’s 12″ in diameter, meaning it can fit a wide variety of cakes on it. It’s also low to the surface, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally knocking it over. Like we said before, you can always start with a simple plastic turntable, to begin with, and then upgrade to something like this in the future. The benefit of an aluminium alloy turntable is that it is a smooth, non-stick surface, which is extremely hard-wearing. This particular stand also has a silicone base, meaning it would be very difficult to move around on the surface top as your work.
I’d love to tell you the negatives of this turntable. But of the 276 people that have left reviews to date, this scored a total of 4.9 stars of out 5. The only 1-star reviewer failed to leave a reason for the bad rating, and the two 4 star reviews both say that they love it, with one customer remarking that it has better momentum than their previous plastic turntable.
- Extremely easy to spin
- Hard-wearing aluminium alloy
- Silicone non-slip base
- 30.5cm x 30.5cm x 10cm
- Rotates 360 degrees
- Easy to clean
This something you will find especially helpful if you choose to work with fondant or pastry. Well, really, anything that needs rolling out. We all know the struggles of having to use mountains of flour to stop something from sticking to the surface. Not only can the flower affect the final product, but it’s messy and unnecessary. If you purchase a silicone mat, you never have to worry about anything stick to the surface ever again.
I’ve selected a bundle of three mats for you here, only because I, personally, would inevitably end up losing one and I’d rather have a spare laying around. (That, and my husband once cut up a pizza on top of our brand new silicone mat and sliced it to ribbons.) A silicone mat can also be used to stop your mixing bowl from sliding all over the work surface.
- Easy to clean as nothing sticks
- No need to flour as non-stick agent
- Can be used in the oven
- Can be rolled up and stored away easily
- Each mat is 15.7″ x 11.8″
If you’re wanting to go with the rustic iced look, or even if you’re looking to apply a base layer of icing before the fondant, you will need scrapers. Scrapers help you to easily apply large amounts of icing in a smooth flat layer all around the outside of the cake. As well as making decorating the top a lot simpler. They can even be used for cutting up fondant and pastry. Thus, making for a much safer alternative than a knife, so they’re great for anyone wanting to bake with children.
This particular set caught my eye because it contains such a wide variety of scrapers, and reviews very highly. Each scraper is designed to help you achieve a different look with your icing. I’m particularly fond of the toothed scrapers if I’m doing an iced design on my cake, it just adds a bit of texture – but each to their own. The only downside seems to be that they don’t come with instructions. But fortunately, they’re quite self-explanatory, though a quick YouTube search can do you a world of good with learning new icing techniques.
- Contains 8 scraper designs
- Also contains a safe de-moulding knife
- Made of ABS and PP plastic
- Family friendly alternative to sharp tools
- Cake-smoother also included
Ask any cake decorator and they will tell you that an offset spatula is absolutely essential. It makes the general application of icing onto a cake much easier. Especially seeing as the angle of the handle prevents you from having to take up an awkward stance just to apply icing. With some practice, it can even work as a scraper (if you’re looking for a smooth finish).
Offset spatulas are very much the same across the board. Which makes shopping for one that much easier. I decided to go for the Wilton spatula because they offer it in a variety of sizes and styles. So you can easily pick the one that suits your needs. I also like that they use stainless steel so it should last you well over many uses. One thing you will need to note before ordering is that the sizes INCLUDE the handle.
- Stainless steel
- Handle is contoured with finger pads
- Lightweight to lessen fatigue
- Dishwasher safe
This particular set caught my eye because of the sheer variety of shaping options it provides! I can’t image there’s a shape out there you couldn’t do using these tools. That also means such an extensive set will allow you to develop your cake decorating skills without the need to purchase more later down the line. This 9 piece set is also made using food-safe plastic that won’t rust with use and is extremely easy to clean. Though be mindful that plastic can bend more easily than metal and so be sure to work your fondant with your hands to warm it up before starting your design.
If you’re going to be working a lot with fondant, then nothing is more fun than moulding it. Fondant acts much like play dough once it has been handled a bit. And these tools may look oddly familiar – perhaps reminiscent of your childhood? That’s because fondant tools are based very much on the design of tools used to mould play-dough. Though, of course, you need to ensure you’re using food-safe materials.
- Made of eco-friendly ABS and PP material
- Contains 9 dual-ended tools
- Lightweight and portable
- Can be used to create fine detail
- Can be easily disassembled
So for those that are not yet confident in their ability to create complex designs in fondant, moulds are a fantastic alternative. Scroll-work and flowers are two of the most difficult designs to get right. But by purchasing a design mould you can simply press what you want into the mould, pop it out, and stick it on. Just bear in mind that designs done with a mould will be flat on the back.
To that end I have selected two different mould styles for you to take a look at, and to give you an idea of what’s out there. Though bear in mind, it doesn’t just stop here. You can gets moulds for leaves, moulds to add texture to your cake, moulds for wildlife and sea shells, the list goes on.
I thought this set of flower moulds was a perfect example of the variety a mould can cover. From daisies to roses, they’ve got everything you would need to start out with. As your designs change and develop you can purchase new moulds, or maybe even learn to make a rose from scratch, removing the need for moulds altogether!
I personally adore scrollwork. I just think it adds a level of elegance, not only to cakes, but to living spaces, artwork, pretty much anything, that is unmatched. Of course, simply drawing scroll-work can be a complicated enough task. so you make it from scratch takes some serious skill and a LOT of practice. That’s where purchasing a mould really comes into its own. They are a huge time saver!
I selected this mould out of the many designs I have seen because I feel like it has covered all bases. Ranging from thin and delicate to large and bold, you can frame a cake beautifully using one or all of these scroll designs. I’m particularly fond of the leaf-like shapes at the bottom of the mould, because they are two separate pieces that can be positioned as needed.
- Much faster than hand moulding
- Silicone is easily to manipulate
- Cover a wide range of designs
- Ideal for first time decorators
- Give any cake a high-quality look
Food brushes are fantastic for anyone looking to applying food-safe glitter, paint, or dye to a cake in areas that require some detail. If you use a mould, for example, you might want to paint the fondant once the mould has set, for a bit of extra pizzazz. You will also want brushes for the application of food-safe glue in order to attach any of the decorative details you have made separately.
Fortunately, almost any paint brush is food safe (though shedding is inevitable with ALL brushes). The main difference between these and other paintbrushes is that they have specifically used food-safe plastic for the handles. However, if you don’t intend to stick your brush in the cake handle first, then you shouldn’t have a problem. Aside from the specific “food-safe” design of these brushes, I also picked them for their fun rainbow colour range. I feel like having a different colour for each brush makes it easier to select the one you need quickly.
- Full colour range
- Food-safe plastic used
- Contains 6 x brushes
If you’re wanting to do some extra fine detail and are not too fussed about having food-safe plastic handles, you could go for something like this:
These are not advertised as food-safe, and just like all other brushes, they can shed (food safe brushes included). However they are designed for extremely fine details, so if you’ve got a fiddly mould or a tiny detail you’re needing to affix to your cake, these WLOT fine detail brushes would be a much better option. It all comes down to personal preference.
8. Edible Glue
Now, you’ve got your cake, you’ve layered on the icing, you’ve moulded and made your decorative pieces, now all that’s left is assembly. That’s where edible glue comes in. Of course, you’re not going to want to stick things to your cake using PVA, that would be rather disgusting and potentially dangerous. Edible glue is made specifically for the task of sticking food to food.
Squires Kitchen is a brand well known for its edible glue, and is something our helpful cake decorator advisor suggested as the ideal decoration attachment glue. You’ll see from the ingredients above that is a very simple list with only the essentials included. It’s not made to taste of anything, and you will only need a tiny amount (hence the bottle being 25g). It is possible to make your own edible glue, but it can take a few tries to get it right. Therefore, having a pot of edible glue on standby as a backup can be an absolute lifesaver.
- Only four ingredients
- Extra-strong hold
- Edible and flavourless
- 25 gram pot
- Suitable for vegetarians
9. Piping Bags
Piping bags are an absolute must-have for wannabe cake decorators. They don’t even have to be used for decoration. Maybe chefs use a piping bag when putting the filling into a cake to ensure it is even throughout. However, should you want to add a bit of extra design to your cake without needing to mess around with something like fondant, piping bags can give you some real freedom to play. Though our best advice is to practice your design on your silicone mat or some baking paper before heading over to the cake!
I like the look of these particular piping bags because they are reusable, making them a much better choice for the sake of the environment. Simply rinse it out once you’re done. Not only that, but these bags come with 32 different nozzle options along with cleaning supplies, storage containers, and pretty much everything you will need to fulfil your piping dreams. They even provide instructions and a guide to how each nozzle will make your icing look.
- 3 x Reusable 3×10″ piping bags
- Dishwasher safe
- 32 x stainless steel nozzles
- Mess-free couper nozzle attachment
- Includes storage container
- Includes instructions
Last but most certainly not least, we’d highly recommend you get a storage container to keep all of this in. If you’re wanting to take cake decorating seriously, it’s best to keep all of your supplies in one easy-to-find place. Imagine opening your bits and bobs drawers and trying to find the scraper you want amidst all of your cooking utensils and runaway batteries.
I’ve selected this 10L storage box as a perfect place to start. It is not too big, so should fit on top of your fridge or in a cupboard quite easily (given you make some space for it). Additionally, the lip clips closed when the box is not in use. So no pulling it out of the cupboard just to watch all of your decorating equipment fall all over the kitchen floor. I also feel it is the perfect size to accommodate future expansion (as will inevitably happen, cake decorating is addictive!).
- 10L container
- Lid clips shut when not in use
- 39.5cm x 25.5cm x 15.5cm
- Capable of fitting all cake decorating essentials
- Extra secure and durable
Q: Where can I find cake decorating ideas?
Well, this is a question with many possible answers! A couple of the most popular places to find a bit of cake decorating inspo are definitely Pinterest and Instagram. Pinterest offers an extremely wide variety of inspo and is specifically designed to help you gather together all of your ideas into one nifty pin-board. By creating a pinboard containing all of your ideas you can easily refer back to them when you need to. Not only that but some pins provide helpful links to instructional videos/recipes to make your cake-making experience even easier.
Instagram is fantastic for providing a huge amount of inspiration all in one place. However, once you like something you can’t refer back to it very easily unless you like the entire page. So if you fancy a design you come across the best thing to do is screenshot it. That way you will have the design saved in your screenshot gallery. Additionally, you could check out BBC Good Food, or even Youtube, where there is an abundance of cake decorating tutorials.
Q: Can I use real flowers to decorate a cake?
That depends on the flower. When it comes to using things like flowers on cakes, make sure that you research the type of flower you are wanting to use. Or even better, try to stick to an approved list of edible flowers to avoid any mishaps. It’s worth noting that edible flowers can get very expensive. Depending on the look you’re going for, you can purchase them pre-dried in a jar (which will last longer). Otherwise, you will have to look for a local supplier of fresh, edible petals to use if you’re wanting a more fresh, vibrant look.
Q: What’s the best tip to have when writing on a cake?
There are a few key tips that can help you to figure our icing writing. But before doing anything – practice on greaseproof paper. If you’re really wanting to get it right, cut out a piece of greaseproof paper the size of your cake top and practise what you want to say before moving to the cake itself. Something worth noting is that it’s actually easier to write in a cursive font, rather than block letters. that’s because cursive writing doesn’t require the stopping and starting of the icing flow in order to get from one letter to the next. It’s a simple, one-line technique.