Baking is a Piece of Cake with These Top-Rated Tools
When it comes to dessert, the options are endless, but sometimes there’s nothing better than a classic cake. Whether it’s quick and simple, like pound cake, or more of a showstopper, like Chocolate-Caramel Layer Cake, having the right tools makes baking cakes as enjoyable as eating them. In this week’s buying guide, we’ve compiled our favorite tools from the test kitchen’s many cake-making adventures, ranging from the best pans for even baking to the top stand for clean and easy decorating.
Love to eat cake but not a fan of all the sugar that conventional recipes contain? In our new book Naturally Sweet, you’ll find 120 revolutionary recipes for great-tasting desserts that use 30 to 50 percent less sugar. Plus, our editors explain the science of sugar and introduce you to natural sweeteners such as Sucanat, coconut sugar, and date sugar. This book is sure to change the way you think about dessert.
Comfortable and accurate with long handles, this set nests nicely. The rim of each spoon is flush with the handle so it is easy to sweep accurately. Our only gripe: The oval bowls made measuring liquids slightly tricky.
BUY FOR $11
The unbeatable traditional version of the Pyrex Liquid Measuring Cup is back on the market.
Accurate and extremely durable, this set snaps together for compact storage. The handles are seamless with the cups themselves, making them easy to level off.
BUY FOR $20
This stand was tall, providing excellent visibility and comfort. It was solid but light, and its surface and base were attached. This made it easy to carry but also meant it couldn’t be submerged in water (although we did just to see what would happen; it still spun perfectly). It rotated quickly and smoothly yet stopped precisely where we asked it to, and it had three shallow circles etched onto its surface for easy centering.
BUY FOR $50
Solidly built, with light gold nonstick coating, this pan produced tall, fluffy, level cakes. Layers shaped up perfectly, no matter how the pan was greased. Upside-down cake and pizza released and browned well, but cinnamon buns were too pale.
Dark, heavy, and nonstick, this pan, which is made of aluminized steel, yielded tall, evenly browned cakes. The removable bottom does not leak, and feet on its rim elevate the cake while it cools (so we don't need to turn it upside down over a bottle). For all those reasons, this pan is our favorite.
Heavyweight cast-aluminum construction and a silver nonstick finish combine to create a nicely risen, golden-brown Bundt cake that released perfectly. We appreciated the handles, which helped us flip the pan.
This set was almost perfect: It came with five of our essential tips, including a large open star tip for cupcake swirls and rosettes. The plastic bags were easy to handle, effortless to clean up afterward, and durable (we only once broke a bag, while piping duchess potatoes). Unfortunately, this set lacked a large closed star tip and a coupler. Some pros also thought the 12-inch bags were too small. Most agreed that this is a great starter set if you buy a few extras to round it out.
This felt like the sports car of the group: light, maneuverable, and efficient. Its five speeds were powerful and well calibrated, nicely covering the range called for in recipes.
BUY FOR $40
This powerful, smartly designed machine made quick work of large and small volumes of food. The bent tines of its whisk fit the bowl’s shape perfectly, its Y-shaped paddle creamed quickly without allowing butter to bunch up in the crevices, and the model handled batches of stiff dough without flinching. Testers liked the bowl-lift design and large vertical bowl handle that aided pouring.
This silicone strip works like a giant rubber band that slips around an inverted cake pan, with no need to presoak or jigger into place. Yellow cakes emerged perfectly level and consistently moist; gingerbread showed no cracks and only slight doming. It’s dishwasher-safe and durable, showing no signs of use after three rounds of testing.
BUY FOR $12
From handle to tip, this spatula was sized right. The 6.5-inch blade was sturdy but nimble, and testers made quick work of icing cakes with all types of frosting. It also felt exceptionally comfortable in hand, thanks to an easy-to-grip rubber-coated handle.
BUY FOR $10
All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.