Foods such as pancakes and eggs require periodic flipping. Rubber spatulas featuring a wide, thin head allow the cook to insert the spatula comfortably between the food and the pan. Spatulas made of heat-proof rubber reduce the danger of the hot pan melting the spatula. The soft, rubber head prevents the utensil from scraping the pan's crucial non-stick coating.
Spreading icing over a cake or other baked good requires a delicate touch. A spatula with a flat, rubber head allows icing to be applied and then distributed evenly across the baked item. Smaller spatula heads provide for a softer touch when applying icing to smaller baked goods like cupcakes and cookies. The spatula's long handle gives the baker's hand ample clearance when spreading icing or batter.
The walls and curves of a used mixing bowl hide valuable bits of batter. Spoons might remove the majority of batter but fail to adequately scrape the bowl's sides and bottom. Rubber spatulas containing a thin, curved edge scrape these lingering bits of batter off the bowl. The flexible head allows the spatula to conform to the sides and angles of the bowl for greater effectiveness.
The art of folding entails delicately introducing ingredients into a batter. Using a spatula, rather than a mixer, protects the light, fluffy nature of airy batters. The technique involves inserting the thin side of the spatula down the middle of the batter and scooping the batter up the side of the bowl. The spatula's flexible, angled head ensures that batter on the sides of the bowl gets added into the rest of the mix.