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It seems like all forms of cooking are growing in popularity right now, but creating cakes and pastries is breaking all records for home cooks. A quick scroll through Instagram reveals endless photos of cakes of all kinds being made by people who may have never stepped into the kitchen before! This all makes good sense because nothing is more satisfying than something sweet coming from the oven made by your own hands (and home baking is also healthy for the budget)!
A basic cake is great on its own, but start to decorate it and it becomes art. Gorgeous colors, textures, flowers, and whatever the imagination can create can all be part of any cake. If you don’t bake, a basic grocery store pound cake can be used as a base for your artistic endeavor.
Here, our list of the best cake decorating tools out there for all levels and categories. Enjoy!
Best for Beginners: Wilton How to Decorate Cakes and Desserts Kit, 39-Piece
This kit is for first-time cake decorators or for anyone who wants to improve their basic techniques. The kit includes a full-color instruction book that shows you all kinds of different decorating techniques to make things super simple as well as a link to a video tutorial library that offers even more instruction.
With a 9-inch angled spatula, three standard couplers, one decorating brush, 12 16-inch disposable decorating bags, 12 12-inch disposable decorating bags, 10 decorating tips (Round 2A, 3, 5, 12; Star 1M, 16, 21, 32; Drop Flower 2D; and Specialty Cake Icer Tip 789), along with a recipe for buttercream icing, there’s a lot to look forward to in this kit! Wilton products are exceptionally well made, so you can expect to use and enjoy this kit for many years!
Best for Kids: Riki’s Kingdom Kids Real Baking Set with Recipes
If your kids love to cook (or if you’d love them to learn to cook) this special set designed for children will get them off to a great start! It’s brightly colored, easy to use, and even easier to clean. The chef’s apron adds whimsy to a fun playtime activity, and the skills learned from baking and decorating inspire kids to do even more cooking!
There’s a lot to use in this set: a dozen silicone cupcake cups, a silicone rolling pin with wooden handle, a silicone whisk with stainless steel handle, five star cookie cutters in different sizes, five heart cookie cutters in different sizes, five measuring spoons, one piping bag, six piping nozzles, one coupler, a blue spatula, a green pastry brush, a Dacron apron, and five recipe cards.
Best Kit: Wilton Ultimate Cake Decorating Tools Set
This set gives the home cake decorator access to the tools of the professional. A total of 263 pieces are organized in a caddy, which holds everything neatly so you can find the tools you need very easily. There are tools to use to create buttercream, royal icing, and fondant, as well as gum paste decorations. This is basically the luxe version of all the cake decorating sets available.
If you’re an aspirational cake decorator who wants to explore endless possibilities, this set offers that potential. Specific tools and accessories include the caddy (with see-through drawers), an assortment of decorating tips, decorating bags, straight and angled spatulas, flower nails, an icing comb, fondant roller, fondant cut-out sets, impression mats, fondant tools, and decorating brushes.
Best Budget: SHEIN 14 Pieces Baking Tool Set
This set comes in at a surprisingly low price and with excellent reviews. If you’re just starting to explore cake decorating, all the basics you need are here: a pastry bag with tips and connector along with an assortment of decorating tips and combs. This set would be good as a stocking stuffer or as a gift for a teenager with an interest in baking at any time!
Best for Organizing: Wilton Cake Decorating Bag Holder
This cake decorating bag holder from Wilton solves that problem of piles of decorating bags with different colors of icing lying all over the counter causing a mess and a distraction. No more icing droplets all over everything! It can hold up to six pastry bags, it has stable legs with non-slip silicone feet, and it also folds up to save space when you’re not using it. The center has a space with six built-in flower nail grips that hold nails upright for easy one-handed use. This should be hand washed to maintain the nonstick surface.
Best for Layered Cakes: Nordicware Checkerboard Cake Ring
How are those checkerboard cakes made? One easy and fun way is with this cake ring made by Nordicware. This simple, inexpensive, quality tool creates a cake with a lot of style for little effort. You simply put the ring in any 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan, pour different colored batter into the compartments, remove the insert, and put in the oven to bake. The ring is made of a heavy plastic and is manufactured in Norway.
Best Large Collection: VORCAY Cake Decorating Supplies Kit for Beginner, 188 pieces
This kit includes everything a cake decorator needs from A to Z! The sheer variety of tools has a sense of the extravagant, though each piece has a purpose. A revolving aluminum cake turntable, 48 seamless stainless steel numbered icing and flower tips in a storage box with pattern chart, nozzles, scrapers, bags, leveler, brush, spatulas, and more. For the cake decorator who wants to explore a wide variety of forms and techniques, there are endless possibilities with this collection.
Best Cake Turntable: Ateco Revolving Aluminum Cake Decorating Stand
Eventually, your friends and family will start calling you for birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, and maybe even weddings. The larger and more elaborate your cakes get, the more substantial your cake-making equipment will get. At this point, you’ll want to consider upgrading to a sturdier cake turntable capable of smoothly handling stacked cakes, sheet cakes, and heavy-duty baking projects.
Ateco is a trusted name in bakeries and professional pastry kitchens everywhere. The 12-inch aluminum turntable provides the same smooth ball bearing rotation that the higher-end cast iron model offers, at a fraction of the weight and price. This cake stand includes a non-slip silicone base and easily wipes clean after frosting.
Best Cake Scrapers: Patelai 6-Piece Acrylic Cake Scraper Set
If you’ve been watching cake trends over the last year, you’ve definitely seen the return of cake scrapers in new and creative patterns (aren’t those stripe cakes amazing?!). Many years ago, cake scrapers were only available in small triangular or fluted patterns—and were generally considered to be an amateur method of finishing the side of a cake quickly without worrying about a perfectly smooth buttercream finish. Not anymore. Cake scrapers, sometimes referred to as cake combs, have been reimagined to create large and beautiful sculptural effects on cakes that reach for the sky.
This set of six acrylic cake scrapers will have you creating viral social media cakes in no time flat. Five of the scrapers are double-sided, with ten different comb options. The sixth scraper is flat on both sides to help you perfect those beautiful smooth cakes that are next to impossible to create with an offset spatula alone. Each scraper is nearly 9.5-inches tall, for a consistent finish no matter how tall your confectionary masterpiece is. While the acrylic is thick and durable enough to be cleaned in the dishwasher, the cake scrapers are easily washed with warm soapy water by hand.
What to Look for When Buying Cake Decorating Tools
Most people start with piping tips, which are used with piping bags. Piping skills are at the core of professional decorating projects, and when mastered, will be useful far beyond cakes and cupcakes. From star-tipped cake borders to hand-piped roses, a set of pastry tips with different styles and sizes allows you to experiment with countless designs.
Couplers are two-piece plastic attachments to piping bags that allow you to easily switch the tip on a bag of frosting without emptying the bag. For cake designs that involve several different tips for decorating, couplers are incredibly convenient.
A cake comb (sometimes called a scraper) is also an essential tool for a smoothly rounded cake. Some struggle to smooth the sides of a cake with a metal spatula, but a cake comb makes very quick work of it. Several cake combs have textured edges as well as a smooth edge for a variety of buttercream patterns.
Metal spatulas are narrow and long and come in several different sizes and two different basic styles. Larger metal spatulas are used for smoothing the frosting on the top of the cake, cleaning up edges, and lifting the cake off the board or stand. Smaller spatulas are used for detail work, smoothing out smaller portions of frosting, and picking up or placing decorative features on the cake. Metal spatulas come both flat and offset. Try out both and see which style is more comfortable to hold while you work.
Fondant & Gum Paste Tools
Making an even buttercream frosting is the first skill to master when beginning cake decorating as a foundation for building the rest of the cake design. Instead of buttercream decorations, you may choose to wrap your cake in fondant for sculptural, pristinely smooth, or hand-painted finishes. When using fondant you’ll roll it out and lay it over your buttercream-coated cake. It then gets smoothed out with a smoothing tool that helps get rid of air bubbles and fits the fondant over every curve and into every crease of the cake.
Hand tools that help shape, slice, and texturize both fondant and gum paste are used to make figurines and floral decorations for your cakes. Cutters are available to easily create multiple petal shapes in large quantities.
For those who plan to use fondant often, there are plastic mats and rolling pins to make sheeting fondant easier. Rolling mats have cake measurements to easily judge the appropriate amount of frosting, with less sticking than rolling directly on a counter with a wooden rolling pin (although cornstarch or confectioner’s sugar is still recommended to reduce tackiness).
Versatility & Reusability
Many of the tools included in your cake decorating tool kit will last you for years to come, including the piping tips, spatulas, and couplers. Things like piping bags, cupcake liners, and any edible decorations are generally one-time use tools. Most kits offer enough of these disposable supplies for a handful of projects, but eventually you’ll need replacements. Replacements can often be found at grocery stores, as well as craft stores and, of course, cake and baking supply stores and online.
There are options for those interested in a more sustainable toolkit for multi-use versions of these tools. Disposable piping bags are convenient and make multi-frosting colors in a single project easy to handle, but polyester and silicone piping bags can be washed and reused many times with less waste. These reusable bags come in a variety of sizes and can also be used with couplers. If you also use piping bags for savory applications, it’s best to have a separate set for cake decorating to avoid any crossover scents.
Disposable paper baking cups can also be replaced with silicone cupcake liners for multiple uses. The silicone liners are brightly colored and help make your cupcakes look picture-perfect, but may not all come back to you if taken to a party or accidentally tossed in the trash after use.
Many tools come in both plastic and metal choices, with the plastic tools typically being the less expensive option.
Both metal and plastic piping tips will last you years if washed and stored properly, but each have their different advantages. Metal tips provide a sharper and cleaner piping pattern and usually come in a larger range of sizes and styles. If stored improperly, the tips or round body may be bent, making them slightly more difficult to use. Plastic tips will not bend easily, but often do not provide a crisp professional-looking piping pattern. Their sizes and styles are limited.
Spatulas and fondant hand tools also come in both metal and plastic choices. Metal or wood hand tools will last much longer than their plastic counterparts, but can be slightly heavier to use compared to the nearly weightless feeling of plastic hand tools. Some plastic fondant and gum paste tools also come in a wider variety of shapes to help you mold and texturize your projects.
Additional Helpful Tools
While not absolutely necessary, there are a few more tools that will make your cake decorating projects easier and more enjoyable.
A cake leveler is useful for those just starting out building cakes or for bakers who want a precision slice every time. While professional bakers use long serrated knives to slice their cakes into even layers, it takes practice to remove a cake top in one even motion by eye alone. A cake leveler looks a little bit like an archer’s bow or a large cheese wire, with a metal C-shaped handle that holds a cutting wire in tension. You simply pull the wire through your cake for a smooth, clean cut, which helps you to build your cake without the hassle of uneven layers.
A cake turntable will save you the stress of working around the sides of your cake, as the platter rotates on top of the stand bringing every side of the cake to you. Used in conjunction with a cake comb, you can have perfectly frosted cakes in minutes. Your hands and arms will thank you for saving them the extra stretching.
While some people build their cakes directly on a turntable, most people build their cakes on a cake board (placed on the turntable). A cake board is a circular piece of cardboard or foam, sometimes coated or covered with a colorful foil, that makes it easy to pick up and transport your cake with a little more support. Boards are available in a wide variety of sizes and chosen based on the size of the cake you’re making, usually allowing an inch or more of extra space between the cake and the edge of the board. For an 8-inch cake, you’ll want a 10-inch cake board for 1 inch of free space around the cake to work with. You will also purchase cake boxes based on the size of the board you’re using.
When it’s time to put all of your tools away, having a specific place to safely store them all is incredibly helpful. Kits that come with a storage case do the work for you, but if your kit doesn’t come with a specific case, consider buying a small toolbox from the art or hardware store that has different-sized storage sections in it.
Juggling multiple bags of frosting doesn’t seem like it would be a problem until you actually have to do it. A piping bag stand, like the Wilton Cake Decorating Bag Holder, will keep your work area tidy and your different frostings all in one place to streamline your project.
An essential cake decorating kit is available for $20 or less, making a wide range of classic cake designs available without a large investment. If you’re just starting out, a kit is easier to purchase instead of guessing which tools to pick out individually. A kit that comes with a piping and frosting guide can also be helpful.
Most common cake decorating tools are inexpensive individually but can add up quickly when buying dozens of items at a time. Larger kits like the Wilton Ultimate Cake Decorating Tools Set save you shopping time and money since all of those tools sold individually would likely cost more than the bundled price. If your interest in cake decorating is expansive, a larger kit is absolutely worth the price.
Types of Cake Decorating Tools
A beginner set of cake decorating tools is a great place to start for those getting their hands dirty for the first time, or for younger bakers who want to explore baking as a hobby. Typically lower-priced, these kits are made with plastic tools, a small selection of metal or plastic piping tips, and a few disposable piping bags. Some may include a few additional tools like spatulas or cake combs to help you achieve satisfying results.
Enthusiast & Home Baker Tools
A step up in quality, most baking and decorating tools fall into this category. Reasonably priced, professionals and home bakers alike stock up on multiple sets of piping tips and hand tools for both buttercream and fondant work. Stencils and leaf or petal cutter sets are still economically priced, but silicone molds and customized edible decorations can become more expensive. Silicone spatulas and whisks come in a variety of colors to match the color palette of your kitchen without sacrificing sturdiness.
Professional tools tend to be heavier-duty, occasionally larger, and more expensive. At this level, most hand tools are metal with wooden or heavy-duty, heat-safe plastic handles. Brands like Ateco and Wilton provide a wider range of larger and more custom tools for decorating. In this category are also sturdier cake pans, ranging in size from 3 to 16 inches or larger. Once you’ve become the go-to birthday cake maker for family and friends, or you’re gearing up to make wedding cakes, it’s a good time to invest in this level of equipment.
Wilton cake tools have been a staple of creative home bakers for decades, providing character cake pans, tips, tools, chocolate molds, ingredients, food colors, and even cake decorating classes at craft supply stores before television shows made extreme cake decorating popular. As an authority in the baking industry, the very large line of Wilton tools are widely available and tailored to be easily used by home bakers and professionals alike.
Colorful baking and cooking kits are made specifically for kids’ small hands, including recipes to get cooking immediately. Each kit comes with actual kitchen tools, built for real cooking and baking projects. These all-inclusive tool kits range from $27 to $45.
Nordic Ware is known for its molded cake pans in beautiful designs, made with high-quality and long-lasting materials. Inventors of the original Bundt pan, decorative cakes have been the brand's signature for over 70 years. With a wide line of products that now includes attractive and sturdy baking and cooking tools, as well as kitchenware and professional baking equipment, Nordic Ware products are incredibly reliable at accessible prices. Most of the Nordic Ware products are also designed and manufactured in the U.S.
Ateco is a brand of professional baking and pastry supplies, although most of their commonly used products are readily available at kitchen and baking supply stores, and conveniently priced for anyone. Home bakers will find Ateco decorating sets, as well as round and shaped cutter sets, and the sturdy hand tools selection to be a huge convenience in the kitchen. When you’re ready to expand your set of decorating tools, Ateco offers professional tools to supplement your collection at reasonable prices.
Exclusively sold online, VORCAY offers a massive selection of tools for an incredibly low price. The 188-piece Cake Decorating Set supplies you with everything you’d need for your first few projects except the cake itself.
Some larger pieces included in kits may be machine-washable, but most of the smaller pieces should be washed by hand to avoid damage or getting lost in the dishwasher. Warm soapy water gets the job done, but if tools are especially oily or buttery, rinse and soak tips and tools in very hot water for 10 minutes to loosen the oils.
Pastry tips will keep safe from damage in a small toolbox or case provided by the manufacturer. Make sure they are completely washed and dried before storing to avoid rusting. Reusable piping bags should be thoroughly washed inside out and left to air dry completely before storing to avoid molding.
Growing Your Tool Kit
When you’ve mastered using your essential tool kit and want to tackle new skills, you may need to start buying tools individually. Experimentation is part of the fun, so choose sturdier versions of the tools you have and tools you may not have for different decorating techniques.
To really develop your decorating skills, you may graduate to luster dusts and metallic accents, or even invest in an airbrush for creative fondant cakes. If you’ve seen it done on TV or the internet, there are plenty of tools out there to help you accomplish it as well.
Cake decorating supplies are more popular and accessible due to the rising trend of creative cakes. Colored fondants, custom silicone molds, and professional cake pans are all within your grasp. Just make sure you’ve got space to store them all once you start collecting them!
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Karen Resta is a writer specializing in food culture and history, cooking, pastries, and restaurants. She's also a former pastry chef and has traveled to Budapest, Kyiv, and Paris during their Fashion Weeks as a photographer and writer, always finding the best authentic pastries along the way. She now spends a lot of her free time baking at home and recommends quality within your given budget. Having the right tools available and knowing how to use them well (it can take practice, like anything else) makes all the difference, and she curated this list with that in mind.
Jenny Kellerhals is a professional pastry chef with extensive experience using professional and household tools. Jenny is based in Queens, New York, and thinks there are few things as indulgent as a moist chocolate cake covered in a rich chocolate ganache.