Q: I have recently been to a wedding where the couple didn’t serve the top layer of their wedding cake. It sat on the table until the caterer took it away in a box. I later found out they saved the top layer to celebrate their 1 year anniversary. Where did this tradition come from and is this something we have to do? –Sweet Tooth
A: Dear Sweet Tooth,
This tradition dates back to the late 19th century when a grand cake was baked for the christening of the couple’s first born. It was assumed that the christening would occur soon after the wedding ceremony, so the two ceremonies were often linked, as were the cakes. So it was easier for the couple to save the top layer of their wedding cake to use for this purpose. However, if there is nothing saying you must do this! I am a firm believer of doing things out of the box. After all, it is YOUR DAY, and you need to make it YOUR OWN! There are a number of reasons you might not want to follow this tradition:
1. You must immediately freeze the cake, so be sure to have someone to do this for you if you are headed out of town for your honeymoon! This can be a headache if this is the case.
2. It takes up quite a bit of room in your freezer.
3. It NEVER tastes as good 1 year later…trust me here!
4. You paid for the whole cake to serve to guests…so USE IT! The baker usually doesn’t include the top layer in your guest count because they anticipate you saving it. So you can reduce the cost of your cake by serving that layer to your guests as well!
5. Now a days, your baker will offer a complimentary top layer on your anniversary as their gift to you.
If you do not want to save the top layer but not necessarily serve it on your wedding day but enjoy it before it dries out..I suggest you cut the cake into 12 separate pieces and freeze them separately. Then on the date of your wedding each month, unfreeze a piece and celebrate your anniversary EACH MONTH! It might not taste as good when you get to month 7, but it is a great way to extend the festivities of your wedding!
If you are going to save your top layer, I suggest trying the vacuum freezer bags after wrapping it in plastic wrap 3-4 times. If you don't have the vacuum bags, wrap the box a number of times in the plastic wrap as well and DON’T remove it from the freezer until 2-3 days prior to your anniversary. Let it thaw in the refrigerator for 48 hours so it becomes moist again.
Dance, be merry, and let them EAT CAKE!
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