Cake stands are ubiquitous in interiors photography. If you dropped onto planet Earth for an intergalactic romp and mined the blogosphere for anthropologic clues, you might imagine humans subsist on cake. Food52’s recent Cake Parade notwithstanding, our diet is considerably more diverse. Yet there it is, on every still life table: a lovely lump of flour, butter, and sugar on an ornate pedestal.
A cake signals occasion, yes, but there’s a more practical explanation: Cake stands look good. They add height to a flat surface. They offer the opportunity to introduce new materials. And their pedestal base inverts the typical shape of home vessels, which widen at the bottom for stability. Diversity of height, material, and shape is a styling slam dunk.
Why hide these MVPs in the cupboard, then? Cake stands deserve to emerge more than the one to six times a year you bake a cake, I say. Here’s how to expand their breadth:
A cake stand can double as a nightstand or occasional table next to low-slung furniture.
Select one with a wide enough diameter to accommodate a glass and book. Since modern furniture is often lower to the ground, and thus functionally well-suited, try pairing a contemporary chair (or bed) with a more traditional cake stand for visual contrast.
Use a cake stand to group and display loose personal items.
I tend to read two books at a time—one non-fiction and one fiction, which I toggle between based on mood. A wooden cake stand on the dresser in my bedroom holds the books currently in rotation, plus the two on deck. The cake stand prevents books I’m keen to read from getting lost in the shuffle of the bookshelf, and looks more elegant than my prior system (i.e. piling them on the floor next to my bed.) You could use the same method for your keys, wallet, and eyeglasses on an entry table. Or for makeup and perfume on a vanity.
Place a moisture-resistant cake stand (like ceramic or glass) next to the bathtub, with a neatly folded stack of towels on top.
Or hang your towels and conscript the bathside cake stand into holding your scented candle, a podcasting device, and a glass of wine for a mellow and restorative evening.
Here are some cake stands I love from the Food52 Shop (though if you've already got one just use it!).