Which offset spatula is best?
Ever wonder how professional chefs get that smooth, crumb-free finish on multiple tiers of layer cakes? Or fluffy mounds of frosting with delicate swirls and patterns? Or dead-level custard in their tarts? The answer is simple. They use the best offset spatula. An offset spatula has a blade set slightly below the handle. This lets you smooth your frosting level without dipping your knuckles into it.
The Oxo Good Grips Large Bent Icing Spatula comes from a trusted brand in baking tools, with a medium-sized blade that can handle a wide variety of baking tasks.
What to know before you buy an offset spatula
Offset spatula material
Although other types of spatulas come in a variety of materials, most offset spatulas have a stainless steel blade. The handle is another story and can be plastic, wood or metal. Which you choose is largely a matter of preference, but it should be noted that offset spatulas with wood handles cannot go in the dishwasher.
Blades come in three essential lengths, not including the handle.
- Small: 4.5 to 6 inches.
- Medium: 7 to 8 inches.
- Large: 9 to 10 inches.
The blade you select should match the task at hand. For example, picking a small blade to frost a wedding cake is not going to get the job done.
What to look for in a quality offset spatula
Regardless of the handle material, you want to make sure it has good grip. When frosting cakes, it is inevitable that a little bit of grease from a rich, buttery frosting makes its way onto the handle. A small dent to rest your thumb on can also keep your hands stable.
A dishwasher-safe offset spatula means you can use this essential tool everyday with easy cleanup. Although hand-washing does not take long, it can get tedious for busy bakers.
Regardless of the type of handle, you’ll need to ensure that the blade is securely attached. The last thing you want is frosting flying across the table when the blade separates. A full-tang blade is one that reaches well into the handle, almost to the end. This is preferable to flimsy, glued attachments that can fail in a minute.
How to frost a cake with an offset spatula
- For best results, make sure your cake is fully cooled before frosting. Overnight cooling is best.
- If your cooled cake has a domed top, use a serrated knife to level the cake.
- Protect your plate from frosting by cutting strips of parchment paper that form a hollow square, with the edges trailing off the edge of the plate.
- Place the first layer on the parchment strips.
- Add a half-cup of frosting on the first layer and use your offset spatula in a circle to spread it evenly from the center to the edges.
- Place the second layer on top of the first, with the trimmed side down.
- Brush off any crumbs that may have landed on the cake during this process.
- Add another half-cup of frosting to this top layer and spread evenly from the center.
- To frost the sides, crumb coat them first. Thin a half-cup of frosting with a little milk and use your offset spatula positioned parallel to the cake to apply it.
- Chill the cake for 15 minutes to set this coat.
- Frost the sides with unthinned frosting in the same way you applied the crumb coat.
- Smooth the top of the cake one final time.
- If you aren’t adding nuts or piping to the cake’s sides, gently slide the parchment strips from underneath the cake.
How much you can expect to spend on an offset spatula
For such a critical tool for bakers, offset spatulas are remarkably affordable. You can get a high-quality spatula for $7 to $10.
Offset spatula FAQ
Can you use an offset spatula for anything other than frosting cakes and cupcakes?
A. Yes. Use your offset spatula to:
- Level out cake, quick bread, brownie or cheesecake batter before its baked.
- Spread perfectly thin layers of crepe filling.
- Make peanut butter and jelly.
- Spread tuile batter for even baking.
- Loosen cakes, cheesecakes, muffins, cupcakes and quick breads from their tins.
- Plate petit fours or other confections.
- Move crumbly, delicate cookies from one pan to another.
- Flip grilled cheese or chicken cutlets.
Can you frost a cake without an offset spatula?
A. Of course. An offset spatula makes it easier to create smooth frosting, but it is not required to frost a cake.
What’s the best offset spatula to buy?
Top offset spatula
What you need to know: This is a sturdy choice from a trusted kitchen brand.
What you’ll love: The stainless steel blade is 6.5 inches long and flexible to spread easily, but still stiff enough to hold frosting from the bowl to the cake. The handle is comfortable to hold and doesn’t become slippery, and it is dishwasher-safe. It’s well-balanced and also comes in a slightly smaller size for cupcakes.
What you should consider: The large size is hard to maneuver into tight spaces.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top offset spatula for the money
What you need to know: If you aren’t sold on the idea of a specific spatula for frosting cakes, this is an affordable place to start.
What you’ll love: The plastic handle features a dent to rest your thumb so your grip won’t fail at a key moment. The blade is stainless steel and 6.5 inches. The blade is thin but still sturdy. The price is right.
What you should consider: This needs to be washed by hand.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is best for cupcakes and other small baked confections.
What you’ll love: The stainless steel blade is just over 4 inches for maximum control even for frosting mini cupcakes. It’s lightweight and dishwasher-safe.
What you should consider: If you use this to plate pastries or other fine desserts, save it for smaller pieces.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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