8 best baking sets, from Asda and Lakeland to Le Creuset

Bakeware is a staple of any cook’s kitchen, but, whether you’re an ardent baker or have caught the Great British Bake-Off bug, choosing what you need can be overwhelming. If you want beautifully risen cakes and biscuits with a snap, then knowing which material, weight and quality of bakeware you need is important. 

What do you bake – and how often?

If you have an all-round passion, then larger sets will be more versatile. If you’re topping up an existing collection, then the specialist ranges may suit.

If you are a less frequent baker, then the more expensive brands may not be worth it. The budget brands stood up well in the test and come highly recommended.

For those who bake a lot, investing in the more expensive sets can pay dividends in the long run. These are made from stronger materials and can stand up to the rigours of frequent use and washing.  

To wash or not?

The jury is still out on the washing of bakeware as many argue this can destroy any build-up of oiliness which creates a natural non-stick surface. However, modern bakeware now comes with excellent robust non-stick coatings more or less as standard, so most will only need a quick wipe. If you feel you must have dishwasher capability, then look carefully at the instructions before buying as not all are.

How it stacks up

Bakeware takes up a lot of room though some will nest. If your kitchen does not have spare cupboards or drawers, then a smaller, yet still versatile set you can easily pack away will be best.  

How we test

The baking sets tested were made up of several different pieces, and we tested a range from each; where possible, a cake or loaf tin, buns, and a baking tray. We made ginger cakes, lemon drizzles, muffins, Yorkshire puddings, pastry cases and jam tarts. Here are our favourites.

These sets are listed in price order

Wilko 4-Pack Roasting Starter Set

£5, Wilko
Best for: A bargain set that delivers well

Wilko baking set

Key specs – Number in set: 4, oven tray, Yorkshire pudding tin, baking tray, loaf and sandwich tin; Material: 0.4mm gauge steel; Non-stick: Yes; Dishwasher safe: yes; Guarantee: 5 years; Extras: None

It is staggering that a fiver will buy you this four-piece bakeware set. It may not be the sturdiest set in the test but it is in no way flimsy, and so confident are Wilko in the durability of its product, it also comes with a five-year guarantee.

There were no problems with any of the bakes. Most were evenly coloured and the Yorkshire puddings well-risen and golden brown. The non-stick coating worked for the most part, but a few biscuits did get caught on the tray, so a little light greasing is advised.

We especially liked the wide rims which make the bakeware easy to handle, especially when hot from the oven. The pieces also nest together, so stack up neatly for small spaces.

George Non-stick Cook and Bakeware Set 9 Piece

£11, Asda
Best for: High-quality on a budget

George from Asda baking set

Key specs – Number in set: 9, 1 large roaster, 1 small roaster, 1 loaf tin, 2 sandwich tins,1pizza tray,1 4-cup Yorkshire pudding tray,1 small bun tray, 1 large oven tray; Material: Aluminium; Non-stick: Yes; Dishwasher safe: Yes; Guarantee: 100 days satisfaction; Extras: None

This nine-piece set from George at Asda was such a surprise in the test. For the price, it would be easy to think that this set would be low in quality but it was anything but. Made from aluminium, the trays were strong but light. In all tests, the bakes were evenly coloured with no dead spots.

This set covers all bases, including a roaster for the beef and a traditional four-hole Yorkshire pudding tin. So that’s Sunday lunch sorted.  

The set has an excellent non-stick coating, so bakes slid out smoothly. At just  10 inches, the pizza tray was the only piece that felt a little on the small side.

VonShef Oven 5-Piece Oven Bakeware

£14.99, VonShef
Best for: Durability and space on a budget

VonShef baking set

Key specs – Number in set: 5, 1 muffin tray, 1 medium oven tray, 1 round cake pan, 1 loaf pan and 1 springform cake tin; Material: Carbon steel; Non-stick: Yes; Dishwasher safe: Yes; Guarantee: 2-year warranty; Extras: None

The VonShef set comes with warp-free heavy-duty steel and a tough non-stick coating, which delivered excellent results with the bakes. We were particularly impressed with the sturdiness of the non-twist oven tray. 

There may be only five pieces in this set, but the pans can be used for multiple different things. For example, the cake pan can also be used as a small roaster, or for deep pies; the muffin tin can be used for buns, Yorkshire puddings and mince pies. The oven tray is just deep enough also to be used for a Swiss roll.

Kids’ Real Cookware Ultimate 48-Piece Baking Gift Set

£29.99, Lakeland
Best for: Budding young bakers

Lakeland kids baking set

Key specs – Number in set: 48, everything for young bakers including cake, muffin and loaf tins. Material: mainly silicone; Non-stick: Yes; Dishwasher safe: No; Guarantee: 3 years; Extras: suitable for ages 3 and upwards.

You are never too young to start baking, and this comprehensive 48-piece kit provides everything kids need to get cracking.

We put this set into the hands of a supervised not-quite-four-year-old. They created some very respectable biscuits and a moist marbled banana cake which came out easily from the non-stick loaf tin.  

The set, however, is not a plaything. It is real tools and pans, but made to be used by smaller hands. There is all the equipment needed for rolling, moulding and decorating cake pops, cookies, cupcakes and more.

Everything is sturdy and well-made, and so even the youngest child can use it safely without fear of it breaking.

ProCook Non-Stick Bakeware Set

£35, ProCook
Best for: Versatility

Procook baking set

Key specs – Number in set: 6, springform cake tin, 12 cupcake tray, small and large baking trays, small roasting tin and a loaf tin; Material: Heavy gauge carbon steel; Non-stick: Yes; Dishwasher safe: Yes, Guarantee: 10 years; Extras: None

This carbon steel ProCook set comes with a generous 10-year guarantee. It was easy to see why the company is so confident, as the bakeware felt robust and well-made. The only slight disappointment was a surprisingly flimsy fastener on the springform. The sturdy steel also meant the pans heated very quickly and the colouring of cakes and pastries was even all round.

The interior of the bakeware felt super smooth, so it was of little surprise to discover it has a double layer superior ProCook Ultra SI non-stick coating. No greasing was needed, and the bakes still fell from the tins.

Silverwood Starter Set

£44.95, Silverwood
Best for: Simplicity and style
Silverwood four piece bakeware set

Key specs – Number in set: 8, 2 fixed base sandwich tins, 1 loose base round cake tin, 1 baking tray, 4 cutters; Material: Anodised aluminium; Non-stick: Yes; Dishwasher safe: Handwash only, Guarantee: 25 years; Extras: None

The simplicity and understated elegance of this British-made anodised aluminium bakeware bears testament. The soft silver colour, even after just a few uses, takes on a lovely patina which only enhances its good looks. No dishwasher use allowed (or needed) for these beauties.

However, it is not just the aesthetics of this set that makes it so pleasant to use. The even heat distribution it gives out also resulted in perfectly cooked and evenly coloured bakes, especially the biscuits, making this set the best performing during the tests.

This set is for a budding baker, rather than a more experienced one, who may find the smaller sizes of the cake and sandwich tins a little annoying.

Lakeland 5-Piece Mixed Bakeware Set

£47.95, Lakeland
Best for: A quality all-rounder

Lakeland five-piece baking set

Key specs – Number in set: 5, 20cm Springform Cake Tin, Baking Sheet, 2lb Loaf Tin, 12 Hole Deep Bun Tin, 20cm Round Deep Pie Tin; Material: 1mm thick carbon steel; Non-stick: Yes; Dishwasher safe: Yes, Guarantee: 10 years; Extras: Safe grip handles

The Lakeland set showed exceptional attention to detail. Not only did this bakeware feel good to hold, but it also has an attractive blue colour on the outside and a double layer of Quantum 2 professional non-stick within.

The ergonomic design of wide, safe grip handles on all but the springform, and clean edges, meant no trapping of water when washing, which in other pans can cause rust. Plus, some pieces have fill and sizing measures to prevent overfilling the pan and spoiling the bake.

All of this resulted in professional-looking bakes.

There may be only five (very useful) pieces in this set, but there are many more pieces to buy to add to it, making it suitable for all levels of baking experience.

Le Creuset Family Baking Set

£89, Le Creuset
Best for: A worthy investment

Le Creuset baking set

Key specs – Number in set: 4, 12 Cup Bun Tray, 22cm Kugelhopf, Swiss Roll Tray and 24cm Springform Tin; Material: Heavy gauge carbon steel; Non-stick: Yes; Dishwasher safe: Handwash only; Guarantee: Lifetime; Extras: Heat resistant silicone handles.

This set was the most expensive tested and had just four pieces. We did not test the Kugelhopf, but we were delighted by the performance of the tray, bun tin and springform.

The fastener on the springform was the best in the test; it snaps shut easily and stays securely closed. Nothing stuck to the edges, not even boiling jam from the tarts, and we loved the heat resistant handles; they look great and work well, especially on the cake tin as it gave added grip.

With a lifetime guarantee, there is added confidence that the investment in these pieces is worth every penny.

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Bake Off bump: Britain’s independent bakeries are booming

The Great British Bake Off  has inspired legions of Britons to roll up their sleeves and head to the kitchen since it was first broadcast in 2010. Now it seems the Channel 4 programme may be responsible for a flurry of new independent bakeries opening up across the country.

Over the past three years the number of independent bakeries in the UK has surged by nearly 48 per cent, with that figure increasing annually, according to analysis of thousands of insurance policies taken out over this period.

In 2016, 1,467 independent bakeries, cake makers and decorators, and tea and cake shops purchased cover with the small business insurance firm Simply Business, the provider said.

That number rose to 2,121 in 2017, and to 2,827 in 2018, representing year-on-year increases of 31 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

The Bake Off crew 2019 pose for a new season photo (Photo: Bake Off/Channel 4)

Northern gingerbread house

The North West of England is home to the largest proportion of independent bakeries, the data indicates – there were 866 of these businesses in the region 2018, up 24 per cent from the previous year.

The North East of England is close behind with 858 and also enjoyed a 24 per cent increase on 2017.

There was a 34 per cent jump in the number of independent bakeries in South West England between 2017 and 2018 making it the fastest growing region – the figure stood at 575 last year.

Wales and Scotland have 318 and 413 independent bakeries respectively, the insurer said.

Bake Off inspiration

The Great British Bake Off is one of the most anticipated shows in the UK television calendar and it’s inspired thousands of bakers across the nation to…start their own independent business,” said Bea Montoya, chief operating officer at Simply Business.

“In every area we’re seeing a year-on-year increase in the number of cake makers, decorators and dough bakers, as more local pâtissiers are turning passions into professional businesses,” Ms Montoya continued.

“Small businesses are vital to the UK economy so the fact that so many aspiring bakers and pastry makers are making the leap is extremely encouraging,” she added.

‘When Bake Off knocked me back I set up my own business anyway’

Sam Boden-Wright (left) pictured with his husband Jon and their dog Phoebe, began trading in July (Photo: Sam Boden-Wright)
Sam Boden-Wright (left) pictured with his husband Jon and their dog Phoebe, began trading in July (Photo: Sam Boden-Wright)

Manchester-based Bake Off fan Sam Boden-Wright, 27, set up his baking business Sam’s Bakehouse in July after being knocked back when he applied to appear as a contestant on this year’s series.

“I’ve baked as a hobby from a young age and in recent years people have been telling me I should apply for Bake Off. I took the plunge and applied in January. When I didn’t hear back I was gutted. Some people said to try again next year but I decided to take matters into my own hands and thought ‘I’ll do it alone’.

“I began looking into setting up a business in about March and started trading in July. At the moment I’m still working in marketing five days a week – at the weekend I travel around food markets in Manchester and Cheshire with my stall with the help of my husband. I’ve also had orders come through social media. I’m struggling with sleep but it’s very rewarding.

“Doughnuts are my specialty. Kinder Bueno doughnuts go down really well, they always sell out. I’m hoping to build a name for myself in Manchester over the next year and to attract repeat customers.”

@kt_grant

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