What You Need to Know About Saving Your Top Tier

All you need to know about this fun – but tricky – wedding tradition!

What You Need to Know About Saving Your Top Tier

Photo: Jenny Quicksall Photography

colorful wedding cake with different top tier
The tradition of freezing the top tier of your wedding cake to enjoy on your one-year anniversary seems to be one of those customs couples don’t do a background check on – they simply participate. The origin of this practice comes from the 19th century, when weddings were often quickly followed by the conception of a child. In theory, saving the top tier of your cake for one year would ensure you’d have a little piece of your opulent confection at your child’s christening. 

Of course, the gap between your nuptials and childbirth has since become more varied, so the fad has changed to a sweet reminder of your big day. Not all couples opt in for this culinary throwback: many have said that it never tastes as good, no matter how perfectly you preserve it. Additionally, it takes up room in your freezer, and no matter how much space you have, it’s always nice to have a little more. Others have noted that some cakes keep better than others: thicker, dense desserts typically stand the test of time over the thin varieties. Though, in the end, its ability to stay delicious is dependent on your freezing method. 

We recommend letting the staff of your catering company know ahead of time that you plan on participating in this tradition. Appoint someone you trust to take the tier home and begin the conservation process immediately. They can place the confection in the freezer to begin the initial hardening. After about one to two hours, take the cake out, loosely wrap it in several layers of plastic, and place it inside a cake box. For extra protection, wrap the cake box itself in a few layers of plastic. One year later, move the tier to the refrigerator to thaw for 48 hours prior to consumption, and then let it sit on your kitchen counter for two to three hours. Finally, enjoy your cake!

If the very idea of this turns your stomach, there is a modern alternative: many catering companies are now offering the option of replicating your wedding cake for your anniversary. This way, you can partake in the custom without the hassle of freezing the cake yourself!

For more on beautiful wedding confections, view our photo galleries! For additional inspiration, view these handpainted wedding cakes, gorgeous lace-patterned confections, and these small, stylish cake designs.

Opening photo by Jenny Quicksall Photography