Using Wood in Your Wedding Cake Display

Presently I have a cupcake stand sitting in my cake shop awaiting cupcakes for tomorrow’s wedding order.  The bride arrived with it on Monday and it has inspired me to share what I know about wooden cake and cupcake stands, and what you should be aware of in using wood in your wedding cake display.

A few years ago, before pinterest, I bookmarked Blue Cupcake’s blog post on a display table she did with wooden slabs. I love the warm outdoor feeling of this display without making the goodies feel too exposed to the elements.  It has simplicity, yet elegance to it.

And, the rustic slabs are even sized to fit her glass lids – another way of avoiding dust and pollen from the air.

I delivered my Pastel Pink and Cream Magnolia Buttercream Cake last Saturday and there were two wooden slabs waiting for me. I chose which size I liked best and gently placed the cake on top. Unfortunately, I could not snap a picture, but I do have a cake from last year (a groom’s hunting cake) that had the same effect:

This display was over the top with the antlers and a camo table cloth but here is a photo of just the cake:

It is such an easy thing to do if you have someone who can cut a piece off of a tree trunk.  You can choose maple, birch (for a whiter looking tree), or for an even better look, have a pattern in the wood or part of the rings showing. Did you know the number of rings pertains to the age of the tree?

I want to show you something that only those who have come for a tasting have seen. My dad, the woodsman in my family, made this table for my shop when I opened.  Spalted Maple, it’s called, and it is a very popular style.  Isn’t it neat? The unusual lines are actually made from a fungi infection that happened to the tree. Even oddity in nature is beautiful.

So here are a few things to keep in mind when making or buying a homemade wooden platform or cupcake tower:

  1. It must be sturdy.  The last thing you want is your beautiful confection to fall over!
  2. It must be level. You can have all of the curves, knots and crumbly bark you want on the sides of the display, but the surface must be level. If there is a dip in the centre, the cupcakes may slide into each other, and of course, if it slants to one side, anything could slip off.
  3. It must be food safe. Three ways to do this:
  • Sand and urethane or treat with mineral oil and bees wax. Just like a kitchen table or a wooden salad bowl, prepare that level surface so nothing will come out of the wood and contaminate your desserts. If you can’t:
  • Do not put the edible delights directly onto the wood: cupcakes and cake pops need their wrappers, cakes need at least a board underneath, and cookies need to be bagged.
  • Place a sheet of round glass overtop (won’t work on a cupcake stand) to protect the food but not take away the effect of the wood grain.
And one more thing to keep in mind: if you want to keep it around after the wedding and use it again, it is best to make it out of dry wood.  With time the wood will shrink and cracking happens, opening up the perfect platform and turning it into more of a “C” shape (or PacMan, if you are my age).  After spending the time sanding and treating the wood, you may not appreciate this cracking – but sometimes it adds to the rustic effect and you may like it :)
So if you are planning a rustic or woodsy themed wedding and pass by Hydro cutting down trees, stop and grab a couple stumps! You never know what you can come up with for your wedding cake display!  To see the results of how the cupcakes looked on this wooden stand, and the rest of the display, click here: Mountain Themed Wedding