Several inspired and motivated individuals have asked me recently what they need to have on hand to make a cake. First, you need a real open mind and sense of adventure. Just kidding. You just need to want cake. So, we're going to break it down right here.
** Reminder: These are not essentials, but they will totally make the process a little easier for you.**
1. A Mixer! You don't need something fancy or expensive, but either a stand-up mixer or a hand mixer will make the job quite a bit easier, especially if you are working with butter. Almost all of my vegan cake recipes can be made without a mixer, though.
2. A Whisk! I use a whisk to mix together all of my dry ingredients, instead of sifting. Sifting was started to get out any bugs or rocks that weren't sifted out in the flour milling process. We don't really have that problem anymore, but it is nice to get all of your flour mixed together with the salt, baking powder/soda, spices, etc. Makes things easier. I am whisk-obsessed. This is my favorite!
3. Liquid Measuring Cup! This is especially useful for vegan cakes, as they usually use liquid fats. Reminder that liquid measuring cups are different than measuring cups for dry ingredients and they do measure things slightly different.
4. Dry Measuring Cups! These are important for measuring dry ingredients, like flour, sugar, cornstarch, etc.
5. Tablespoon & Teaspoon Measuring Spoons! You'll need these for salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices, etc. These aren't so essential with sugar and spices, but are pretty essential for measuring out the proper amounts of leaveners.
6. Cake Pans! Choose your shape, size, weight, etc. I am not too picky about the kind of pan I use, as I have acquired a lot of different kinds over the years. I tend to prefer really lightweight pans - the thicker, heavier ones are usually more expensive and don't cook things as quickly. Most recipes you will find, will be for 9" cakes - which you can also bake in 8" cake pans. If you want to invest in one cake pan, I'd buy a 9", or two. A three-layer 9" cake can feed about 15 people. Loaf pans are also great for informal, beautiful treats.
7. Waxed Paper or Parchment Paper! You'll regret not using this, I promise. Always make circles of one of these two kinds of paper to put in the bottom of your greased pan. You don't want to go to the effort and expense of making a cake, just to see it stick to the pan. I prefer waxed paper because it makes less crinkling noise than parchment paper. And because my mom always used it when i was growing up! Habits!
8. Nonstick spray! I've tried butter, coconut oil, vegetable oil -- really everything. I've brushed it on and used it in every way possible. And it never works as well as nonstick spray. I know it's not environmentally perfect. But I like when my cakes don't stick to the pan.
9. Toothpicks or Skewers! You can also use a paring knife for this. Don't just assume your cake is cooked all the way through. It never works, you guys. Anything will work!
10. Spatula! This will be great for mixing, scraping the batter into your pan, and also for frosting the cake. An essential. I love the glitter spatula I have. You could also get an offset spatula if you really want to get fancy when you're frosting.
That's it! What else would you love to know about technique or baking?! I'm here to help!