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Though there’s nothing quite as tempting as a freshly baked cake, we all know that everyday life is busy!
Sometimes, we need to spread our cupcake-ing out through the week or save a freshly baked batch for later on in the day.
But, how do you keep our cupcakes from drying out?
Storage is tricky, and there’s plenty of factors that come into play. However, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as spending a few hours preparing cupcakes, only to discover that they’ve dried out or lost their flavor before you can even serve them.
Luckily, we have some easy tips and tricks that you can follow to make sure that your cupcakes don’t lose their pizzazz. In this guide, you’ll find information on how to store and freeze both unfrosted and frosted cupcakes to ensure that your baked treats stay delicious and flavorful for longer.
How to keep unfrosted cupcakes from drying out
If your life is a little more hectic than others, a good trick is to bake the cakes one day and then frost them the next.
As this method runs the risk of your cupcakes drying out overnight, follow these simple and easy steps to make sure that they stay nice and fresh:
Step 1: Allow the cupcakes to cool
A rookie mistake is to immediately place cupcakes in an airtight container as soon as you take them out of the oven. This is because warm cupcakes release steam, and if you put them into a sealed container straight away, the steam will cause the cupcakes to become sticky and peel away from their liners. This is going to make it harder for you to frost them, as well as giving the cupcakes a funny texture.
To ensure the best results, we recommend taking your fresh-out-of-the-oven cupcakes and placing them onto a wire cooling rack. Usually, cupcakes will need around 1 hour to cool, although this can vary depending on the type of mix used. The best way to figure out whether or not your cupcakes are ready to be put away is to touch the tops. If they’re completely cool to the touch, then they are ready to be stored.
Step 2: Place inside an airtight container
After your cupcakes are completely cool, place them inside an airtight or tight-fitting lid container. Make sure that the container is big enough to not only hold your dozen cupcakes but also to prevent them from getting squished! The last thing you want is to use a container that is too small, as this is going to cause the top of the cupcakes to stick to the lid.
Top tip: To keep your unfrosted cupcakes fresher for longer, avoid covering the cupcakes with a plastic wrap or plastic bag. If you give your cupcakes extra room to breathe, they won’t get sticky and will stay fresher for longer.
How to keep frosted cupcakes from drying out
Storing your frosted cupcakes isn’t all that different from the way that you would store your unfrosted cupcakes.
Just like how you would with your unfrosted cupcakes, as soon as you have taken them out of the oven you’ll need to allow them to cool down on a wire cooling rack for an hour or so.
After they’re cool to the touch and you’ve gone ahead and iced them with a delicious flavor of frosting, you’ll need to carefully store them inside an airtight container to make sure that they’re not going to dry out.
If possible, try and make sure that the airtight container stands at least 3 inches tall and is wide enough to fit a dozen cupcakes, as this means that you’ll be able to fit all of your cupcakes inside without the frosting touching the lid.
Top tip: To keep your frosted cupcakes fresher for longer, avoid storing them in the fridge as this can cause the frosting to dry out quicker.
Whether you’re storing frosted or unfrosted cupcakes, if you store them inside an airtight container and at room temperature (i.e: not the fridge) they’re going to last you around 4 days.
After four days, they won’t go bad and you’ll still be able to eat them, although you’ll probably notice that they are getting denser and a little drier.
How to keep frozen cupcakes from drying out
If you’re the type that likes to plan ahead, freezing unfrosted or frosted cupcakes are a great option to consider. While the fridge can dry out cupcakes, believe it or not, storing cupcakes inside a freezer can actually keep them surprisingly fresh, even after a couple of months!
If you want to try this method, follow the steps below for soft, delicious cupcakes that will taste as though they’ve just been baked:
Step 1: Let the cupcakes cool
Are you noticing a pattern?
Allow your cupcakes to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before placing them into a freezer. If you place cupcakes into the freezer while they are still cooling down, this can cause any condensation from the steam to form into ice across the tops of the cupcakes, which will cause them to become soggy when defrosted.
As always, make sure that they are completely cool to the touch before moving on to the next step.
Step 2: Wrap cupcakes in a plastic wrap
To ensure that your cupcakes remain flavorful and don’t get that ‘freezer’ taste, we recommend tightly wrapping them in plastic wrap.
If you plan on freezing frosted cupcakes, we recommend freezing them uncovered for an hour so that, when you wrap them, the frosting won’t lose its shape or get stuck to the plastic wrap.
Step 3: Defrost and bring to room temperature
When you’re ready to eat your frozen cupcakes (we recommend unfreezing them within the first 3 months), simply remove them from the freezer and uncover them from the plastic wrap. By doing this, the cupcakes will be able to breathe while they defrost, which lowers the chances of any stickiness.
Then, all you’ll need to do is allow them to come to room temperature, and then store them in an airtight container just like you would normally. Once defrosted, your cupcakes will stay fresh and moist for around 1 week.
For more frequently asked questions, visit our index of food-related questions and answers. Here are a few suggestions for you: