A tiered cake does not always have to be stacked one layer on top of the other. The use of cake separators can lift each tier off the one below it by several inches. This can not only change the look of the cake, but add height to a cake that is otherwise small. Cake separators can be decorated with flowers or left plain, or more artistic decorations can come into play to add to the cake itself.
Columns are the most common type of cake separator used. These are typically made from plastic and range up to 6 inches in height. Three or four columns are needed to support each tier and special dowel rods must be placed within the cake to keep the columns from sinking into the cake itself. Columns can be purchased in white, clear or speciality colours such as pink or metallic silver.
Bowls are a more modern approach to separators for cakes. A wide-mouth bowl can be purchased from your local craft store in descending sizes. Each bowl can be used to support the tier above it and can be filled with decorative rocks, seashells, flowers or even water and gold fish. Use dowel rods in the tier below to support the bowl prior to placing the bowl on the cake itself.
A vase can be used similar to a bowl to separate cake tiers. Purchase hurricane vases that are no more than 8 inches in height for stability. Use dowel rods in the tier below to support the weight of the cake above. Fill vases with water, rose petals or jewels, or leave them empty for natural light to shine through.
Speciality pillars known as balls or globes can be used to separate cakes. These globe balls can be purchased in sets and each tier needs to be separated by three or four balls of the same size. If you purchase your globe separators from a cake decorating supply store, they will come equipped with special dowels to prevent the globes from pressing into the cakes.
Floral foam can be used to add height in between tiers and it can be covered with fresh, sugar or faux flowers. Wrap floral foam in cling film to prevent it from flaking onto the surface of your cake. Insert flowers after the cake has been assembled to ensure you cover any gaps that appear after stacking the tiers.