Plateau: A very basic stand, the cake plateau is something one could use at a simple housewarming party, or perhaps a regular family dinner. Usually made of silver or porcelain, it somewhat resembles a pedestal cake stand, but without the long pillar supporting it underneath. Sometimes though, it has three or four short "legs" that give it a small height advantage compared to the other dishes on the table.
A tiered stand is pretty much like a pedestal cake stand but with more than one base where you can place cakes in, and is usually the best choice when cupcakes are involved. The bases gradually grow smaller as the stand grows taller, creating the illusion of a dessert tree or pyramid. Cupcakes are placed on the bigger bases, and a small actual cake is placed at the top_most base, or sometimes the entire stand is filled with just cupcakes. In place of cupcakes, petit_fours or other small pastries can also be displayed in this type of stand.