A cake turntable is a cake stand with a revolving top on which cakes are frosted and decorated. Cake turntable, Cake icing turntable, Cake decorating turntable; all these refer to the same thing.
The difference between a cake stand and a cake turntable is this; the cake stand is stationary while the cake turntable spins at the top.
Usefulness of a Cake Turntable
To appreciate the usefulness of a cake turntable, you have to appreciate this; although you can decorate your cake on a tray or platter, it’s much easier on a cake turntable. Frosting on a platter would greatly hamper your fluidity and range of movement around the cake.
A cake turntable is a decorator’s best friend because of the following reasons:
(i) It helps to make decorating cleaner by spinning the cake. The continuous spin allows you to achieve a more even and smoother finish.
(ii) You can decorate your cake faster and more conveniently with a cake turntable. This is because the turntable turns the cake for you as against your turning the cake or yourself around. It also comes in handy for piping border onto your cakes.
A cake turntable is essential if you want to be faster, cleaner and more efficient with your cake decoration.
Materials Used in Manufacturing Cake Turntables
Cake turntable are made of four materials; Plastic, glass , wood and metals. Plastic and metals are the most commonly known materials. These four materials have their advantages and disadvantages.
The advantages of plastic cake turntables include the following:- Lightweight, flexible and affordable. The center of plastic turntables is flexible and allows for more control by the user. You can rotate it as fast or slow as you want.
The disadvantage of a plastic turntable is this; it is not heavyweight enough to carry heavy cakes. Because of the lightweight nature, heavy cakes can topple over if placed on it.
Metal Cake Turntables
Metal cake turntables are ideal for large cakes and for decorating for long. Also they are more stable because of the weight. There is less likelihood of a metal turntable sliding around as you work.
Metal cake turntables are liable to be noisier than their plastic counterparts; this due to the weight and material. After some time the friction between the spindle that joins the top to the bottom would cause noise. You can solve this problem by applying oil to lubricate the spindle.
Summary of the advantages and disadvantages of metal cake turntables:-
Advantages: Durable, Heavy Duty, Turns smoothly and is stable
Disadvantages: Heavy weight, more expensive.
Glass Cake Turntables
Glass turntables are commonly used for shows and not commercial or heavy duty purposes. This is because it’s beautiful and can easily be kept clean and also seen to be clean.
However, it is not a material that would do well with everyday commercial use or long hours of decorations.
This is one of the least used of materials, the other is wood. A summary of it’s advantages and disadvantages is as follows:-
Advantages: Aesthetically more appealing, Easier to clean and lightweight.
Disadvantages – Fragile, doesn’t last for long and can’t be used for heavy duty decorating.
Wooden Cake Turntables
Wood is the second least known and used material for making cake turntables.This is arguably the least used material; maybe because it is susceptible to rot or damage from water or liquids from cakes and baked goods.
A summary of its advantages and disadvantages is as follows:-
Advantages: They are lightweight but heavier than plastic, portable and aesthetically pleasing
Disadvantages: May not last as long as other materials.
Types of Cake Turntables
There are many types of turntables; there are the flat ones, the raised ones, the tilting types and many more. Each is useful for different situations. We’ll describe each type and tell you which situation they work best for.
Level Cake Turntables
Level cake turntable is the most prevalent and commonly used type of cake turntable. It is level and has a flat surface/top that rotates. This is ideal for frosting, piping, covering cakes with fondant and almost all kinds of basic cake decorations.
Tilting Cake Turntables
Tilting turntables are ideal for making cakes with detailed designs on the sides. It can be either be used as a level turntable or as a tilting turntable.
The way this type of turntable works is that you tilt it to the angle you want and lock it into place.
Cake Turntables with Ball Mechanism
Cake turntables with ball mechanism spins smoothly and easier with minimal noise. They are mostly made of metal; some designs have a mechanism that allows you to oil the ball bearing when it’s stiff. They also come in handy for other craft projects such as airbrushing.
Double Sided Cake Turntables
Double sided turntables are mostly used by bakeries. They are quite sturdy and can hold up to vigorous use and heavy duty cakes. They have two sides as the name implies. One side is round while the other side is rectangular.
This is great for commercial and high frequency bakers because it allows you to turn it to whatever side is appropriate. The rectangular side of the turntable works well for sheet and square cakes.
You can confidently stack and decorate your multi-tiered cakes without fear of it toppling from the turntable.
Locking Cake Turntables
These are regular cake turntables that come with an extra feature.This extra feature is that you can lock the turntable in place before you start working. This eliminates the danger of your cake shifting while layering or stacking tiers.
With turntables without this locking feature, you may sometimes have to move your cake to the countertop before layering or stacking. But with this model that extra hassle is removed.
Commercial/Heavy Duty Cake Turntables
Commercial or heavy duty cake turntables have been known to last forever(lol)! They are made from heavy duty metal with a wide surface that’s held to the base by a big metal pin. The width of the surface is estimated to be about 12 inches.
Things You Should Know and Look Out For When Shopping For a Cake Turntable
A cake turntable is not an essential kitchen equipment; neither would its absence mar that occasional cake you frost. But every serious minded cake decorator or one who is turning the hobby to a business needs a cake turntable.
Customers do not take lightly to roughly frosted cakes (unless it’s the deliberate style); neither would they be happy to pay for substandard decorating job. So extra investment is needed for that extra that separates a hobbyist from a professional,
That said however, there are things you need to know and bear in mind as you wade through the options available.
The height of the cake turntable is of utmost importance. Ensure that the turntable you are thinking of purchasing is elevated; it should be at least 3 inches high. This would enable you to work on the bottom and sides of your cake without stress.
Similarly, there are also height adjustable cake turntables that allow you to set them to your desired height. This would work well for you especially if you are thinking of buying only one turntable.
Any turntable that’s too low would not really serve the full purpose of aiding smooth and efficient frosting and decoration. You might probably get to use it for some other purpose in the course of your project. However that would have defeated the aim of having a cake turntable and it wouldn’t be cost effective.
It’s better to have a heavier cake turntable than a lightweight one. Although metal cake turntables are notably the heaviest kind, there are still plastic turntables that are solid. to this end, you would have to be ready to spend a little extra to get top quality product.
You’ll not be able to layer and stack your cakes at a go with a lightweight cake turntable. You would have to transfer to the table or countertop, do the stacking and return back to the turntable.
A heavy turntable would save you this hassle. It would also allow you to spin your cake securely and help you achieve more even and smoother spread of frosting.
This is a factor to consider based on the frequency of use.
You need a sturdy turntable if you would be making multiple tiered cakes frequently. This means that you need to consider getting a metal cake turntable.
If your multiple tiers are usually heavy and dense cakes, then you should go for the dual sided cake turntables. The commercial/heavy duty turntable is also a good option.
A solid plastic turntable should work for those who most often make single tier cakes or lighter cakes. Plastic turntables are easier to store and even carry around (in case you want to use it for a cake stand).
If you are thinking of also using it as a cake stand, then your best bet is the locking turntable.
Metal turntables are difficult to carry around and most don’t look as fine as the plastic ones. That’s why it would be difficult to use a metal turntable as a cake stand.
A glass turntable while aesthetically appealing is not a practical option for a commercial baker. This type of cake stand is best for the homemaker who decorates cakes once in a long while.
It’s needless to say that it would not withstand long hours of vigorous use.
There are many designs of cake turntables but there are basic structural factors that cannot be ignored. The top surface of the turntable should be flat; this is to enable you easily slide your cakes off the turntable.
The surface should also be non-slip to ensure that your cake sits securely on the turntable. No matter how fancy or plain the design may be, the turntable has to spin smoothly. A stiff turntable would frustrate rather than enhance your efforts.
The truth is that the turntable doesn’t even need embellishments. You should also look out for those with non-slip base; this would keep your cake secure as you work.
This is an important feature to consider especially if you make cakes that are wider than 8 inches on a regular basis. If your cake decorating projects cover a wide range of sizes, you might consider buying more than one turntable.
Having a wider sized turntable is safer than a smaller one; however, using an over sized cake turntable for a small cake might be not functional. So the conclusion of this is that you need to have the commensurate size of turntables for the cakes you make.
A turntable extender is also a great way to save yourself some money and stress.
Ease of Cleaning
This might not be a deal breaker but would make life easier for you.
There are some turntables with removable tops; this means that you can detach them for washing. This is a good feature to have for those times when you spill frostings and colors on the turntable.
Also look out for those that don’t stain easily or don’t retain stains.
Direction of Spin
Most cake turntables are designed to spin in multiple directions. However there may be models that spin only clockwise. So when you are considering a product, ensure that it spins both ways.
This is not only ideal for left- handed decorators but also allows the user to spin the table in any direction desired.
Look out for cake turntables that are made with top quality materials. This would ensure that they’ll last for long. Metal turntables are the best in the durability department but also bear in mind that they are the most expensive. There are also a good number of plastic turntables that are solid but these would also be on the upper price list.
If you want to buy a good quality turntable that has the above listed features, be prepared to pay more. We all know and would agree that good quality comes at a price. However, we must sound a note of warning that expensive is not automatically top quality.
There are some brands out there that are high priced not because of quality but because of brand name.
Don’t be surprised that you might find a no-name turntable that’s of the same quality and performance at a cheaper price.
Tips for Your Cake Turntable
If you already own a turntable, here are some tips that would help you enjoy it for a long time.
(i) Here’s what to do if your metal cake turntable is not spinning as well as you want. Detach the top from the base and spray the part that connects to the bottom with oil. However, ensure that it’s food grade oil.
(ii) When you wash your metal turntable, ensure that you dry properly before storing. Storing it while wet or damp contributes to the stiffness of the turntable and rust. You can also spray the turntable before storing it.
(iii) Here’s what you can do when you have to decorate a cake that’s wider than the regular 10 inch wide turntable (a) place your cake on a cake board before placing on the turntable (b)first, place the cake on a cutting board that’s wider than the turntable, then place the cutting board on the turntable (c) save yourself the stress; buy a turntable extender!
Now that you’ve come to the end of this article, we believe that it’s been worth your while. We are confident that with the information you’ve gotten, you’d be able to make the right choice of the best cake turntable for you.
We also recommend that you read some of our previous articles to find out more about cake decorating products/tools:-
- Food Colors – For Vibrant Cake Decoration
- Natural Food Colors – Healthier Options
- Wilton Tilt-N-Turn Cake Turntable- Full Review
- Cheftronic SM-1088 Mixer -Honest Review
- Cake Boards – Covering the Bases
- Fondant Decorating Tools-Next Level!
Cake Turntable – FAQs
How Do You Move A Cake From A Turntable?
Moving a cake from your turntable to the serving platter needs a lot of care and patience. What we do to avoid all the delicateness that comes with moving cakes is to do the ‘dirty’ icing and basic frostings on one cake board and then transfer it to the display cake board for finishing touches.
But if you have frosted your cake on a turntable and need to move it, follow these steps:-
(i) Gently slip a cake lifter underneath the cake and then bring the cake board or platter that you want to transfer the cake to close.
(ii) Ensure that the cake lifter is inserted up to the other end of the cake, then gently lift the cake up and place it where you want it.
Note that this should be done before the finishing touch is added to the cake.
What Can I Use Instead Of A Cake Turntable?
The most common alternative to a cake turntable is a lazy susan. A lazy susan can be made of wood, plastic or glass. It sits low on your table but can be elevated by placing it on a cake stand, box or some kitchen tool that can hold it up. You can also stop it from spinning uncontrollably by taping some non-skid dots on the base.
Another thing that you can use in lieu of a cake turntable is a microwave plate. Place the microwave plate and its ring on a stable surface (you can also elevate it as recommended with the lazy susan). Next you put a cake board on top of the microwave plate then place your cake on it.
How Do I Keep My Cake Board From Sliding Off The Turntable?
You can keep your cake board from sliding off the turntable by using a nonslip mat. Place the nonslip mat on top of the turntable before placing your cake board. But in a situation where you do not have a nonslip mat, you can use some stick on dots underneath board before placing it on the turntable.
Ensure that whatever you are using to give the cake board traction is level so that it doesn’t distort the alignment of your cake board on the turntable.
But the best solution to cake board sliding off the turntable is to buy a turntable with nonslip surface or one that comes with a non slip mat on the surface. The Wilton Tilt-N-Turn Ultra Cake Turntable is a great example of such a product.
What Is The Best Cake Decorating Turntable?
The best cake decorating turntable is one that includes the following features:-
(i) Non Slip surface
(ii) At least 3 inches off the surface of the table/working surface
(iii) Made with durable material
The following turntables meet these criteria