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Wedding Cake Traditions

It’s a tradition. Save the top layer of your wedding cake for the first anniversary. But is it really worth the hassle? And, more importantly, is it decent or even edible?

The cake was a wedding highlight for us. We wanted it to be both beautiful and delicious. To find that special combination we ate cake and cupcakes – Mr Smith’s favorite part of wedding planning – all over Sonoma County. Eventually, we wandered into Moustache Baked Goods just off the main plaza in Healdsburg. We sampled The Local, an almond blueberry cupcake that immediately won us over.

Turns out The Local uses almond flour moistened with fruit jams that change with the seasons, making it…wait for it… gluten-free. Had we known this, we might not have even tried it because our past experiences with gluten-free have disappointed – often dry, dense, and crumbly excuses for a cupcake. People want to pretend there’s not a difference, but there is. Except in this case. This cupcake stood firmly on its own – gluten-free or not.

So, the The Local got blown up into a full size cake for our wedding – two tiers with a messy Betty buttercream and fresh flowers cascading down the front. After cutting and feeding each other the ceremonial slice from the top tier, it was removed, ensconced in plastic wrap, and ready for our first anniversary. The bottom tier was, of course, sliced and served to guests along with other mini cupcakes and cookies from Moustache.

We loved this cake and didn’t want to see an entire tier go to waste. Carefully, we drove it back with us to Los Angeles the next day, making sure to keep it near the A/C. Once we arrived home, we put it in the freezer for a few hours to flash freeze, then placed the plastic-wrapped tier inside of a heavier freezer bag, and vacuum sealed it (the flash freeze prevents the soft cake and frosting from being crushed during the vacuum seal process). The cake sat at the bottom of the freezer for the next year.

Two days before our anniversary, we moved the cake from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw slowly. Now, just in case, two weeks prior we found ourselves in Healdsburg for Mrs Smith’s birthday. The folks at Moustache were kind enough to treat us to some Local cupcakes and even made an adorable Happy Anniversary banner to the surprise of Mrs Smith. We also found the recipe that Moustache had shared with Bon Appetit. So, we had our fixes just in case the cake didn’t live up.

A couple of hours before our big anniversary dinner we got the cake out of the refrigerator so that it could come up to room temperature and the buttercream would be soft. Turns out the cake tasted as delicious as it did one year before at the wedding. Granted, it didn’t look as good, but we didn’t care. Done correctly, this is absolutely a tradition people should uphold. We enjoyed the cake along with a bottle of sparkling rosè (the same as served at our wedding) and transported ourselves back to that magical night a year ago!

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