Series such as The Great South African Bake Off and Cake Boss have made whipping up your own sweet treats a hot trend.
Author of the book Sweet Sam Linsell offers us 10 quintessential kitchen utensils every baker/sweet-thing maker needs in their cupboards.
If you are going to take baking seriously you will need a stand mixer. It is an essential appliance when making meringues or pavlova or any other recipe where an extensive amount of whipping takes place. It has multiple attachments, including a dough hook, which takes some of the hard work out of bread making. The beauty of a stand mixer is while it is beating your batter, you can busy yourself with other things
Cake tins, pans and trays
You will need a basic collection of tins, pans and baking sheets. Among those should be two large baking trays for biscuits, cake tins and muffin pans.
Today, you can buy silicone-baking paper to line trays and tins and this is essential for some cookies and cakes. They prevent the baked goods from burning by providing insulation, and are 100 percent reusable, so you are saving on paper and waste. If you don’t have silicone, non-stick baking paper is necessary.
A few spatulas make life easier in the baking department as you will want to scrape down your bowls. Silicone spatulas are heat resistant so you can also stir hot, sugary sauces. An off-set stainless steel spatula is an invaluable tool when it comes to spreading icing or smoothing out surfaces.
If you are planning on any kind of sugar work, a thermometer (preferably digital) is essential. You can monitor to the exact temperature of your sugar solution, which is critical when making confectionery, fudge or any kind of caramel. It takes the guesswork out of what is scientific.
You will need a few good mixing bowls of varying sizes when baking, as often recipes will require using more than one. It’s a good idea to have them in a variety of materials, including heat-proof glass or ceramic, as these are handy for melting chocolate, etc. Plastic bowls are light, easy to store and to clean.
Measuring cups and spoons are part and parcel of all baking recipes, so you will need at least a set of each. Metal ones are more durable than plastic, which tend to break.
A good scale
Baking is a science and recipes that weigh ingredients are better than those which don’t. You can achieve a greater degree of accuracy, which ensures perfect results. Have a digital scale that you can put plates or bowls on. That way you can use your existing containers to weigh your ingredients.
Metal cooling racks are essential items to have as they allow air to circulate around the hot pans as they come out the oven, thereby preventing baked goods from going soggy or browning or over-cooking.
A good rolling pin – either a one-piece or one with handles on either end – is essential for rolling out pastry or other forms of dough.
* Sam Linsell is based in Cape Town, where she works as a professional food stylist, recipe writer and food photographer. Visit her food blog DrizzleandDip.com.