A few months ago, I stumbled upon one of those ingenious baking hacks, the kind you find when you’re browsing social media late at night, the ones that make you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Devoted cake bakers know that a turntable, which is essentially an elevated cake stand that spins, is a helpful tool for frosting cakes. It gives you a level surface on which to work, raises the height so you’re not crouching over your counter, and allows you to easily rotate the cake with one hand as you’re frosting or decorating with the other, resulting in a smooth frosting finish or an unbroken line of piping.

But heavy-duty turntables can be expensive, and they take up valuable real estate in your kitchen, both hard to justify if you’re only an occasional cake baker.

Hack to the rescue! Cookbook author Richard Makin (aka @schoolnightvegan) recently posted this trick on his Instagram: Instead of using a cake turntable, he removes the wheeled ring from his microwave (you know, the one on which the microwave plate spins, also known as a microwave turntable ring), sets a plate on top of the ring, and then sets the cake on top of the plate, where it spins with ease. Voilà! A DIY cake turntable.

Microwave ring on baking counter, with layer cake on round plate in the background Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Don't have a cake turntable? Use a microwave ring instead!

Even though I own a proper cake turntable, I was eager to give this trick a try. Plus, it gave me a reason to bake our new Lemon Blueberry Cake, a towering layer cake that has eye-catching blueberry-speckled frosting best achieved using a rotating cake stand. And … it worked perfectly! 

While a microwave ring doesn’t elevate your cake as high off the counter as some turntables, it spins easily, allowing you to rotate your cake while you smooth on the frosting. An offset spatula or bench knife is another handy tool; hold the spatula or bench knife at a 45-degree angle against the side of the cake, then turn the makeshift turntable to smooth out the frosting. (For more tips on how to frost your cakes like a pro, check out this video, How to Frost a Cake.)

White icing being smooth onto a cake with a bench knife and microwave DIY turntable Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Use a bench knife and a DIY turntable for a perfectly frosted cake.

If you own a microwave but don’t want to invest in a turntable, this is a great workaround. And if you don’t have a microwave, either, you can purchase microwave turntable rings inexpensively, and they are small and lightweight enough for easy storage.

Give it a spin and let us know what you think!

Cover photo by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne.

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Lemon Blueberry Cake
Lemon Blueberry Cake
4.3 out of 5 stars 10 Reviews
2 hrs 30 mins
one 6” three-layer cake or one 8” two-layer cake
Recipe in this post
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The Author

About Jessica Battilana

Jessica Battilana is the Staff Editor at King Arthur Baking Company and an award-winning writer, recipe developer, and ardent supporter of eating dessert every day. She is the author of Repertoire: All The Recipes You Need and coauthor of eight other cookbooks, including Tartine Book 3 with Chad Rob...
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