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Cake Layers vs Tiers. What's the difference?

So, what's all of this cake jargon about?

Cake layers vs Cake Tiers

I'm so glad you asked and believe me, you are not along as this is probably one of the most common questions I'm asked when customers are deciding on a cake. Often times people will refer to cake layers as tiers and vice versa. It's important to know the difference as it affects the cost, and aesthetic of a cake and ultimately the number of servings the cake will yield. Now, experienced bakers understand that most customers may not understand cake and therefore, it is the responsibility of the professional to educate their clients to ensure customer satisfaction. Ok, enough of that now lets get into it.

A traditional (dessert) cake usually consists of layers (two or three) which are sandwiched in between filling/ buttercream/ frosting etc. So, for example our Red Velvet cake consist of two layers of red velvet cake with a cream cheese filling and finished with cream cheese frosting. A traditional cake that grandma used to make would be a 3-layered cake (3 layers of cake and 2 layers of frosting or filling ). Now, that finished 2-3 layered cake would now be considered a tier in the world of "stacked cakes".

Therefore, a stacked cake consist of multiple tiered cakes what are stacked on top of the other. The most common expression of this exist in wedding cakes for instance. Traditional wedding cakes consists of at least three tiers which in essence are three cakes staked on top of the other going from smallest (top tier) to largest (bottom tier). The dimensions of a common round 3-tiered cake might look like this: 10” wide cake tier on the bottom, an 8” wide cake tier in the middle, and a 6” wide cake tier on top. Generally, each tier is comprised of at least 2-3 layers of cake, but not always.

Remember, tiers generally consist of 2 or more cake layers. Tiers can be round, square, octagonal, or a combination of shapes, heights, and widths. Traditionally a Multi-tiered cakes were just for weddings but not anymore. They are now used as center focal of an event and those events are birthdays, baby showers, gender reveals, retirement parties, and other celebrations.

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