Cake Timeline

Decorating By alaurence Updated 1 Oct 2008 , 3:04pm by becklynn

alaurence Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 1:22pm
post #1 of 18

I'm new to doing cakes and I'm trying to figure out what the timeline for doing one from start to finish should be. I know ideally doing in all over a long day would be great, but I can't. Given that I'm working out of my home on evenings with only a few hours at a time to work, how should the process be broken down? I'm not sure about freezing, refrigerating, leaving cakes on the counter and ruining them, etc.

If there's a party or wedding on Saturday, when should I:

- bake the cakes
- torte, fill and crumb coat
- ice
- decorate

And what is the proper way to store the cake in between the steps? Does this differ if a cake is iced in buttercream vs. fondant? I would hate to do all this work and screw up the cake by storing it improperly. The buttercream recipe I use has butter and heavy cream, so I want to make sure I'm also maintaining proper food safety.

Thanks for you help in advance.

17 replies
Malakin Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 1:28pm
post #2 of 18

Wow, sounds like my thinking! Anyway, I can only speak for myself. I work 68 + hours a week so, I have to be real careful about managing time.
What I do is:
Bake sometimes a week ahead but never more than that
Freeze till the day before I decide to crumb coat and torte
Wrap tightly in saran wrap before freezing/leave in place while defrosting
Defrost unfrosted cake at least 12 hours before decorating
Frost night before
Freeze BC coated/decorated cake till night before event if I didn't originally freeze it but don't wrap it till it is frozen.
Fondant day off or night before.
Some people, even professionals like Peggy Porchen, leave their fondant covered cakes out for days. I myself have never tried freezing fondant, so I usually do that last.
Sometimes I decorate the night before, or the morning of the event. I know everyone else will also have more helpful hints than I do.

juleskaye518 Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 1:35pm
post #3 of 18

This is so helpful to me too. I am doing cuppies and a sheet styled cake for Sat. Sometimes I wonder why I put myself out there for this stuff.

alaurence Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 1:51pm
post #4 of 18

OK, so I've already screwed up. icon_eek.gif

I baked the cakes Saturday, torted, wrapped them in plastic wrap and froze them. Monday afternoon, I took them out of the fridge, removed the plastic (wrong) and let them thaw only a few hours before I filled them (wrong) and crumb coated. They were still a bit frozen in the center. (Will this make the filling runny or gross?) I put them back in the refrigerator and gently laid more plastic wrap over them once the buttercream crusted.

At this point, should I:

- immediately freeze the crumb coated cakes, then thaw and finish decorating Thursday or Friday

- finish icing the cakes smooth, then freeze, removing the cakes Friday to thaw

- finish icing the cakes smooth and leave them in the refrigerator (covered in plastic wrap or no?)

- throw them out because I've ruined them and start over

FYI - The cake will only have fondant accents.

kakeladi Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 2:21pm
post #5 of 18

If there's a party or wedding on Saturday, when should I: - bake the cakes - torte, fill and crumb coat - ice - decorate...proper way to store the cake in between the steps? Does this differ if a cake is iced in buttercream vs. fondant?

Good question! Th ere are many out there who don't know thisicon_smile.gif Be prepared to get different suggestions as there are many ways to do it.

Usually if at all possible bake on Wed for Sat party.
Now having said that, there is no shame in baking ahead......weeks ahead, if you can fz the cake. There are several threads on here about fzing cakes. The trick is wrap them properly. If done right the cake will actually be *moister*.
Make your b'cream ahead. It can be friged for 2 weeks or fz for longer storage.
Many decorations can be made weeks ahead - both b'cream & fondant.
If cake is fzn.....take out the night before OR early in the a.m. Just put on the counter OR it can be defrosted in the frig overnight.
I prefere to torte, fill, & ice on one day.....usually 2 days before event.
Depending on how elaborate the decorations and how much time it took to ice it I might do the decorating then also or the next day.
Once a cake is iced it is sealed....it will not get stale for a couple of days so it can be left at room temp at this point - decorated or not.

Now that's the ideal time line.
I have worked in bakeries where a wedding cake would be completely finished as much as 4-5 days ahead! icon_sad.gif
Once finished a cake can be stored in a very cool place...an unheated room or the frig. If at all possible the ideal would be a dedicated frig or fzr (used for nothing but cakes).
Always bring to room temp the night before delivery. A few people say delivering a cold cake helps it be stable for transportation. I've delivered 100s of wedding cakes at room temp w/o problems.

Some people don't like to frig fondant covered cakes. I have h ad occasions where I have....boxes and ready to go. Just take it out of the frig a few hrs before & it was just fine. It will sweat, but that evaporates if you don't open the box &/or it's not hot/humid in your areaicon_smile.gif
Fzing a fondant covered cake is not recommended.

Hope this helps many.

cakebaker1957 Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 2:57pm
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

If there's a party or wedding on Saturday, when should I: - bake the cakes - torte, fill and crumb coat - ice - decorate...proper way to store the cake in between the steps? Does this differ if a cake is iced in buttercream vs. fondant?

Good question! Th ere are many out there who don't know thisicon_smile.gif Be prepared to get different suggestions as there are many ways to do it.

Usually if at all possible bake on Wed for Sat party.
Now having said that, there is no shame in baking ahead......weeks ahead, if you can fz the cake. There are several threads on here about fzing cakes. The trick is wrap them properly. If done right the cake will actually be *moister*.
Make your b'cream ahead. It can be friged for 2 weeks or fz for longer storage.
Many decorations can be made weeks ahead - both b'cream & fondant.
If cake is fzn.....take out the night before OR early in the a.m. Just put on the counter OR it can be defrosted in the frig overnight.
I prefere to torte, fill, & ice on one day.....usually 2 days before event.
Depending on how elaborate the decorations and how much time it took to ice it I might do the decorating then also or the next day.
Once a cake is iced it is sealed....it will not get stale for a couple of days so it can be left at room temp at this point - decorated or not.

Now that's the ideal time line.
I have worked in bakeries where a wedding cake would be completely finished as much as 4-5 days ahead! icon_sad.gif
Once finished a cake can be stored in a very cool place...an unheated room or the frig. If at all possible the ideal would be a dedicated frig or fzr (used for nothing but cakes).
Always bring to room temp the night before delivery. A few people say delivering a cold cake helps it be stable for transportation. I've delivered 100s of wedding cakes at room temp w/o problems.

Some people don't like to frig fondant covered cakes. I have h ad occasions where I have....boxes and ready to go. Just take it out of the frig a few hrs before & it was just fine. It will sweat, but that evaporates if you don't open the box &/or it's not hot/humid in your areaicon_smile.gif
Fzing a fondant covered cake is not recommended.

Hope this helps many.




kakeladi, after you torte and icing the cakes how do you store it do you leave them uncovered or put them in a box , reason im asking ive noticed if i try to store my rd cakes in a cake keeper, they get really moist almost sticky, and the icing is hard to put on if there like that sorry for jumping in Thanks

kakeladi Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 5:57pm
post #7 of 18

In a b ox. The reason you keeper is causing them to get sticky is it's air tight. You don't want it airtight, just covered. Many times I just leave them uncovered....but then I had lots of room and not that many at one time.

cakebaker1957 Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 6:00pm
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

In a b ox. The reason you keeper is causing them to get sticky is it's air tight. You don't want it airtight, just covered. Many times I just leave them uncovered....but then I had lots of room and not that many at one time.




Thank you i was wondering what was happening i didnt want them to dry out i dont have a crumb coat on them so i thought they may dry out , i have also noticed that the cake release may be making them a little sticky i may use to much? Thank you i will just put them in a box and not worry about them drying out

brea1026 Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 6:21pm
post #9 of 18

Great Question! I am working on a 5 tier wedding cake for this weekend and have a 4 week old baby boy at home, so I am really trying to spread things out as much as I can! I did have one question... does anyone know how long fresh sliced strawberries will keep in a fondant covered cake? 2 of the tiers will be WASC w/ chocolate covered strawberry filling (layer of fudge and sliced strawberries). I was thinking that I would do fill, frost and cover the other 2 tiers on thursday, and then do the 2 tiers with the strawberries on friday. The wedding is saturday evening. Do I need to refrigerate those cakes then too?

thanks for the advice!

Deb_ Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 7:20pm
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakebaker1957

Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

In a b ox. The reason you keeper is causing them to get sticky is it's air tight. You don't want it airtight, just covered. Many times I just leave them uncovered....but then I had lots of room and not that many at one time.



Thank you i was wondering what was happening i didnt want them to dry out i dont have a crumb coat on them so i thought they may dry out , i have also noticed that the cake release may be making them a little sticky i may use to much? Thank you i will just put them in a box and not worry about them drying out




If you don't have a crumbcoat on the cake do not store it unwrapped in a box, the cake will dry out. Your original question to kakeladi was "after I torte, fill, icing the cake how do I store them?". That's why she responded in a box, not an airtight cakesaver.

Now you're saying that "you don't have a crumb coat on them so you thought they may dry out".

If the layers are NOT iced or NOT crumbcoated, you need to wrap them very well in Saran until your ready to torte and fill and crumbcoat. About an hr before you're ready to do this unwrap the layers and let them Air dry a bit before you torte, fill, crumbcoat and ice.

If the layers ARE iced than you CAN store them in a box, do NOT store layers in a cakesaver at any time, they will get sticky like you said.

cakebaker1957 Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 7:23pm
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly27

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakebaker1957

Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

In a b ox. The reason you keeper is causing them to get sticky is it's air tight. You don't want it airtight, just covered. Many times I just leave them uncovered....but then I had lots of room and not that many at one time.



Thank you i was wondering what was happening i didnt want them to dry out i dont have a crumb coat on them so i thought they may dry out , i have also noticed that the cake release may be making them a little sticky i may use to much? Thank you i will just put them in a box and not worry about them drying out



If you don't have a crumbcoat on the cake do not store it unwrapped in a box, the cake will dry out. Your original question to kakeladi was "after I torte, fill, icing the cake how do I store them?". That's why she responded in a box, not an airtight cakesaver.

Now you're saying that "you don't have a crumb coat on them so you thought they may dry out".

If the layers are NOT iced or NOT crumbcoated, you need to wrap them very well in Saran until your ready to torte and fill and crumbcoat. About an hr before you're ready to do this unwrap the layers and let them Air dry a bit before you torte, fill, crumbcoat and ice.

If the layers ARE iced than you CAN store them in a box, do NOT store layers in a cakesaver at any time, they will get sticky like you said.




thanks, i will remember this one no there not crumbcoated but they are in a cake saver i will let them air dry before icing them cause sometimes there to moist and the icing slides off(: Thanks for the great info

luelue1971 Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 7:53pm
post #12 of 18

I prefer my cakes taste after they have been frozen so I try to alway freeze them even if its just for a few hours.

For a saturday event I usually

Mon or Tues - bake and freeze cakes (tightly wrapped, make frosting and any decorations that need to dry

Wednesday- take the cakes out of the freezer to thaw and then fill and wrap tightly in Saran wrap to settle

thursday morning - remove saran wrap and allow cake to condesate for about 20 - 30 minutes then ice and decorate. I keep the finished cake in a box or a storage bin until delivery.

A couple of weeks ago I had a wedding scheduled for Friday afternoon. I had torted, filled and froze the cakes. I had taken the cakes out on Wednedsday morning to begin decorating. The bride got sick so the wedding was postponed. I put the cakes in the freezer until the next Tuesday and then thawed and decorated on WEdnesday. The cakes were as delicious and any that I have done.

cakebaker1957 Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 7:55pm
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by luelue1971

I prefer my cakes taste after they have been frozen so I try to alway freeze them even if its just for a few hours.

For a saturday event I usually

Mon or Tues - bake and freeze cakes (tightly wrapped, make frosting and any decorations that need to dry

Wednesday- take the cakes out of the freezer to thaw and then fill and wrap tightly in Saran wrap to settle

thursday morning - remove saran wrap and allow cake to condesate for about 20 - 30 minutes then ice and decorate. I keep the finished cake in a box or a storage bin until delivery.

Great info, is that a tote the storage bin??

A couple of weeks ago I had a wedding scheduled for Friday afternoon. I had torted, filled and froze the cakes. I had taken the cakes out on Wednedsday morning to begin decorating. The bride got sick so the wedding was postponed. I put the cakes in the freezer until the next Tuesday and then thawed and decorated on WEdnesday. The cakes were as delicious and any that I have done.


Deb_ Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 11:44pm
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by brea1026

Great Question! I am working on a 5 tier wedding cake for this weekend and have a 4 week old baby boy at home, so I am really trying to spread things out as much as I can! I did have one question... does anyone know how long fresh sliced strawberries will keep in a fondant covered cake? 2 of the tiers will be WASC w/ chocolate covered strawberry filling (layer of fudge and sliced strawberries). I was thinking that I would do fill, frost and cover the other 2 tiers on thursday, and then do the 2 tiers with the strawberries on friday. The wedding is saturday evening. Do I need to refrigerate those cakes then too?

thanks for the advice!




First of all, Congratulations on your new baby!

The filling with the fresh strawberries...........are you cooking the berries into a filling?
If so yes, they will be o.k. with your time frame that you mentioned.

If you're just slicing them and placing them on top of the fudge frosting, they will leak berry juice.

I know from a bad experience that I had doing this. Even though I did a stiff dam around the filling, the strawberry's juice leaked through the dam and through the icing. This caused my tiers to shift because they were wet.

Now I did not use fondant, so I'm not sure what the reaction would be on your fondant.

I recommend using strawberry pie filling or simmering your sliced berries in a sugar syrup first to release their natural juices. Just to be safe icon_smile.gif

becklynn Posted 30 Sep 2008 , 11:59pm
post #15 of 18

I use food safe plastic bags to store cakes overnight if not iced yet. These are GREAT! They are called Bun Pan Covers and I got them online at the webrestaurant store. They come in a large roll of 200 and they are large enough for most any size cake. No more fighting with saran wrap!
Thanks to sugarshack for recommending these!!

Sweet_Guys Posted 1 Oct 2008 , 2:56am
post #16 of 18

We bake Wednesday or Thursday early in the evening. Then we wrap the cakes in plastic wrap. Usually we torte, crumb coat, coat/cover, and decorate Friday evening and Saturday morning. Hope this helps!

cakebaker1957 Posted 1 Oct 2008 , 11:33am
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by becklynn

I use food safe plastic bags to store cakes overnight if not iced yet. These are GREAT! They are called Bun Pan Covers and I got them online at the webrestaurant store. They come in a large roll of 200 and they are large enough for most any size cake. No more fighting with saran wrap!
Thanks to sugarshack for recommending these!!




Is the web site for the bun pan covers www.webresturant.com??
thanks sounds good to me i need them

becklynn Posted 1 Oct 2008 , 3:04pm
post #18 of 18

Here's the link. I know you will love these bags!

http://www.webstaurantstore.com/third1245/products/bun-pan-covers.html

Good luck!
PM me if you have any more questions!
Becky

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