Now that we are well into fall, the holidays are just around the corner. Before you know it, we will be facing the crazy last-minute rush to finish our shopping for gifts. Each year, I say I will make an effort to get some shopping done before Thanksgiving so I won’t have to run around stores looking at picked-through merchandise in December. This year, with social distancing restrictions, in-person shopping will be even trickier. So if you are looking for gift ideas that you can order online for the baker in your life, read on for my recommendations for the 11 best gifts for bakers.
Each of these recommended supplies is an item that I have personally used many times. So I can attest to their quality and usefulness. I have included gadgets in all price ranges, from stocking stuffers to splurges. They are all readily available year-round, so not only are they ideal holiday gifts, but they make great birthday, housewarming, or bridal shower gifts as well.
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Heritage Bundt Pan
I have a confession to make. I have accumulated so many Bundt pans over the years that I don’t have room to store them all in my kitchen. My “seasonal” pans have ended up in a shelving unit in my basement. But the one pan I find myself using the most often is the Heritage Bundt Pan.
This pan creates a dramatic-looking cake. The grooves are deep and sharp, which creates a great, caramelized effect on the edges of the cake. I have found it to cook evenly, which is no easy feat with Bundt cakes. Because most Bundt pans are deep, it takes longer for the center of the cake to cook. This means that the edges often get overly brown or even burnt before the center of the batter is safely cooked.
But with the Heritage pan, I have never had a problem with the center not cooking. Because it is such a dramatic, sculpted cake, you can just dust it with some powdered sugar. If you want to get fancier, you can carefully spoon a glaze or ganache at the top of each groove.
Regardless of how I decorate cakes made with this pan, guests always comment on how gorgeous the Bundts turn out. Even a beginner baker can look like a pro when using this pan!
Most people use a toothpick to test if a cake is done. However, if the baked goods contain chocolate chips or a fruit filling, it can be hard to tell if it is done. The toothpick tends to come out coated with the melted ingredients on it. I know I have put cakes back in the oven thinking the batter still wasn’t cooked through, only to end up overcooking it, when really it was just the melted chocolate that appeared underdone.
Now, I use this cake thermometer every time I bake cupcakes, layer cakes, Bundt cakes, or quick breads.
This handy little tool is so simple to use. Insert it into the center of the baked item for about three to five seconds. If the tip turns bright red, it is done baking. It cleans off easily. It can be reused over and over, making this an eco-friendly stocking stuffer.
To see it in action, check out my lemon chamomile cupcakes post.
Bundt Pan Cleaning Tool
Bundt pans have ornate designs that “mold” the cake into elaborate shapes. However, it also means they have lots of nooks and crannies that need to be cleaned. Since you have to grease and flour the pan in order for the cake to release cleanly, it means that you have to really get into all the crevices when cleaning it. This can be a complete pain.
Because of the nonstick coating on many Bundt pans, they should not be put in the dishwasher. So the best bet is to soak it in hot, soapy water for a few minutes, and then hope for the best.
It had gotten to the point where I would avoid using certain Bundt pans because of how long they took to clean. But then I discovered this Bundt pan cleaning tool.
One end has two brushes at different angles. They are larger than a toothbrush, yet small enough to get into the grooves of the pan. This is great for scrubbing the bits of crumbs that are left behind after removing the cake from the pan.
The opposite pointed end can be wrapped in a bit of a paper towel or napkin to remove even more of the grease left behind after the first rinse of the pan.
This is definitely a little gadget that most people have no idea exists, yet is so helpful with speeding up the chore of cleaning up!
This cake lifter is another item that I thought I wouldn’t need, but now can’t live without. It acts like a giant spatula to help lift a cake from a decorating turntable or storage container onto a serving platter. Since I often transport cakes to get-togethers in a plastic cake carrier, this makes it easy to transfer them to a prettier platter when it is time to serve.
I have also used this to transfer meatloaves and other larger roasts from the pan onto a carving board, so it can definitely be used outside of the realm of baking.
Spiralizer Attachment for Stand Mixer
Serious bakers use a stand mixer because they can handle large batches of batter. Stand mixers also can handle longer mixing times without burning out. The KitchenAid line of stand mixers remains a perennial favorite, not only for their outstanding reputations (they last for decades) but also because virtually every store that sells kitchenware carries at least the basic stand mixer models.
On the front of the stand mixer is a round medallion with the KitchenAid logo. When you remove the medallion, a hub is revealed, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for your mixer. Attachments plug into the hub, enabling the mixer to slice, dice, grind, juice, and sift your way to becoming a master chef!
My favorite attachment, hands down, is the spiralizer.
If you make even one apple pie a year, this gadget is worth it. You impale the apple onto the prongs, attach the peeling blade, and watch the magic happen. I purposely sliced the apple below on one of the slower settings just because it is mesmerizing to watch!
The peels drop right into a “garbage bowl” while the core is left behind on the prongs. The spiralized fruit slides right off the core, and can then be sliced into 4 quarters. This separates the spiral into separate “chunks” that are the perfect size for apple pie.
You can also use this tool to spiralize zucchini, potatoes, and carrots amongst many other fruits and vegetables.
Flex Edge Beater
The KitchenAid stand mixers come with a beater attachment that is entirely metal. It purposely does not touch the side of the bowl since the hard metal would damage the bowl. When mixing a batter, this becomes a problem though. The batter that clings to the side of the bowl does not get mixed automatically. Instead, you have to use a separate rubber spatula to scrape the side of the bowl, as well as to mix in what gets stuck to the bottom.
An easy fix is to switch out the blade that comes with the mixer. Instead, use the flex edge beater attachment.
Since this beater blade has a flexible silicone edge, it acts as a squeegee and incorporates all the ingredients into the batter. I used to have one that had silicone on both edges because I thought it would scrape the sides of the bowl better. It was not made by KitchenAid. After a few months of use, the metal near the top actually cracked all the way through. I have now had this genuine KitchenAid one with one blade for several years with no issues.
Mega Cupcake Pan
If you have ever made cupcakes using a cake mix, you discovered that it makes enough for 24 cupcakes. Most people own a standard muffin tin with room for 12 cupcakes. So, you end up having to bake 12 and then bake a second group of 12, effectively doubling the time it takes to make the batch.
When I first saw the Wilton Mega Cupcake Pan in a store, I laughed, thinking it wasn’t that much of an inconvenience to make 2 batches. But then I had to make a large batch of cupcakes for a bridal shower. I knew I would be crunched for time if I used my regular pan. So I splurged and bought the mega pan. Boy, am I glad I did!
It is now rare for me to use my regular pan since virtually all of my cupcake recipes make more than 12 cupcakes. The pan stores perfectly in the drawer at the bottom of my oven. The nonstick surface cleans easily, even when I accidentally overfill a liner and the batter rises up and overflows the well when baking.
Bonus Suggestion: Jumbo Cupcake Pan
If you want to make bigger cupcakes like the ones you see in bakeries, you will need a jumbo cupcake pan. Each well holds about double the amount of batter as standard-sized cupcakes. As you can see in the photos below, the wells are deeper and wider in diameter, so you will need jumbo cupcake liners for these.
If you have ever had to transport a cake while balancing it on a car seat, you probably found it tricky to keep level. Car seats all slope down. If you put a cake carrier on top, it will angle down towards the back of the vehicle. You run the risk of the top layer sliding off the cake, especially if it is a warm day.
One of my favorite gadgets solves this problem. The Stupid Car Tray can be anchored into the seat or attached to the seatbelt to hold it in place. (Yes, that really is its name. It is a stupidly simple solution!) Your cake carrier can then be firmly attached to it with its velcro strap. Anyone who has seen mine comments that it is like a car seat for cakes!
If you use my coupon code TeacherBakerMaker at checkout, you will get an additional 16% off the price. They often run sales, so this is a great deal!
The Wilton #1M star tip is easily the most used tip in my set. If the baker in your life makes cupcakes, he or she will definitely need at least one of these tips. This is the one that makes a quick rosette with an easy spiral move that looks beautiful on a cupcake.
Disposable Pastry Bags
If you have ever tried cleaning a reusable pastry bag after it has been filled with buttercream, you know that it is a greasy mess. Plus, if you use icing colors, they can stain the inside of the bag.
I came across these textured disposable bags online and now use them all the time. This 16-inch size is big enough to fit a decent-sized batch of icing, yet not too big that it would become uncomfortable to maneuver when filled.
Cake and Cupcake Carrier
Thinking back to when I was in elementary school, I remember kids bringing in birthday cupcakes in a flimsy gift box meant for sweaters. Half of the time, the cupcakes would be all smooshed together from being bounced around on the car ride to school.
[Updated February 2021: The rectangular cupcake carrier I own is no longer sold, but a good alternative is described below.]
Now there are all types of sturdy plastic storage containers for cupcakes. One highly rated alternative is this two-tier cupcake carrier that holds 24 standard-sized cupcakes.
Not a Member of Amazon Prime?
Amazon offers free 2-day shipping for most items listed as “Prime” on their site. In order to get this free shipping, you need to be a member of Amazon Prime. If you are not currently a member and want to try it out for free, they are offering a 30 Day Free Trial. If you get all your holiday shopping done within these 30 days, great!
I hope that you found my suggestions helpful in choosing a gift for the baker in your life. Let me know what your favorite baking gadgets are in the comments below.