How we tested
Handling cakes can be tricky, whether you're stacking fragile, split layers as you frost them or moving an iced cake to a serving platter. In the past, we've pressed other kitchen gear into service, such as rimless cookie sheets, the bottoms of tart pans, or pizza peels. Now bakeware companies have created cake lifters—large spatula-like devices designed to slip under and support cakes, preventing breakage. We put six lifters, priced from $9.99 to $29, to the test.
Moving the two un-iced layers of Strawberry Dream Cake posed no problem for any cake lifter. But as we transferred each of the thin, fragile, split layers to assemble a four-layer lemon cake, we were grateful for the extra support. Large lifters got in the way as we tried to line up the layers' edges. Smaller lifters let us see what we were doing. The greater challenge, however, was moving cakes after they were assembled and frosted. Thin cake lifters, though easy to slide under cakes, flexed and bounced under the weight. Lifters that were too large or unbalanced felt awkward and heavy, straining our wrists. Poorly designed handles provided no leverage.
One lifter fell right in the middle. It's slightly flexible, small enough to maneuver for stacking cake layers, and sturdy enough to let us hoist finished cakes with confidence. Plus, we like the comfortable offset handle. Do you need a cake lifter? Not really, but it's a nice addition to the avid baker's bag of tricks.