We tested six offset spatulas by slathering dozens of jelly rolls and layer cakes with heavy cream cheese frosting, glossy meringue, thick caramel, and smooth buttercream.
Published Sept. 1, 2015. Appears in America's Test Kitchen TV Season 17: Baked Alaska Showstopper
For frosting a cake, there’s no better tool than an offset spatula. The long, narrow blade is ideal for scooping and spreading frosting, and it bends like a stairstep where it meets the handle for better leverage. The blades can be as long as 10 inches, but we’ve found that 7- and 8-inch lengths are ideal because they can get good coverage on layer cakes but are still maneuverable inside baking pans. We tested six (priced from $5.93 to $9.99) by slathering dozens of jelly rolls and layer cakes with heavy cream cheese frosting, glossy meringue, thick caramel, and smooth buttercream.
Every blade was strong enough to hold a big dollop of frosting, but some were easier to use than others. We quickly formed a preference for blades offset to a roughly 30-degree angle, which was sharp enough to keep our hand a safe distance above the frosting (unlike one almost flat, 18-degree model) but far more comfortable than 40-degree blades when held vertically to frost the sides of layer cakes. Better blades also offered at least 6½ inches of flat usable surface area (the length of an offset spatula blade includes the angled “step”), allowing us to cover the radius of a 9-inch layer cake with wide, smooth strokes and provide support when we slid those cakes from the cooling rack to a cake stand. They were also very thin—ideally less than 1 millimeter thick—which made them easy to slide underneath cake layers.
Two models combined all of our desired features, but our winner edged out the runner-up with its exceptionally comfortable rubber-coated handle that allowed us to frost cakes with even more ease.
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