Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

The founder of Baked By Melissa shares must-have items for any home baker.

Charlie Heller
October 26, 2017

Before becoming the baker and founder of cupcake empire Baked By Melissa, Melissa Ben-Ishay was working a corporate job she didn't connect with. When she got fired, she jumped headfirst into a baking career defined by her signature tie-dye mini cupcakes.

With her new book Cakes by Melissa: Life Is What You Bake It, Ben-Ishay shares a collection of more than 120 recipes for cakes, icings, fillings, and toppings. Recently, she stopped by the Food & Wine Test Kitchen to make one of them. You don't have to leave your job to bake it yourself, but if you want to up your baking game, check out these five kitchen essentials Ben-Ishay recommends keeping around.

A quality chef's knife

Courtesy of Amazon

Melissa recommends, first of all, a "great sharp knife." With so many out there, the best choice depends on the person, but if it's your first big knife purchase, why not try Anthony Bourdain's favorite for beginners?

Global G-2 - 8 inch chef's knife, $100 on amazon.com

Disposable gloves

Courtesy of Amazon

Whether you're cooking with potentially painful hot peppers, or just want to keep your hands clean, Melissa suggest you make sure to have some gloves available. Hopefully, this 100 pack will be enough for your first test batches of treats.

Safeguard Disposable Gloves, 100 Pack, $55 on amazon.com

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix

Courtesy of Amazon

It's a classic winter treat on its own, but in addition to helping you prep for cozy nights in, hot cocoa mix is a key ingredient in Melissa's baking, like hot cocoa icing and hot cocoa glaze in the Dulce de Cocoa Cake she shared with us. "Swiss Miss" she says, "is my favorite."

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix, Milk Chocolate, 60 Pack, $17 on amazon.com

 

Guittard Chocolate Chips            

Courtesy of Amazon

You don't need much of an explanation for this one—no baker's kitchen is complete without chocolate chips. While there are probably millions to choose from, Melissa likes Guittard.

Guittard Chocolate Chips, Real Semisweet, 12 Pack, $56 on amazon.com

Rainbow sprinkles

Courtesy of Amazon

Melissa isn't the first baker to let us in on her love of sprinkles, and a rainbow of them is key to keeping things as colorful as she does.

Medley Hills Farm Rainbow Sprinkles, 15. lb bag, $12 on amazon.com