Best Way To Stretch Prep Time Out?

Decorating By FrostedMoon Updated 23 Apr 2013 , 4:48pm by carmijok

FrostedMoon Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 5:48pm
post #1 of 11

Like many of us, the only time I have to bake and decorate is from about 9pm to 6am.  Yes, there have been many sleepless nights for me.  I'm trying to reduce that by doing as much as possible ahead of time, but I also run in to problems with things like taking hours to let the cake settle.  I think I can use those breaks to my advantage, but I worry that the time between when I'm done with that step and when I have a chance to do the next one might be too long. I've searched the forums and can't find an exact answer, so I hope you can give me some feedback on the steps I'm hoping to try.


Day 1

1.  Bake and cool the cakes.

2.  Once completely cool wrap in saran wrap and freeze overnight.


Day 2

3.   Take out of freezer and immediately level and torte

4.  Fill and thin crumb coat with a crusting buttercream 

5.  Wrap with Saran Wrap 

6.  Place ceramic tile on top to help settle at room temperature overnight


Day 3

7.  Unwrap and apply another thin crumb coat to adress any bulges/settling.

8.  Cover with fondant and finish decorating.


I usually do steps 3 through 8 all in one night, but I've never done the ceramic tile step.  I do have bulges in my cakes though, and am hoping to fix that by adding that step. I have a few questions that I would especially appreciate feedback on


1.  Do I need to let it completely defrost prior to wrapping in saran wrap in step 5?

2.  Is 24 hours too long to let it settle? If it is, can I maybe torte, fill, and crumb coat, put back in the freezer for the night, then take it out in the morning and place the tile on top so it will defrost and settle during the day and be ready to decorate at night?


Hope that's not too confusing.  Thanks in advance!

10 replies
denetteb Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:04pm
post #2 of 11

I wouldn't bother with freezing for just the one night.  Seems like it just adds a layer of complication to  the process.  Couldn't you just bake, cool, torte and fill one night, do your settling and finish the next night?  There are a variety of ways to do the process, for every 10 people that might respond, they may do it slightly differently.  One of the wonderful things about baking and caking is that there are a lot of ways to do it right.  Your steps you have listed probably would work just fine, others wouldn't freeze for just one night, etc.  I like to freeze ahead to get that baking step out of they way.  I just don't mess with it for an overnight but will do it days ahead when it is convenient for me.

FrostedMoon Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:22pm
post #3 of 11

AThanks for your feedback. I should have clarified that I freeze on purpose as I like what it does for the texture, and I find it easier to torte and level when frozen.

I know many people leave cakes out for days, but that's not something I've ever really been comfortable with even though by law my cakes can't require refridgeration. Hard to get past those ingrained ideas!

denetteb Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:25pm
post #4 of 11

I don't use the tile on mine, don't do fondant so bulging isn't such an issue.  Not sure how long is recommended.  I wouldn't put it back in the freezer the second time though.  If 24 is too long with the tile, leave it on as long as that step is needed then leave it out for the next step.

kazita Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:39pm
post #5 of 11

AHere's a thread about cake settling.

denetteb Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 6:45pm
post #6 of 11

Good, that thread gives the time...2-3 hours so 24 hours would be too long.

FrostedMoon Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 10:35pm
post #7 of 11

AThanks. That is the thread where I got the idea for the ceramic tile. Later in the thread Leah_S says at least 2-3 hours, or overnight if possible. I didn't want to have to wait up for the 2-3 hours to pass, and it just occurred to me that I can leave it on overnight, then take the tile off the next morning. It will still have to sit until I get to put fondant on that night, but hopefully that won't defeat the purpose!

kazita Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 10:58pm
post #8 of 11

ANow I'm not 100% sure but I thought that I've read on here where people bake , cool , level and torte all in one day than they wrap it up well in cling wrap until they are ready to finish it up. Could you do all of that than when you are ready for it to be iced the second time you can bring it out of the freezer let it thaw and put the tile on it for a few hours so that it has time to settle . You could take it out of the freezer the night before let it thaw out than in the morning put the tile on it for it to settle all day while you are at work , than when you get home its ready to be finished up. That is if your filling can be froze without a problem. Hope this makes sense.

carmijok Posted 21 Apr 2013 , 11:17pm
post #9 of 11

I too freeze my cakes only I level them before I freeze. It saves time and doesn't affect the freshness.   If I want 3 layers I'll bake 3 separate layers.  It's easier than torting....though I've done that frozen too.  


I have not felt the need to do anything special to let my cakes settle.  I fill and crumbcoat while the cake is still frozen and really have never had a problem (watch my next one explode now that I've said that).  Use a stiff dam (add a bit more powdered sugar to stiffen it more) around the edge of  your cake and press down a little, then run your knife around to smooth the excess and you should be good to go.  I put my cake back in the fridge after crumb coating to get it firm then I frost it in layers...smoothing and letting each layer cool a few minutes in the refrigerator.  It seems to create a firm base which may help in keeping the bulging issue at bay.  I only use buttercream  and don't cover with fondant so I don't know whether the weight of the fondant would make bulging more of an issue...but this is how I do it. 


For a weekend cake I'll bake Tuesday, freeze...take out the night before it's due and frost, stack (if needed)  and decorate as much as I can and put it back in the refrigerator.  The buttercream protects the cake from drying and I've kept them in the fridge for a couple of days before.  I really don't like to go over that if I can help it.  The day of delivery I'll finish up the decor and keep it in the fridge  until delivery.  I like to deliver a cold cake at least an hour before it's due so it can come to room temp slowly. 



FrostedMoon Posted 22 Apr 2013 , 6:27pm
post #10 of 11

AThanks all!

I've been very tempted to fill and cover in fondant, then freeze until I'm ready to decorate. I've read everything I can find about it, and I will try it, but want to do one differ thing at a time in so if I run in to a problem I'll know what was different. Fingers crossed this works and my cakes still taste great!

carmijok Posted 23 Apr 2013 , 4:48pm
post #11 of 11
Originally Posted by FrostedMoon 

Thanks all!

I've been very tempted to fill and cover in fondant, then freeze until I'm ready to decorate. I've read everything I can find about it, and I will try it, but want to do one differ thing at a time in so if I run in to a problem I'll know what was different. Fingers crossed this works and my cakes still taste great!


Be prepared to wait a while for your fondant to dry completely after you take it out if you freeze it--honestly there would be no reason why you couldn't just put it in the refrigerator.  It would be covered and protected completely with BC and fondant.  In fact unless you've got something like fresh fruit in your filling there's no reason you can't leave it out on the counter.  If you have time, why don't you experiment with a very small fondant covered cake...or even two...just to satisfy your concerns? 

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