Shopping for Kitchen Supplies: ABC Baking Cake Decorating & Party Supplies

Ask any chef or great cook and they'll tell you - it's all in the tools. Home cooks could spend the rest of their lives amassing their collection, and truth be told - they often do.

But what if you're just starting out, on a budget, or widening your culinary horizons? This week, we'll give you a guide to get you through the salad days of stocking up. From hidden gems found at your local fashion discounter to gigantic pots and pans in restaurant supply houses, there's something to be found for every kitchen, and at every price point. Here's how to kit your kitchen like a pro, from five different points of view.

Yesterday we looked at Costco. Today, we're checking out:

ABC Baking Cake Decorating & Party Supplies 2853 E Indian School Rd Phoenix, AZ 85016 (602) 224-9796

Baking is a different skill-set than cooking, that is true. But there are very few gadgets and tools you'd use in baking that you couldn't put to use in other ways. And nobody stocks more pans in more sizes than a baking supply store.

Since cakes come in all sizes, that means their pans do, too. From circles, squares, diamonds, hearts that range from mere inches to feet across, you'll find them all here. Deep brownie pans that beg for the perfect lasagna start at around $10, and can be bought in multiples for a better deal, like a 5/7/9 inch pan set for around $15.

Off-set spatulas, for frosting desserts or spreading filling in wontons, start at $2 for a four-inch size, and then increase in one-inch increments, topping out at around 18 inches. Jurassic brownies, anyone? And pastry bags, the go-to device for filling manicotti, start at $5.

The super friendly and knowledgeable staff is eager to help answer any questions and point out the good deals, the must-haves, and the strictly vanity options. Expect to be encouraged to sign up for a cake decorating class. At $25 bucks a session, it seems like a good deal, plus the homework looks fun. And edible.

The essential purchase here, though, is the pre-cut parchment paper. Forget trying to rip off sheets midway through a recipe, here they come pre-fab and pre-cut, and at $1.99 it would be wrong not to grab one in every size. Same with the pink cake boxes, they're so darn cute! What a great way to pack treats to work, and for less than $3, they'll make you look like a pro.

Who can resist the buckets of fondant frosting in every size and color? Like fudge, for less than $10? Not us, that's for sure. Bring a friend, since these buckets of sweet, sticky goodness are a lot heavier than they appear. Which is probably a good thing, since carrying it home might count as cardio.

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Sloane Burwell
Contact: Sloane Burwell