Cake turntable, Cake icing turntable, Cake decorating turntable; all these refer to the same thing.
A cake turntable is a cake stand with a revolving top on which cakes are frosted and decorated.
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
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.
Plastic Cake Turntables
Advantages: 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.
Disadvantage: Not heavyweight enough to carry heavy cakes. Because of the lightweight nature, heavy cakes can topple over if placed on it.
Metal Cake Turntables
Advantages: Durable, Heavy Duty, Turns smoothly and is stable
Disadvantages: Heavy weight, more expensive.
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.
Glass Cake Turntables
This is one of the least used of materials, the other is wood.
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.
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.
Wooden Cake Turntables
Wood is the second least known and used material for making cake turntables.
Advantages: They are lightweight but heavier than plastic, portable and aesthetically pleasing
Disadvantages: May not last as long as other materials.
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.
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
This 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
The 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
This type of turntable 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.
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 but they 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
These types of turntables have been known to last forever! 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.
This makes is ideal for commercial cake decorators.
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 turn table.
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.
Furthermore on this issue of brand name; brands that have celebrity endorsement would definitely cost more than those that don’t.
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 you metal 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.