There are special glues that look exactly like glass, clear and strong, perfect for this. It is Soudal Fix All crystal in Super clear. I'm sure there would be others suitable but this stuff is fabulous.
I had two candle sticks and bought two plates, one is a deeper dish style and one is flat. One was $3 the other was $1.
Simply decide what looks right and glue your plate to your candle stick. You can build two or three tiers doing this. If you do just glue one layer at a time allowing 24 hours between each layer. Be careful to centre things perfectly and make sure it's stable, decreasing in size as you go up.
One of mine is a flat cake plate the other more a bowl and suitable for sweets or ornaments or even jewellery.
I love how they turned out and they would make a gorgeous gift. Cake stands are really expensive unless you come across them in op shops. This way you can make whatever you like. You could use a white candle stick and white plate or go floral or anything you like.
For Australian girls Cheap as Chips has perfect candle sticks for $4 right now. Gathering the components is half the fun for me. I think I would like to do a three tier one for jewellery....