I believe that baked goods are best eaten fresh. At the shop, any cupcakes left at the end of the evening get thrown away. Though it would certainly be more cost-effective in the short run to resell whatever is left the next day, I could not in good conscience sell a day-old cupcake.
When wedding cake clients mention that they plan to save their top tier for their one year anniversary, I always advise against it. For me, a cake that has spent a year in the freezer will taste like, well, a cake that’s spent a year in the freezer. It’s an idea I just can’t get behind.
The tradition of saving the top tier began in the late 1800s when couples married and immediately had children. The top tier of the wedding cake was saved to serve at their child’s christening. Eventually, as couples waited longer to have children, the association between wedding cake and christening cake was lost, but the tradition of saving the top tier remained.(source: http://www.hudsonvalleyweddings.com/guide/cakehistory.htm).
I usually recommend that rather than save their top tier, the couple splurge instead on a nice bottle of wine to save for their first anniversary. My husband and I traveled to Europe for our honeymoon, and brought back a bottle of Italian wine we planned to save for our anniversary. Of course I was pregnant on our first anniversary, nursing on our second, and I forget what happened on our third and fourth, but we ended up drinking it at dinner on our fifth anniversary. We didn’t realize it when we bought it, but it turned out to be a sweet dessert wine. That’s all beside the point. It’s usually a good idea.
Last October, one of my lifelong friends got married. She and her husband opted to save their top tier for their first anniversary. This is the top tier at their wedding in 2012:
And this is the top tier one year later, looking pretty bad but, according to her, still tasting good. (Actually, what she said was, “Would I sit down with a big slice of it and a cup of coffee? No. Was it nice to have a bite a year later? Absolutely yes.”)
To settle things once and for all, I posted the question on Facebook: Should couples save their top tier? There were basically three schools of thought:
1. Don’t do it. For these baking enthusiasts, the prospect of eating a year-old cake was patently unappealing. Throw in the slim chance of a power outage due to inclement weather, and now you’ve got a cake that’s been frozen, thawed, and frozen again over the course of a year.
2. Do it. This group felt that it wasn’t so much about the taste but the tradition. Many couples look forward to eating their wedding cake on their first anniversary, they argued. Why deny them?
3. Do it…sort of. The last group, mostly bakers and cake designers, agreed that it was a nice tradition but thought that it need not be interpreted literally. Many of the bakers offer a complimentary mini replica of the couple’s wedding cake on their first anniversary. Others suggested selling the couple a freshly baked anniversary cake at a discounted rate.
There were some pretty strong arguments in favor of keeping or varying the tradition, but I still wasn’t sold. And then, earlier this month, a bride that got married in November 2012 sent me this note:
Just wanted to let you know that we had our wedding cake that was frozen for the year on Sunday for our anniversary and it was as delicious as it was on our wedding day!
Well there goes that theory. Damn.