It’s a common wedding tradition for newlyweds to keep the smallest tier (or even a large slice) of their wedding cake to share on their one year anniversary. It’s mostly a sweet and sentimental way to celebrate your anniversary, but there’s also a superstition that by eating a piece of your wedding cake one year after your wedding, it helps to bring good luck and prosperity! Hey, a little bit of cake to bring good things? Twist my arm!
This sounds easier than it actually is — so many couples open their cakes a year later to find them ruined by freezer burn (yuck!!). We absolutely loved our wedding cake from Seattle’s Honey Crumb Cake Studio so my husband and I want to participate in the age-old tradition by enjoying our delicious cake a second time around without any missteps. I asked our cake baker for her expert advice (hi, Carla! 👋🏼) and she gave me explicit instructions on how to best preserve our wedding cake AND a few remaining sugar peonies that she had created (by hand!!!) so that we could enjoy a modified version of our cake again in 2019.
Her instructions were simple enough, but I encountered a few unexpected challenges that I would love to help you avoid!
FOR THE CAKE:
Start by getting the cake refrigerated ASAP!
- Carla recommended wrapping the cake as gently, but as tightly as possible with Saran/Cling Wrap in THREE separate layers. This is your cake’s first defense against the dreaded Freezer Burn. This step was easy enough. I wrapped the cake over the top and under the bottom twice (just to be sure that the Cling Wrap was able to securely grab hold of itself) and then I did the same all the way around the side of the cake. Rinse and Repeat x2.
- Next, the now-wrapped cake should be placed in an air-tight container to be put in your freezer without disruption for 12 months. Carla had approved our cake carrying container if we used tape to seal it up, but I got jammed up two ways at this stage: (1) the “dome” of the carrying container was just an inch shorter than the cake, which when attached to the carrier base with the cake inside would have left an unsightly indent, (2) the carrier was too large to fit in our freezer drawer!
I reached back out to Carla for her expertise… her suggestion: a commercial food container! Brilliant! It was narrow enough to fit in our freezer, but gave enough room for the cake itself and so that the cake could be gently lifted in and out. Bonus: being a commercial food container, you know the lid is going to keep the contents air-tight so it was an even better solution for avoiding Freezer Burn! (Plus, both items are super affordable and could easily be repurposed in your home after eating your cake!) Carla knew the dimensions of her creation so she recommended the perfect container size for our cake, but I highly recommend measuring both your cake and your freezer before making your purchase because the Cambro containers come in a wide range of sizes!
- When you are ready to eat your cake, take it out of the freezer and place it in your refrigerator two days ahead of time so that it has time to thaw, then take it out on the day that you plan to eat it. Remove the Cling Wrap and let the cake sit on the counter for 4-6 hours to fully thaw, coming to room temperature. Once your cake is ready to eat, you can redecorate with any salvaged decor (such as sugar flowers, faux fruit or even your cake topper!).
FOR THE SUGAR FLOWERS:
If you are fortunate enough for any of your sugar flowers to have survived the cake-cutting frenzy, it’s a fun way to redecorate your wedding cake for your one year anniversary. We had two full flowers and three flower buds still in decent condition that our venue was able to save for us. (Thank you, Hotel Sorrento!)
- Each item had buttercream frosting on it from originally being attached to the cake, so I gently wiped the excess frosting off with a paper towel (if you don’t remove the frosting, it will break the gum paste down and ruin your sugar flowers!) and then left the flowers out to dry for 24 hours in a cool place away from moisture and direct sunlight, both of which would also cause the gum paste to break down. Try not to touch the sugar flowers with your bare hands for the same reason, handling them from the stems whenever possible.
- Arrange the flowers in a small bud vase to keep them upright. The sugar peonies that I have did not allow much room for the buds to also stand up in the vase, but they are fine to rest gently on their sides on a flat surface.
- Place the vase and any additional gum paste items you would like to preserve in an air-tight container. If you would like to display them (which I highly recommend if you love your cake décor as much as we did), Carla recommends a glass cloche with a base. I ran into a snag with this task as well… please measure before you order! The first cloche that I ordered was WAY too small (see bottom right image in the collage above). Talk about a #rookiemistake though…
- Once your cake has thawed (using the directions above), arrange your sugar flowers and/or various other items on your cake and it is ready to serve!
What was your favorite part of your wedding day or a wedding that you have attended? I love all wedding-related things and hearing how couples personalize their celebrations!