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Saving the Top Tier of a Wedding Cake: Wedding Traditions 101

Saving the Top Tier of a Wedding Cake: Wedding Traditions 101

top view of a round vanilla wedding cake

Preparing for your wedding is not easy. You have a lot to consider in order to make sure that your big day is just as you imagined it, such as your attire, catering, and budget. Your parents and relatives might also remind you about the several wedding traditions you should follow, including the cord, candle, and coin ceremony. But one tradition that you might be more curious about is saving the top tier of your wedding cake.

Of course, you know your guests won’t eat your whole wedding cake during the reception, so leftovers really can’t be avoided. But the real question is, why save the top tier for a later date?

If it’s your first time hearing about this tradition, you might find it weird. You certainly also have some questions, but nobody you know really has the answer. They might say that it’s just a tradition you have to follow.

To satisfy your curiosity, let’s delve deeper into this tradition and find out why freezing the top tier of a wedding cake is a must.

wedding cake with bride and groom teddy bears at the top

The History of Preserving the Top Tier of Your Wedding Cake

Multi-tiered cakes are very common nowadays. Most people think this custom is purely for aesthetic purposes, but each wedding cake tier actually has a purpose.

The bottom tier of your wedding cake is for slicing at the reception. This is the part of the cake you and your new spouse will cut and feed each other.

Meanwhile, the middle tier of your wedding cake is for your guests. You can have it sliced after the reception and packed as a gift for your wedding guests to take home.

The top tier of your wedding cake, however, is traditionally saved for either of two occasions. You’re supposed to save the top tier of your wedding cake for your first wedding anniversary or the christening of your first child (which often happens within the first year of marriage).

There are many explanations for why newlywed couples do this. Some say this allows you to save money on your first anniversary or your child’s christening cake. Others also say that freezing the top tier of your wedding cake helps you save time in creating another elaborate cake design for the special occasion.

But if you ask your parents or older relatives, they’ll probably say that following this custom brings good luck and prosperity to your marriage. They might also say that it’s simply a good way of having a literal piece of your wedding day when celebrating your anniversary or child’s christening.

The tradition of top tier wedding cake storage started in Great Britain, where they made liqueur-soaked fruit cakes for the wedding. Since this kind of fruit cake preserved extremely well, newlywed couples would save it for their first anniversary or serve it at their first child’s christening. This tradition stuck even when couples started using different wedding cake flavors for their wedding.

How to Preserve the Top Tier of Your Wedding Cake

Preserving food is tricky enough, but saving the top tier of your wedding cake for at most a year is challenging at best. If you want to make sure that it stays fresh and edible, you can’t simply put the top tier of your wedding cake in a container and toss it in your refrigerator. As most wedding cake guides will say, you must know how to preserve the top of your wedding cake properly, which you can achieve by following a few steps.

Close Up Of Woman In Bakery Decorating Cake With Icing

Freeze the Outer Layer of Icing

After your reception, have someone put the top tier of your wedding cake in the freezer. Leave it there for a few hours to freeze the cake’s outer layer of icing. Doing this will help you preserve the appearance of your cake and keep it fresher for a longer period.

Wrap the Cake

Once the icing is frozen, take it out of the freezer and wrap the entire top tier of the cake using plastic wrap. Be very diligent when doing this, and make sure that every inch of the cake is covered properly.

Leaving just a little bit of your cake exposed can lead to freezer burns, which won’t just ruin the texture of your cake, but also its flavor. To be sure, wrap your cake in multiple layers of plastic wrap.

Place It in a Cake Box

After ensuring that your cake is fully wrapped, place it in a cake box. Doing so will add another layer of protection to your wedding cake as it sits inside the freezer for at most a year.

You can get a cake box from any local craft store, but you might have to customize it to fit your cake. On the other hand, you can always ask your baker for a box that will fit the top tier of your cake properly.

Top view of hands wrapping chocolate sponge cake with plastic

Wrap Again

If you think you’re done using plastic wrap, you’re wrong. Before placing your cake box in the freezer, wrap it again using the same plastic wrap you used on your cake.

Wrapping your cake box with several layers of plastic wrap will keep the top tier of your wedding cake safe from air and moisture. This will help preserve the freshness and taste of your cake for longer.

Freeze It

Now, you’re ready to place the top tier of your wedding cake in the freezer! Make sure to store it away from other food items, so that the flavor of your cake won’t be affected by other strong-smelling foods.

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Then, all you have to wait for is your first anniversary or the christening of your first child (whichever comes first). When that day arrives, take the top tier of your wedding cake and thaw it out. Then, you can serve it as part of your festive celebration!

woman holding a cake from freezer

Is It Safe to Eat the Top Tier of Your Wedding Cake After Freezing It for One Year?

You pull out the top tier of your wedding cake after leaving it in the freezer for a year (or sooner). Appearance-wise, it looks like frozen food and might have even preserved its original design. But is it safe to eat?

If you did the steps on how to preserve the top tier of your wedding cake properly, it should be safe to eat and relatively harmless. However, you must be prepared that your cake won’t taste as good as it did on your wedding day. Although, some couples were lucky enough that their cake tasted the same way as it did one year ago.

To make sure that the top tier of your wedding cake remains edible after freezing it, you must remember to keep it at a constant food-safe temperature. This means it should be your priority during blackouts, which will probably affect your freezer.

You should also take care of your cake if you have to transport it to another house. As much as possible, don’t take it out of the cake box, and don’t expose it to extreme temperatures. But as long as the cake was prepared safely for freezing, it should be fine to let it out of the freezer for a few hours (only if necessary).

Another thing you need to do to ensure that your cake tastes fine when you decide to eat it after one year is to thaw it properly. You should take the cake out of your freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Then, let it sit at room temperature for another hour or so before eating it.

If you’re still hesitant to freeze the top tier of your wedding cake and eat it a year later, you can always opt for a safer and more delicious alternative. Instead of saving the top tier of your wedding cake, you can have your baker recreate it on your anniversary or child’s christening. By doing so, you can guarantee that the cake you’re sharing with your spouse is fresh, delicious, and safe to eat.

bride and groom slicing their wedding cake with figures at the top

Bring a Piece of Your Wedding to Your Special Day

Frozen or not, the top tier of your wedding cake will always remain one of the most special gifts for your first anniversary or child’s christening. Whether you decide to freeze it and thaw it on the day itself or have a new one made by your baker, having something that reminds you of the day when you two said “I do” is truly special.

Janeree Coria
Author: Janeree Coria

Janeree Coria is a digital content writer and a full-time fur parent to Bindi (a mini dachshund) and Gunther (a guinea pig). Aside from playing with her pets, she enjoys napping, watching ASMR videos, and snacking.

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