The Pastry Chef Behind *the* Gingerbread White House Reveals Her Must-Have Tools for Baking Like a Pro

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If you’re like us, you easily fall down the TikTok and Instagram rabbit holes of beautifully-designed desserts. As easy as some bakers make it look, creating gorgeous baked goods takes patience, practice, and—this is key—the proper tools. See, if you try to roll out dough with, say, a heavy cylindrical vase or even a 2-liter, it’s simply not going to turn out the same as if you used a proper rolling pin. Similarly, whipping up batter with a fork is never going to turn out as smoothly as doing so with a top-quality mixer.

The point is, if your goal is to become a more skilled baker, knowing which tools make the biggest difference will undoubtedly help (because the last thing you need is 10,000 more gadgets in your kitchen for the sake of it—we want the stuff that works, and that's vetted by a pro). With this in mind, we chatted with Liberty Baking Co. Pastry Sous Chef Kim Schaeffer for the top seven tools you need to bake like a professional. Gorgeous, frosted cakes that look like they came from a bakery, here we come.


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The best kitchen tools that will level up your baking game

rolling pin
J.K. Adams Co. French Rolling Pin — $15.00

If you’re imagining a rolling pin with handles, think again. According to Schaeffer, who was part of the pastry team responsible for creating the White House’s 2021 Christmas gingerbread house display, which was designed to honor frontline workers, French rolling pins are the way to go. Unlike American, handle pins, French rolling pins are tapered cylinders which, as Schaeffer points out, you can easily maneuver to alter the weight from side to side to achieve perfectly round dough.

KitchenAid ® Pro Line ® Series 7-Quart Bowl-Lift Sugar Pearl Silver Stand Mixer — $680.00

As popular as the 5-quart stand mixers are, Schaeffer recommends sizing up. “The bigger the better is my opinion when it comes to bowl sizes for a mixer,” she says, noting that she can’t imagine her pastry career without this gadget. “You never know how much space you’re actually going to need when mixing something new.”

oxo thermometer
OXO Digital Instant Read Thermometer — $23.00

Just like when dealing with meats, Schaeffer says that many baked recipes require cooking with a certain temperature in mind. “For example, if you’re making a Swiss meringue buttercream, you must cook the egg white and sugar to 160 degrees F,” she shares, noting that an instant read thermometer ensures that you hit the right temperature.

Juome 5-Wheel Pastry Cutter — $22.00

Have you ever sliced a pan of brownies only for each row to look uneven? That’s exactly why Schaeffer recommends a 5-wheel pastry wheel for any hopeful baker.

“The pastry wheel is a classic tool in any kitchen, but when you get five wheels next to each other things become way easier,” she says. “It’s used not just for pie crust but also for when you need to cut brownies, cookies, or any treat perfectly.”

oxo icing spatula
OXO Good Grips Bent Icing Spatula — $11.00

Bent icing spatulas (aka offset spatulas) are a mainstay in Schaeffer’s kitchen.

“Offset spatulas are something I use almost every day and could not live without,” she shares. “Being in the wedding cake industry, this tool is a must-have. From leveling out the batter in your cake pans to smoothing on your buttercream to the side of your cake, and even making some fun textured designs on the cake as well!” She points out the offset spatulas are sold in a variety of sizes and that the miniature versions are often the tool of choice for those icing cupcakes. (Fun Fact: Sprinkles founder Candace Nelson revealed that this is the spatula used for every Sprinkles creation.)

food scale
Cuisinart® PrecisionChef™ Digital Kitchen Food Scale — $50.00

Weighing out your ingredients may seem like a lot, but Schaeffer assures us that it’s the proper way to approach baking. “Yes, we’re in the U.S. but any pastry chef will tell you we dont use the imperial system, we use metric,” she says, noting that you must weigh everything out. “I also use the scale to measure out the weight of batter I put into each cake pan instead of just eyeballing it.” (No wonder her cake layers and cupcakes always come out so perfectly even!)

cookie scoops
Homure H 3-Piece Cookie Scoop Set — $23.00

If you’ve ever tried to spoon or pour batter into a cupcake pan, you know how messy it can get. Schaeffer’s secret? She uses cookie scoops. “Scoops come in many different sizes with specific measurements,” she says. “They are especially helpful when baking cupcakes because they give you more control over the batter and ensure that each cupcake ends up being the exact same height.”

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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