Alright guys, it’s that glorious time of year where everyone and their mother comes up with a gift guide for everything under the sun. We’re definitely not reinventing the wheel over here, but I really wanted to compile a list of gifts that any baker would love no matter what their skill level. So everything on here works for the once a year hobby bakers all the way to the pros. And the best part? All of these are things you will use year-round and not just during the holiday season.
Straight-Sided Cake Pans
True story: I didn’t even know they made cake pans that didn’t flare outwards on the sides until I was in my 20s. I wouldn’t understand why every time I baked a cake, it looked nothing like the picture-perfect layers I saw in cookbooks. The reason? Straight-sided cake pans! Even if you only bake one cake a year, I cannot emphasis enough how much you need a straight-sided cake pan. My favorites are from Fat Daddios and William Sonoma. And just an FYI—most standard cake recipes are written for 8” or 9” round cakes—those are your staple sizes that you will use again and again!
Stainless Steel Handle Spatulas
I have an entire drawer full of spatulas, but only recently did I make the switch to the stainless steel handle (as opposed to wood). “Why do they even make ones with wooden handles?” is going to be all you’ll say after you invest in a set of these, because unlike the wooden handles, the metal ones are easily put into the dishwasher. Spatulas are another kitchen staple that you will genuinely use all the time— in baking AND in cooking. And because you can never have too many, they always make the best gift for anyone!
If you don’t have one of these and have frosted a cake before, you’ll wonder how you ever frosted a cake without one once you try them. Here’s my favorite set.
Do you measure ingredients by weight or volume? Most recipes nowadays are written with both, and I have to tell you, measuring by weight is a game-changer. Because you and I would fill 1 cup of flour differently, but if we’re going by weight, it’ll be the same every single time. And once you start baking by weight, you’ll never not need a kitchen scale. Better baking all around!
Look, if you can trust anyone to develop something for better pastry baking, it would be the French. And they knocked it out of the park with Silpats. Reusable? Check. Less mess? Check. Better bake? Check. Plus they come in an array of sizes, so even if your gift recipient has one, they can always use another size!
I only recently discovered Kana parchment, and their tagline says it all—“Goods made Better.” Right, how can parchment paper be better? Well, theirs just is. For starters, it comes in precut sizes depending on the pan you’re using (I use the 9” round and 12 ¼” x 16 ¼” most often), and they also offer options with easy lift-out tabs on the sides, so you can get those cake layers out of the pans more efficiently.
No lie, whenever I start on a new sculpted cake, the first thing I get out is this mat. And then it proceeds to stay on my counter for the next 2-3 days, depending on how long the cake takes. It’s just the best for rolling out modeling chocolate or fondant, but also has built-in rulers and cake round rulers that are so necessary for measuring out modeling chocolate or fondant before you cover a cake with them. And the crazy thing is, this mat is actually meant for pastry and pie dough! But I say all of that to say that it is so versatile that you will have a use for it in your kitchen for any and all kinds of baking.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: how ever many prep bowls you think you need for baking, you’ll always end up needing more. I’ve had this set from Williams Sonoma for close to 10 years and I use them almost every single day. There’s nothing worse than having 100 dirty dishes after baking, and not being able to put your bowls in the dishwasher (looking at you, plastic bowls). And unlike metal prep bowls, these are also microwave safe for all the chocolate and butter you’ll be melting for your recipes.
If you’ve ever thought “I wish there was an easier way to get all this batter out of the mixing bowl,” then this is the best $4 you’ll ever spend. And bonus—these plastic bowl scrapers are also great for frosting the sides of cakes! I have a drawer full of them and still feel like I don’t have enough—any baker can always use more!
Classic Cake Stand
Because one can never have too many beautiful cake stands. This white and gold one is my current favorite.
French Pie Plate
Back to the French again on this one. What can I say? They just make amazing, top-quality cookware and bakeware. This Emile Henry pie plate was the first where I noticed a huge difference in how perfectly the crust would bake from using it. BONUS GIFT IDEA: bake a pie from the new The Book on Pie cookbook in one of these pie plates and give both as a gift!
Bundt Pan (Heritage) or Bundtlette Pan
I love to give and get books as gifts, but I especially love cookbooks. I feel like they’re something that most people keep for a very long time, and in a lot of cases, end up passing down to their children. While 2020 was a mixed bag, it was actually an AMAZING year of cookbook releases. Checkout the blog on my top 10 favorites from the year—any of which would make the perfect gift!
What! How did this get on here?! I’m just saying, if you don’t want to bake anything, or want to give the gift of baking but because of COVID you aren’t able to bake someone a holiday treat, the next best thing is a cake-scented candle of one of my favorite holiday cakes. These limited-edition candles were created in partnership with Charleston Candle Co., and if you’re in the Charleston area, then you know how amazing their candles always are!