Why You Need a Cake Turntable
If you start looking at the specific equipment that you could use for cake decorating, you can fall down an internet rabbithole fairly quickly. There are what seems like hundred of different piping tips out there for frosting work of every kind. There are piping bags of various sizes and description. There are cake levelers, layer slicers, cake servers, flower nails, and edible glitters. You could spend all day in a cake decorating shop convincing yourself that you need to get all manner of accessories in order to make the birthday cake you promised your friend.
The truth is that you probably don't need most of the specialty equpiment in the store unless you're a frequent cake baker, professional pastry chef, or someone with more kitchen space than you can possibly fill up. But that doesn't mean those gadgets aren't fun to use, or that they won't make your life easier if you have trouble with specific cake-related tasks. In my experiments with cake-specific gizmos and gadgets, I've only really found one thing that I use all the time, and that is a cake turntable.
What's a cake turntable? Imagine a cake stand with a top that rotates, or an elevated Lazy Susan. It basicallyy just provides a level surface for you to put your cake on, plus the ability to spin the cake around as you're frosting it or otherwise decorating it, meaning that you aren't balancing a piping bag in one hand and trying to reach the opposite side of a cake with the other. Especially if your kitchen is on the smaller side, being able to turn the cake on its base rather than move around the kitchen helps so much. But I've found it's also great if you want to plate something in a creative way—make a spiral on the bottom of a plate, for example, or move what you're working on at various angles.
A plastic cake turntable will run you about $10 at Michael's or online, not a huge investment if you're someone who frosts cakes pretty frequently. My favorite model is this Ateco turntable because it has a heavy cast-iron base that won't move around or slip, but if you're making cakes infrequently, it's a costlier proposition. Even using a Lazy Susan you already have will work. Once you have a turntable, you may find yourself making more cakes just to be able to decorate on it.