Pretty Homemade Platters for Your Baked Goods
Years ago when I was making wedding cakes almost every weekend I discovered a trick that I have been wanting to share for a while. It has to do with flat presentation platters. Wedding cakes have large diameters and they must be placed on perfectly flat and strong bases. Cake decorators have used cake drums for years and while they do have a certain decorative aspect to them with their foil covering, they also leave something to be desired in the aesthetic department. Sturdy, yes. Elegant, no. Wedding cakes aside, there were also certainly times that I needed a large or unusually shaped flat platter (like for Buche de Noel – log shaped) and there had to be a better way.
One day I had a local glasscutter make me a clear glass base. It was inexpensive and I could choose shape and size. I started with a large round and enjoyed it so much that I went back for more rounds of varying diameters, squares and a rectangle for my Buche de Noel and jelly roll type cakes. The more I used these bases the more their versatility became apparent. When not in use for cakes they can be used as platters for brownies and cookies and even for cheese platters and hors d’oeuvres. And at first I loved that they were clear. They blended in with whatever table surface or tablecloth they graced.
Then one day I had another brainstorm. What would happen if I painted one side of the glass then flipped it over to place my food on the glass side? Genius, if I do say so myself. Not only can you custom color your platter, but you can add texture by sponging or spraying or using decorative brush strokes. You can paint patterns or use multiple colors. You don’t have to worry about the paint being food-safe as it never comes in contact, being on the underside. This is hands down the easiest and most inexpensive way to make a custom platter – and it is fun!
Ask your local glasscutter, but in general squares and rectangles are less expensive than rounds – and there is nothing wrong with putting a 14-inch celebration cake on an 18-inch square base! Be creative. Look for ¼-inch plate glass, which is meant for tables and is very strong, and ask to have the edges sanded. To give you an idea of price I could get a 12-inch square for $7 and a 16-inch round for $28 this fall (2014).
Then choose paint. The one pictured up top is one of my favorite looks. It is black “webbing” spray paint and gold spray paint. The “webbing” spray paint (that’s what it will say on the label. I used Krylon) comes out like “silly string”, if you remember that kid’s product. It makes the black “veins”. Once dry, cover with the gold. When you flip the glass over you see the black veins and the gold background as shown in the image. Very elegant.
The photo above shows a glass round with a red rose stencil made with red spray paint and then that was covered with silver spray paint.
I even found glow-in-the-dark spray paint and created a small dish for “Santa’s cookies”. Year round it can be used for your own snacks while watching TV and movies in the dark. You can see your food on the glowing plate!
Our square below was sponge painted with periwinkle blue craft paint and then covered with gold spray paint.
Simply paint the underside to your liking – spray, sponged, you name it. To clean any of your platters simply wipe the top clear glass with a clean with a damp soapy towel followed by a towel soaked in clean water. If it looks streaky, use a vinegar and water solution – like you would to clean windows! To store you do want to make sure that the painted side does not get nicked.