How Far In Advance Can You Bake & Decorate?

Decorating By bjfranco Updated 10 Apr 2015 , 11:36am by julia1812

bjfranco Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 12:49am
post #1 of 64

I think I know the answer to this questions but I have a hard time with it. I have a cake that I have to deliver on Sunday for 12:00. I feel like I cannot decorate until Saturday........ but this is not true, right? If I decorate and finish the cake tomorrow will it be ok until Sunday am when I deliver it?

I still do not have my "time management" skills perfected when it comes to cake baking and it seems like I am always running around like a crazy person at the last minute. I have yet to deliver a cake all fresh and come home to an already clean kitchen. I usually throw a clean shirt on (clean = no icing or powder sugar) and run out the door with the cake and then come home to a kitchen that looks like a hurricane went through it.

Would appreciate any advice. icon_biggrin.gif

bj icon_wink.gif

63 replies
SweetCreations Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 1:10am
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Hey BJ,
I think that it would be fine to bake and decorate it Friday for Sunday.
I am sure it will be great.
~Sweet~ icon_rolleyes.gif

jumbosgirl Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 1:20am
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I totally agree with SweetCreations, I have decorated Thursday night for a Sunday delivery and so far never a complaint!! (knocking wood!!)
Happy baking!

tcturtleshell Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 4:50am
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I do my icing on a Monday, bake my cakes on Tues & Wed., ice the cakes on Thursday, & decorate on Friday. Deliver on Saturday. I could never do all that in one day. There is no fun in it that way. So take your time & do it stretched out some. You'll be much happier that way I assure you! icon_smile.gif

becca0926 Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 4:55am
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I agree with turtle.I never do it all in one day .I bake on 1.Make icing on 2 and decorate on 3.Then deliver on 4.That way you don't have the

tabs8774 Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 11:23am
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God i'm sooooo glad she asked this question!!! i never thought to ask it b4.i just assumed i was a little scattered icon_rolleyes.gif when it came down to getting the cake done. i do usually plan all my cakes for weeks(if i have that long)but am always worried that the cake won't be fresh enough if i start to early. thanks for setting me straight on time management!!


LizAnn Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 11:28am
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my secret: When I have a free day I make my buttercream 30 qts. at a time and store it in big plastic reusable ice cream containers. They all go in the freezer and last for months ..... just set on the counter overnight to thaw and you're good to go if I had to make icing one batch at a time I'd quit this business in a heartbeat

mvigil Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 12:29pm
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Hello Liz Ann, I have never herd of this before !! Would you mind sharing your recipe of your butter cream icing. I also wanted to ask you if you didnt finish the icing can you put it back to freeze??? Or can you freeze any butter cream icing??

TinTN Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 12:34pm
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I have 4 cakes due in the next two days. I made all my frosting up last Saturday and went ahead and mixed all my colors so they are ready and waiting for me. On Wednesday I baked and frosted two of the cakes (they're for Saturday) and I decorated them last night. Today I'll bake and frost the other two cakes. One will get decorated today for tonight and one will get decorated tomorrow. I did my patterns on Monday and they are ready and waiting for me. I work a full time job so I try to do something every night so I'm not stuck being up until the wee hours of the morning. Anyway, I've never had a complaint about taste, freshness or how moist a cake is by baking ahead of time.

LizAnn Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 1:01pm
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several times. If I have small amounts of leftover colored icing, I put it in the little Blue Bunny yogurt containers that have the sturdy tight-fitting lid and freeze them also. This is such a lifesaver for me. I've been operating this way for 16 years and have had no problems with the freezing, thawing, refreezing of my buttercream. I use the basic Wilton recipe using all shortening and add butter flavoring, almond extract and Mexico vanilla. I always get rave reviews for my icing.

LizAnn Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 1:05pm
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the first part of my post got cut off icon_cry.gif I freeze, thaw, refreeze, thaw, refreeze, any number of times and have no problems whatsoever.

bjfranco Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 1:10pm
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Thanks to everyone! I feel ssssssooooo much better about this now. I needed the confirmation from all you experts. icon_biggrin.gif

bj icon_wink.gif

mvigil Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 2:34pm
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Thanks for your reply Liz Ann!! Great info to know!!

cakesoncall Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 2:46pm
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LizAnn ~ I would have never thought to do that with my buttercream. (I guess it's all those years of being told to never refreeze something once it has thawed). I noticed though that you use the all shortening recipe for your bc; do you think the freeze, thaw, refreeze, etc would be ok with bc that has real butter in it?

alengirl Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 2:48pm
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Yup. . .
For Sat. cake deliveries = Bake Thursday, Trim & Glaze Friday, Decorate Sat (if it needs to be delivered/ready EARLY on Sat, then everything is moved up a day. If it's a noon and later delivery, then I just wake up early on Sat and get my boogie on decorating)

Time management is very important. Always give yourself extra time, no matter what. What you think might take you 15 mins can easily turn into a 1 hour process (or longer) if something goes wrong.

Good Luck & HAPPY BAKING!!!!! icon_biggrin.gif

GrandmaSweetiePie Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 3:51pm
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Thanks for asking this question. I am going to start making large batches of buttercream and freeze it. Most of my time is spent in making the icing, not having enough and having to stop and make more. Love this site.

Grandma Sweetie Pie

SweetCaramel Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 3:57pm
post #17 of 64

I just want to make sure I have this right. Many of you have said you bake a cake like three days in advance, and I understand about the icing, but where is the cake? Is it in the freezer, refrigerator, table etc.?? I am trying to figure out just how long can the cake stay out. And will someone please let me know, when you decorate the cake, can you put it in the refrigerator, if so for how long???

mudpie Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 4:07pm
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I don't have much freezer space so I often bake the cake3-4 days in advance. I do the frosting on baking day. Then i usually frost and decorate in one day.

Chefgirl Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 4:13pm
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I absolutely love this site! All the great advice and different ideas are so helpful, and everyone is always so nice and supportive.
I am so glad I found this thread. I always bake my cakes the day (meaning night...late, late night) before, because I worry about freshness. But no more! And I always run out of icing. Poor time management skills, but I think I'm getting better. I am going to have to start making big batches and freezing it. I don't like the taste or mouth-feel of shortening, so I use butter. I'll have to experiment with freezing it and see how it is when thawed.
Thanks for asking this question!

SquirrellyCakes Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 4:23pm
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Just wanted to add, I don't think that it is a good idea to freeze and thaw and refreeze your icing if there is butter in it. Yes you can freeze it, but not refreeze it. I would say that this is probably not a good idea with anything containing dairy or eggs and such, definitely not cakes etc.
The all shortening icing, well I really don't know but I know that bakeries freeze the icing once and defrost and use. Not being critical here at all, it is just that most things can only be frozen once according to freezer guidlelines, so I would be a little afraid of trying it.
I think most folks use cake mixes here, so the Wednesday or Thursday baking before a Saturday delivery is fine with cake mixes due to all of the preservatives in them. If you freeze your cakes, the shelf life of cake mix cakes is shorter once they are defrosted. The freezing process causes a molecular breakdown that shortens the shelf-life of previously frozen cake mix cakes. So that is something to bear in mind when you consider your timeline for decorating and delivery.
Heehee, not pulling all of this information out of a hat, I researched freezing issues about a year back, using Canadian government freezer safety sites which were updated after the great power blackout.
Most bakeries do bake as early as the Wednesday before a Saturday delivery. I tend to bake on the Thursday, but then I make from scratch cakes.
I wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and foil and keep at room temperature.
Butter cakes are best not refrigerated as they tend to dry out when refrigerated.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

Niki027 Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 4:31pm
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Thank you Squirrelly. You are a valuable resource!

What is the advice for cakes from scratch? Usually I bake and freeze the cake for no longer than one month. I frost and decorate the day before. Two days is the maximum I would do.

LizAnn Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 4:56pm
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I buy my butter 30 lbs. at a time and put it in the freezer, but I've never refrozen it was it's thawed, so I can't give you any advice there. What you can do is take a cup or two of your icing that has butter in it and freeze it in an airtight container, then thaw and refreeze it, then thaw again and taste it ......
the only thing I know NOT to refreeze once it's been thawed is raw meat, poultry and fish....that's a huge Bozo no-no

SquirrellyCakes Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 5:29pm
post #23 of 64

I try to stay within the one month rule on freezing cakes too. Actually, I usually freeze a cake for about a week or two maximum just as a preferance. It is usually one month for most cakes except fruit cakes which can be frozen for up to 6 months. You can freeze a cake for up to about 2 months but there will be some deterioration. With many baked goods it is the deterioration in the qulaity and not the safety of the food that limits the freezing time.
Well, some places say you can freeze defrost and re-freeze an iced cake but there will be some deterioration in the quality of the icing and cake. Personally I wouldn't even try it because of the cake ingredients even though they are cooked.
When to ice defrosted previously frozen from scratch cakes? Well, for me I would pretty much stick within about 2 days. Mainly because if the customer has left overs, it still gives them a day or two to keep the cake without any issues. I think some of us are more sensitive to the changes in taste and quality than other folks are.
Children and the elderly are so susceptible to food poisoning as are folks with compromised immune systems. You cannot always taste that a food is not safe, that is for me the scarey possibility. That is also why I would be afraid to freeze and thaw and refreeze anything with butter, eggs, milk or cream in it.
Bacterial growth stops when an item is frozen, but when it is thawed and is at room temperature, it can grow again. This would be my concern.
Yes, the risk is highest with meats and poulty and such. You can cook previously frozen raw meat and then re-freeze it, you just cannot re-freeze previously frozen and thawed raw meat.
I think the article written on this site about food alergies, mentioning that the artificial butter flavouring actually has a milk product in it, would make me concerned about freezing, thawing and refreezing an icing using it.
The freezer shelf life is better in chest freezers than it is in side-by-side vertical frost free type freezers. Basically that is because a frost-free freezer actual fluctuates more in temperature to keep it frost free. Which means that it goes above the freezing point to maintain the frost free feature and so the fluctuating has an effect on how well items stay frozen. A good example of this would be an icecream container in your refrigerator freezer and one in a chest freezer. The chest freezer keeps it much harder.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

abbey Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 5:38pm
post #24 of 64

Maybe I missed it but did someone answer the question about those of you who bake early in the week where your cake is until you are ready to decorate? In the fridge? freezer? or on the counter?

Niki027 Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 5:43pm
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Thank you so much, you've been a great help.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 5:57pm
post #26 of 64
Originally Posted by abbey

Maybe I missed it but did someone answer the question about those of you who bake early in the week where your cake is until you are ready to decorate? In the fridge? freezer? or on the counter?

Heehee, it is in there somwhere, haha!
For me, if I bake any earlier than the Wednesday night for a Saturday, it is in the freezer. I don't refrigerate cakes unless I have to and then only a day ahead. Refrigerating some cakes actually dries them out, a butter cake is a good example. Sponge cakes do not have as long a shelf life and I don't find that they freeze well. Otherwise, from the Wednesday night or the Thursday, to the time I ice it, it is at a room temperature of about 70F, wrapped in plastic wrap, and foil and then bagged, on the counter. The only time I bake earlier than Thursday for a Saturday cake, is for a wedding cake. For regular cakes, Thursday is my standard.
I know others bake earlier and keep the cake on the counter or refrigerator, but I don't. Mainly, I think, because I am concerned about how old the cake is before it is actually eaten. Bear in mind, most of my cakes are from scratch too.
Hugs Squirrelly

Chefgirl Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 6:05pm
post #27 of 64

That's great advice Squirrely Cakes. I make my cakes from scratch, too, so I do really worry about freshness. I will try to start making icing early in the week and then bake the cake on Thursday, or 2 days, before it is needed.
I don't refrigerate my baked cakes either, I double wrap in plastic wrap.

Daniela Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 6:18pm
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Thanks everyone. Your advice helped me also!!


abbey Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 6:21pm
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thanks squirrelly, I kept getting interupted while I was reading the answers to this post and when I got to the end I didn't think I'd ever read the answer to that question. I have always baked the night before or day of so I really wanted to know the answer. Usually I do most everything in two days which is fine when it's only one cake but the weekend when I had 4 cakes due I needed help. I think I will start doing my icing earlier in the week and maybe my baking as well.

cakesoncall Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 6:34pm
post #30 of 64

Thanks SquirrellyCakes and LizAnn! icon_biggrin.gif

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