Foods

The Great British Bake Off is back: Display your showstopping bakes on these stands


A beautiful cake stand can take your latest sponge cake to a whole new level – often quite literally with the raft of tiered serving plates on the market right now – perfect for whipping up a Bake Off-inspired afternoon tea for friends and family.

Having a “cake in the house”, once the practice of 1950’s housewives, is now swinging back into fashion. A domed cake stand, then, can be the perfect vessel for which to keep your bake fresh, covered and most importantly seen, by an admiring flow of visitors.

Standard cake stands, meanwhile, simply compliment the effort you’ve gone to rolling up your sleeves for the good of the clan. Or, taking a leaf from Calendar Girls, you could just splash out on a shop-bought cake and plate it up. We won’t tell anyone.

How we tested

We made sure there was a wide range of sizes to suit larger families as well as those baking for one. Handily, our tester had a bumper run of autumn birthdays in the family so put each cake stand through its paces, loading them – where suitable – with an array of birthday cakes, sandwiches, traybakes and scones.

In a competitive class of cake stands from mainstream brands to independent, family-run businesses, we tested for durability, ease of cleaning, aesthetics and price points, seeking out an array of different materials to suit sweet-toothed bakers far and wide.

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The best cake stands for 2021 are:

  • Best for showstopping bakes – Artland simplicity cake stand with straight-sided dome: £65.45, Notjustjugs.com
  • Best for a design classic – Cornishware two-tiered cake stand: £50, Cornishware.co.uk
  • Best for tea for three – Artesa three tier cake stand: £25, Dunelm.com
  • Best for a pretty spread – Maxwell & Williams teas and c’s kasbah mint two-tiered cup cakes stand: £23.99, Cookserveenjoy.com
  • Best for bakers on a budget – The Bake Off Box cake stand: £15.99, Bakeoffbox.co.uk
  • Best for a sense of occasion –  Mosser black raspberry glazed milk glass cake stand: From £47.36, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for a sustainable stand – Liga cake stand: £42, Loveliga.co.uk
  • Best design for life –  Brabantia waxed walnut food stand: £80, Brabantia.com
  • Best for a personalised heirloom – The Oak & Rope Company cake stand: £165, Theoakandropecompany.co.uk

Artland simplicity cake stand with straight-sided dome

Best: For showstopping bakes

Rating: 10/10

Move aside Mary Berry – our cake is having its moment. The truth is, whether you’ve clinched cake gold at the village fete or you’ve fluffed up your fudge slices, there’s little that doesn’t look drop dead delicious under the dome of this mighty glass cake stand. Oozing simplicity in both name and style, this elegant glass domed stand would suit any surrounding – from kitchen countertop and boutique cafe to a charity garden tea spread fit for a queen.

The straight-sided dome offered a generous amount of space to showcase our layered birthday cake but, for the everyday, it also served as the perfect home for pastries, slabs of cake and traybakes. The hand-blown dome fits to the stand (manufactured) safely and snugly and both parts came up sparkling after a gentle wash in the suds. The only downside? You may develop a serious weekly cake-baking habit in a bid to keep this vessel full of sweet, moreish baked goods. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Cornishware two-tiered cake stand

Best: For a design classic

Rating: 9/10

Spanning nearly a century of production and beloved by cooks, bakers and homemakers across the globe, Cornishware’s iconic blue and white stripes were originally painted to depict the sunny blue skies and white-crested waves of Cornwall. Today, its wares are largely made in the West Country where they are fired, glazed and painted by the steady hands of artisan crafts people.

Available as one, two or three-tiered cake stands, we sampled the two-plated stand for a special occasion spread of afternoon sandwiches and cakes. We were really impressed by the generous size of the plates and the hand-painted blue rim added a unique sense of occasion to the get-together. The plates are connected by an elegant steel handle for seamless manoeuvring and were robust enough to be popped through the dishwasher post feast.

Equally dreamy are the red striped and yellow striped versions of the same design which, along with the classic blue, feel like you’re investing in a real heirloom. Offering a vast range of matching side plates, teapots and mixing bowls, this could be the start of a stripe-filled love affair.

Artesa three tier cake stand

Best: For tea for three

Rating: 8/10

No trawling around the pantry for spare serving plates with this nifty number. Consisting of three tiers of slate that connect to an elegant stainless-steel core, we constructed this cake stand in a matter of seconds. Strong and durable, the slate held a generous selection of afternoon tea treats for two; from dainty party sandwiches at the bottom graduating to a middle layer of fresh scones topped by patisserie-style cakes on the top floor.

The slate wiped clean of crumbs with just a damp cloth and our testers de-constructed it with ease. We were really impressed by its durability. Thanks to the strong, stainless steel handle and robust slate layers, it’d be an ideal cake stand for both indoor and outdoor entertaining. Super value for its price point and one to whip out again and again.

Maxwell & Williams teas and c’s kasbah mint two-tiered cup cakes stand

Best: For a pretty spread

Rating: 9/10

Crafted by Australian homewares designers Maxwell & Williams, this stylish, ceramic two-tier cake stand stole the show at our afternoon tea gathering with its striking yet delicate aesthetic. Taking inspiration from Moroccan and Middle Eastern art, the plates feature a soft palette of tessellating motifs complimented by real gold detail and are connected by a robust, gold coloured chrome frame.

The stand held an ample serving of sandwiches and cupcakes, perfect for tea for two, and washed up a dream with a scoosh of warm soapy water. The patterned design, also available in “rose”, makes light work of tablescaping your afternoon tea – simply mix and match with your favourite cups and saucers for a pretty, festive spread.

The Bake Off Box cake stand

Best: For bakers on a budget

Rating: 8/10

If you’re a fan of the Bake-off with a passion for re-creating the magic of the show in your own kitchen, this official GBBO cake stand will make the perfect throne for your next coffee and walnut cake. Measuring up at 25cm, the stand is made from bamboo fibres and coloured in the brand’s signature duck egg blue, which compliments a wide range of eye-catching, branded kit including cookie cutters, cake tins and handy baking apparatus.

Granted, it might not be as regal as some of its competitors, but it helped our wobbly Victoria sponge sing, and the shatter-proof material brought added peace of mind when little sticky hands began fighting over the last few wedges of cake. A great, affordable buy for novice or younger bakers keen to show off their latest, finger-licking masterpieces.

Mosser black raspberry glazed milk glass cake stand

Best: For a sense of occasion

Rating: 7/10

For over 30 years, US-based family-owned business Mosser has been creating specialist hand-pressed glassware for stores across the world. The 15cm stand is the smallest in its collection of three sizes but made a handsome stage for our modest sponge cake, piled high with fresh fruit and cream.

Beautifully made with a burnished finish, the stand would work just as well for a stack of showstopper brownies or 2-3 cupcakes. If black isn’t your colour, this small but perfectly formed heavyweight also comes in blue, jadeite green and baby pink to name but a few eye-catching colourways.

Liga cake stand

Best: For a sustainable stand

Rating: 9/10

Ethically sourced cork might seem an unlikely base for which to present a freshly-baked cheesecake, yet, topped with a creamy, ceramic cake plate (a generous 19cm width), the result is cool, understated elegance. Designed and made in Portugal, the stand is part of Liga’s “earthware” collection; a cork-pottery fusion of contemporary kitchen staples including bowls, plates and teapots, all rooted in a sustainable manufacturing process.

The beauty of this cake stand is its no-frills assembly (the plate nestles easily onto the thick cork rim) and when the cake crumbs have gone, its able to shapeshift from cheese board to serving plate and back again. Plus, for every 1 per cent of sales in the online shop, Liga donates to Sea Changers which helps fund some of the UK’s most vital marine conservation projects.

Brabantia waxed walnut food stand

Best: Design for life

Rating: 8/10

Brabantia’s classic range of food stands are made by Netherlands-based Dutchdeluxes and feature a range of three sizes crafted from dark oak or walnut. Our tester had a big soft spot for the medium sized (25cm) waxed walnut stand which staged a miniature platter of cakes and scones with both substance and style. The beeswax and food safe varnish finish meant cleaning crumbs from the plate was child’s play, and the stand looks equally at home as a serving plate for breads, cheeses or sushi.

For those with a slightly bigger budget, this is a solid investment and a family of different sizes would be a great choice for those who regularly entertain.

The Oak & Rope Company cake stand

Best: For a personalised heirloom

Rating: 9/10

What do you get the baker who has everything? Why, a real oak cake stand carved with a personalised name of course. Available in small (26cm diameter) or medium (34cm diameter), the board itself is a real thing of beauty; a weighty wheel of hand-carved oak topped with a deep ringed groove that holds a majestic glass dome gently in place on top (an optional extra). The high price point may not suit every baker, but for special occasion gifting, this is a real winner.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.


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