Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of “Prince Charming’s” and my marriage. One year ago we, or rather my mother since we were off celebrating our wedding night, carefully packed the top tier of our wedding cake away in the freezer to await our first anniversary. Why did we do this? Did we really want to eat one year old cake? Well, to be perfectly honest the only answer I could have given you was because it was traditional….
As we headed home from an evening out celebrating our anniversary intending to unwrap the top tier of our cake and share a slice of it together, it occurred to me that I really didn’t know where this tradition came from. At that point I decided that I would devote some time today to researching the roots of a tradition that has couples eating year old cake on their first anniversary.
It turns out, this tradition originated in England at a time when wedding cakes were alcohol soaked fruit cakes – much easier to preserve than modern wedding cakes. Couples at the time would have a 3 tiered cake for their wedding. The bottom and largest tier was to be eaten by the guests at the reception. The middle tier was to distribute to friends and family. And the top tier was set aside to serve at the christening of the couple’s first child. Later, the top tier was served at the baby shower for the couple’s first child. As couples started waiting longer and longer to start families the tradition morphed into what is observed by couples today – sharing the top tier (or at least a piece of it) to celebrate their first anniversary.
So, if we had truly kept to the origins of the tradition “Prince Charming” and I should have eaten our cake at the baby shower a few months ago, although I’m not sure a few months would make much difference in the state of the cake.
As you can see, our top tier seemed to have held up rather well over its year in the freezer. “Prince Charming” had definite reservations about eating anything that has been in the freezer for a year, but he was a very good sport. I cut a slice from the cake and we sat down to share it.
The frosting was rather hard and hadn’t kept its flavor very well (or rather it had picked up some additional flavor from the freezer). But, it turns out that the frosting did a pretty good job of protecting the layers within. The brownie and cheesecake layers were not bad at all and we ate all but the back end of our slice of cake.
Was it as wonderful as it was at our wedding last year? No, it certainly wasn’t. But unwrapping and eating that cake made the memories of my wedding day that much more vivid on our anniversary. While it is nice to know the origins of the tradition, I don’t think knowing would have made any difference in whether or not I chose to observe this tradition – sometimes it is just nice to keep traditions whatever their origin may be.