Want a bigger cake without all the... cake?

Hello, and welcome to my deep thoughts on the cake world. Thanks for reading. Recently, the themes of my blogs have taken on some specific parts of the design process that seem to be reoccurring points of confusion with new clients. While I absolutely don’t mind explaining things to any one individual who contacts me, it was brought to my attention that these topics may be blog worthy for anyone willing and wanting to surrender about 3-5 minutes of their life to me at a time via reading. If you missed the previous editions or just can’t get enough of my dry humor coming at you in text form, you can find the links here.


The February blog spoke primarily of serving size and why it’s an important starting point for planning your dessert(s). I focused primarily on layers as they are something that literally every client of mine has to take into consideration. For this blog, I’m going to explain tiers but this bit of knowledge is less applicable to my client pool. Most of the individuals I work with are planning special events like birthdays, showers, baptisms, and holiday parties. These crowds tend to be more manageable than say… a wedding. Weddings are by far the most popular place to see tiered cakes. That’s not to say that you can’t have one for your baby’s first birthday (mine did), it’s just to say that it’s a lot of cake that usually ends up being leftovers for the average party size that I tend to create cakes for.


Below I’ve drawn an illustration that shows the difference between a layer and a tier in the cake world. Essentially, a tier is made up of one or more layers. Layers of one tier are going to be the same size. Layers that are a different size create additional tiers. There are several ways to build a cake but my preferred method is going off of a two-inch difference for each additional tier, respectively. This was standard when I first entered the decorating world over a decade ago and to my knowledge it hasn’t changed. There are, of course, other ways to achieve various looks, but that’s what you should expect from anything custom. Standard is a starting point for your consideration in this reference.


Okay, so now you understand the difference between a layer and a tier without question. Let’s say you LOVE the tiered look but your party isn’t big enough to really justify that much cake. What’s a host/hostess to do?! Dummy. No, I’m not calling you a dummy. I’m suggesting a dummy tier. We can pick a tier (or tiers) that makes the most sense as far as serving sizes go and that will be made of real cake. Any additional tiers you might want to include simply to achieve a look you love can be made out of Styrofoam and decorated (in real icing) accordingly. This is a little trick I learned back in my college decorating days and it was used often for brides who wanted a bigger cake than they needed. Cost wise, you’re not paying for eatable cake but you are paying for the decoration so it’s a relatively cost-effective solution, too.


As always, feel free to contact me if I may provide you with a custom quote for your consideration. I’m always honored to be a part of the party when I’m able to create a custom dessert for your next celebration. If you have any specific questions you want me to answer or blog about, you can email me at outpast2@gmail.com Thanks for reading!

A sketch, from me to you, with love.

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