As a person who likes to bake cookies and cakes and breads, I like to keep plenty of certain items in my pantry. And I also like to keep plenty of the throw-away baking pans; they make it easier to clean up when the baking has all been done.
Among the first things every baker should make sure to stock, regardless of exactly what he or she will be baking most of, the biggest spots will go to sugar, flour, and corn meal. I keep all three of these items in popcorn tins on the floor of my pantry. With a plastic bag lining the tin, I still have room for about 15-20 pounds of each in its tin. I also have canisters on the cabinet with these same items; the tins are to keep from having bags lying around, and to keep ants out of the sugar!
Salt is another necessity, regardless of what you are cooking. I keep salt on my stove, but also have some in a no-longer-used-for-that-purpose baking powder can. I cleaned it out good and dried it; then put the salt in. Since most recipes call for partial or full teaspoons of salt, and salt boxes no longer have the opening for measuring and leveling a teaspoon, I chose to put my salt in something I can level the spoon with. The baking powder tin does the job nicely, and the plastic lid keeps the salt dry.
Baking powder and baking soda, both, are items used in most recipes. If you can’t keep them handy near the stove or cabinet, keep them in a plastic shoebox on the pantry shelf, along with that baking powder can of salt! In that same container, you can put your cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger, as well as your baking soda, pepper, vanilla and lemon flavorings, food colorings, and even containers of raisins and nuts. When you need several of these, take the entire container with you; that way, you only have to make one trip to the pantry.
Of course, you will also need to have milk and eggs in the refrigerator, as well as cooking oil or shortening on the cabinet. You may need powdered milk on occasion; if you use many recipes that call for it, keep it on hand. I have a favorite recipe that I use canned milk for; I keep some of it on hand most of the time. I also try to keep canned fruits, especially pineapple chunks and sliced peaches, on hand most of the time.
If you have these items in your pantry, you should be set to bake almost anything you can think of, unless it calls for nuts. So you might want to keep a supply of nuts in your freezer! Have fun with your baking, and don’t be afraid to try something new, every once in a while. You might find you like something that you didn’t think you would. I did! I don’t care for persimmons, but we have a tree that produces, so I found recipes for both persimmon bread and persimmon cake. We love them! The same recipes can also be used for pumpkin, but we prefer the persimmon taste. You might want to try something like that, too.
Have fun, and enjoy your baking experiences!