Category Archives: Cake Presentation

The Best Way To Stack Tiered Cakes – To Enhance Grandeur In Cake Artistry


In the past I used to go to these massive Tongan weddings and seen the extravagant way cakes were displayed and was amazed at the way they were structured. I know that I had made a previous post about the best ways to display cake art, but today, I wish to focus on tiered cakes.

Therefore, my article today is all about the best tiered techniques for Cake Artistry.

I will show you tips, that may be help towards developing your own cake decorations skills and to learn all about stacking and cake tiers.

What Does A Tiered Cake mean?

A tiered cake means there are more than one cake, each in a series stacked one on top of the other, in a hierarchy of levels either horizontally, vertically or at an angle.
Tiers are counted, ranking lowest to the highest by the height rank/level, as seen in the chart below:


According to historical tradition tiered cakes were only limited to three. Why? here is why.

The story goes, that between the years of late 1700s and early 1800s, the first tiered cake was invented by a London pastry chef called William Rich. William had fashioned his cake design on the steeple of London's St Bride church.

The original cake tiers were alternated with fake cakes, because, of the ingredients used during this time and how it was processed, icing came out very heavy. Columns could not hold their weight.

Therefore, the lower cake and the in-between tier cakes were fake, but decorated with icing, and once they hardened, they were placed in between to hold the real cakes in place.


There are many ways to display cakes, as I had mentioned before in my previous post, however when it comes to creating several cake tiers, there are certain structural tools and rules we need to know before doing any structural work.

It is an art, in which you create a visionary dimension of grandeur and beauty. However, these also need a strong foundation.

Therefore, we need to know how to make sure that your creation remains standing throughout the whole time of display. to do this, we need to use the right tools:

  • Cake cards to be used underneath the actual cakes (invisible to viewers and thinner than cake boards or drums).

  • Plastic Straws/Rods or Wooden Skewers

  • Small metal Pliers to cut the rods/skewers

  • Scissors if using plastic straws

  • Strong Cake Lifter

  • Piping bag with the same icing used on the cake - used to fill up rod holes and to glue cakes to the boards

    Certain Aspects To Consider Before Stacking

    Before we even look at stacking, we need to consider certain aspects of the cakes, such as:

    • How many people are catered for?
    • What are the sizes of each tier?
    • How heavy are the cakes - the density (much heavier if they are layered, and have decorative toppers)
    • What sort of icing does it have?
    • The thickness of the frosting/icings
    • The thickness and diameter of cake boards/drums being used
    • The distance for delivery
    • Length of time cakes are on display
    • Will you use fake cake dummies or polystyrene dividers?
    • How will your cakes be stored and moved?

    How To Determine Catering Numbers By Cake Size

    Now, when we create cakes, we should always consider the total amount of people that will be eating the cake.

    The professional cake artists, use these measurements to also determine the worth and the price of their creation.

    When I first started my cake artistry, I found it really difficult to ask for what my cake was actually worth and always gave myself the reason that, since I am not a professional, my cakes were not up to par and therefore, always ended up under selling myself.

    It was not until I completed the online courses, that I learned, that by under selling my own talents, I was also hurting every other home baker/cake decorator.

    I lessened the worth of every other skilled cake artist, by lessening my worth, and it did no justice to anyone.

    Therefore, I had to change my mind set, and charge my worth. I do not charge the same price as professionals or bake shops, however, I no longer under sell, because of embarrassment for asking too much.

    I have started using the calculation chart that many professionals use to estimate their own cake pricing. The formula used is easy to implement and backs me up when I need to show my customers, what I charge and the reason why.

    I have provided a copy of Art Thou Cake's pricing list as an example, so that you can use this for your own cake decorating business. Please note that the prices are, in NZ Dollars and not USD, therefore you may need to adjust it accordingly.

    See my chart below:

    Art Thou Cakes Pricing List

    The chart represents a basic calculation that anyone can use. The calculation formula is basically, the amount of serving per cake multiplied by the cost of each slice, to get the price per cake order.

    However, the size of the cake pan determines how many servings you can get out of each cake.

    I use the above chart to estimate my costs, but include extras such as custom-made toppers (remember toppers alone, can cost more than $100 on their own, so make sure this is included as an extra in your final invoice or quote).

    Another cost that is not indicated in the chart, is the delivery of the cakes and any extra display/decor (sometimes, the customer will leave the whole table decoration and display for you to figure out, and it may pay for you to start a small stand collection, in case this happens).

    For more help in getting the correct pricing, I suggest that you visit Cakerschool for their comprehensive course on how to build your cake decorating business.


    I hope that I have given you enough information to be able to build your own confidence and to never under sell yourself again.

    Stacking The Tiers

    Most people still have no idea on how to stack cakes. It is easy, only if you have the correct tools and techniques.

    I can list you all the techniques I have, but everyone has a different way of stacking tiered cakes. I prefer to use only straws for stacking my cake tiers and some prefer the stability of wooden rods.

    Again it is a personal preference for me, because I am not so sure about the safety of snapped wood, leaving splinters inside cakes.

    The other reason, I prefer to use straws, is the fact that they will not leave or take away from the cake, with regard to flavor or smell.

    If you use wooden rods, you will need to make sure that they are first of all FDA approved.

    I always believe that the best way to learn how to do something well, is to watch someone else, and one of my favorite cake decorators is Krazy Kool Cakes & Designs. They are an awesome husband-wife team who have a series of cake decorating YouTube videos. I watch her series for tips and additional learning for my own cake designs.

    I like how the videos are very clear in the verbal instructions, which takes you through at a nice pace and ensuring that you can view what she is doing, without any distractions.

    If you don't want to do some online course to learn how to stack, then go ahead, just watch Laura yourself, and how she stacks her cakes, in this video.


    If you have never learned the art of stacking tiered cakes, and would like to give it a try, then, I hope that the information that you have gained in my article will enable you, to further develop in your cake decorating skills.

    I also hope, that you will know your worth and never under sell yourself and the real value of your cakes.

    If you have any questions regarding any of the information in my article, or would like to share your own experiences, then please leave me a comment below, so that I may respond.

    May you have a wonderful day of cake decorating.

    We shall chat soon.

    Cake Artistry Featured Image



    The Best Ways To Display Your Cake Artistry Using Cake Boards, Dividers and Stands

    Decorating the cake, is not the completion or the finale. A true cake artist, looks at every aspect that will enhance the cake decoration, including how they are displayed.

    Remember that cake artistry, goes beyond your normal iced cake and the odd topper. It is all about art and how best to display them for the pleasure of their viewers.

    Today my post is going to give you a few tips for how to get your own creative ideas, for the best ways to display your cake artistry using cake boards, dividers and stands.

    You see, the presentation of the decorated cake is just as important as how it tastes.

    Cake Boards

    I often look back at my very first attempts at cake decorating and cringe at the thoughts, that I actually thought I was that good to even take a picture and share it on Bebo (lol this shows my age). At one time I thought, it would be best to get rid of those images and pretend that they never happened.

    The worst cake I decorated was for my dad’s 70th. It was the first time I had ever created a large cake for a big function using fondant – I just about die now, when I see how badly I had covered the cake, or never bothered with the cake board. See my image and judge for yourself.

    Art -Thou-Cakes-image-Cake-board-dads-70-cake

    To make matters worse, I had left it so late, that I had to sneak up to the front table, behind the seated guests and put the final touches on in front of everyone – it was embarrassing and my mother gave me a look, that would have literally killed me on the spot.

    My first lessons learned were that presentation was very important and to never leave everything (literally baked and decorated just hours before) to be done on the same day the cake is to be displayed.

    Needless to say, I got a raving review at the end, about how delicious my Dad’s birthday cake tasted, so my actions were quickly forgiven.

    Nowadays, I take just as much time creating my cake boards, as I do decorating my cakes.

    What To Decorate Your Cake Boards With

    There are many ways to decorate your cake boards and the ideas of design are vast. Here are a few things that can be added to create effective cake boards.

    Using Fondant Before You Place Your Cakes:

    • Roll the same colored fondant onto your cake board
    • Create different textures on the fondant
    • Use appliques and damask lace stencils, with a bit of pearl dusting to create wallpaper patterns on your fondant covered board


    Using Buttercream and Royal Icing:

    Both these icing techniques could be used to pipe edgings or different textured surfaces on to your cake board, I.e, grass layered cake board for a soccer ball, or a picnic blanket for a stuffed toy topper (made with gumpaste/fondant of course).


    This will be the first time that I mention ribbons. Ribbons can be used as an additional decorative edging to a cake and also used with glue gun to stick to the edging of the cake board circumference as well, and goes very well with fondant.


    Edible Colors/Paints/Dusts:

    Hand painted colors or dusts can be added also on to fondant to make amazing effects.

    Chocolate Ganache:

    You can pour ganache straight on to your cake board, using the same technique that you use on your cake. Both normal and mirrored ganache can be poured on in the same way.

    You actually do not need to overthink cake boards, however, the additional attention to them will give your cake decorations an extra zing.

    Cake Board Covering Ideas

    Here are some ideas that you can use for decorating your cake boards with:

    • Grass – for sports themed cakes
    • Blankets – baby themes or toddler cakesArt-Thou-Cakes-Fondant-Covered-Cake-Board
    • Cushioning effect for an engagement cake with rings as toppers
    • Picnic blankets as mentioned above
    • Quilts or cushions for baby shower
    • Painted fondant
    • Furry effects
    • Pasted fondant shapes
    • Stenciled Designs using an Airbrush
    • Can create woven mat effects
    • Use Fondant and Candied Rhinestones or Jewelry
    • Create a Checkerboard appearance
    • Create racing car or train tracks
    • Snakes and ladder themes using edible wafer paper
    • Create the same pattern design of a bridal wear
    • Add music notes or polka dots
    • These are only a few things that you can do to enhance your cake board, and I am sure that you can think of many more on your own.

      Cake Dividers

      Very much like, with cake boards, paying attention to how your dividers are displayed is just as vital.

      Stacked cakes do not necessarily require cake dividers, however, I get the occasional order for tiered cakes, in which the customer wishes to keep the cakes separate so that they can be handed out as gifts for guests.

      This is the custom within Pacific Island cultures and I have seen how difficult it is for a clean separation when the cakes are stacked straight on top of the other. I myself prefer dividers in between only because, of the food handling aspect. Too many hands (unwashed) on the cakes are not good.

      You will need to either buy “cake dummies” or cut some polystyrene ( I cut my own) to the same size of your cake/s (remember that each tier will be slightly larger with each lowered level).

      Each of the following designs can be used:

      Basic Fondant Covering

      You can use fondant with the same colors and patterns of your actual cake designs and cover the “dummies” just as you would a cake. This is the simplest way of creating a divider.

      Fabric or Cardboard

      With the use of a glue gun you can stick a print or patterned fabric or thin card paper around the foam “dummies” and then cover each rounded end with thin cake boards of the same sizes.

      You can also glue diamante or rhinestones and even have decorative edgings on top of your fabric or card paper, to add more bling, bling.




      Flower arrangements have become a very modern and popular way of dividing stacked or layered cakes. They are easy but can be very expensive, because flowers have to be fresh and stems covered with foil or plastic so they do not seep into the cakes. The alternative of course (still expensive) are the fake realistic looking flowers – however these can look tacky and need to be very clean, or they attract dust.

      Metal Dividers

      Hotels and professionals use large metal frames to with plates that slide on to a pole for the cakes to sit on. I saw a video of this contraption and totally dislike it. It required the cakes each having a large hole in the middle and slid through the one large pole. You cannot remove cakes cleanly, and it was just a task putting the whole thing together.

      Glass, Crystals or Clear Plastics

      These are lovely when you view the whole display from afar, and I have seen many people use upturned wine glasses and a rose in each glass, used to hold up each tier.

      I am quite wary of this because if your wine glasses are not made of real quality, guess what? they can crack and never mind about the cakes crashing, I am worried about some one eating any cake in the kitchen, without realizing there might be glass bits inside.

      Crystals are beautiful, and something that I have used, however, rather than use wine cups, I use large crystal bowls and upturned with the cake board sitting nicely on top of the flat end.

      For stability, I stick on self-adhesive foam tape so that the boards do not slip. The only problem though, is another cake board is required to be placed between the cake and the bowls.

      Plastic bowls and cups can be used in the same way as glass and crystal but they will not glitter properly.

      Plastic Columns

      These columns can be bought as sets from that cake shops or craft shops. They have small holes that you insert a wooden skewer through, to be embedded into the cake.

      Gumpaste Toppers

      You can create gumpaste models and then stick wooden skews right through the top and through to the bottom and use them as columns to hold up the separate cake boards.

      Again, the ideas listed above are only a touch of the extensive materials or items one can use. For example, I have seen an exotic wedding where they used mini fish tanks (yes, with actual fish inside, how cool is that!) to separate cake tiers. This was so long ago, so I could not remember where I saw it – otherwise I would have added an image for you here.

      Cake Stands

      Cake stands, has both practical and decorative value for your cake decorations and as long as they do not take away from your main feature, which is the cake, a stand can add a lot of valuable.

      I love using cake stands. I use them for displaying and beautifying.

      Very much like cake dividers, a stand can be made or added from just about anything. My favorite thing to do is scrounge the internet for used goods, such as, garden ornamental stands that have different levels. I found a lovely Rimu wooden plant stand with three level branches, which I keep for displaying cup cakes or small tea cakes.

      I asked (or forced my husband) into creating me three separate metal stands for larger cakes, with different heights, so that I can easily maneuver them around or lay a cascading silk fabric on top to hide the stands. Having these add versatility to my cake displays and they can be reused over and over for different occasions.

      Roughly cut wooden logs also add a gorgeous effect for rustic looking cakes with a nature theme.



      As you can see, each item that I have described add another decorative element to cake decorations and can give more height or depth (literally).

      I challenge you to try decorating a cake board, adding a divider or creating a stand as part of your next cake design or cake order. Your customers will love the additional attention.

      If you have any questions or would like to share your own creative ideas here then please leave a comment for me to reply to. Otherwise, follow me on any of my social media for more updates.

      Until next time,

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