The wedding cake is an integral part of the wedding day for many couples. Photo opportunities abound as newly wedded couples cut the cake together as a symbol of unity, and for some, a chance to cheekily smash the cake in one another’s faces. Also, let’s admit it, there are very few people that don’t love a good piece of cake, despite the growing trend of cake alternatives.
For centuries, couples saved the top tier of their wedding cakes. The idea is to set it aside, freeze it and enjoy a piece on the one-year wedding anniversary. If you’ve read some of our recent posts and guessed we have the British to thank for this tradition, you’d be correct.
Originating in the 19th century, the notion of saving part of your wedding cake was easier, as it was common practice at the time to have fruit cakes. The fruit cake was simpler to preserve than sugary, buttery modern day confections. It held up well until the couple’s first anniversary or christening of their first child – or the other way around, because there was a time when the first child would happen before the first anniversary (Oy vey!). Enjoying the cake at the christening was seen as a sign of good luck for the little one.
Though this is no longer the case, the idea of saving the top tier is still one of good luck and celebration. But does anyone still does this? The New York Times reported in 2020 that nearly 46 percent of 2019 brides and grooms saved or planned on saving their top tier. (Kelly here: I know many couples that have saved the top of their cake to celebrate with on the year anniversary of their Big Day. Personally, I think if preserved correctly this can be a sweet way to commemorate such a happy day.)
But, how do you preserve wedding cake? (Melanie here: We didn’t save ours, but in my defense, I didn’t know about the tradition until it was too late!)
The consensus among some is that it’s possible, but there are a few things to be wary of when taking on the challenge. First, if your wedding cake has extra decorations or additional fondant accents, it’s best to remove those from the tier you’re saving. This eliminates trapped air.
Next, wrap the tier in plastic wrap, tightly (obviously, without crushing it), and then stick it in a resealable bag. You’ll want to insure that all of the air is out of the bag when you press it tightly shut. Finally, try not to let your freezer defrost for a year, which is probably easier said than done, especially in New Orleans with its hurricane seasons.
Luckily, if you don’t want to take on the task, or there isn’t enough room in your freezer, you still have options. Maybe instead of the whole tier, just opt for a slice of cake that you can share. It takes up less room and it’s easier to stick in a Tupperware container to ensure it keeps its structure. Additionally, you can simply call the bakery that made your original wedding cake and ask for a mini version in the same flavors and icing.
Weddings are full of tradition and this one is tasty and sentimental. Whether you save the whole thing, just a piece or none at all, your wedding and first anniversary will both be special celebrations.
*This article originally published October 2021.