So you want to be a cake boss. First question: Do you need an icing turntable? Turntables are basically revolving metal cake stands and the tool of choice for filling and frosting a cake with ease.
The problem is that professional-grade turntables can be pricey, and you may not want to invest just yet. Better idea: Try one of our hacks, which use equipment you may already have in your kitchen.
1. Lazy susan
The best substitute for a turntable is its shorter, less glamorous cousin, the lazy susan.
Pull the spice bottles off the lazy susan in your cupboard that hasn't seen daylight in years, or pick up an inexpensive one at the store. Most are made of wood, plastic, or (like mine) stone. Lazy susans typically go for $10 to $15, so they're much less spendy than a pro-grade cake turntable.
If you need a little more height, set your lazy Susan on top of a cake stand or box. Stick non-skid dots to the bottom to prevent it from moving around annoyingly while you work.
2. Microwave plate
This might be my proudest "ah-ha" moment: using the plate and insert ring from the microwave to hack a turntable.
You will have to deal with the little lip around the edge of the microwave plate, which can get in the way when you're using a bench scraper or icing spatula to frost the side of the cake. My fix: placing a flat plate or cake board on top of the microwave plate. Steady the second plate by sliding a dishtowel or oven mitt underneath it.
You can also keep the insert ring from slipping around under the plates by setting it on top of a rimmed cake stand or another kind of container.
3. Cake stand or plate
When all else fails, a classic cake stand will get the job done. Choose one with a flat top and a short, wide base.
Real talk: without that spinning action, achieving a perfectly smooth finish will be a challenge. Unless you actually want to drive yourself insane, choose cake finishes that benefit from being a little bit messy, like rustic swoops or lines created by dragging the tip of your icing spatula through the frosting.
If you simply must have 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.
Images via Erin Bakes