So going through forums there's about 80 different answers about freezing cakes. I happen to have 2 cakes due this week 3 days apart (and both chocolate) so this is a good time to figure this out once and for all. Today is Monday I have a cake pickup on Thursday and Sunday. One is a 3 tier cake and the other a small single tier + 24 cupcakes. I hope this helps everyone out, as many answers as possible please, and indicate what question(s) you are answering.
Here's the questions:
1. Is it RECOMMENDED to freeze cakes, for any amount (under 4 wks) of time to seal in moisture, even if time does not require freezing?
ex. 1: Cake due sat. should I bake, wrap, and freeze, Thurs. then defrost next day and decorate
ex. 2: Cake due NEXT sat, should I bake, wrap freeze a week early... then same as above.
- Does freezing, even for a day, help hold in moisture?
- Do cakes change their flavor in a positive or negative way (or at all) if frozen? (we'll say 4 weeks or less)
- Do cakes change their texture in a positive or negative way (or at all) if frozen? (we'll say 4 weeks or less)
- Are cakes ACTUALLY moister if frozen?
Taking these factors into consideration... to freeze or not to freeze, THAT is the question!
2. I am freezing my cakes. When should I wrap my cakes?
- While still a bit warm?
- TOTALLY room temperature?
3. Frosting cakes while frozen (with a regular buttercream) ? Do or do not?
4. Filling before freezing, then freezing a whole tier (un-iced)? Do or do not with each?
- Filling with buttercream
- Filling with a fruit base
- Filling with a custard-like base
5. Stacking, torting, and crumbcoating while frozen, then frosting once thawed.
- To do any or all of these things while frozen?
6. Do different (relatively standard) cake flavors have different results from freezing?
- Pound cake, sponge cake, a basic yellow cake, shortcake
- chocolate cake vs. vanilla- does one freeze better, longer, moister, changes flavor
- cake types or flavors you know of that DO NOT FREEZE WELL
7. What is the AVERAGE maximum time you can freeze ahead?
8. Does size of the cake matter for freezing success?
9. How well do cupcakes freeze, how long can they be frozen for?
Thank You to anyone who answers this post, I have it up here to help everyone get a better summary of the confusion around freezing and decorating cakes. Looking forward to all the answers!
Partial answers from my own experience.
First of all, to me freezing means using a chest deep freezer NOT connected to a fridge.=The old fashioned kind that need to be manually defrosted to get rid of accumulated ice.
Fridge freezers dry out cakes something wicked because the air is sucked from them to keep the fridge cold.
Freezing cake baked ahead for scheduling works well. Both unfrosted and completely buttercream frosted. All kinds of cake batters you listed.
No change in flavour or texture after 4 weeks, if cake was properly sealed (either completely buttercream iced or wrapped in 2 layers plastic). All types of cake you listed. Same for cookies FYI both raw and baked.
All cakes MUST be completely cooled to room temperature to wrap or ice or freeze. =Stone cold to the touch.
Bake in morning, fill/cover in afternoon/evening, freeze is my best way for doing ahead. I do NOT use fondant except on fruitcake which I do not freeze.
If cake is baked 1-2 days before event, no need to freeze IF iced the same day it was baked.
DO NOT freeze custard pudding or custard buttercream, they weep something gross when thawed.
I know it seems confusing because there are lots of ways people answer all of your questions. Some refuse to freeze, others always freeze. Some wrap in multiple layers, others just use one layer. The thing is, no one has the definitive answer to all of your questions simply because no one has done all the specific experiments you suggest. A couple years ago some Wilton forum users did do an experiment on freezing and found no loss of moisture, even when the cake was frozen un covered. They also froze cake batter and had good results. The other reason that there are multiple answers is because everyone is right. If people think their cake is a lesser quality when frozen they are right to not freeze. I have found no problem with freezing cakes and cupcakes and wrapping in a single layer of plastic wrap in a freezer on top of my fridge, including fully filled and iced buttercream cakes. Others have had great success with multiple layers of wrap and stick with what has worked for them. Basically it comes down to what each bakers has good results with and there really is no thing that doesn't work. There are just too many variables. So do some research (which clearly you have done) and just give it a try, it really is pretty hard to mess it up. The big exception being to always use a cake cardboard and dowels/bubble tea straws for a support system. No way around that.
AI have found that letting the ccake cool for no more than 10 to 15 minutes than putting a cake board the same size as the cake and turn cake out of the pan, than wrapped well in plastic wrap and freeze it....this forces moister into the cake. I do this even if then cake is due that day or the next day or weeks ahead if time
I have found that letting the ccake cool for no more than 10 to 15 minutes than putting a cake board the same size as the cake and turn cake out of the pan, than wrapped well in plastic wrap and freeze it....this forces moister into the cake. I do this even if then cake is due that day or the next day or weeks ahead if time
I'm afraid that anybody who follow this is going to have problems with cakes that are larger than 12". Freezing a cake while it's still steaming in the middle will make for a slimy/mushy cake. Not to mention early burnout of your freezer unit.
So I hope the OP will use some commonsense, because the opinions will continue to be all over the map.
First of all good baking technique--weighing the flour, using the right kind of flour, mixing correctly--eliminates the need for shenanigans like freezing cakes with their steam. A well baked cake requires only to cool to room temperature to be delicious without any added icing or topping. Bake like this, and you can then freeze such cakes without fear of problems. Practise baking single 8" layers of scratch batters because that is enough investment of ingredients to develop good technique. Take such cakes to work if you can't eat them all at home.
If you use cake mixes, use milk or buttermilk instead of water. It makes a huge difference. But I have switched over to homemade cake mix to be able to control the amount of salt. These can be made up in bulk (stored in the fridge if you used butter). They have an excellent texture after baking up with buttermilk and eggs and real extracts.
Use the magic cake strips to get even layers without humps and they are less crusty at the edges. I bake at 325F and always for less time that the recipe calls for.