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Freezing Your Wedding Cake: Everything to Know About Preserving the Top Tier

If you want to stick with tradition and save the top tier of your wedding cake, here's how to properly freeze and store your cake

Bride and groom cut into their yellow iced wedding cake

According to wedding cake superstitions, the top tier of the wedding cake is stored and used at the christening of the couple’s first child. Since starting a family immediately might not be in the plans of all newlyweds, some choose to use the top tier of their wedding cake on their first anniversary - whatever you decide, you might need to preserve and freeze the top tier of your wedding cake!

But this sweet tradition will only work if you have the correct knowledge on how to preserve a wedding cake properly. If not stored in the right manner, your wedding cake will turn sour and will not keep for an entire year. 

We talked to wedding cake makers Erica and Charlie from Bluebell Kitchen and Deborah Carvey behind Red Robin Pantry to learn more about this wedding cake tradition and the best ways to freeze a wedding cake. We've even included what to do if you are lacking in freezer space! 

Can You Freeze a Wedding Cake?

If you take the appropriate steps outlined below, you can absolutely freeze a wedding cake.

"Both buttercream and fondant iced cakes freeze very well. Fruit cake can also be frozen and a few of our couples still do this," says Erica and Charlie.

"We always ask if a couple is planning to save any of their wedding cake at our final catch up consultation. On their wedding day we provide detailed instructions as to how to freeze their cake if that's their plan." 

If you are planning to freeze the top tier of your wedding cake, make sure that you do not cut into it at your reception. Instead, have the bottom tiers of your cake sliced and pop the top tier into a box so that it doesn't spoil. 

How to Freeze the Top of a Wedding Cake

Bride and groom smiling next to their floral tiered wedding cake

These steps for storing your wedding cake will keep it as fresh as the day it was baked!

  • "Ensure that all ribbon, cake toppers and any other big decorations have been removed from the cake before freezing," explain Erica and Charlie. Smaller decorations, especially if made from icing, can be left on.
  • If the cake is placed on a cardboard bottom, which is not wrapped in foil, you need to transfer the cake onto a foil covered cardboard or onto a plastic plate. This will prevent your cake from getting any kind of cardboard smell or taste in it.
  • Freeze the cake in the freezer for an hour. This will make the icing hard so that it will not stick to the paper when wrapped.
  • Remove the cake from the freezer after an hour and start wrapping it. "Wrap the cake in two layers of cling film tightly and in tin foil if necessary," Erica and Charlie advise. Ensure that the cake is thoroughly covered from top to bottom and all the sides. The wrapping should be absolutely airtight so that there is no taste of freezer burn in the cake.
  • "Place the cake in a clean freezer drawer until it has fully hardened," say Erica and Charlie. 

How to Defrost the Top of a Wedding Cake

"The tricky bit is when you unfreeze the cake," explain Erica and Charlie. "Condensation forms when the cake thaws and can leave permanent marks on your icing. The tricky bit with a fondant covered cake is actually the unfreezing rather than the freezing. This needs to be done slowly and carefully to avoid marking the icing."

The key to minimising this is by "slowly unfreezing the cake in the fridge, for at least a couple of hours and then once it's almost unfrozen bring to room temperature. As you are likely to be giving people small slices, any marks on the sugar paste aren’t likely to be noticed."

Wedding Cake Freezing Tradition Explained

Slice of wedding fruit cake

Traditionally, the top tier of a wedding cake is frozen so that it can preserved and eaten at one of two events - your first wedding anniversary or the christening of your first child.

This wedding cake superstition comes from the UK, where wedding cakes were often made from fruit cake. This rich and dense bake preservers exceptionally well so could be eaten well past the wedding date! It is also said to bring good luck and prosperity to the couple should they enjoy a slice of their wedding cake a year later. 

These days the tradition of freezing your wedding cake has had an upgrade as more couples look to save a couple of slices of each tier, instead of freezing the whole thing. If you're lacking in freezer space - this idea is for you!

"You can freeze an entire tier, but we usually suggest couples slice their cake and put it in an airtight box between layers of parchment or in a freezer bag. They can then take it out slice by slice as and when they want it. Just make sure it’s wrapped up well and not touching any ice in the freezer, as that will cause freezer burn," explains Deborah from Red Robin Pantry. 

Erica and Charlie agree, saying, "lots of our couples love to save a couple of slices of each tier to enjoy a few weeks later, when they're reliving their magical day.  More of our couples mention that they want to do this rather than save the traditional top tier. "

How Long Can You Freeze a Wedding Cake?

This will depend on the type of wedding cake your are planning on freezing. A traditional fruit cake can be preserved for longer than a year however a sponge cake (especially one with fruit and cream) will not hold up as well. 

"With a sponge cake, we wouldn't recommend freezing for longer than one month. Lots of our couples go away on their honeymoon straight after their wedding, so this is a lovely treat to enjoy when they return," says Erica and Charlie.

However, this isn't always the case with one of their couples sharing that they'd frozen their sponge tier and enjoyed it on their first wedding anniversary. "They said it was as delicious then as it was on their wedding day!"

In order to avoid freezer burn, Deborah recommends sticking to the three month rule. "I would say it would keep in the freezer for about three months before you might start to see freezer burn. After this point check your cake periodically to make sure no ice is building up on it." 

Is It Safe to Freeze a Wedding Cake?

Providing the appropriate steps are followed, it should be safe to freeze and eat your wedding cake as the cool temperature will keep the sponge fresh. 

Wedding Cake Preservation Boxes

Round White Cake Storage Box - £7.50, Hobbycraft

Clear white storage wedding cake box

Keep your wedding cake looking its best with this round wedding cake preservation box from Hobbycraft. It's a bargain at under £10 and the perfect size for a storing a single tier. The box features a pair of handles on top that can be folded down for compact storage, making the box easier to carry.

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Collapsible Cake Carrier - £34.99, Lakeland 

Blue collapsible wedding cake carrier preservation box

This cake carrier from Lakeland collapses down to half its normal height making it much easier to take along to your wedding venue for easy transport. It can also hold cupcakes should you wish to preserve those!

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Round Cake Storage Caddy - £8.99, Lakeland 

Round cake storage caddy

With five click-lock clips for an airtight seal, this round cake storage caddy from Lakeland will certainly help keep your wedding cake fresh! It's dishwasher and microwave safe so can be used well after your first year of marriage. 

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Discover even more wedding day traditions with our ultimate guide to wedding day traditions rom the UK and around the world