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There are tons of cake decorating tools out there, but the only one I’ve found to be useful on a regular basis is the cake turntable.
I use it almost every time I bake a cake (and believe me, I bake a lot of cakes), and anyone who places any importance on aesthetics when baking should have at least one as well.
In this post, I’ve put together a handy guide on why cake turntables are such good tools and rounded up some of my favorite models.
Is a Cake Turntable Necessary?
What is a Cake Turntable?
A cake turntable is like a lazy Susan, but with a stand that is elevated above the base. After baking a cake, put it onto a cake turntable, and you can spin the cake in order to get at it from any angle without actually walking around the cake yourself.
Are Cake Turntables Necessary?
For anything more than extremely simple decoration on top of the cake, you need a good cake turntable.
Even in a kitchen that allows 360 degree access to the cake, the ability to spin the turntable at a constant rate while standing in place and applying frosting or other decoration is really the only way to keep the final decoration from coming out lopsided.
If you’re decorating the cake on a counter that does not allow 360 degree access (which will be the case in 90% of kitchens), elegant cake decoration is essentially impossible without a cake turntable.
What to Look for When Choosing a Cake Turntable
Height and size
Decorating a cake is a lot easier and more fun if your working space is at a comfortable level. Make sure the cake turntable you get elevates far enough up from your kitchen counter to provide that convenient workspace.
There are three materials commonly used for cake turntables: aluminum, glass, and plastic. Aluminum turntables generally have the smoothest turning action and last the longest, but they are the most expensive and are quite heavy.
Glass cake turntables look great and you can use them as a serving dish in addition to a turntable, but they’re fragile. Plastic turntables are inexpensive and light, but they don’t look that good and they’re not very durable.
The feature of being able to lock the rotating mechanism in place is an important one on cake turntables. Sometimes you want to keep your cake still while you decorate one area. And once you’re done decorating, you can use the cake turntable as a serving dish if you can keep it from spinning. Some models don’t have this feature, and it’s important to check.
It’s also important to check if the model you’re looking at has smooth ball bearings that give the spinning mechanism steady and quiet action.
Make sure the surface of the cake turntable has a good grip that will keep your cake from sliding around while you’re decorating it. Also ensure the bottom of the turntable’s base has grips so the turntable itself doesn’t slide around.
There are three main types of cake turntable:
- Single-sided – The most common type and the one which I’m talking about in most of this post. They’re inexpensive, easy to use, light, and fit the needs of most home bakers. Although single-sided turntables have a round shape, they can accommodate square cakes too.
- Dual-sided – These function like a regular single-sided turntable, but you can flip it on its head and the square base suddenly becomes a turntable of its own, with the circular turntable becoming the base. Since the new turntable is square, it is better for decorating square cakes. These dual-sided turntables are more expensive.
- Tilting – Detail-oriented cake decorators will appreciate the tilting cake turntable, which allows you to actually angle the cake to get a better view of what you’re doing and create true art with frosting and edible glitter.
4 Best Cake Turntables
Without further ado, here are my four all-time favorite cake turntables arranged into a table. Below the table is a more in-depth description of each model to help you decide which to buy for your kitchen.
1. Overall: Wilton Trim-N-Turn Ultra™ Cake Turntable
This cake turntable may be made of plastic, but it is durable and has a nice sturdy design thanks to the fact that the turntable is built into a wide base rather than situated on a thin support rod.
The turntable spins either way, making it easy to use for both right- and left-handed people, a fact my left-handed daughter really appreciates. The motion is also extraordinarily smooth even after dozens of uses, and it’s easy to keep the decorating platform clean because you can detach it from the base for washing. Plus, you can lock the platform in place.
Right now, Michael’s is doing a clearance sale in the link above where they are selling this fantastic cake turntable for a discounted rate, approximately as much as you’d pay for a side of french fries at most restaurants. It’s a can’t-miss buy, even if you’ll just gift the turntable to someone as a gift.
2. Aluminum: Ateco Aluminum Revolving Cake Stand
This sleek aluminum model has the distinction of the smoothest spinning action of any cake turntable. The platform glides in a perfect circle on its premium stainless steel ball bearings, and the motion is no less smooth years after I first started using it than on the day I brought it home.
The cake decorating platform is elevated 5” above the base on a brushed aluminum rod, and the bottom of the base platform is covered with a silicone mat that prevents any slipping whatsoever. The aluminum design makes the turntable easy to clean, and it makes the model extremely durable as well.
I’d recommend this model for people who will be using their cake turntable A LOT.
3. From Decorating to Serving: Ateco Revolving Cake Stand
This cast iron and aluminum cake turntable is simply gorgeous, making it perfect for use as a stand to show off your cake once you’re done decorating it.
Even though the base is made of metal, it is cast in an elegant cream color and has raised decorative etchings on it. The gleaming aluminum plate that serves as the decorating platform is equally as stunning, with four metal divots in the center giving it a delicate and stately look. This model is very durable, so its looks will not fade over time.
I have two minor complaints with the Ateco turntable. One is that the grip on the surface of the decorating platform is not great, so the cake could slide during decoration if you accidentally apply too much pressure.
The other is that you can’t lock the platform in place to keep it from spinning, which is unfortunate for a cake turntable that is otherwise such a good option for people who want to display their cakes on it after preparation.
4. Budget: Kootek 11 Inch Rotating Cake Turntable
This model is less than $20, so it’s really amazing how full-featured it is. The cake turntable itself is pretty great, with stainless steel ball bearings providing smooth spinning action and an especially good non-slip design on the decorating platform. What’s really remarkable, though, is the fact that it includes so many accessories, including:
- An angled 12.7” icing spatula.
- A straight 11” icing spatula.
- A silicone dough cutter.
- A silicone decorating comb for creating textured decorations with icing.
- A silicone icing smoother.
Cake Turntable FAQ
If you want to decorate a cake but don’t have a cake turntable, the two best alternatives are:
• A lazy Susan. The spinning action on lazy Susans usually isn’t quite as smooth as on a cake turntable, and they’re not elevated so the decoration platform will probably be too low. You can put the lazy Susan on a box so it will be a little more convenient to work with.
• A microwave plate. Almost every kitchen has a microwave, and in it a rotating plate that food sits on while it reheats. You can use this as a turntable, although you’ll probably have to put a flat surface (like a cake board) on top of the plate since most microwave plates are slanted.
Use the same method you used to transfer the cake from the oven to the cake turntable. The ideal tool to use is a dedicated cake lifer (which is basically an extremely wide metal bench scraper), but if you don’t have one of those you should use the two widest spatulas you can find, carefully slide one under each edge, and slowly lift the cake.
It’s most commonly referred to as a cake turntable. It’s also sometimes called a cake spinner or a cake decoration tray.
Yes, turntables often make great cake stands! Of course, you’ll want to get a nice-looking cake turntable if you also want to use it for display purposes – I’d recommend either a glass or brushed aluminum model. The ability to lock the tray in place is also good to have if you intend to use the turntable as a cake stand.
Time To Get Decorating
Once you get a cake turntable, you’ll want to start making the most of it! Use these great decorated cake recipes as a jumping off point:
Turn it Up!
One of the reasons I love baking cakes so much is because the product you end up with just looks so nice. You’re missing out on that whole aspect, though, if you don’t have a good cake turntable to help you decorate.
Last update on 2022-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API