A palette knife is a wide, flat knife with a rounded tip.
It has no sharp edges. It is not meant for cutting — it is meant for lifting, spreading, and smoothing, making it more like a spatula in terms of its purpose in life.
The blade will be thin and flexible, but strong, and up to 35 cm (14 inches) long. Choose the longest you can get.
A few have a slight serrated edge on the blade, so that they can also slice cake.
A palette knife can be used to:
- spread frosting on cakes;
- trim frosting on the sides of cakes;
- spread fillings on sandwiches;
- lift some baked goods (biscuits, pastry shells);
- create peaked or swirled effects on frosting.
When applying frosting with a palette knife, apply very light pressure, touching only the icing that you are spreading, not the surface of the cake. Spread the frosting in a continuous motion, not back and forth.
When using a palette knife to make peaked or swirled effects, dab the cake with it as though you were dubbing it a knight, and in random places.