TikTok Taught Me: The Best Trick to Frosting Cakes Like a Bakery Is Hiding in Your Kitchen

Meet the life hack that took my home baking skills to another level.

You know the viral sound on TikTok that goes something like "Show me the life hack that you randomly saw one day, that is now an unconscious standard practice in your life"?

Well, this is my version of that. I saw this TikTok hack on my "For You Page" for the first time almost two years ago, and it has indeed become a standard practice in my life since then. Not only that but it has seriously upped the ante on my cake-decorating game. And it turns out it was under (or really over) my nose the whole time. You may not use this trick that often, but I promise your life will be so much easier if and when you do. Here's how to turn that tray in your microwave into a bakery-style cake turntable.

How to Use Your Microwave Turntable as a Cake Decorator

Throughout high school and during summer breaks home from college, I worked in a bakery, decorating cookies and cakes. With no formal training, I learned all of my decorating skills from the other bakers, carefully studying how they did things (and maybe watching some YouTube tutorials at home, if I'm being honest). Something I picked up quickly was that half the battle was having the right equipment. From different sizes and styles of spatulas to sharp knives to trim cakes to piping bags and tips, it was all about the tools of the trade.

Without the right tools, the job got way harder, so it's no surprise that when I tried to recreate those same cakes and cookies at home, they never turned out quite as fancy. I bought the spatulas (especially my trusty offset spatula), I got the piping bags and tips, but one piece of equipment remained out of my grasp. It was more expensive to buy, and it also took up a lot of space (precious space in my small apartment) for a task I would only use on special occasions; I could never justify the purchase. That is, until I figured out to how to hack my way to one with something I already had at home.

That piece of equipment was a cake turntable, which is essentially a cake stand with a spinning top that is stabilized to ensure smooth turning for all your decorating needs. When I saw that initial TikTok, it was like a lightbulb went off. What else in your kitchen has a turntable mechanism to slowly spin? Your microwave tray, of course!

To use your microwave turntable as a cake decorator, simply go to your microwave and take out the plastic piece with rollers. You can also use the glass tray that's on top of it, or, if your cake is already on a board or plate with a flat bottom, just use that. Place the plastic turntable piece on a flat surface with the tray or cake plate on top, and spin it as you would a cake turntable. It will spin and spin and spin, allowing you to easily spread frosting, smooth sides, pipe borders, or do any other decorating details you desire.

One note: since typical cake turntables are stabilized with internal mechanisms and sit on a heavy base, they don't spin out of control or move around. This hack doesn't account for those aspects, but there are things you can do to stabilize it. First, place a thin kitchen towel under the rolling piece to provide some traction. Second, don't spin quite as hard as you would with a traditional turntable. I keep my non-frosting, spinning hand near the tray or cake plate to stabilize and control the speed as I go.

Like I said, you may not use this hack every day, but the next time you have to frost a favorite cake for the holidays, someone's birthday, or just want to go all out on decorating desserts for your dinner party, it will come in handy. Thank me (and TikTok!) later.

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