It doesn't matter how deft your piping nor how well-set your creme pat, a showstopper presented on a paper plate isn't ever going to win your star baker - and it probably will earn you one of Mary's disapproving stares. On the other hand, a bit of graceful height can elevate (not just literally) even the most humble of Victoria sponges to afternoon-tea-worthy status. Whether you're after a versatile piece that will suit whatever you put on it, or a cheap and cheerful plate for occasional use, there's something here for every signature bake and technical challenge imaginable. Innuendos optional.
1. Neon Yellow Melamine Cake Stand: £24.99, rice.dk
If you can’t justify spending £60 on a milk glass stand (see no.3) but love their retro look, this melamine one from the Danish homeware brand is a good imitation. It’s 30cm across and also comes in a 15cm coral version.
2. Wedgwood Polka Rose Vintage Two-Tier Cake Stand: £40, selfridges.com
This two-tier stand from the fine china company has chintzy appeal without being overly twee. The edges of the plates are scalloped and finished with gold to match the stem and it unscrews and packs down for easy storage.
3. Jadeite Green Glazed Milk Glass Cake Stand: £64.96, thecakedecoratingcompany.co.uk
Opaque milk glass was a popular import in Depression-era America and originals are highly collectable. This modern version is slightly more affordable and comes in several different sizes and pastel colours, though jadeite green is the classic 1930s shade.
4. Mary Berry for Lakeland 33cm Cake Stand: £11.99, lakeland.co.uk
Here’s a stand that lets the cake do the talking. The plain glass design makes it a versatile choice for displaying everything from tarts to two-tier occasion cakes, with no icing-stand colour clashes. Hopefully the Mary Berry seal of approval will extend to the showstoppers you’ll display on it.
5. Vintage Style Glass Cake Stand: £18.95, notabox.co.uk
This old-fashioned, cut glass-style stand is a cheaper alternative to traditional silvered-glass designs. It also comes in blue and pink, but the thirties-inspired green hue gives it an antique quality and makes it look more expensive than it is. Hand wash only.
6. Linda Bloomfield Handmade Porcelain Cake Stand: from £44, notonthehighstreet.com
As seen on the Great British Bake Off (displaying a Ruby Tandoh creation), this porcelain stand is hand-thrown in a pottery studio in west London. Our favourite is this summery turquoise, but it also comes in pale blue and pink. Choose from three sizes.
7. Maison Cake Stand: £25, johnlewis.com
The ruffle-edged white cake stand was a popular style in the 1950s and this ceramic number emulates it in a cleaner, more modern way. It’s a classic piece that won’t date and, at 31cm, is wide enough for your standard 8-inch sponge.
8. Bloomingville Olivia Cake Stand: £57, houseology.com
Here’s a clean, Nordic and slightly nostalgic two-tiered stand from the Danish design brand. It’s glazed ceramic with a chrome handle and, like most tiered stands, packs down when not in use.
9. White Ceramic Cake Plate: £41, sophieconran.com
This softly rippled stand from Sophie Conran’s Portmeirion collaboration has a seaside, New England charm about it, and the white porcelain is a safe choice for regular use, looking equally good displaying a Victoria sponge for afternoon tea or a lemon meringue pie at dinner.
10. Jansen & Co Yellow Cake Stand: £25, heals.co.uk
An unusual design from the Amsterdam-based brand, the bright, primary colours and candelabra-like shapes of this one’s stem make a striking contrast with the flat, white plate. Warning: it may upstage your cake. Available in several colours, shapes and sizes.
John Lewis's white, ruffle-edge plate is a really versatile piece if you're only going to buy one, while regular bakers will be going dewy-eyed over the traditional - and beautiful - milk glass stand.
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