AHow far in advance can you make a cake and have it sit out? I've been asked to do a cake for Nov 2, but am leaving town the day before and would have to deliver the cake on Oct 31. If I used buttercream & fondant, how long can it sit and still be good?
Assuming that it is refrigerated up until it's delivered and doesn't require refrigeration as far as food safety, it should be OK. I think most buttercreams are shelf stable for 2 or 3 days.
And make sure you are starting with a moist cake, of course!
I haven't had a delay like that for any of my cakes, but maybe you could mist with a little simple syrup?
Maybe someone with that experience could weigh in on that?
I have had the best luck with keeping cakes in the freezer and then moving to frig. I made a cake (buttercream and fondant), it was finished on Thursday night, I kept in the freezer and delivered it Friday. The customers kept in the freezer on Friday, moved to the refrigerator on Saturday and served it on Sunday. They loved it!! said it looked great and was moist and delicious. Around the 4th of July, I had a customer do the same thing and it worked out perfectly. If there is any condensation on the cake from going to cold temp to room temp, just place in front of a fan...make sure fan has been on recently before placing on cake or you will blow dust bunnies on your cake...lol! Also, you might recommend customer placing baking soda in the freezer/refrigerator as the cake could pick up existing flavors/odors from those.
AHmmm... People have been telling me to not refrigerate my cakes though? Doesn't it damage the fondant and keep the cake from settling?
Oh SHOOT...I had a lengthy response but it wouldn't submit. Grrrr!
Long story short, fondant is fine refrigerated just watch humidity levels and DON'T TOUCH IT when it gets tacky. And it will get tacky to varying degrees depending on the weather and temp of your house.
Don't add any pizzazz (dimensional things that will be sticking off the cake) until it is ready to be unrefrigerated. I have refrigerated said items before and only once *SUPER HOT HUMID SUMMER DAY* did I have trouble. Since then though, I err (?) on the side of caution. I just make sure I do a dry run of where those items need to go prior to its final refrigeration.
Settling: Use a stiffer buttercream for a filling or a stiff buttercream dam if using a softer filling. Once cake is all filled, push down firmly on top. Yes, some will squeeze out the sides. Pick your cake and cakeboard up about 6" off the counter. Drop straight down and repeat two more times. This will hopefully force out any air bubbles in between your layers. Straighten out if needed, crumb coat, refrigerate. Ice, refrigerate. Fondant, refrigerate. *Make sure you check after applying fondant and pin-pop any air bubbles that may have gotten trapped during application. Decorate (non-pizzazz), refrigerate. Add pizzazz, deliver. Hold breath until you hear from customer that all was FANTASTIC and you worried for absolutely nothing!!
Hope that helps you!