Is Saving the Top Tier of Your Wedding Cake Still a Thing?

We’re breaking it down.
by Sophie Ross

You hear of couples saving the top tier of their wedding cake, putting it in the freezer and eating it to rehash memories on the anniversary of their wedding day. But is that really a thing anymore?

Fun fact: This tradition started in the 19th century, when newlywed couples would save the top tier of their cake for the christening of their first child. Today, couples typically tend to wait a little longer after their weddings to start having children, so the top tier is generally saved as a special treat for the first wedding anniversary instead.

We say this adapted version of the tradition is definitely still in fashion. But there’s a right way to make it as delicious as possible—you want the cake to actually last, sans freezer burn, of course. Find out what you need to know about having your cake and eating it one year later too, below.

Prepare ahead. 

Before your wedding day, you should instruct your catering staff to take off the top tier of the cake at the end of the night—they have to box it and make sure it’s good to go for transportation. Then, appoint a family member or friend to take it home with them to prepare for preservation.


Avoid mess and freezer burn.

Once you’re ready to freeze, you’ll want to remove any décor (like sugar flowers) so the cake is clean, unadorned and easier to wrap up.

Then, chill the cake so the icing hardens—that way, it won’t stick to the wrap and make a mess. This part’s important: Wrap the slab in several layers of plastic wrap. (No aluminum foil allowed. It causes freezer burn.) Finally, seal the wrapped cake in an airtight bag, mark it so you know what it is and freeze away.

Know the shelf life.

We know, we know—this whole tradition stems from the desire to enjoy your cake on your anniversary, right? Realistically, though, any cake will be pretty stale by the time one year rolls around—and it won’t even stand a chance beyond that. Most bakers will recommend storing for no longer than two to six months. You can choose to celebrate a six-month anniversary instead, eat the cake for your first newlywed date night or holiday together, or simply stick it out for the one-year mark. (It won’t make you sick or anything—and the nostalgia factor will still be there—but it certainly won’t taste as great as it did that night.) You can also ask your baker to re-create a smaller version of your cake for your first anniversary—why eat old cake if you don’t have to? It’s definitely not bad luck to skip this tradition.

The good news is, you can strategically choose a cake that has a longer shelf life if you have your heart set on saving it. The more dense and hearty a cake is, the longer it will last in the freezer—think chocolate, hazelnut, almond and carrot cake. Cakes with more delicate ingredients will dry out in the freezer faster (like white cake, fresh fruit cake and whipped-cream fillings). Pick your poison cake accordingly.

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