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Top 10 Tools Not Found in the Cake Aisle

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Sure, the cake aisle holds many wonderful and necessary tools for cake decorating. However, sometimes we need to think outside of the box and escape the confinements of those shallow shelves. That's right, step back slowly, turn around and explore! You'll be astonished by what useful and fun ideas will come flooding in. I'm here to show you some of my absolute favorite tools, make-shift, and hacked! I hope you can find them as useful as I have. Here are my Top 10 Tools Not Found in the Cake Aisle...

[Note: All tools are up to your personal discretion in terms of food safety. Please use new tools, never mix with other art mediums and always sanitize prior to use.]

Egg Cartons

Egg cartons are great sugar flower forms! Be sure to not use the paper ones, for safety sake with eggs. Styrofoam or plastic ones work best. Be sure to sanitize prior to use!

 

 Produce Pulp Trays

Produce pulp trays (these are for apples) can be found at your local grocery store! It may require a call to the produce department and ask them to put their pulp trays aside, instead of into the garbage. I promise it's worth your while for this perfect sugar flower petal form. Doing a ton of flowers?! Find them in bulk here.

Clay Tools

There are two areas I MUST check out every time I'm at the hobby store. The more obvious, cake aisle, but then I dart straight over to the clay section! You can find a wonderful assortment of different shaped tools perfect for sugar modeling! I suggest sticking with the plastic/metal tools, they are much easier to sanitize. You can also find an array on Amazon, like here and here.

Make-Up Brushes

Make-up brushes come in all different shapes, sizes, and textures making them perfect for your sugar needs. The perfect tool for dusting sugar flowers with petal dust. Also great at sweeping away that pesky leftover powdered sugar left behind on your cake!

-    Great for icing extra tall tiers.

-    Wonderful for achieving straight lines in fondant/modeling chocolate.

-    My favorite way to use it? To quickly clean my countertop of cake crumbs, fondant, etc!

Herb Cutter

Ran into this "little miracle" on a small rack next to the herbs in the product department of the grocery store. It was love at first sight. I wrapped it up in my arms and called it baby. You can find it in plenty of local stores, or skip it and find it here.

-      Great for cutting quick, thin lines of fondant/gum paste/modeling chocolate.

-      Great for texturing fondant.

Nylons

Now now, we all know nylons go on our feet.. not our head, not on our cake.....wait...yes! Put them on your cake! Confused? Let me explain. Take a [brand spankin new, fresh out of the box] nylon and fill it with powdered sugar. Tie a knot in the end. Now you have the PERFECT powdered sugar dispenser. It's a MUST HAVE BY MY SIDE AT ALL TIME's tool.

-      Pounce the puff on your counter for an even fine layer of powdered sugar to roll your fondant/gum paste/modeling chocolate out on.

-      Extremely helpful when creating sugar flowers! When thinning your petals with a ball tool, tap the ball tool on the puff first and greatly reduce any sticky problems.

Pasta Machine

Can't afford a $3,500 fondant sheeter? Get yourself a handy dandy Pasta Machine! Well, sure, this isn't a replacement, per-say, for a giant sheeter. But, it is a super handy tool to have in your arsenal. I found my hand crank Pasta Machine at a TJ-Max for $12. You can find them at many local stores or here [I suggest getting one that clamps to your counter]. You can even upgrade to one with a motor and leave the hand crank behind!

-     Achieve consistent thickness in fondant/modeling chocolate decor. A must-have for stripes, lettering, ruffles, etc.

-     A great way to get super thin gum paste for your sugar flowers.

Acupuncture Needles

acupuncutre needles for cake

You know those pesky bubbles that show up in your fondant EVERYTIME. Without a doubt, you can't cover a cake without at least one of those little buggers. You then take a "pin" to it and yet small, it still leaves a bit of an eye-sore hole. Not a fan. THEN I found acupuncture needles! Hello, little holes just big enough to let the air out, yet small enough not to be visible to the eye!

Promise, they are totally worth it.

Find them here!

Sewing Gauge Tool

This tool was born out of desperation. Pure, utter, desperation. I created this when I first starting decorating cakes. I had just begun working at a bakery that required perfection, and I was coming up short! I couldn't get a level straight edge on a buttercream cake to save my life. I struggled and struggled for weeks, it literally kept me up at night. And then one night, my restless brain switched on that light bulb, and *DING*, it came to me! So the next day, I created this tool and tried out my theory, it worked like a charm! I found other uses for it too (see below)! This bad boy saved my bum. It requires a little bit of assembly, but I promise it’s worth it!

[Note: I know this looks like it's a hack of that Wilton too, but I promise you, I came up with it first! haha! This tool is not only cheaper but more accurate and handy for the techniques I will show you!]

 What it's perfect for:

-        Make Perfect Sharp Edges on Cakes!

-        Creating guides for horizontal stripes, ruffles, and another decor - Using a turntable, put the prepared cake in the center. Adjust the sewing gauge tool to the desired height. Gently press needle against the cake, hold steady in place. Move your turntable, while keeping the tool firmly in place, and watch the needle glide a perfect horizontal line across your cake.

-       Great for measuring distances between two objects. Great for replicating a distance between two objects.

Want to learn how to make this tool?!

>>Show me how to make this tool!<<

 Published: May 23, 2014

Last modified on January 17th, 2021

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meet the author

Avalon Yarnes

Avalon Yarnes is multi-award winning cake artist and educator. Her work has been featured on tv shows, in magazines, books and more. She has been named one of the top 10 Cake Artists in America by Cake Masters Magazine and Dessert Professional Magazine. She's always cooking up something innovative that she can share with her students. Learn with Avalon here inside Avalon Cakes Online School of Sugar Art, where her (and her friends) teach you how to make incredible art with of cakes, cookies and more!

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