The 50 Best baking essentials

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From magic mixers to wonderful whisks, Kate Watson-Smyth finds kit that rises to the challenge

1. Nuscup Adjustable Measuring Scoop

A nifty scoop with an adjustable flap to measure up to nine tablespoons. Clever and simple to use.

legendcookshop, £5.99

2. kMix Firecracker Stand Mixer

Don't do all that whisking and beating by hand. This will look great on the worktop, won't stand idle long and is very versatile.

amazon, £269

3. Architec Melamine Mixing Bowls

Anything that takes up less storage space is a good thing so these stacking bowls are perfect. Choose from four colours.

amazon, £29.99

4. Lekue Springform Silicone Rim with Ceramic Plate

Greasing tins is a thing of the past with silicone bakeware. Here's one with the plate already there to serve it on and a clip to release it easily.

amazon, £21

5. Cuisipro Food Decorating Pen

For anyone who has faffed about with one of those bags and a nozzle comes this nifty icing pen. Pull the plunger to fill it up and decorate away.

amazon, £7.95

6. Nordic Ware Cake Lifter

Used all the time on the Great British Bake Off, this is the best way to move your cake from cooling rack to tin. You've probably been using a fish slice but you will soon wonder how you did without.

amazon, £17

7. Balloon Whisk Set

A real essential that won't break the bank. Perfectly designed for getting air into egg whites and cream. There's nothing better for the job.

amazon, £11

8. Shell Compact Digital Scale

The precision of digital scales aid baking. In Joseph Joseph style, the lid becomes the measuring bowl and you can weigh liquid and dry ingredients with the add and weigh function.

amazon, £40

9. Sunflower Oil Spray

For those who hate faffing with a knob of butter, try using a low-fat cooking spray which will get into the corners of the tin and make the job much easier.

amazon, £8

10. Parchment-Lined Foil

Exactly what it says on the tin. Foil on one side, greaseproof paper on the other. Foil side down spreads heat evenly while the paper on top prevents sticking. Great for sausage rolls.

lakeland, £4

11. Icing Set One-Beginners

Almost anything from Jane Asher's site will help but this set includes the essentials: a palette knife, five colours, two brushes and nozzles.

cakecraftshop, £41.75

12. Ceramic Cake Stand with Glass Dome

This way you don't have to move leftover cake into an airtight tin. However, it does create a clearly visible temptation.

amazon, £30

13. Silicon Pastry Brush

Non-stick and heat resistant to 315C so you can baste with hot oils. Note to perfectionists: it doesn't leave brush marks. Its long handle will keep you out of heat's way.

amazon, £3.95

14. Bistro Electric Hand Mixer

Sometimes a hand whisk just won't do. Comfortable to hold and in a very snazzy range of colours including zesty orange, purple and lime green, or available in classic black and white.

amazon, £49

15. Loaf Tin Liners

Back to the sticky subject of releasing the cake from its tin. These readymade greaseproof liners will sit inside the tin and you can just lift it, and the cake, out in one go after cooking.

amazon, £4

16. Edge Brownie Pan

There's often a fight for the bits of the brownie with chewiest edges. This neat tin helps form chewy edges on both sides, making a liquid centre and dry edge a thing of the past.

amazon, £31.99

17. The Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible

A comprehensive guide to sugarcraft from beginner to expert by Lindy Smith. This will up the competition at children's birthday parties no end.

amazon, £19.99

18. Standard Loaf Bag

Bread doesn't really like being in a plastic bag and the artisan ones dry out really quickly in paper bags. These material bags really seem to work – I know, I've got one.

lakeland, £7.99

19. Chocolate Grater

Well, clearly it isn't just for chocolate but lemon zest and all those other twiddly bits that baking often requires. Probably best to have a different one from the one you use for the cheese.

bakingfrenzy, £1.45

20. Cuisinart Elite Mini Processor

This is small enough to sit on the worktop but large enough to do the job, chopping chocolate and grinding nuts with ease.

johnlewis, £59.95

21. Tala 1960s Cook's Dry Measure

If you don't want to get scales out for a few ingredients, this measuring cup will do the dry things. Just fill to the line with everything from sultanas to beans or flour and sugar.

amazon, £9

22. PushPan 10 cm

If you don't like silicone or springform, how about this? The base is loose with a silicon leakproof seal, and you simply turn it upside down and push the base to ease the cake out.

amazon, £7.99

23. Chocolate Cigarellos

Not sure I could wait until the cake was baked to use these but if you can, they are a simple way to give a professional and appetising finish.

cakedecoratingstore, £8

24. Glass Storage Jar 500ml

You can shove bags of flour and sugar in cupboards but there's no doubt it's better to decant. Use these jars, which will look pretty on shelves and show what's left at a glance.

amazon, £1.69

25. Wooden Spoons

A vital utensil. This set has one regular spoon, one with a point for getting right into the corners and a spatula for loosening anything in danger of sticking to the bottom of the pan.

amazon, £11

26. Cook's Blowtorch

For most of us this would just be for caramelising a crème brûlée, but as this is from Divertimenti I should also point out that you can use this to singe feathers off poultry.

divertimenti, £26.95

27. Jamie Oliver Tilt and Mixing Stainless Steel Bowls

Best for beating eggs as plastic attracts grease and glass is too slippy but steel will stabilise egg whites. You can attach cling film easily and they won't chip.

amazon, £42

28. Swift Stackable Cooling Racks

If you have made a huge batch of cupcakes this will be useful but doesn't take up much room. Vital to allow air to circulate and prevent soggy biscuits.

amazon, £9

29. Edible Gold Leaf

This'll up the ante at the school cake sale – edible gold leaf which you attach with edible glue. You'll need tweezers and a steady hand but it will make the most sunken sponge look good.

amazon, £1.59

30. Pyrex 12-Piece Storage Set

Storing food in glass means you can cook and serve it in the same dish and then keep whatever is left in the fridge with the lid on top. The only food storage you'll ever need.

amazon, £21

31. Victorinox Palette Knife

Delia has one so it's probably something we all need. They come in various sizes and have a multitude of uses, such as running round the edge of a cake to ease it out of its tin.

amazon, £22

32. KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer

The KitchenAid lasts forever and can be inherited by your children, provided we still live on more than freeze-dried powder cake by then.

amazon, £304

33. Marble Pastry Board

This isn't absolutely vital , but if you make a lot of pastry it's a good idea to buy one as it keeps the dough cool. If you're not driving past your local stonemason's for an offcut then this one is perfect.

amazon,  £20

34. Wmf Oven Thermometer

Ovens differ widely. For baking it can mean the difference between a Masterchef souffle and a school dinner. This will solve the problem.

amazon, £17

35. Jigsaw Cookie Cutter

You need sensible round ones for flans and pastry cases but these puzzle ones are fun for something more unusual. You will need a flat board to display them on for maximum effect.

amazon, £1

36. Kitchen Craft Cake Tins

Every well-stocked kitchen needs a cake and a biscuit tin. This set of two covers both and has a see-through lid so you can see who's been at it while your back was turned.

johnlewis, £18

37. Procook Silicone Spatula

Nothing licks a bowl clean as well as a small child or a labrador, but in the absence of either of those, you'll need one of these. Heat resistant and fine on non-stick surfaces.

amazon, £3

38. Panasonic SD-2501WXC Bread Maker

You might occasionally have the time for kneading and proving and all that, but sometimes it's nice just to stick it in the machine.

amazon, £100

39. Arcoroc Glass Bowl

This is made from tempered glass, making it five times more resistant than untreated glass. It has a flattened surface on one side of the base for vigorous beating and creaming.

divertimenti, £1

40. Bake-O-Glide Baking Set

Non-stick reusable baking sheets. These do away with the need for greaseproof paper, silicone sheets or tin foil. Simply line the tin and when it's done, wash in warm soapy water.

salamandercookshop, £13.50

41. Multi-tiered cake pan

If you have children you will sooner or later need the novelty cake tin. This site has lots but this tiered one is the best cheat's version.

amazon, £22

42. Eat Dessert First Set of Four Plates

After all that hard work, it's time to sit down and eat the fruits of your labours. These pretty plates are perfect for a little spot of afternoon tea.

amazon, £33

43. Stainless Steel Solid Spoon

Many recipes call for folding rather than mixing or beating and you must have a metal spoon to do it. You can also use it for serving and the hanging loop is handy for storage.

marksandspencer, £5

44. American Originals EK0874 Waffle Maker

You can make really good egg-free waffles in this waffle maker which gives children with an allergy to eggs a chance to join in and do their own baking.

amazon, £24

45. Oxo Good Grips Measuring Cup 4 Cup

All kitchens need measuring jugs. This one has an angled surface so you don't have to bend down to work-top level to see if you've got it right.

amazon, £9

46. Greenpan TwinPan

A clever idea – a feature mainly for pancakes but useful for all sorts of things. You are buying two pans but you can lock them together making it easy to flip pancakes and omelettes.

amazon, £80

47. Clear Sugar Diamonds

These will add wow to any cake. Scatter these edible diamonds over icing (you can get pearls as well) and there'll be no need for any fancy piping work. The cheat's way to top decoration.

cakedecoratingstore, £2.69

48. Miniamo Cupcake Tree Wire for 23 Cakes

After baking you don't want to pile all your cakes up on a plate to be squashed. You can get a smaller one for 13 if you haven't made quite so many.

amazon, £12

49. Stay Cool Rolling Pin

Fill the rolling pin with icy water and it will keep the dough cool and make perfect flaky pastry. Fill it with warm water and it's good for yeast dough.

amazon, £41

50. Bengt Ek Timer

Some people prefer mechanical timers to digital ones (me), others like something they can take to another part of the house in case they don't hear the one on the oven (me again).

amazon, £22

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