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Perfect Cakes Made Easier

No matter what the occasion—a birthday party, a holiday, or an everyday snack break—a cake is always a welcome addition. This week, our guide is all about equipment that makes achieving a delicious and beautiful cake easier, such as the right measuring tools, the best decorating set, and a top-notch bowl scraper. For guaranteed success, pair our winning equipment with our new release, The Perfect Cake. This cookbook has 240 recipes from everyday cupcakes to showstopping layer cakes, all created with years of test kitchen knowledge on the art and science of baking cakes.

Perfect Cakes Made Easier
Anchor Hocking 6-Piece Nesting Prep Bowl Set
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Recommended
Anchor Hocking 6-Piece Nesting Prep Bowl Set

Coming in a variety of useful sizes that nest for compact storage, our winning set performed ably on almost every test. Its wide, shallow bowls were easy to hold, fill, empty, and clean. They can be used in the microwave and the oven. While the bowls in this set were the only ones to break when dropped, the heaviness of the glass with which they’re made makes it unlikely that they’ll easily fly off the counter.

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BUY FOR $10
Purchased for $11.00 at time of testing
Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons Set
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Recommended
Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons Set

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.

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BUY FOR $13
Purchased for $11.95 at time of testing
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Highly Recommended
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups

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.

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BUY FOR $20
Purchased for $19.99 at time of testing
Pyrex 2-Cup Measuring Cup
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Highly Recommended
Pyrex 2-Cup Measuring Cup

The unbeatable traditional version of the Pyrex Liquid Measuring Cup is back on the market.

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BUY FOR $14
Purchased for $5.99 at time of testing
KitchenArt Adjust-A-Cup Professional Series, 2-Cup
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Recommended
KitchenArt Adjust-A-Cup Professional Series, 2-Cup

We wish the measurement markings had more staying power, but we can’t complain about how easy to use and effective this measuring cup is with messy ingredients like honey, yogurt, shortening, and peanut butter.

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BUY FOR $13
Purchased for $12.95 at time of testing
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Highly Recommended
OXO Good Grips 11 lb Food Scale with Pull Out Display

Our longtime favorite scale has it all: ­consistent accuracy; a clear digital display (which pulls out from the frame and includes a ­backlight); responsive, clearly labeled, accessible buttons; a removable platform that makes cleanup a breeze; and a sturdy, slim body that stores easily. It’s a pricier package but worth the ­investment.

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BUY FOR $50
Purchased for $49.95 at time of testing
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Highly Recommended
Di Oro Living Seamless Silicone Spatula—Large

This model is firm enough for scraping and scooping but also fit neatly into tight corners. Its straight sides and wide, flat blade ensured that no food was left unmixed. The all-silicone design eliminates any crannies that could trap food. It felt exceptionally comfortable. Its smaller blade fell short in our folding test.

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BUY FOR $15
Purchased for $10.97 at time of testing
iSi Basics Silicone Scraper Spatula
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Highly Recommended
iSi Basics Silicone Scraper Spatula

Perfectly contoured to fit the side of a bowl, this scraper had the most surface contact of all the scrapers. No dough or batter was left behind. It gained rigidity from a steel insert. Opposite the contoured side is a straight edge that doubles as a bench scraper or dough cutter, making this a multipurpose winner.

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BUY FOR $8
Purchased for $5.99 at time of testing
Dexter-Russell 6" Dough Cutter/Scraper—Sani-Safe Series
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Recommended
Dexter-Russell 6" Dough Cutter/Scraper—Sani-Safe Series

The deeply beveled edge of this scraper cut through pizza and bread dough quickly and scraped the work surface effectively. The textured polypropylene handle was easy to hold on to, even with greasy or floury hands, and was thinner than other scrapers’ handles, helping us hold it flat to the work surface for easier, more effective scooping and scraping.

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BUY FOR $10
Purchased for $7.01 at time of testing
Wilton 20-piece Beginning Buttercream Decorating Set
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Recommended
Wilton 20-Piece Beginning Buttercream Decorating Set

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.

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$12.20
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Wilton 9-inch Angled Spatula
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Highly Recommended
Wilton 9-inch Angled Spatula

Offers great control when spreading batter or icing. Sleek, sturdy, and comfortable, this blade (4½ inches in length) was just about flawless.

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BUY FOR $13
Purchased for $4.79 at time of testing
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Recommended
OXO Good Grips Triple Timer

This squat, sturdy triple timer was simple and intuitive, with a dedicated “clear” button and a full 0-to-9 keypad, so testers entered times by typing instead of scrolling. It displayed all of its timers at once, so we could check everything at a glance, and its stainless face repelled messes. Two quibbles: The buttons for toggling between timers were a bit squished together, and the digits on the display could be more visible.

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BUY FOR $20
Purchased for $19.99 at time of testing
KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer
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Highly Recommended
KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer

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.

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BUY FOR $35
Purchased for $69.99 at time of testing
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Highly Recommended
Libertyware Half Size Sheet Pan Cooling Rack

Testers gave top marks to this rack, which has six feet on three support bars for extra stability. Cookies cooled evenly on this rack, and pork emerged from the oven with crisp, browned surfaces. It fit perfectly in our favorite rimmed baking sheet (and other standard-size baking sheets) and is safe to wash in the dishwasher. It’s sold in packs of two, making it the best value in the lineup.

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BUY FOR $17
Purchased for $15.99 for a set of two ($7.99 each) at time of testing
Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick Rectangular Cake Pan, 9" x 13"
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Highly Recommended
Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick Rectangular Cake Pan, 9" x 13"

Producing the most evenly cooked, professional-looking baked goods of all the pans we tested, this model made brownies that were level and moist from center to edge and cornbread that was deeply golden and uniformly browned. Not even sticky bun glaze stuck to the pan. Despite becoming slightly scratched in abuse tests, its surface released perfectly and was easy to clean.

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$32.95
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Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick 8-Inch Square Cake Pan
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Highly Recommended
Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick 8-Inch Square Cake Pan

Perfectly even gold color on our crumb cake and cornbread crowned this pan the winner.

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$21.00
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Nordic Ware ­Naturals Nonstick 9-Inch Round Cake Pan
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Highly Recommended
Nordic Ware ­Naturals Nonstick 9-Inch Round Cake Pan

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.

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$14.32
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Winco Revolving Cake Decorating Stand
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Highly Recommended
Winco Revolving Cake Decorating Stand

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.

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BUY FOR $37
Purchased for $29.98 at time of testing

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.

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