Even for the most experienced bakers among us, there is not always time to whip up a fresh batch of cakes.
These handy tips will teach you how to freeze cakes and cupcakes so you always have some baked treats on hand.
The methods below are foolproof and will work on all cakes and traybakes. This is not only a massive time saver but will save the stress of last-minute dashes to the store when you realize you need to feed your kid’s friends.
Once your cakes are fully baked and out of the oven allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn them out onto a wire rack and remove the greaseproof paper from the base and sides of the cooked cake.
Ensure the cake is the right way up to make sure impressions from the wire rack don’t appear on the dome of the cake.
It is vital that you cool your cakes completely on a wire rack before proceeding to the next step as if they are too warm this could cause condensation. Condensation is caused by steam rising and cooling down when they reach a cooler surface. This then causes the steam to turn to water vapor and can lead to freezer burn.
If you are freezing cupcakes, this stage of the process is the same.
Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap flat on your work surface. Place your cake, flat side down, on top of it, and wrap the plastic completely around the cake’s surface.
Lay out another sheet of plastic wrap and repeat this process, this time putting the domed edge of the cake onto the work surface. This will ensure that the cake is fully covered and the seam is not somewhere that is left exposed.
Take a long strip of aluminum foil and lay on the work surface. Place the cake in the center and fold over the long edges to cover the cake completely. Flatten the short edges and fold the corners in as if you were wrapping up a gift.
When you have a little triangle at both edges, roll and fold these flaps until you reach the edge of the cake to ensure it is fully sealed in. Wrapping it up carefully like this makes sure that the cake will not lose its shape or get impressions from the foil while in the freezer.
Once you have done this, lay out another sheet of aluminum foil. Repeat the process placing the seam of the first foil layer down so that it is not exposed.
It is a good idea at this point to label your cake, especially if you are likely to be freezing more than one. We recommend writing the cake type (chocolate, vanilla, carrot, etc), the size of the cake (8”, 12”, etc), and the date that you made it on. This will make it easier to find and distinguish between items in your freezer.
Wrapping cupcakes is a similar process, but you should only wrap between 6 and 8 cupcakes at once. Wrap once in plastic wrap, flip, and repeat.
After this, place 1 or 2 of your cupcake parcels into a large, Ziploc freezer bag. Again, we advise labeling the bag with the flavor and date the cupcakes were made.
We advise leaving the cupcakes or large cakes in the wrappings once you take them out of the freezer. This is because they will condense as they thaw, and by leaving them wrapped up the condensation will form on the external surface of the wrappings.
This will mean that your cakes will not be soggy on the outside and no-one will ever know that they have been frozen. Condensation on the surface of large cakes can also cause the icing to set badly and can even cause air bubbles to form in the icing.
If cupcakes are affected by condensation it can cause the muffin liners to peel away from the actual cake. Like with larger cakes, condensation can affect the quality of the icing too.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can cakes and cupcakes be stored in the freezer?
We advise no longer than 3 weeks if you want to completely avoid freezer burn, but they will last for up to 3 months.
Can you freeze iced and filled cakes?
Yes, you can. Ensure your cakes are fully cooled before icing. Allow the icing to firm up slightly before moving to the freezer. Initially, freeze uncovered to allow the cake and icing to freeze completely. Leave them there for between 3 and 6 hours.
Ensure the icing is fully frozen before removing. Place the cakes in a covered container that does not touch the icing. Make sure they are completely airtight to ensure they stay moist and do not fall victim to freezer burn.
When defrosting, remove from the freezer and leave in the container at room temperature for about an hour. After this, uncover and leave to thaw fully.
Does freezing cakes change the texture?
Yes, slightly. As freezing alters the moisture content in the cake, your bakes will come out of the freezer slightly differently to how they went in.
If you follow our top tips for freezing cakes, you can actually make them come out more moist than before.
Do you have to thaw cakes before frosting?
Yes. If you do not allow them to thaw out a little, your frosting will freeze on contact with the cake and it will be impossible to get an even coating on your cake’s surface.
If it is a hot day, you can begin frosting the cakes before they have completely thawed as the cool temperature of the cake will help keep buttercream at a workable consistency.
Now you are armed with all these tips and tricks, you will never have to worry about an impromptu coffee morning or bake sale at your kid’s school. Plus, there will always be cake at home!