Saving the Top of the Wedding Cake – A Sweet Tradition?

top wedding cake

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What’s all the controversy about the age old tradition of freezing the wedding cake’s top layer to eat on your one year wedding anniversary? Well, actually, it was considered a good omen (good luck) for the couple to save a bit of wedding cake to celebrate a baby’s arrival into the family during the first year of marriage. To save money, the cake would be eaten at the wedding and at the new child’s christening party.

wedding cake traditions

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Delicious or disgusting? There’s certainly a lot of varying opinions. Even if you don’t plan on hearing the pitter patter of new little tootsies in your newlywed home, you may want to try to save the cake as part of the wedding tradition.  If so, here’s the skinny on how to save the cake safely.

top of wedding cake tradition

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Remove the top tier of your wedding cake at the reception venue and have it whisked into the refrigerator quickly. Bring it home carefully packed in a box and prepare to freeze ASAP!  Follow these steps for safe, hopefully mess-free cake preparation:

  1. Place your cake on a small piece of cardboard and place on a freezer shelf unwrapped for 1 – 2 hours. (This will set the icing and decorations so the wrapping won’t make a mess)
  2. Wrap the cake well with plastic wrap, trying to get as much of the air out as possible.
  3. Next wrap in aluminum foil.
  4. Consider buying a specially made cardboard wedding cake keeper for added protection.
top of the wedding cake tradition

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Traditionally, a couple saves the top tier of the wedding cake to share on their first anniversary. Unfortunately, the cake often ends up somewhere in the back of the freezer, squished beyond recognition! This box is made specifically for storing that special keepsake so it's as perfect and tasty in a year as it is now. Printed with a beautiful silver filigree design, the box is made of sturdy cardboard with a slick coat surface for durable storage and easy clean up. Includes a removable silver board for easy cake transfer, and a freezer-proof plastic liner. Box measures 9" square and 5" deep. The top is imprinted with the word "Memories" in silver foil and can also be used to store other types of keepsakes such as your cake topper.

Wedding Cake & Cake Topper Keepsake Storage Box

Cake types that survive the year best include cheesecake, fruitcake, whiskey cake and carrot cake so consider one of these varieties just for the top tier of your cake to ensure freshness. Cheesecakes freeze extraordinarily well.

Fast forward to your first wedding anniversary (it goes fast!) and you’re ready to eat cake. But hold one now. There is a tried and true best method for cake defrosting, so read up.

On your one year wedding anniversary, or whenever you want to eat the cake, let it thaw in the refrigerator for 48 hours and then at room temperature for 2 or 3 hours, unwrapped, otherwise the icing will stick to the wrapping and you’ll pull it all off when removing it.  I’ve heard that a good trick is to take the cake out the night before you want to defrost it and set a fan on low to blow on the cake lightly, so that it cools slowly and dries, keeping the cake from sweating and dripping (YUK!)

Of course, if you don’t want to go through all of this trouble, and perhaps get sick from eating spoiled cake, you can ask your baker to make you a new cake for your anniversary, creating a new sort of tradition for yourselves and your family.

wedding cake top tradition

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Sweet treat tradition or gross waste of time? Tell us your wedding cake saving stories.

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  1. Daniel

    We did this with varied results. The cake was one part baci cake and 2 parts almond. The almond stayed perfect but the baci cake did not. It was even fine after 18 months. Do it you wont regret it.

  2. Cheryl

    We had our top tier wrapped as listed above and the cake was absolutely delicious on our one year anniversary. While the small amount of cake that we had on our wedding day was great, we actually thought the tier frozen and defrosted on our one year anniversary was even better…it was so moist! Try it!

  3. Top Wedding Sites

    I can’t believe my son and new daughter-in-law forgot to ask to save the top of their wedding cake. I guess they’ll have a little anniversary cake made by their baker in the same flavors.
    If you want to save the top tier of your cake, make sure to tell the banquet manager ahead of time.

  4. hand pallet wrap

    My mom will probably make my wedding cake, so I can always get her to put one aside, but I believe that you can have the memory of your cake and just share it with the people who are sharing in your day. I’d keep anything that was on the cake though, like a topper.

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