Walk-In Refrigerators

Business By itsacake Updated 14 May 2010 , 3:55am by nancyg

itsacake Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 5:01am
post #1 of 24

For those of you who have walk-ins. Do you have a de-humidifier? What advantages do you find with having one or why did you decide not to get one if you didn't.

Thanks for any experience you can share. (And why didn't thy teach this stuff at school?)

Edited to say if you don't have a walk-in but have a reach-in with a de-humidifier, I'd like to hear from you too.

23 replies
dsilbern Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 5:23am
post #2 of 24

I'm new to cake decorating but I've worked in foodservice for over a decade. I've done alot of catering where things have been prepped and set up ahead of time in the fridges.

None of the kitchens I've worked in have had de-humidifiers and the food/pastries/desserts were fine. (None were decorated cakes though.)

The reps for the companies make it sound like you can't possibly not have one. And they are pushy. I don't believe the de-humidifiers are necessary but my experience with cake decorating is pretty limited.

itsacake Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 7:23am
post #3 of 24

None of the reps I talked to offered a quote including a de-humidifier. I did bring it up with one of them. I just thought I'd seen references to them somewhere and wondered if anyone who refrigerates their fondant covered cakes has comments pro or con.

And thanks for sharing your experience, dsilbern, even if it doesn't include fondant. It is good to know what others do, in any case.

indydebi Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 12:27pm
post #4 of 24

Mine didn't have one. But I'm not one who refrigerates cakes. I never noticed any condensations on anything in my 'frig, though. My kitchen designer never mentioned having to have one.

heavenlys Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 1:08pm
post #5 of 24

I have a walkin and no dehumidifer. The cake may sweat a bit but never had trouble with it. I think my side by sides make them sweat a bit more though,

leah_s Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 1:13pm
post #6 of 24

Indy, who is that really mega cake shop near you? She has two walkins for cakes. One for predecorated and one for finished cakes and one is low humidity. That's all I can remember.

indydebi Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 6:16pm
post #7 of 24
Originally Posted by leah_s

Indy, who is that really mega cake shop near you? She has two walkins for cakes. One for predecorated and one for finished cakes and one is low humidity. That's all I can remember.

That's CC'er classiccakes (in Carmel .... just north of Indy). Yeah, she has an awesome operation!

itsacake Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 7:38pm
post #8 of 24

Thanks Leah and Debi, I will attempt to get in touch with classiccakes. If she has one of each, she'll be able to tell me why.

Thanks heavenlys.

pattycakesnj Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 7:45pm
post #9 of 24

We just had one installed on Wednesday, it was free to try for 30 days. I don't notice a difference (but I also don't refrigerate fondant cakes) but my partner that I share space with, says she notices a difference already. She ran a test with a fondant bow from yesterday and it came out fine today. No sweating or running etc.

itsacake Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 8:01pm
post #10 of 24

Thanks Patty. I haven't refrigerated my fondant cakes up to now. And I'm not sure I want to start making cakes that require refrigeration, since they are often out for a long time after delivery and there are all those food safety issues, but if it doesn't cost too much more, I thought it would be worth exploring.

If you decide to keep it, how much will they charge you?

pattycakesnj Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 8:39pm
post #11 of 24

itsacake, I wasn't really paying attention when the guy was there as I was baking, but I think it was $50 per month. (But I may be wrong as I was only listening with half an ear) If you pm my partner, (snowshoe1) she can probably give you all the info as she dealt with the guy.

surgery2 Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 9:53pm
post #12 of 24

My walk-in in my home is only like 6x8ft, but I dont have a dehumidifer with mine, I sometimes store cakes and other products in there, I haven't had any condensation problems either.

itsacake Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 10:48pm
post #13 of 24

So many questions.... Everyone who thinks you can own a business and just bake cakes take note. icon_evil.gif

I just got a call from the owner of the company most likely to be chosen by me to install the walk-in. (They are least expensive for comparable equipment) He told me I can choose the humidity level best suited to my cakes and it can be controlled by the size of the evaporator that is used. There would be no extra charge. He just wants to know what level of humidity I want, so he can design the proper system. He said 70% is what most walk-ins have and he thinks going below 50% might be too low, but he is not experienced with cakes so I said I'd research.

Anyone out there know what level of humidity in the walk-in is best for cakes? While you are all thinking, I'll call Pettinice and also Google it and send out e-mails to a couple of chefs I know.

surgery2 Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 10:58pm
post #14 of 24

I just checked mine, its made to hit 58%, and yes, its related to the size of the compressor, just like cooling a home. Homes have different humidity levels related to the size of their compressors on there central air units.

So see ladies.....................SIZE DOES MATTER...................LOL

leah_s Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 12:03am
post #15 of 24

You really need to find Classic Cakes and call her. She had it down to a science. I'm reasonably sure that wasn't just a screen name, but the real name of her business.

leah_s Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 12:03am
post #16 of 24

Here you go (317) 844-6901‎

itsacake Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 2:25am
post #17 of 24

Thanks Leah! I sent an e-mail to Classic Cakes. If I don't hear back, I will definitely call. Thanks for looking up the number for me.

SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 3:02pm
post #18 of 24

Hey, if you don't mind my asking....... what price range is your walk in? I've priced them but they seem to vary in price so much I don't know what's a good deal and what isn't anymore

classiccake Posted 7 Feb 2010 , 4:23pm
post #19 of 24

I am here!

I got the e-mail through the website contact, but there was no phone # or e-mail address to respond to. So I looked here for the thread.

Here is my story. The first walk-in I purchased was when I opened my store 15 years ago. I did not even think about humidity when it was installed. We had problems in the humid summer months with condensation on the cakes, and even had colors run sometimes on the cakes.

When I expanded into another storefront 7 years ago, I purchased a new walk-in. The same refridgeration company installed this one. Since it was new, I felt I could have some control over the mechanism installed, so I had a long conversation with the head guy. By then, I had read about lower humidity coolers. One peson I talked to had some device installed in their current cooler. (They are now out of business so I don't know just what it was.)

He felt he could set up the cooler to be lower in humidity. I don't even know what he did...I just trusted him. He came through and we don't have any condensation or running colors. I still notice a difference in the humidity in the summer months. We do not put any gumpaste on the cake until the day it goes out. I just don't want to take a chance of it softening. We have the pieces all ready to go on the cake, and someone gets them on the day of.

As far as fondant goes, I will put fondant pieces. ribbons, etc on it the day before. We do the cakes that require fondant the day before they go out. I still don't put a fondant covered cake in the cooler. I will set it in there the day it goes out, but not overnight.

We do not cover many cakes in fondant at our store. Instead, we make our buttercream look like fondant.

I love it now that we have the two different coolers. Our cakes actually get moister in the old cooler. We don't have to cover them. They are actually better if left in there at least overnight.

We don't have the problem of condensation in the new cooler and it keeps everything very fresh and in good shape.

We don't get "refridgeration" odors because we only put cakes, butter, and sour cream in those coolers. We have a small reach in cooler for everything else...people's lunches included! icon_smile.gif

I know this does not give you any hard facts. I think it just takes a very knowledgable refridgeration guy.

itsacake Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 1:31am
post #20 of 24

Classiccake, thanks for getting back to me. I thought when I filled out the form on the website I had listed my e-mail address, but I really appreciate you tracking down the thread, since I guess I didn't.

Since I wrote to you, I too talked to a couple of refrigeration guys. One of them told me he could set up the evaporator so that the cooler could have lower humidity without any additional equipment. That sounds like what your guy did. Both of the guys I talked to wanted to know what level of humidity I wanted. That I'm not sure about (and not sure how to find out, though both guys said they would also do some research) It was suggested by one guy that a "normal" refrigerator has 70 percent humidity and I might want 50 percent. Less than that might dry things out too much. Since I will only have one cooler, I guess I'll have to find a median humdity.

So it sounds like you like the cooler with humidity for cakes before you decorate them and the one with lower humidity for buttercream decorated cakes. Am I correct that fondant accents go into your lower humidity cooler overnight on your buttercream cakes, but fondant covered cakes you only put in for a short time to stabilize before delivery? If that is the case, I'm guessing that you don't do fondant covered cakes with fillings that need refrigeration. Is that right? That's been my practice up to now, I was thinking this might change it. Guess maybe not.

I'm a little unclear about the whole condensation thing. Do you mean that even after you take the cakes out, when they come to room temperature, if they have been in the less humid cooler, they don't form much condensation? That is what I'm hoping, even though it doesn't seem logical. The fondant accents I've put on buttercream cakes in the cooler in the kitchen where I've been renting space are almost melted now when I take the cakes out. Sounds like that would be solved, at least.

Thanks for taking the time to help with this. Learning from others' experience is incredibly valuable and I can't thank you enough.

classiccake Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 4:37am
post #21 of 24


No, I don't use fillings that need refridgeration in fondant cakes. I think you found all my points correctly. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Best wishes in your venture.

howsweet Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 5:04am
post #22 of 24

I keep meaning to do more experimenting - but one of the problems of refrigerating cakes in general is that when they come out after sitting for 20 min or so, they can develop condensation regardless of the humidity in the frig, is that right?

This has been the most frustrating issue. Someone told me that as long as you put the cake in a huge bag or box that fixes the problem. I do bag all my buttercream cakes (after being in there for a few minutes to harden the icing). But I still don't put fondant in there.

classiccake Posted 8 Feb 2010 , 5:31am
post #23 of 24

Generally I don't have that problem. If it is an extremely hot and humid day, and the cake goes from cold to hot quickly, it can happen. As a rule, it does not. In the higher humid cooler, it does happen.

nancyg Posted 14 May 2010 , 3:55am
post #24 of 24

I too just bought a brand new double door True. refrig. I needed it like you because. I wanted to start cakes early Wed. then Thurs and Fri. For Sat delivery.

Even though fillings did not reguire refrig. I thought Wed to Sat was a long time not to get stale. I bake Mon and Tues. Well, I have a had a heck of a time. My buttercream cakes sweat horribly.

My fondant even disolved in a puddle around the cake. I was using fondx...I now use Satin Ice... It is somewhat better. But, I find if I box them in cardboard then take out leave in box intil they come to room temp. The box helps absorb some of the moisture.

Anyone any other ideas????? And can you put this humidifier in a True dble door fridge, and anyone know the cost.

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