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A cake platter is a large serving plate for desserts. The shape is often round, but it may be square or rectangular. It's usually made large enough to hold virtually any shape and size of cake except maybe a bigger sheet cake. Cake platters may be made of dishware or glass and could be used to hold cupcakes or cookies rather than a single dessert. The edges of a cake platter are typically designed to easily carry the dessert and the dish may be flat on the bottom or have "feet."
A footed cake platter is usually the easiest kind to pick up from a surface such as a counter or table. Flatter platters often feature an upturned rim that can be easily grabbed. Efficient handling is an important feature of platters to help prevent the cake or other dessert from sliping off the dish. For this reason, many bakers prefer to use this type of large platter to serve a cake than a regular plate. Its generous size also allows thin icings enough room to "pool" attractively around the cake.
Some cake platters are quite fancy in design and may feature different textures as well as colors of glass or ceramics. Other dessert platters are plainer in design and color to allow them to be used with more frosting colors. Although many kinds of cake platters are footed, they differ from the pedestal holders for cakes. Pedestal, or footed, cake stands or holders usually have a tall center post. As these cake holder and server types usually also have a dome-shaped cover, they don't typically hold larger cakes well, so aren't as versatile as platters.
Many cooks use cake platters not only for serving desserts, but also for serving savory items such as appetizers at parties. As the platters are usually large, a smaller dish may be placed in the center to hold dip with vegetables and crackers then added around it. Rows of cookies or cupcakes can also look attractive served on a cake platter. When serving a cake on the platter, the edge of the dish can make an attractive "frame" for the dessert. Another benefit of the large size of a cake platter is usually being able to have enough room on it to rest the knife or serving utensil to avoid having to set it on the table or tablecloth.
@Scrbblchick -- I've seen those cake stands. They're great to have around!
I have a beautiful footed cake platter, too. It's in my china pattern and I bring it out at Christmas for cookies, but it's also a beautiful ornament. It has a matching cake server, and I just love it. It's probably my favorite piece of china that I got.
Now I want one of those Christmas-tree shaped cookie platters in my china pattern. Those present so beautifully and even though I don't do a lot of entertaining, I'd still love to have that cookie plate. It's beautiful!
I got a cake stand as a wedding gift and it's great. It doubles as a punch bowl. I invert the stand part, which puts a flared foot in the air. Then the cover is inverted into the stand and it's a great small punch bowl! I've used it as both cake stand and punch bowl.
When my sister had a voice recital, there was a reception afterward and my cake stand debuted as the punch bowl. It was so handy to have one in my kitchen and not have to look around to borrow one. Our church had one, but it was huge and we didn't need one that big. Mine was a perfect size. It holds about three quarts of punch, so that was great for about 15 people.
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