Baking is an art and a science—and so is shopping for the baker in your life. Whether they've long been whipping up the best birthday cakes of anyone you know or they just picked up a rolling pin for the first time in quarantine (and are now totally hooked!) your butter-and-sugar-loving friends can be difficult to find just the right gift for. Thankfully, you've come to the right place. Scroll on for 21 of the best gifts for bakers of any variety, like Epicurious product review winners (we see you, Fat Daddio's), the latest books on pie, and the very best all-natural food coloring in the game.
The Best Gifts for Beginner Bakers
A no-nonsense kitchen scale
A good kitchen scale is essential for any home cook—it allows for a precision that measuring cups could never offer and also means less dishes—so make sure the baking aficionado in your life has the very best model. This Escali digital scale won our product review and is a staple in the Epi test kitchen, despite the fact that it doesn't look like anything fancy. The interface has just two buttons so it's intuitive to operate right out of the box, and it has a capacity of 11 pounds, which is more than enough to weigh apples for a pie or portion out flour for a sourdough loaf.
The secret weapon spatula
Frosting cakes, evenly spreading batter into a pan, or transferring still-warm cookies to cooling rack in one fell swoop: offset spatulas are the baking gift that will get plenty of action. The long, narrow blade and offset flipper is optimal for all of the above and more (go ahead, use it to butter the bread for grilled cheese sandwiches and to flip said sandwich). They’re affordable, too, so give a few in varying sizes.
A Silpat collection
Silpat is the gold standard of reusable sheet pan liners, and for good reason. Like parchment paper, they keep your baked good from sticking to the pan without greasing first, but they're built to be used over and over again (even in batches: the mats cool quickly for back-to-back bakes). For a real gift win, throw in a Silpat mold along with the standard flat baking mat. In our test, we found that the comapny's fluted cake pan yielded bakery-level miniature cakes with none of the fuss of buttering and flouring a sturdy pan.
Reusable baking cups
For something a little less fancy than the fluted mold above, wrap up a pack of silicone baking cups instead. We love that they're reusable, simple to work with, and mean you'll never have to peel off another flimsy, weirdly sticky paper liner before enjoying a muffin or cupcake ever again. These OXO cups come in a bunch of cute colors and feature side tabs for easy baked good removal.
The classic stand mixer
If you know a budding baker who does not yet own this iconic kitchen appliance, it's the perfect gift. Like many KitchenAid mixers, this one comes with a flat beater, dough hook, wire whisk, and 5-quart mixing bowl—in glass, so you can easily see whats going on inside. With 10 speeds, it's powerful enough for nearly any task or recipe, whether you’re creaming butter, kneading bread dough, or whipping meringue.
$430.00, Bed Bath & Beyond
The Best Gifts for Pie Lovers
Unlimited pie inspiration
2020 was the year of the pie cookbook; so many guides to fruit, custard, crust, lattice, and more were published or are slated to be published before the end of the year. Delight the pie lover in your life with one (or more!) of our favorite new titles to spark some baking inspiration.
Reliable pie transport system
After all the hard work of making a pie, a baker's worst nightmare is watching their creation crumble during transport to its final destination. This handcrafted, reusable raw pine box—specifically designed to safely transport pies!—is an excellent way to make sure baked goods remain intact and beautiful. You can even opt to include the leather strap, which loops around the box for easy toting.
A stellar rolling pin
A rolling pin has the potential to make or break (literally) your pie crust and sugar cookie dough. Like a cast-iron pan, a well-maintained rolling pin can develop a good patina and last for years; we like this simple, classic one that is handmade by a family-owned company in Vermont.
$15.00, Sur La Table
Super cute pie dough cutters
Judy Kim—food stylist, recipe developer, and creator of some of the prettiest pies in our Instagram feeds—swears by these crust cutters for making decorative finishing touches. “They give the pie that little extra pizazz, and leaves like these are beautiful year round. They’re also the perfect size for scraps, so no dough goes to waste.” Kim recommends freezing the cut-out pie pieces and attaching them with egg wash before baking so the pastry keeps its shape in the oven.
The best pie plate
This dish was the winner of our pie plate product test due to its sturdy metal body, which produced the most even, golden brown pies of any model we tested. Unlike some fancier and frillier pie plates, this one made it super easy to remove a cooled slice, and the ceramic-based coating is built to last.
The Best Gifts for Cake Lovers
A decorating advantage
Our digital director David Tamarkin is a must-have-cake-in-the-house kind of guy (relatable), and in attempting to up his decorating game, discovered this inexpensive, highly-effective turntable. The width of a dinner plate, it spins easily to allow for seamless frosting application and is, according to David, “thrill to use.” Get this for the burgeoning cake boss in your life and cross your fingers you'll get to reap the benefits on your birthday.
$8.00, Webstaurant Store
A knife just for cake
Is a cake knife a knife of absolute necessity? Most people will tell you it's not. But our associate editor (and talented cake baker) Joe Sevier begs to differ. He really, genuinely believes that if you're a cake enthusiast, you need a knife especially for cake. Click here to read the five reasons he thinks you should own one, then buy one for the cake lover you love best below.
The best pans in the business
Fat Daddio's wins our cake pan product review every year because it really is a baker's best friend. Made of sturdy but lightweight anodized aluminum, the pan turns out golden-brown, perfectly-even, and straight-sided cakes. It is quite durable and easy to clean, plus the rolled edge that sticks out slightly from the side of the pan makes it much easier to handle with bulky oven mitts.
Gifts For the Baker Who Has Everything
Truly superlative cinnamon
There's no way to talk about Burlap & Barrel's Vietnamese royal cinnamon without sounding like a fanatic. It's spicy and warm and somehow sweet as well, a peerless favorite among the Epi team and beyond. Subbing it in for regular cinnamon in your next baking project will blow your mind flavor-wise; snag a bottle for all of your spice-loving friends.
$8.00, Burlap & Barrel
The best grinder for baking needs
Sticking with the spice theme, this grinder won our product test and quickly became a favorite in our reviewer's home kitchen because of its unmatched versatility. Use it to create freshly ground alt flours from nuts and grains or make flavorful sugars with whole spices and other ingredients (try your favorite tea or dried flowers!). It's small enough to stow away when you aren't using it, but an avid baker will find themselves pulling it off the shelf again and again.
Next-level natural food coloring
Haven't you heard? Friends don't let friends settle for artificial food coloring anymore. Suncore Foods makes vibrant, all-natural food dyes from ingredients like hibiscus and pandan leaf—which will make your iced cookies a show-stopping hue. The powder bags may seen expensive, but a little goes a very long way.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious