Over the years of professional cake makery I have accumulated some unusual tools which I would never have anticipated needing. Here are my top 5 ‘strange but essential’ baking tools:
No – it’s not for cutting through my cakes thank you! If you stack cakes then you are going to need one of these to neatly cut cake dowels to height. Whether you prefer wooden or hollow plastic dowels, a junior hacksaw with a fine tooth blade is perfect for giving a flat, even finish with no burrs.
Another tool that is useful for stacked cakes (please tell me I’m not the only one obsessive enough to use a spirit level!). I remember my horror when I made my first stacked cake many years back and the 1mm tilt on the base tier amplified with every tier I added. It probably wasn’t that bad but to my eye it looked like a serious list to port! Luckily it was for a family birthday and it didn’t fall over! I now use a spirit level on every tier!
I remember sitting in maths lessons thinking ‘when am I ever going to need this stuff?’ as my poor teacher attempted to explain algebra. Well I take it all back Mr West, I use it all the time now for working out how much ribbon I need to go around a board and for working various dimensions for carved cakes!
I’m a baker who has to trim and ice my boards, I just don’t like to see a lovingly made cake on a bald silver cake board. Hence I have a rather large collection of ribbon. Despite this I never seem to have just the right colour in the right length and so my collection is ever expanding!
Baking can be surprisingly heavy work sometimes – all that kneading to colour kilos of sugarpaste to just the right shade of pink, hefting around boxes of 90 eggs and 10kg bags of flour, delivering 12” fruit cakes, carting wedding cakes up stone spiral stair cases (don’t ask!). I now understand why my nan, who was a cook and fantastic baker, gave such great bear hugs!
So there’s my odd collection – what surprising tools and skills have you had to call upon in the name of baking? Do leave us a comment!