How to Freeze Your Cake and Eat It Too!

Today’s guest post comes to us from Lien Sanchez, the Owner and principal Cake Artist at the Crazy Cake Company, a specialty cake boutique in Davis, California. She creates custom wedding cakes and sculpted celebration cakes, including Mrs. Penguin‘s and Mrs. Cherry Blossom‘s wedding and groom’s cakes for their weddings.

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Why, where, how, when, and who came up with the idea to save a perishable product, namely the top tier of your wedding cake, to eat on a couple’s one-year anniversary? Was it custom, a secret initiation, or perhaps a practical joke?  More importantly, since cakes are best enjoyed fresh, how can you partake in this tradition without putting your stomach at risk? Read on…

This tradition, like most others, is an evolution of a practice that was actually quite simple and practical.  In earlier times when it was expected that a baby would soon follow a couple’s wedding, the wedding celebration and a christening were often less than a year apart.  Cakes were originally made to celebrate both occasions; however these cakes were usually simple single-tiered creations.

When more elaborate three-tiered wedding cakes became popular in the late 19th century, the bottom tier was served during the reception, the middle tier was sent home with guests to place under their pillows (to promote fertility), and the top tier was often left over. This gave rise to the idea of saving the top tier to be served at the inevitable christening.  Over time however, the association between weddings and babies waned and the tradition evolved to what we know today, a sweet remembrance to be enjoyed on a couple’s one-year anniversary.

If you’re like me, you may be wondering how folks were able to keep their cakes from spoiling when refrigeration units weren’t even available for the masses ”˜til the 20th century.

Wedding cakes back then were not the light fluffy masses we enjoy today – they were actually made of dense fruitcake that had (and still have) a shelf life that rivals Twinkies.  But unless you also plan to have fruitcake at your wedding, I recommend that you follow this easy 5-step guide to correctly freeze your cake so that you too can safely enjoy this fun tradition.

Step 1: Chill. Place the cake in the refrigerator without any wrappings for 1- to 2-hours or until the icing is firm to the touch and able to withstand some handling.  Keep in mind that butter absorbs odors like a sponge so unless you find onion-flavored buttercream appetizing, don’t place it next to your leftovers.

Step 1

Step 2: Freezer burn protection. Wrap the cake in two layers of plastic wrap, keeping the wrap close to the body of the cake and making sure that there are no gaps/tears that will allow air in or out.  Freezer burn is caused by water molecules migrating from the cake’s core to its surface to form ice crystals. The less air available, the less room there is for ice crystals to form. So a snug, airtight wrap is key (this concept applies to your frozen meats and veggies as well).

Step 2

Step 3: Encasement. Place your cake in a box and again wrap with plastic wrap.  The box serves two purposes.  First, it physically protects your cake from tears, dents, and smells from neighboring items; secondly, the layer of cool air inside the box acts as extra insulation against the self-defrosting functions in most freezers.  Partially defrosting and re-freezing anything will deteriorate its quality over time.

Step 3

Step 4: Deep freeze. Wrap the entire box in foil for extra protection and place in your freezer in a well-ventilated section.  Let sit undisturbed for 363 days.  If you are planning to move within the year, leave the cake in the freezer of a friend or family member to avoid the defrosting and re-freezing process. Also note that cakes with little fat (e.g. angel food) and cakes with cream, custard, or pudding fillings don’t freeze well for long periods so avoid those flavors for the top tier if possible, or simply enjoy this “tradition” on your one-month anniversary instead.

Step 4a

Step 4b

Step 5: Thaw. On day 364, remove the cake box from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator (with box, plastic wrap, and foil intact) for 24 hours.  Just before serving, unwrap all layers and place at room temperature for about one hour.  Then slice and enjoy!

It may not taste exactly the same as on your wedding day, ”˜cause let’s face it, it’s year-old cake, but it’ll come pretty close.  So there you have it: history, tradition, and food safety all in five simple steps. A piece of cake.

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Check out Crazy Cake Company’s awesome blog for more tips and awesome cake designs!

BLOGGER

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  1. Member
    Goldilocks1107 2684 posts, Sugar bee @ 11:59 am

    Thanks for the information! I probably would have just put it in some Tupperware and hoped for the best (and been greated by an ice covered monstrosity in a year!).

  2. Member
    Violachap 677 posts, Busy bee @ 12:01 pm

    thanks for the tips! We’ll either save the top layer or just have a new one made with the same flavors for our anniversary.

  3. Member
    pinky44 2262 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:05 pm

    This is pretty similar to how we froze ours, and it tasted delicious! This method worked well for us.

  4. Member
    ribbons 1992 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:16 pm

    Intriguing, but I think we will eat it all on the honeymoon :)

  5. Member
    farmersdaughter 1675 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:27 pm

    I’m so glad this was posted – I’ve been wondering how to successfully freeze the top layer of our cake!

  6. Member
    Cornhusker 274 posts, Helper bee @ 12:28 pm

    Thanks, good to know the tricks, however I think a fresh cake on my one year is still in my future!

  7. Member
    Miss Stargazer 170 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:45 pm

    I may have a problem having a delicious cake in the freezer for a year. It seems like such a waste!!!!

  8. Member
    Miss Pinot Grigio 1410 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I hope brides take note!

    Our baker gave us very similar directions – and it was {surprisingly} just as delicious after 1 year as it was on our wedding day. =)

  9. Member
    CaligirlSM 182 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:14 pm

    This is really good to know!! Thanks!

  10. Member
    Mrs. Mouse 5033 posts, Bee Keeper @ 1:42 pm

    Ooops! We didn’t save ours right. I guess we’ll be eating freezer-burned cake in a few months!

  11. Member
    alvina 807 posts, Busy bee @ 1:55 pm

    That was great! Don’t know if we’ll do it… but now we know how if we want to!

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Stephanie, Guest @ 2:34 pm

    my freezer is too small, and the thought of eating 1 year old cake on a special occasion just doesn’t appeal to me.

    Besides, I plan on eating mine the day after!!!

    RE-ordering, or just making a fresh cake sounds much better.

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    goodvoile, Guest @ 3:12 pm

    This is perfect timing; thanks! I need to do this with a friend’s top layer today, and I was researching what was best!

    But where do you get that kind of box, and why use a box for that last part instead of something really sturdy like a tupperware container?

    Thanks again!

  14. Member
    Mrs. Woody-to-be 91 posts, Worker bee @ 4:12 pm

    Thank you!! I’ve always wondered how people can freeze their cake for a year and still have it taste like cake.

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Crazy Cake Compny, Guest @ 8:24 pm

    @ Goodvoile – It doesn’t need to be a special box, any clean box or container will do. Just make sure it’s something you won’t miss using it for a year :)

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    Sarah, Guest @ 10:46 pm

    We didn’t have a whole lot of good things to say about our caterer (his food, fine; him…ew), but by golly our top layer was wrapped properly!

  17. Member
    mrspaetz 3812 posts, Honey bee @ 2:35 am

    GOSH! Thank you so much for these tips!!

  18. Member
    krissybee 3921 posts, Honey bee @ 10:24 am

    thank you so much for this!!! i am determined to eat our ORIGINAL cake, not a remake. :D

  19. Member
    Mrs. Puffin 1210 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:10 am

    YES! I’m so excited that I found this! A friend of mine and I were talking about how it would be possible to freeze anything for that long, as we work at a bakery and only recommend that customers freeze things for four months tops!
    Thank you!:)

  20. Member
    winter 1333 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:44 pm

    I always wondered how to do this

  21. Member
    jordynrose 6351 posts, Bee Keeper @ 7:32 pm

    This is the best method I’ve seen for freezing yet.

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    ms chihuahua, Guest @ 9:49 am

    We ate my cousin’s cake top the night before the wedding. She said it wouldn’t be good in a year. LOL She’s a sweetaholic.

  23. Member
    mv118 30 posts, Newbee @ 12:51 am

    The pictures really help, I’ve read the steps but I appreciate the pics! Thanks!!

  24. Member
    mosley 2 posts, Wannabee @ 8:55 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this!! I am getting married in 6 weeks and have been wondering how to go about freezing it!! Hope it works for us!

  25. Guest Icon Guest
    Robin, Guest @ 6:13 pm

    Had a large sheet cake with our wedding pic made into the icing last year. Cut out our pic part of the cake, wrapped in plastic wrap then foil. No box & froze in deep freezer. Took it out to thaw yesterday & served today, one year anniversary. It was as good as it was last year.

  26. Member
    klhubb 106 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:09 pm

    Great idea! Thanks for the tip!

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    Kayla, Guest @ 7:45 pm

    My cake has decorations, I really don’t want to take them out, how can I wrap it tightly and not make pockets of air around the decor?

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