On test: The best cooling racks

A sturdy metal rack for cooling cakes and bakes is essential if you want to ice your creation - or to just avoid burnt fingers! Great British Bake Off finalist, Kimberley Wilson, puts a selection to the test...

Kimberley's cooling racks

There are few bakes you'd want to eat straight from the oven. Bread needs time to 'rest' and form the correct texture, while trying to ice a warm cake will end in a bit of a mess. Even if you do enjoy a warm scone, giving it a bit of an airing before will avoid any scalded digits. Elevating the bake from a flat surface is essential to avoid condensation forming, ensuring an even, speedy cool and perfect finish to your creation. 

What Kimberley looked for... 

Kimberley WilsonQuality: A metal that was strong and a structure that's sturdy on its feet. 

Height: Plenty of room underneath the rack to allow air to circulate.

Size and shape: How much you can fit on the rack and how practical the shape is from a useage and storage point of view. 

Ease of cleaning: How difficult is it to clean off crumbs or residue. 


Kimberley's top five cooling racks... 

Best... Investment 

Lakeland cooling rackMy Kitchen Cook & Bake cooling rack

Kimberley says: "I was initially a little sceptical about this rack, the sides looked like a case of engineering gone mad but I soon realised they are a godsend. Anyone who has ever had biscuits slide off a cooling rack will know what I mean. The only drawback is the rather small size. As soon as a larger size is available it’ll be on my ‘to buy’ list." It also comes with a Lakeland guarantee that you can return it if at any point you're not happy with the model."

Size: 34cm x 23cm
Non-stick? Yes

£10.99, from Lakeland

Best... Supermarket buy

Sainsbury's cooling rackSquare cooling rack

Kimberley says: "This rack is sturdy and keeps the cakes a good height away from the surface to allow plenty of air to circulate. This is a really small model and can fit only one layer of a sandwich/standard sized round cake comfortably, so while it's not so useful for cooking large batches, it's a good bargain buy."

Size: 23cm x 26cm x 3cm
Non-stick? Yes

£4.25, from Sainsbury's

Best... All-rounder

Tala cooling rackTala non-stick cake cooling tray

Kimberley says: "This tray ticks a lot of boxes being non-stick and dishwasher safe. It is large enough to handle two large cakes at the same time and is well priced. A good all-rounder."

Size: 40cm x 25cm
Non-stick? Yes

£5.99, from Dunelm Mill

Best... Strength

Marks and SpencerCooling rack

Kimberley says: "This robust cooling rack raises a good 8cm from the counter surface providing lots of space for fast and even cooling and the legs fold away for easy storage, although at £15, it's quite an investment for a single layer rack."

Size: 43cm x 28cm
Non-stick? No

£15.00, from M&S

Best... For batch baking

Cake Craft cooling rackCooling rack

Kimberley says: "This three-tiered set is great value. When stacked there is enough room to cool muffins and buns between the layers with plenty of room for air to circulate. However, all three of the layers were a little uneven, which was a bit irritating. Large spaces between the grills mean thin biscuits could slip through, but otherwise a good buy."

Size: 40cm x 25cm (x3)
Non-stick? Yes

£11.35, from Cake Craft

More reviews from Great British Bake Off bakers... 

The best spatulas
The best flour shakers
The best pastry brushes
The best icing turntables
The best marble rolling pins
The best measuring sets
The best piping bags
The best rolling pins
The best baking sheets

Put your cooling tray to good use with one of our delicious bakes. Our hub page is a good place to find inspiration. 

Comments, questions and tips

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29th Sep, 2014
Honestly, I think the Lakeland triple stacking cooling rack is better than this lot. Each is large enough to hold a whole sponge, or 12 cupcakes, they have long legs that stack with lots of clearance and also fold flat. Non-stick and pretty sturdy. Absolute godsend!
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