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3 Hacks for Icing a Cake If You Don’t Have a Turntable

When you’re learning how to decorate a cake, there’s one piece of equipment you’ll find in every video or written tutorial: a turntable. Turntables are the tool of choice for filling and frosting a layer cake with ease. But if you don’t have a turntable in your kitchen, don’t let that stop you! I’ve got three easy ways to frost a cake without a turntable.

Chocolate Frosted Cake on a Cake Stand

How to frost a cake without a turntable

Professional-grade turntables can be pricey, and newbie decorators may not want to invest just yet. Luckily, there are three simple substitutions that can stand in — some you may even have around your house!

1. Lazy Susan

Using a Lazy Susan to Frost a Cake

Images via Erin Bakes

The best substitute for a traditional turntable is its shorter, less expensive cousin, the lazy Susan.

Pull the spice bottles off the one in your cupboard, or stop by the home goods store to pick up an inexpensive one. Most are made of wood, plastic, or in my case, stone. Lays Susans typically go for $10-$15 — well below the price of a professional turntable.

Using a Lazy Susan to Frost a Cake | Erin Gardner

If you need a little more height, place your lazy Susan on a cake stand or box. I also recommend sticking non-skid dots to the bottom to prevent it from moving around while you work. 

2. Microwave plate

Using a Microwave Plate to Frost a Cake | Erin Gardner

You might be having the same “ah-ha” moment I first had when this hack struck me: You can easily use the insert ring and plate from your microwave as a turntable!

Most microwave plates have a little lip around the edge, which can make icing a bit tricky. For more clearance around the cake to swipe with your bench scraper or icing spatula, place a flat plate or cake board on top of the microwave plate before frosting. Steady the second plate by sliding a dishtowel or oven mitt underneath it. Keep the insert from slipping around under the plates by setting it on top of a rimmed cake stand or other container that will keep the microwave insert contained. 

3. Cake stand or plate

Frosting a Cake on a Cake Stand | Erin Gardner

When all else fails, a classic cake stand will do the job. Choose one with a flat top and a short, wide base.

Achieving a perfectly smooth finish will be a challenge. To save yourself the time and headache, choose cake finishes that benefit from being a little bit messy, like rustic swoops or simple lines created by dragging the tip of your icing spatula through the frosting. 

If you do want a smooth buttercream finish, work in sections. Move around the outside of the cake with your icing spatula or bench scraper and use your other hand to carefully spin the stand a little bit at a time.


Introduction: Wheel-Of-WOW!

My daughter turned seven on 9/28, and for her birthday she wanted a Wheel-Of-WOW cake. In case you don't know what a W-O-W is, it's from Webkinz World(

It didn't come out as well as I thought it would, and I will talk about some of the things that I would do differently in the last step. I'm still proud of it, however!

Step 1: Make a Turntable

All good cake makers have turn tables especially made just for turning their cakes as they decorate them. Unfortunately, I'm neither a good cake maker, or in possession of such a wonderful thing. Time to improvise.

First, I need something like a lazy-susan (why is she lazy?) to turn the cake on, and then something to put on top of the turny thing to put the cake on.

I took the wheel out of my microwave, and used a cutting board (mistake number one) to put on top of it.

It worked very well, but it was still a mistake. I'll explain why in the last step.

Step 2: Bake the Cake

This is just how to decorate a cake to look something like the Wheel-Of-WOW, not how to bake a cake, so I won't go into on the baking detail here. Basically, follow the directions in the cook-book or on the back of the box, using two 8 or 9 inch round pans.

When they come out, they will be "domed". You'll need to level them. Use the turn table from the previous step and turn as you cut.

You should end up with something like the cake pictured below (and lots of delicious left overs!).

As with all cakes, you want to ice the top of the first layer, then put the second layer on top.

Step 3: Making the Icing

The real Wheel-Of-WOW has ten segments in ten different colors. I'm not that adventurous. I went with six colors. Blue, Purple, Red, Orange, Yellow and Green. To make them, I used plain white vanilla icing and food colors.

Start by putting icing in a zip-lock bag. Then add food coloring. I started, as you can see in the third picture, with three drops of food coloring. NOT NEARLY ENOUGH. More like 10 or 15 a bag. Red took 30 drops. Remember that you can always add color, but can't remove it.

Close up the bag, and then start mixing. I rolled them between my hands to mix. Do whatever you have to do to mix the colors. Purple was red and blue. Orange was red and yellow. Green was one of the colors in the coloring.

This step is VERY messy, and licking your fingers will give you a major sugar rush! I also had a bag break on me, and some of the zip-locks did come undone. Very messy.

Step 4: Make the Outline

Put some of the white icing into a snack back and clip off a corner to make a small hole. This will be your home-made piping bag.

The Wheel-Of-WOW has a circle of white in the middle, where the word "WOW" is written, and then the pie segments on the outside.

To make the circle, I held the "piping" bag in place, and turned the cake on my turn table. Then I filled in the circle with white icing.

Next, I made radial lines to mark off six somewhat equal segments. I had these go down the side of the cake as my color was going to go down the side as well.

It came out pretty good, I think.

Step 5: Fill in the Segments

Take a bag of colored icing, and cut off a corner. Fill in each segment with a different color. The I went down the side as well.

Using the icing bags won't give you the "smooth" appearance kind of shown below, so you'll have to smooth each segment out with a spatula as you go along.

I would recommend two things during this step. First, decide on your layout ahead of time. I chose to go blue, purple, red, orange, yellow, green. That way I had the primary colors with their mixtures in between. Second, clean the spatula between colors. I don't mean with soap and water, but just make sure there is no left over purple on there when you go to do the red kind of thing.

Step 6: Add the WOW

The Wheel-Of-WOW has the word WOW in the middle of it, so we have to add our WOW. I chose to use red lettering, as I didn't have any yellow left. I outlined my WOW with white icing to make it stand out.

When I cut the corner of the red bag the first time, I made it a fairly big hole. I was going for coverage. Now I wanted detail, so I had to cut another corner off, making a smaller hole for the detail of the WOW.

Step 7: Add the Prizes

The Wheel-Of-WOW is all about the prizes, we need to add them to our cake.

Normal prizes include Kinz-Cash (the currency of Webkinz World), food, clothing, furniture, and toys.

We used chocolate coins for the Kinz-Cash, a chocolate soccer ball and a large gummy bear for the toys, a candy pumpkin for the food, and a Polly Pockets shirt for the clothes.

The Polly Pockets shirt was bought just for the cake, and was washed with dish soap and warm water before being placed on the cake.

Step 8: Lessons Learned

My first mistake was to use the cutting board as a turn table. I should have used the bottom of our cake box for it. The cake was going to end up in the cake box anyway, and having it on the bottom of the cake box would have saved me the transfer.

I covered the cutting board with the top of the cake box until it was time to serve the cake. I served the cake from the cutting board, and then moved the cake to the bottom of the cake box when we were done eating. By then it didn't matter if it got a little messed up.

My second mistake was with the WOW. I didn't plan this out at all. I started with the first W, and didn't look at how big I was making it, or where I was placing it, compared to the size of the circle in the center. I pretty much ended up covering the center circle of white with my WOW.

If I were to do it again, I would start off by buying some gel icing just for the WOW. Next, I would start writing it with the O in the center of the circle for size, then adding the two Ws on each side.

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How To Make A Cake Turntable: An Easy Solution!

Want to know how to make and decorate a cake?

Well, you will find thousands of video tutorials waving on the internet. But before you set off to make one yourself, there's certain equipment you need to collect first. A cake turntable is one of them.

Icing or frosting the cake without a turntable is quite difficult. If you want to buy one from the shop, that's ok.

But what you may find amazing is, you can make one with what you already have in your kitchen! But how? That's what I am going to tell you in this article, some easy ways to make a cake turntable at home.

How To Make A Cake Turntable

How To Make A Cake Turntable

Technique 1: Using A Lazy Susan

It's probably the best substitute for a cake turntable. Though, it's shorter than a traditional turntable, works pretty well. Moreover, they are less expensive. A Lazy Susan can be of wood, plastic and sometimes even stone.

Step 1: Pull off the spice bottles and make it clear so that you can use it as an icing board. Or you can buy one from a goods store.

Step 2: If you want to raise its height, place the Lazy Susan on a box or cake stand.

Step 3: To prevent its movement while working, stick non-skid dots at the bottom of it.

Technique 2: Using Cheese Tray

Necessary Equipment:

  • A round marble cutting board (cheese tray)
  • A round bowl
  • Silicone (glue)

Step 1: peel off any labels, foot pads or stickers from the marble.

Also Read: How To Cool Cupcakes Fast? (4 Simple Steps!)

A good quality marble board has, not stripper sparkle but natural sparkle on it. So you may find it quite hard to label it off.

The board also has small felt feet. You have to scrape them off too. For doing so, your teeth and armpit is enough. What you have to do is to wedge the marble board under your armpit. Then simply fret away at the feet and they will split. The removal of the sticky thing may take about 2 minutes.

Step 2: center the bowl-base on the underside of the marble board.

Now it's time for starting the real work. Center the bowl. The base of the bowl must touch the base of the marble. Now take a pencil and mark the circle of the base with it.

Step 3: run silicone bead around the base of the bowl.

Once you finished drawing the circle on the base of the board, flop over the bowl. Then apply silicone along the perimeter of the circle at the base of the bowl. Do this as precisely as possible.

Step 4: place the bowl on the board.

Place it back the same way you placed it for doing the circle. Use the pencil mark as a guide for lining up the base of the bowl with the mark. Wipe away any excess silicone that spreads out.

Step 5: wait for several hours.

Take some rest because now it's time the glue will set and the bowl will get stuck with the marble.

After the joint has been created, flip the blow over along with the board so that the board rests on the bowl. Congratulation, you've made it.

Technique 3: Using A Microwave Plate

Because of the insert ring that comes with the microwave plate, you can easily turn it into a turntable.

Necessary Equipment:

  • Microwave plate
  • A flat plate or cake board
  • An oven mitt

Step 1: place the microwave plate over a cake stand.

If you don't have any rimmed stand, then collect any other container that'll contain the microwave insert.

Step 2: place a cake board over the microwave plate.

Any flat plate will also work. It removes the difficulty that the lip around the edge of the microwave plate creates.

This will prevent it from slipping around the plate. This will also provide more clearance so that you can swipe with the icing spatula around the cake.

Step 3: place an oven mitt underneath the flat plate.

You can use a dish towel instead. This will keep this plate steady over the microwave plate.

Finally, you can place the cake on the top plate and do the frosting easily.

Technique 4: Using A Cake Stand Or Plate

When none of the above techniques is possible, a traditional cake stand will somehow manage to do the job.

While buying, choose one that has a wide and flat top and a short and wide base.

But achieving a smooth and perfect finish with a cake stand is quite challenging if you're not so skilled. Again, it's more time consuming and headache-causing.

To save time, you can use cake finishes that will prevent creating rustic swoops. Single lines are also created by the icing spatula while dragging it through the frosting.

To have a smoother finish like buttercream, work in section. With one hand, move the bench scraper or icing spatula around the cake outside. And with the other hand, carefully rotate the cake stand a bit at a time.

Don't miss out the following video!

Final Verdict

Creating your necessary stuff using the existing home materials is an art. At the same time, it's inexpensive and creative. However, to make a substitute of a turntable, you may also need some equipment to buy (like silicone).

Also Read: Muffin Pan vs. Cupcake Pan: The Actual Difference

But the overall work will cost you less than buying a cake turntable from a store. Again, you will get a satisfactory result once you get skilled. You can instantly prepare this before frosting the cake or you can also save one to use in the future.

You can also separate the parts once you finish the icing. Then use the plate or the bowl or the Lazy Susan in other purposes like the Lazy Susan as a spice cabinet etc.

About Sweet Revelations

Thoughts on "How To Make A Cake Turntable: An Easy Solution!"

CAKE STAND -- CAKE TURNRABLE DIY //art n idea// moving table Turning Table - DIY Icing Table/

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A toy, but sometimes something so dangerous.

Turntable diy cake

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CAKE STAND -- CAKE TURNRABLE DIY //art n idea// moving table Turning Table - DIY Icing Table/

He leaned back in his chair. He took my limp hand, still covering my lower abdomen, and lowered it onto the seat. Then he did the same with the other hand.

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