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Bare Bone Baking Essentials for Cake Baking

Aug 23, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose

Years ago, when I had a cooking school, one of my colleagues who took my classes said that she had to question her commitment to baking because when she returned to Japan she didn't have room in her small apartment for all the equipment that seemed necessary.

More recently, Nicole Martella who works at William Morrow, publishing home of The Cake Bible, expressed the same sentiment. So I decided to list the absolute essentials for baking most cakes. And there really aren't many nor do they take up a lot of space.

Those of you familiar with this blog and my work know how devoted I am to weighing. And a scale takes up about the same space as the alternative of measuring cups for solid and liquid ingredients.

I didn't list things like wooden toothpicks for cake testing and parchment to line cake pans which I consider to be staples.

A hand held mixer
A scale (preferably My Weigh: Model number KD7000 My Weigh KD 8000 Digital Weighing Scale
A set of measuring cups (preferably pourfect)POURfect® MEASURING CUP SET 9 PC (SATIN COPPER)

A cup for measuring liquids (preferably pourfect beaker)Pourfect 4 Cup Beaker

A set of measuring spoons (preferably pourfect)Pourfect 12-Piece Plus Leveler Measuring Spoon Set, Empire Red

A sifter or strainer
A 9 inch by 2 inch cake pan (preferably Chicago Metallic)Chicago Metallic Non Stick 9-Inch Round Cake Pan

A 10 cup fluted tube pan (preferably Nordicware) Nordic Ware Pro Cast Original Bundt Pan

Two wire cooling racks, preferably Combrichon
An instant read thermometer such as a ThermapenSplash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen - Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
or CDN CDN ProAccurate Quick-Read Pocket Thermometer

A silicone spatula reserved for baking
A reliable recipe
A baking spray containing flour, preferably Baker's Joy


¡QUé linda cocina! Y que ordenada, además.
Saludos, Silvia


GRACE-LEESBURG, FL in reply to comment from Woody Wolston
07/16/2011 01:16 PM

Thank you for getting back to me. I will try tripling the batter and make 3 as you suggested.


Hi Grace,
We tried increasing the recipe for a standard 10 cup and it end up being doughy or over browning the sides to have the cake completely baked.
In working out a recipe, we strive for quantities that will properly fill and bake in conventional sized pans and have workable volumes and weights.
We list making cupcakes when the recipe has some extra batter which can become a baby cake versus discarding the batter.
If you need extra servings, you could triple the batter to make three 6 cup bundts and freeze the leftover cake for a future time.


07/15/2011 09:05 AM

i have a question about the Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake pan. I want to make this, but not the cupcakes. Can I replace the 6 cup pan with a larger one? And if so, what? I need a larger cake for the event I am making it for but really want to make this particular cake. Thanks.


What a beautifully organized kitchen Hector! And I am drooling at your gleaming knives :)


thanks u all, and a couple of years down the road when I am more far in with my mortgage, I can start thinking of marble countertops and cabinet resurfacing!

for now, just a lot of patience and repositioning things around as my new kitchen gets itself in place as I restart baking!


Impressive Hector! I'm a sucker for organized storage, and I LOVE magnet strips!


I love the way you have efficiently organized your kitchen space.


you could use 1 1/3 cups bleached all purpose flour.


Jeanean Ashe
Jeanean Ashe
02/22/2009 05:38 PM

i have a recipe for cupcakes that calle for 1 1/2 cups cake flour. whats a substitution i can use.


thank you debra. i'll bet you found that information in the cake bible but if not, they got it from the cake bible!!!


Looking to learn how to bake I found this info for you.

All-purpose flour is versatile, well suited for a variety of recipes. We like it in classic cupcakes, pound cakes and chocolate cakes. Cake flour is more delicate and essential for tender cakes. All-purpose flour and cake flour do not perform the same. If you use all-purpose flour for a recipe that calls for cake flour, your cake will be dense and tough. If you can't find cake flour, use this substitution:

1 cup cake flour (3 3/4 ounce) = 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (3 3/8 ounces), plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch (5/8 ounces)


Joe, if a cake is falling then it doesn't have enough structure. This could be for a number of reasons, such as undermixing, too cool oven, too much baking powder, too many heavy ingredients, etc.

As for the flour, if you search this site for "Kate Flour", you will find information on creating your own cake flour for people who live in countries where it is not available. Often, with butter cakes, using AP instead of cake flour will cause the butter to "slide off" the flour particles and pool next the bottom.

In general, sponge-type recipes (genoise) work with flours other than cake flour, but butter cakes do not.

Good luck!


joe steelhammer
joe steelhammer
10/ 9/2008 08:23 PM


Please HELP!!

I have a problem with baking cakes that I don't know how to correct. I am guy living on a isolated ranch. And I would really appreciate some help with this problem,.

Where I am located (southern Argentina) it is almost impossible to get cake flour.

I have to use all purpose flour. My cakes keep falling in the center just shortly before they are finished baking>

How do I fix this problem?

I will greatly appreciate any help & advise I receive.




jennifer a basket is a great idea. as for the tube pan--wait until you see all the great cakes baked in it in the upcoming book! i love that it self-decorates (the fluted tube pan variety) so no buttercream is necessary. of course it has to be the right type of cake--one moist enough to stand on its own.


that's a good list, rose, but how to keep it in a small space? FYI i would rather ditch the tube pan and add another 9 incher, but that's just me...

all those things take up space because they are so annoyingly bulky in the drawers. the pans won't nest, the ends of the cups stick up and so on. am i the only one who has pulled open a kitchen drawer and bent the heck out of a measuring cup that got stuck or cowered below a cabinet as cake pains rained down on my head? lol

can i add to the list by suggesting a 10 inch basket? The cake pans will fit in on their sides, facing each other and the rest can snuggle in between. The entire thing can be stuck at the top of the hall closet, above the fridge, the linen closer or even in the oven, as long as its' not forgotten (and if they've read the soap story they won't), and then your baker has everything at hand when she's ready to go.


Here's another idea: measure the volume of the regular pan that the recipe is designed for (by pouring water into it to the top.) Do the same for the smaller pan. Take the volume of the small pan and divide it by the volume of the large pan. Round up to some convenient fraction like 1/3 (33%), 1/2 (50%) 2/3 (67%) 3/4 (75%). Use that to adjust the amounts in the recipe. Have some extra muffin pans standing by for any extra batter.


SG- I think the rule of thumb is to fill cake pans half to 2/3 full. Sometimes I fill cupcake pans more full than that, around 3/4, but then I want the batter to overflow slightly and peak in the center.

Good Luck!


Here I am again with my once a year baking extravaganza! I bake things for our church's fund raiser.

I am now trying to convert full size cake recipes to mini cakes. Is there a rule of thumb to know how much to fill a smaller cake pan? For instance I have some that when filled with water hold 1.5, 2 or 3 cups.

I've already experimented and made a mess on a cookie sheet I had very fortunately placed under the pans. I would prefer not to do that again!

Thank you for your help.


Thank you Rose! I will surely go there and check. I´m looking forward to it. DO they also have other baking things, like decorations and coloring gels etc?


broadway panhandler besns great selection and always nice to chect prices, williams sonoma--several locatiok out the bridge co.


I really enjoy all the bibles, but since I live in Sweden it can sometimes be hard to find all the equipment and ingredients. If not hard, then very expensive. Now, I will be going to N.Y.C in just a few weeks, and if anyone has any suggestions on a good store to go shopping for baking-stuff, I would very much appreciate it!


Speaking of equipment, I am looking to expand my cake plate collection. After all, presentation is part of the fun! The 'Cake Bible' photos feature some beautiful cake plates and some of them appear to be mostly flat which I think is a nice look and it makes for easy decorating (the black plate under the Art Deco Cake is gorgeous). I would love to find some perfectly flat plates but have been unsuccessful in finding them: suggestions welcome.


I've been using the My Weigh 7001 DX. How does it compare with the KD 7000? I'm just curious?


Thanks to your "Bibles", Rose, I'm glad to see I have all the basics covered.

I must admit I do love shopping for baking equipment, and enjoy it way more than shopping for anything else. Like clothes. Ugh!

I have a terrific shop where I happily lose myself among pans, gadgets, and utensils. I think the staff are amused when I reemerge an hour later, somewhat disheveled and glassy-eyed, clutching a spatula or tart pan and grinning like I found lost treasure.

Learning to use and having good equipment has made the process of learning to bake that much more fun. :)


I was just thinking along these lines last week, when visiting a friend's apartment in the city (they use their oven to store sweaters, hee hee).

I love this list, it reminds me to prioritize the quality of the things I use most, even though I have a little more storage space now that I no longer live in the city.

As for scales, I fell in love with the sleek lines of the My Weigh Uber, and it has been great- long live cooking by grams!


I've been using a Salter 6055 for a few years... love it!


Does anyone have any experience with Salter scales?


"A reliable recipe" -- so true! And thank you for providing us with good ones!



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