When you think of a 3-tier cake stand, what comes to mind? I bet I can guess: crustless finger sandwiches, fancy desserts and a lady holding a teacup (perhaps wearing a bonnet, with her pinky finger in the air). Did I nail it or what? 😉
Before I knew about the versatility of these unique pieces, the only image that really came to mind when I thought of tiered cake stands was a fancy tea party. Don’t get me wrong, I love the eye-catching presentation that these tiered pieces make for afternoon tea and any tea party-inspired event for that matter. But tea parties don’t come around every day—and these pieces are too pretty and practical to be reserved for just a couple of times a year. So here are just a few ways to enjoy our cake stands, upcycled from exquisite vintage china, in your everyday life.
What is a Tiered Cake Stand?
A tiered cake stand is a type of serving dish that was initially designed to hold and display multiple cakes in a tiered or stacked formation. It typically consists of 3 circular plates that are supported by a central post or pillar—cake stand hardware—allowing each level to be positioned above the one below it.
The plates in a 3-tier stand are typically different sizes, with the largest at the bottom (~10” in diameter) and the smallest at the top (~5.5” in diameter). This differentiation between plates creates the tiered effect that showcases whatever is on your stand in an elegant and eye-catching way.
Generally speaking, tiered trays come in a variety of materials including glass, metal, wood, iron and plastic. They range in style from simple and plain to ornate and decorative, and naturally also differ in size and weight. At The Brooklyn Teacup, all our serving pieces and décor are upcycled from pre-loved vintage dinnerware. Our assembled pieces generally weigh between 3 and 4 pounds.
Why Do People Love The Brooklyn Teacup’s 3-Tier Cake Stands?
Uniqueness—you can’t find them anywhere else!
- All of our tiered serving pieces are upcycled from high quality vintage fine china and transferware.
- We mix and match the brands and patterns we love to create custom designs that are highly unique and often one-of-a-kind.
- The 3-Tier is the perfect piece for someone who likes to entertain but is tight on space.
- Serve multiple dishes at once without crowding your countertop.
- Thanks to its height, the 3-Tier packs a visual punch and easily dresses up any occasion too.
- The 3-Tier is designed to be disassembled for compact shipping and storage.
- I like to say that it transforms depending on your mood or the menu.
- If you’re having just a few people over and want to switch things up, a 3-Tier can be easily re-assembled as a 2-Tier using either the middle and top plate or the bottom and middle plate.
Read more about the benefits of 3-Tier Cake Stands and Serving Trays here.
What Can You Put on a 3 Tier Cake Stand?
Let's discuss the most obvious example first—
Tiered cake stands are often used for displaying desserts and pastries at tea parties, but did you know they’re versatile enough to serve bite-sized sweets and treats for just about any occasion?
They work great for presenting savory appetizers in small portions, as well as individually packaged, grab-and-go snacks like fruit. When you add little bowls or ramekins, tiered cake stands are also a sophisticated way to serve nuts and candies.
If you’re someone who likes to decorate, tiered cake stands are the perfect canvas for making any area feel festive.
Depending on the season, consider the following ideas for showcasing your display piece:
- Seasonal fruits, vegetables, mini pumpkins, and gourds
- Ornaments and figurines
- Mini candles & tea lights
- Garlands of tinsel, leaves, flowers, pompoms, ribbon, etc.
- Small plants and succulents
You can also use décor to enhance the food presentation. For example, you might consider adding twinkling fairy lights around the base of the stand for an added wow factor that will help draw attention to whatever you’re serving.
Aside from serving snacks or desserts, 3-Tier Cake Stands shine at events in a variety of ways, such as:
- Coffee set ups: for pods, tea bags, sugar/creamer, and to-go cups
- Displaying individual size condiments like butter and jam
- Bar area: for cocktail napkins and beverage garnishes
- Table seating/place cards
- Signage explaining food items (like cheese board markers)
- Small goody bags/party favors
Where to Put a 3-Tier Cake Stand:
A tiered cake stand can be used in so many places around your home that have nothing to do with dessert. I like to think of them as multifunctional dividers or mini shelving units that add beauty and organization to any area.
Here are just a few less-common areas and ideas for your tiered serving stand to love:
Use on a vanity, dresser, or larger nightstand for things like:
- Hair products
Make your desk clutter look sophisticated and intentional. For example, use for:
- Notecards and post-its
- Business cards
- Headphones/Air Pods
- Tape, mini stapler, clips
Entryway or Foyer:
Keep a 3-Tier on your entry table for quick access to the items you need when leaving the house. Creates a delightful perch for storing essentials and odds and ends you might otherwise misplace:
- Envelope opener
Who Uses 3-Tiered Cake Stands?
A 3 tiered stand is a versatile piece that can be enjoyed by just about anyone, no matter their style or stage in life. If you love entertaining (or know someone who does!), it's the perfect stylish piece for dinner parties and casual get-togethers alike. It’s also an ideal gift for those who may have no interest in hosting but want an eye-catching display for their favorite accessories.
Whether you’re a newlywed living in a small NYC apartment or a retiree who doesn’t want to be weighed down by all your old china platters and serving pieces, this chic, compact and collapsible 3-tier cake stand is an easy choice.
P.S.: If you’re in the process of decluttering or downsizing, read about how The Brooklyn Teacup can upcycle your china and help turn your old dinnerware into practical tiered serving trays, gifts and home décor.
How to Style Your Tiered Cake Stand
There’s no wrong way to decorate your tiered cake stand, but there are some good rules of thumb. Perhaps I’ll do another post about it soon!
If you’re working with food and want inspiration, check out Marissa Mullen of That Cheese Plate (@thatcheeseplate) for easy and impressive entertaining ideas that translate well to tiered trays. I also love food stylist Meg Quinn of Ain’t too Proud to Meg (@ainttooproudtomeg), who does a lot with sweets in addition to cheese and charcuterie.
And if you’re looking for décor inspiration for dressing up your tiered stand for any time of year, check out French Creek Farmhouse’s (@frenchcreekfarmouse) styling tips.
We’d love to hear what you think!
Do you use a cake stand or tiered serving piece to host or entertain? If you have any suggestions, or notice anything that we should add, feel free to leave a comment below.