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As a published baking cookbook author, I’ve tested MANY baking tools. And I’m happy to recommend my absolute must-haves to fellow home bakers. This list is a great place to start if you are a beginner baker, creating a registry, or shopping for a gift for someone who likes to bake (or wants to learn). These essential cake baking and decorating tools will make your home baking… a piece of cake!

collage of cake baking and decorating tools with Sally's Baking Recipes logo.

Since 2011, I’ve developed and published more than 150 cake recipes on my website, in addition to cake recipes in my cookbooks. Testing, photographing, and filming video tutorials means that I make multiple cakes for every new recipe. I’ve made… a LOT of cakes!

From evergreen classics like chocolate cake, confetti cake, and white cake, to reader favorites like lemon blueberry cake, carrot cake, and red velvet cake… I’ve even done a tutorial for a homemade wedding cake!

With all of this practice (including recipe fails!), I’ve learned which cake baking tools are the BEST in my home kitchen. I like to avoid overloading my cabinets with unnecessary gadgets, so this list includes the top essentials. I’m not working with any of these brands; these cake baking tools are simply the items I own, love, and recommend.

See my Top 10 Cake Baking Tips page, too.

Stock Your Kitchen With These 10 Cake Baking & Decorating Tools

All of the cake baking tools in this list are items I own. I list 10 here, but some include more than 1 item. Use your best judgment on which items you would use based on my descriptions. None of this post is sponsored—truly just items I love and am happy to recommend to fellow home bakers. A lot of these links are affiliate links.

1. ROUND CAKE PANS

What I own and love: Fat Daddio’s 9-Inch Cake Pan or Fat Daddio’s 8-Inch Cake Pan.

Quantity recommended: 3

I began using these pans in 2018 to bake layer cakes and immediately fell in love. They’re great quality for the price! I recommend owning 3. It’s best to bake cake batter all at once, and if you own only 2 round cake pans, you have to wait to bake that final layer if you’re making a 3-layer cake.

Tip: Purchase 2-inch-deep cake pans or those labeled “deep dish” style—some round pans are only 1.5 inches high, and you could end up with batter spilling over.


2. QUARTER SHEET PAN & HALF SHEET PAN

What I own and love: Nordic Ware Half Sheet Pan & Pyrex 3-Quart Glass Baking Dish.

Quantity recommended: at least 1 of each size

Half sheet and quarter sheet pans are some of the most versatile and useful pans a baker can have. Both of these brands are excellent quality and have stood up to very frequent use.

The 12×17-inch size of a half sheet pan (aka a jelly roll pan) is the perfect size for baking roll cakes, like this chocolate cake roll. I also use half sheet pans for baking cookies, scones, vegetables, potatoes, fish, meat, croissants, pastries, breads, pouring out toffee or chocolate bark, and so much more.

two Nordic Ware brand baking sheets

The 9×13-inch rectangular baking pan (aka quarter sheet pan) is just the right size for a one-layer cake, like this banana cake. It holds about 3 quarts and can be used for everything from homemade brownies to lasagna, vanilla sheet cake, casseroles, overnight cinnamon rolls, and more. I prefer glass because it heats slowly, and gradual heat is perfect to evenly cook a big cake.

vanilla cake batter in 9x13 inch glass cake pan

3. PARCHMENT PAPER ROUNDS

What I own and love: Comfylife Parchment Paper Sheets.

No matter what size or brand cake pan you use, make sure you prepare it appropriately before you pour your cake batter into the pan. These days I ALWAYS use parchment paper rounds.

Here’s how:

  1. Trace the bottom of the cake pans(s) on a large piece of parchment paper. Cut out the parchment circle(s). Then, very lightly grease the cake pans with butter or nonstick spray. I usually use coconut oil nonstick spray or “baking spray,” which has a little flour in it. Place the parchment round inside, then grease the parchment round too. Yes, grease the pan AND the parchment. This promises an ultra-nonstick environment for your cake.
  2. When the cake has cooled, run a thin knife around the edge, invert the cake onto your hand or work surface, then pull off the cake pan. Peel off the parchment round from the bottom of the cake.

If it’s helpful, see this parchment paper rounds for cakes video & post for a full tutorial.

2 images of cut out parchment paper rounds and parchment paper rounds in cake pans

4. ELECTRIC MIXER

What I own and love: KitchenAid Tilt-Head Stand Mixer or KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Mixer.

Quantity recommended: 1

An electric mixer is a must if you bake a lot. I use my hand mixer more than my stand mixer. If you want both, definitely get both. When I’m working with an enormous amount of dough/batter or making something that requires several minutes of mixing (e.g., fudge, dough, meringue), a stand mixer is key.

slice of black forest cake on a white plate, the rest of the cake on a wood slice cake stand, and a blue stand mixer

For beginner bakers, a hand mixer is perfect. More affordable, fantastic quality, and works wonderfully for mixing together cake batter.


5. DIGITAL FOOD SCALE

What I own and love: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale.

Quantity recommended: 1

For more accurate measuring, definitely pick up a food scale. This OXO food scale is the one I use. A gram is always a gram. An ounce is always an ounce. A cup is NOT always a cup, and therefore weighing is the most accurate way to measure. My team and I include weight measurements in all my recipes.

A kitchen scale is also useful for making layer cakes. I often weigh the pans when I’m adding the batter to them, to make sure I’m getting about the same amount of batter in both/all of the cake pans, assuring the layers will be uniform and bake evenly. (This only works if you’re using a set of the same cake pan since they all weigh the same.)


6. SIFTER/FINE MESH SIEVE

What I own and love: Cuisinart Sieve.

Quantity recommended: 1 set

Sifting dry ingredients is often a step in many cake recipes… and it’s just as often overlooked or skipped. That step is not just for fun or to make your life difficult—it aerates the ingredients and rids any lumps so your recipe turns out! You can’t make angel food cake, French macarons, vanilla sheet cake, or this cake flour substitute without one. You also use a sieve to dust treats with confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder, such as star bread and tiramisu, and even to strain seeds/lumps out of raspberry sauce and pastry cream for Boston cream pie.

sifting flour with a mesh metal sieve

This set conveniently has 3 different sizes with nice long handles. They’re easy to clean (just use soapy water and rinse off) and have lasted me years. I consider a sifter/sieve a crucial kitchen tool and even recommend them in this 14 Kitchen Tools Every Baker Needs list.


7. ICING SPATULAS

What I own and love: Ateco 8-Inch Straight Spatula, 4.5-Inch Straight Spatula, & 4.5-Inch Offset Spatula.

Quantity recommended: 1 of each, but that depends on the type of decorating you do

I use a large straight icing spatula for decorating large layer cakes like this chocolate peanut butter cake. A small straight spatula is handy for running around the edges of a cake to remove it from the pan or to spread frosting on a smaller cake. And I prefer using a small offset spatula to decorate sheet cakes that are served inside the pan.


8. CAKE TURNTABLE OR CAKE STAND

What I own and love: Revolving Cake Turntable Stand and Marble Cake Stand.

Quantity recommended: 1

I’m not a cake decorating pro; I tend to stick with basic techniques for finishing off my cakes. A cake turntable can be helpful when you’re frosting a layer cake. If you don’t want to serve the cake on the cake turner, you can carefully lift the cake off of the cake turntable onto a serving plate or cake stand, with the help of a couple thin flat spatulas and a friend.

2 images of brown sugar cinnamon buttercream on the cake

9. BENCH SCRAPER

What I own and love: Ateco Bench Scraper.

Quantity recommended: 1

A bench scraper is super handy for smoothing out the icing around the sides of a layer cake. If you’ve never used one before, you can watch me use it in my vanilla cake video (and you can see that I don’t even use a cake turntable there, I just use the marble cake stand linked in #8 above). This bench scraper works for any size cake.


10. CAKE CARRIER

What I own and love: Sterilite Cake Server or XL Cake Carrier.

Quantity recommended: 1

Honestly, this should be #1 on today’s list. Cake carriers are an absolute lifesaver for storing and transporting cakes. Have you ever needed to refrigerate a layer cake, but covering it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap completely ruins the icing? Store it in a cake carrier! Have you ever needed to travel with a decorated layer cake? Use a cake carrier! I even put pies in this thing.

I recommend this cupcake carrier for storing and transporting frosted cupcakes, too. And not just cupcakes/muffins—this carrier is also excellent for transporting 9×13-inch cakes, round pies, cookies, and more.

Worth their weight in gold!

cake carrier

Even More Cake Baking Tools & Tips

Baking cakes can feel intimidating because they’re usually for a special event or occasion… and the pressure is on! Let me help take the fear out of cake baking. Here are my top cake baking tips:

Additional Helpful Posts:


Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Loved, as always, what you have to share! Would you mind if I share some of this advice, of course saying it comes from you in my Argentinian Instagram page? Belquis Sara Marina Garcia Estrada @theglutenfreeveganbakery

  2. The parchment paper rounds would be so helpful! I am happy to say I have almost all of these, so maybe I should get to baking!!

    1. You are well stocked! I really do love using parchment paper rounds and I’m going to throw together a video tutorial about them. Helps round cakes release so easily!

  3. Since finding your website I am a convert to weighing ingredients instead of using measuring cups. A trick I learned is to put my scale in a zippered bag. It is so easy just to wipe off the bag which keeps the scale immaculate as well as cutting down on dish washing.

  4. Thank you for the recommendations. While I love vintage cake stands/carriers, my favorite has a collapsible lid and stacking trays for carrying g cupcakes!

  5. Is there a difference between marble & wooden rolling pins?

    My daughter & I love baking your recipes!!

    1. Hi Gina, It’s really personal preference. We use a wooden rolling pin for just about everything! They are a bit lighter weight and easier to handle. A marble rolling pin is much heavier but a beautiful addition to your kitchen and can be chilled if you are working with very delicate colder doughs often.

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