The essential bits you need to get started if you are totally new to baking and your kit cupboard is bare.
A few bits and pieces I would recommend that will make baking with smalls that bit easier and reduce the mess. You can click on the pics to buy, but you can also get similar items in most supermarkets, pound shops and kitchen stores. They don't have to be expensive bit of kit. Places like Morrisons and Wilko often have surprisingly good baking kit.
Set of mixing bowls. Of course, you can use any bowls, Tupperware, pans, any receptacle will do. I keep almost all plastic food containers and wash them out to use for holding ingredients and sprinkles. They key is having a few things that are big enough to hold several ingredients of a bake at once and are nice and wide for your small one to scoop things out of or in to. Bowls that nest like these are also a bonus as they take up less room in your cupboard.
If you're baking with two, you might like a really large mixing bowl that allows two children to sit either side and stir at the same time without too many tantrums.
Spoon Measures. Almost every recipe you use will have measurements in teaspoons and tablespoons. Often these are the of the most crucial ingredients like baking powder or bicarbonate of soda. Wrong amounts of these are often responsible for baking disasters. The easiest and most accurate way to measure is a set of spoon measures. I find the stainless steel ones more hard wearing and we also like to use them in imaginative play, water play and in sand and rice.
High sided scoops. Much like the kind you get at the pick & mix counter. Often they're sold as pet food scoops! I found ours in out local kitchen shop, but they're pretty easy to come across. If your little one likes to scoop and pour the ingredients, a set of these will let them add ingredients to the bowl with much less mess that a spoon. I use ours for all sorts. They're great for sensory and water play too.
Measuring cup set. It used to be that these were only useful if you had American recipe books where, but this way of weighing out is more common these days. Lots of easily googled recipes etc. If you have a little one who does like to measure out, then letting them scoop the right number of cups from a big bowl of one ingredient is much easier and less messy than trying to weigh up the old fashioned way and still good for numeracy.
A set of basic biscuit cutters. These fluted scone cutters are brilliantly multi-functional. The frilly side can used to make pretty biscuits, flower shapes, lion heads, curly haired face biscuits and more.
Turn them upside down and use the straight edge for circles, wheels, balloons, faces. the list is endless. These will cut fondant icing too, obviously can make scones, be used with play-dough for pretend baking and the plastic ones are also great for colour sorting games!
An old baby bottle is great for pre measuring liquids. It's easy for a small hand to hold and tip into a bowl. Less spillage than with a jug. Also good for whisked eggs or pouring thick water icing.
A basic set of cake pans and baking trays. The key to not getting overwhelmed when baking with smalls is not over baking. Your family isn't going to eat 24 cupcakes or a 25cm cake in one weekend. Keep it small. Keep it simple. 15cm cake pans are big enough for a nice Victoria Sponge or a three tier party cake. Buy springform. The clasp on the side makes cakes super easy to get out.
A 12 hole muffin tin. Deep enough to make
American sized cupcakes in muffin cases, but can also be used for more tradition fairy buns, Yorkshire puddings (so easy to do with smalls) and mini cakes. Putting cake cases in and out is also guaranteed to keep smaller bakers busy for quite a while!
A selection of cake cases.There are different sizes of cake case. Classic fairy bun (baking cups), 'buffin' (cupcake and muffin. Most modern cupcakes are baked in muffin cases. They are deep cases. Personally, I've never seen a toddler or little one finish anything this size and it's mostly icing. I like a nostalgic fairy bun for anything that's not a show piece. Buying in bulk is by far the cheapest way to buy these and having a range of colours in stock means you will always have something to match any theme you might have.
These are also brilliant for imaginative play set ups. Use them for scooping and filling with beans, beads or seeds. Use them in your play kitchen. Use them for colour sorting or even crafting. They make very cute lolly stick flowers.