An antique square cake plate is a unique way to serve cakes and pastries, whether for a tea or birthday celebration. While round cake plates are the easiest to find, other shapes are available, including square and octagonal cake plates.
History of the Cake Plate
Cake plates have evolved from trays that were used to serve beer and other beverages as early as the mid 1600s. These flat trays were often footed, meant to help servers serve more efficiently and save the floors from spills.
These early plates were called salvers. Eventually servants found that they were just as useful for serving jellies and desserts as they were for wine and beer. As the salvers increased in popularity, they also became more elegant.
Although the American Colonies were heading for a major war, the wealthy wanted to emulate the opulent feasts of France. These feasts were served in numerous courses and served with the help of salvers overflowing with candied fruits, cakes, pastries, and other treats. Salvers had been imported but the break with England meant that Americans began manufacturing them in the 1770s.
By the mid 1800s salvers and cake plates were synonymous. Some cake plates were given pedestals to showcase the items that they held. Others remained flat or footed. A variety of materials were used as well.
- Hammered copper and aluminum
- Early American Pressed Glass (EAPG)
- Milk glass
- Pattern glass
Collectors love cake plates, no matter what the shape. EAPG and Depression glass are particular favorites with many people, whether it is clear or colored glass.
Shopping for an Antique Square Cake Plate
Although cake plates fell out of favor in the mid 1900s, they have become popular once again with the advent of food blogs, food shows, and other venues that show them beautifully decorated with dainty cakes and pastries.
Some of the best places to find these plates are:
- Antique stores
- Antique auctions
- Flea markets
- Garage sales
- Thrift shops
- Cake plate
- Cake stand
- Cake tray
Examples of Antique Square Cake Trays
You can find examples of these beautiful plates and stands all over the Internet. Here are a few that you will find interesting. Dates are given where they were available.
- Clear Pressed Glass, possibly Buttons and Bows pattern
- Mason's Vista Pink Red Transferware cake plate
- Fostoria cake pedestal with scalloped edges
- EAPG cake plate from the Diamond Glass Company, circa 1889
- Milk Glass cake plate with lacy edge
- Minton Persian Rose cake plate, circa 1910
Displaying and Using Square Cake Plates
A glass front, lighted cabinet filled with a variety of colors of glass cake plates is beautiful but there are other ways to decorate with your antique square cake plates.
- Arrange them in groups of varying heights and colors.
- Display candles on them
- Display realistic looking clay cakes and treats on them
- Use the antique cake plates to hold fruit
- Make a display of another, small collection on the cake plate and place a dome over it
- Use it for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, tarts, and pies
Caring for Cake Plates
Once you have your cake plate a little, gentle care is all it will take to keep it looking good.Follow these tips to keep your collection in like new condition.
- Always hand wash in warm water with a gentle soap.
- Place a folded tea towel on the bottom of the sink to guard against chipping and cracking.
- Rinse well and dry thoroughly.
- Store away from direct sunlight.
Use them and enjoy them. By treating your cake plates gently they will be around for a long time.