I think you will have the best results by cutting these from 1/4" Baltic Birch ply. The ply will give it strength. These are fairly fragile projects so they will need to be protected from mishandling. They can be left natural or painted. I think I would leave the stakes natural to prevent any contamination of the cake.
Click now and make a family heirloom this weekend.
DVD and the 2013 update DVD at this link. DVD #1 is $20 and contains over 1,100 patterns. The 2013 update DVD is $7.50 and has another 178 patterns. The 2014 update DVD is $7.50 and has another 223 patterns.