Skip to main content

Cake Stands

Published December 2015

How we tested

You can decorate a cake on a plate, but a good cake stand makes it faster and easier by elevating the cake for better visibility and by rotating for quick and even frosting application.

We still like our previous winner from Ateco, but if its top and base are not 100 percent dry before assembly, they rust together and stop the top from spinning. This simply requires extra care, but we started wondering—is there a better option?

To find out, we surveyed the market and saw seven new models, priced from about $25.00 to $80.00. We tested them against new copies of the Ateco, rating each stand on height, weight, stability, surface, and rotation.

Height and stability were paramount: Shorter stands, at about 3 inches tall, made us hunch over, which hurt our backs and didn’t give us a clear view of the cake; taller stands, at 4.5 to 6 inches tall, were much more comfortable to use and allowed us to see all angles of the cake. (Weight was less of an issue; only one stand, our previous winner, felt a bit heavy to some.)

One pricey new model tilted for better access to the bottom edge of the cake, but it was jerky and unpredictable—it sent a whole cake crashing to the counter twice. Another stand with stability issues required a plate from our kitchen to hold the cake, which then sat atop the stand to spin but never felt secure.

Every other stand has you load your cake layers directly on top, no plate required (though you may choose to use a cardboard cake round). Testers preferred smooth surfaces with very shallow circles etched on top to help center the cakes; some stands didn’t have guidelines, while others’ guidelines were too pronounced, causing our tools to clunk down into them while we were smoothing on frosting. As for removing the cakes, they all performed equally well whether we were taking just a slice or moving the cakes whole.

Rotation was trickier—some were too stiff, and others were too loose; the best were smooth and fast with precise bearings that allowed us to stop the spin in one motion. In the end we still liked our previous winner from Ateco, but another model earned the top spot. It was slightly less expensive than the Ateco and had two additional features that testers liked: an attached base and surface for easy transporting and rust-free washing and guides on its surface for centering—two handy features that helped make decorating like a pro that much easier

3 Sites. No Paywalls.

Included in your trial membership

  • 25 years of Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and America's Test Kitchen foolproof recipes
  • NEW! Over 1,500 recipes from our award-winning cookbooks
  • In-depth videos of recipes and cooking techniques
  • SAVE all your Favorites for easy access
  • Up-to-Date reviews and product buying guides

Get America's Test Kitchen All Access — become the Smartest Cook you know, guaranteed.

Email is required
How we use your email address

The Results


Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.


Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.


Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.


Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.


Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.


Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.