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    Our Favorite Cooking Tools

    The key to great, easy cooking, is having the right kitchen gadget for the job.


    Our Favorite Cooking Tools

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    Baking sky-high cakes isn't science; it's engineering, and our favorite baking tools make it easy.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    OXO Stainless Steel Scale | By now you’ve likely heard that measuring by weight instead of volume makes for more consistent baked goods. This is true, and it’s doubly true for layer cakes, because even the best eyeballer isn’t going to nail evenly dividing a batch of batter into multiple pans. This baking scale with a pull-out display and tare function (for subtracting the weight of the pan) solves that problem.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    Pastry Bags | If you plan to make delicate icing decorations, you’ll need a piping bag and some tips. This basic model is fine; start with simple designs and work your way to more complex ones.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    OXO Pastry Brush | Some layer cakes get brushed with a sugar syrup to keep them moist after baking but before icing. A pastry brush ensures that syrup gets distributed evenly.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    Wilton Off Set Spatula | What’s wrong with the spatulas you already have? Those are great for smooshing around batter, but not so much for spreading icing around evenly. For that you need a long, thin spatula with an offset angle to keep your hands out of the way; it’s a vital way to get smooth edges on your cake. Also pick up a small one for fine detail work.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    BIA Cordon Bleu Porcelain Cake Stand | If you’ve gone through all the trouble to make a lavishly decorated layer cake, it’s worth putting on a pedestal (I mean, how many times do we get to literally do that for our desserts?) But cake stands also have a practical function: When it comes to icing your cake, it helps to give it some vertical clearance from the counter, and a base you can spin with one hand is a big help. I love this simple porcelain cake stand, which is affordable yet elegant enough to go with any cake you want to make.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    Wilton Cake Circles | Once your layers are baked, how do you move your cake around? Cake rounds: thin discs of cardboard that give you a stable base to move and ice your cake. If you want to pass on this product, go ahead, don’t buy cake rounds...then try to move your cake around the kitchen. You’ll get them next time.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    Chicago Cutlery Walnut Serrated Knife | If you’re splitting your cakes into thinner layers, you’ll need a serrated knife at least as long as your cake is wide. If that means you’re buying a serrated knife for the first time, here’s a sturdy, affordable one.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    Wilton Cooling Rack | Cakes shouldn’t cool in their baking pans; moisture will condense into steam on the bottoms, making your perfectly baked layers gummy. Pick up some cooling racks so they can breathe.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    OXO Silicone Spatula | You’ll need some sturdy but flexible spatulas, too, and this three-piece set is long-lasting, and it includes a large one for spreading batter around and a smaller one for fine detail work.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    Cooking Spray | The best way to keep the sides of your cake from sticking is pretty obvious: simple cooking spray. Line the bottom of your pan with a parchment round then spray the sides for a cake that’ll slip out with almost zero effort.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    Regency Parchment Paper Liners | The single best way to keep your cake from sticking to the pan is a slip of parchment paper at the bottom. You can, if you want, do some parchment origami to make round circles from plain sheets, but these baking rounds are a cheap lifesaver that save a lot of hassle. Pick up a bunch and use them to line bamboo steamers as well.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    Chicago Metallic Cake Pan | A layer cake begins with cake pans, eight or nine inches in diameter. The most important thing to know: Do not buy non-stick pans. A properly greased pan will release cake easily (more on that below), and the darker shade of non-stick pans absorb heat too quickly and lead to burned bottoms. These light-colored but heavy-duty rolled aluminum pans are good enough for bakeries, which means they’re good enough for you and me.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    Thermapen | Some icings call for sugar cooked to various candy stages in excess of 200 degrees, and for high-heat cooking, the Thermapen is the best thermometer on the market. It’s actually the best instant-read thermometer period—fast, responsive, and accurate, with a big display for easy read-outs. Yes, it’s pricy, but you’ll use it for every roast, steak, and cake, and they’ll all be better for it.

    Everything You Need for Perfect Layer Cakes

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    Cambros: The Restaurant Essential that Beats All Other Food-Storage Solutions | These chunky little containers are, hands down, the very best way to store large amounts of food at home.

    The Restaurant Essential That Beats All Your Tupperware

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    One of the first things we do when testing recipes is set up our stations.

    A Tour of the SAVEUR Test Kitchen

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    A dark roux—a flavorful thickener made by cooking fat with flour—is the foundation of most Louisiana gumbos. The keys to making it well? Constant stirring, even heat, and patience. We love using Wolf's induction cooktop for this purpose; since it distributes the heat evenly, you don't have to worry about certain spots cooking—or burning—faster than others.

    Video: How to Make a Dark Roux

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    We have 2 refrigerators, and it is a constant struggle to keep them clean and organized. We love these fridges though! A stainless steel refrigerator-freezer is a great high-tech concession in a low-tech scheme. Sub-Zero uses technology from NASA to keep the air in them purified, so we don’t have to worry too much about mold, bacteria, and viruses on our food. You can often find Jake Cohen, our kitchen assistant, hiding in the corner eating ice cream.

    A Tour of the SAVEUR Test Kitchen

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    Left to right: Food Editor Ben Mims, Test Kitchen Director Farideh Sadeghin, Test Kitchen Assistant Jake Cohen

    A Tour of the SAVEUR Test Kitchen

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    Our kitchen and our testing is built around the home cook and what our readers are cooking with. We love our Kitchenaid mixers, and I’m fairly certain that we have the largest collection of Le Creuset in America. Le Creuset has amazing products that suit most of our needs. I am obsessed with the 6-qt. Dutch oven. If I could, I would cook everything in it.

    A Tour of the SAVEUR Test Kitchen

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    We have 4 ovens! It's great, especially when we are catering large functions, or cooking 25 different types of cookies for our advent cookie calendar each fall. They’re great because there are no hot or cold spots, so whatever we are baking or roasting comes out cooked evenly.

    A Tour of the SAVEUR Test Kitchen

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    The thing I love about our Wolf induction is the speed at which it heats things up. We will often be testing anywhere from 10–15 recipes a day, so being able to heat up a skillet quickly or boil water in less than 5 minutes helps us stay on schedule for testing and tastings.

    A Tour of the SAVEUR Test Kitchen

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    This little corner is a lovely mess of utensils. Whisks, spatulas, and wooden spoons are organized in our Le Creuset utensil jars, and we’ve got little jars for tasting spoons and family meals.

    A Tour of the SAVEUR Test Kitchen

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    What chef does not obsess over their knives? We have a lovely collection of Wusthof and Shun knives that we're constantly using to slice and dice. Keeping them magnetized on the wall is, again, perfect for saving space, but also more hygienic than a knife block.

    A Tour of the SAVEUR Test Kitchen

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    Our pantry is probably my favorite part of the kitchen: It’s like a yearbook of recipes that we have tested. I think people are always fascinated by what they find in there. Yes, we have plenty of Hellman’s mayonnaise, a plethora of oils and vinegars, and spices from all around the world. The India issue really brought in some new and fun ingredients into our stockpile; we’re still going through lentils for staff meals from that issue.

    A Tour of the SAVEUR Test Kitchen

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