Kitchen gadget: Cake-decorating stand ... and a recipe

Kitchen gadget: Cake-decorating stand ... and a recipe
Cake stand (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Ever dream about cake decorating like a pro? Find yourself spending hours adding the final touches to your latest layered creation? You might want to invest in a good, sturdy cake-decorating stand.

Cake-decorating stands, also known as revolving cake stands and turntables, are lifesavers when it comes to frosting and decorating. A wide top swivels on top of a sturdy metal base, making it easy to rotate the cake when you're smoothing out frosting or focused on detailed decorations.


The stands come in all shapes and materials. Avoid cheap stands that are often flimsy and wobble. Good ones generally consist of a light metal (typically aluminum) top over a heavy cast-iron base; some are even fitted with ball bearings for a smooth swivel.

Cake-decorating stands can be found at cooking and bakery supply stores, as well as at select craft and hobby stores. Stands range in price by type, but you can generally find one for $30 to $60.

Cooking is fun -- at least it should be! No matter how long you've been in the kitchen, there is always something new to learn, whether it's a simple twist on an old technique, or a handy tip to save time and energy. In this series of short videos, I demonstrate a variety of kitchen tips, ranging from how to hold a chef's knife for maximum control to using a spoon to peel fresh ginger. If you have any gadgets, kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment or shoot me an email at

Total time: 1 1/2 hours | Serves 12 to 16

Note: It's more convenient to make the pastry cream the day before so it will be completely cooled and ready to fill the cake.


Nonstick cooking spray
    4 eggs
    2 cups sugar
    2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup oil
    1 cup dry white wine
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

Step 1: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 (9-inch) layer cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and dust them with flour.

Step 2: Beat the eggs and sugar in a mixer at high speed until pale and frothy, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn off the mixer and add the flour, baking powder, salt, oil, wine, vanilla and lemon zest. Beat 2 minutes at high speed.

Step 3: Divide the batter between the pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool the cakes in pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn them out and cool completely.


1 1/3 cups milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1 cup sugar
    6 egg yolks
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1 pound mascarpone cheese or cream cheese


Step 1: Bring the milk and vanilla to boil in a small saucepan and keep warm.

Step 2: Beat the sugar and egg yolks in a mixer until fluffy and pale in color, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the speed, add the cornstarch and beat until blended. Add the hot milk mixture, beating continuously. When well blended, return to the saucepan and heat slowly, stirring constantly to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook until very thick, about 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool.

Step 3: When completely cooled, beat the cream mixture with the cheese to form a thick filling.


    2 cups whipping cream, whipped
    3 cups sweetened flake coconut

Step 1: Spread all of the pastry cream in a thick, even layer on the bottom cake layer. Cover with the top cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with whipped cream and cover with the coconut.

Each of 16 servings: 630 calories; 360 mg sodium; 190 mg cholesterol; 38 grams fat; 16 grams saturated fat; 64 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 1.18 grams fiber.

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