Decorating A Cake Far In Advance

Decorating By Dr_Hfuhruhurr Updated 1 May 2014 , 2:02am by howsweet

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 22 Apr 2014 , 8:17pm
post #1 of 23

Hi all,

 

I have a Boy Scouts bridge ceremony next week for my son, and I've offered to make a cake for the pack.  Typically, I bake cakes a 2-3 days ahead of time and then do most of my decorating on the day of the event (I'm just a hobby baker).  This time, though, I've had an issue come up and I will be unable to do much of anything to the cake on the day of the event (or the day prior, for that matter).

 

The ceremony is Tuesday night, and the only way I think I can get the cake done is to put the whole shebang together on Sunday.  Probably bake cakes on Friday, tort, stack and ice on Saturday, and then cover with fondant and decorations on Sunday.  I will be using scratch vanilla and chocolate cake recipes, two tiers, covered in buttercream and Fondx. 

 

Will there be any problem leaving the cake out from Sunday evening until Tuesday evening, when it is delivered and eaten?  I'm not really concerned about food safety issues, probably, but more just with the effect sitting out will have on the cake or decorations. 

 

I could potentially refrigerate it, but it would be difficult because I have a very small fridge.  Any tips or advice would be very helpful, thanks!

 

-dt

22 replies
costumeczar Posted 22 Apr 2014 , 10:28pm
post #2 of 23

I would really try to refrigerate it for at least the first day if you can. It should be fine sitting out depending on what's in it perishability-wise, but at least if it's in the fridge it's not an issue. If you do have to leave it out I'd at least put it in a box , but the fridge is the best bet.

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 23 Apr 2014 , 2:10pm
post #3 of 23

Thanks very much for the input.  I think I will try to find a way to refrigerate it.  Maybe I can just decorate the tiers individually and pack them in separate boxes. 

costumeczar Posted 23 Apr 2014 , 9:59pm
post #4 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr_Hfuhruhurr 
 

Thanks very much for the input.  I think I will try to find a way to refrigerate it.  Maybe I can just decorate the tiers individually and pack them in separate boxes.

that's actually a good idea. They'll be easier to handle if they're cold, too.

RubinaD Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 12:39am
post #5 of 23
Quote:

 

Will there be any problem leaving the cake out from Sunday evening until Tuesday evening, when it is delivered and eaten?  I'm not really concerned about food safety issues, probably, but more just with the effect sitting out will have on the cake or decorations. 

 

 

Really? food safe is not an issue for you after having a cake baked 5 days before it's eaten with no refrigeration?

AZCouture Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 1:00am
post #6 of 23

A

Original message sent by RubinaD

Really? food safe is not an issue for you after having a cake baked 5 days before it's eaten with no refrigeration?

Agree. Unless that's a fruit cake that's already months old, or a mud cake with ganache...that's a little too long for me.

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 3:43am
post #7 of 23

A

Original message sent by RubinaD

Really? food safe is not an issue for you after having a cake baked 5 days before it's eaten with no refrigeration?

Well, no, frankly. But am I wrong? I'm not a professional baker, but I've never heard of any reason that a baked cake can't be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days (Sun - Tues, maybe Saturday at the outside). If I were using some sort of filling or frosting that required refrigeration, that would concern me, but I'm not. Hence my comment about food safety.

I'm eager to hear if I'm wrong, though. I've already decided to refrigerate the tiers individually, for maximum freshness, but more information is always better.

(And just to be clear, I'm not sure where you're getting 5 days from. I may bake Friday night, but that would only be four days. And, I never said I wouldn't refrigerate prior to decorating--I usually freeze the cakes until I'm ready to tort and ice, and then I refrigerate until time for fondant and decoration. I was just curious about the point after decoration until the party, which should be about two days. I probably should have been more clear)

morganchampagne Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 6:37am
post #8 of 23

AI've left a cake covered on my counter for one week. I wouldn't mind if it was for ME. But for a client no way. Just wouldn't risk it being stale

Rohini Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 8:15am
post #9 of 23

Hi! Just thought I'll chime in here too :) I've just recently baked a cake, filled, covered with fondant, added fondant + tylose decorations to it, used edible paints to paint on it, used dusting colors to dust the cake and then frozen and defrosted it. It was in the freezer for about 4 weeks. It turned out perfect!! No condensation at all and the cake was really moist.

 

I made sure to follow the directions found here on CC when freezing a cake. I made sure to put the cake in a cardboard cake box. I then covered the box with several layers of plastic wrap and two layers of aluminium foil and in it went into the freezer. I then took the cake out 48 hours before the party and kept it in the fridge to defrost slowly (still covered in the plastic wrap and the aluminium foil). I then took the cake out the day before the party and cut away the wrappings, added the rest of the decorations and kept it overnight in the fridge. Took the cake out of the fridge and kept it in room temperature for a couple of hours on the day of the party before cutting it and eating it. It worked like a charm :)

 

I didn't follow the last step given in the directions that is to leave the cake out still in it's wrappings in room temperature for a couple of hours so the entire cake is at room temperature before removing the wrappings and taking the cake out. I guess it worked for me because I live in Gothenburg, Sweden where the air is quite dry and humidity is very low. Just wanted to know that it can be done!! Good luck with your cake!

costumeczar Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 10:21am
post #10 of 23

A

Original message sent by morganchampagne

I've left a cake covered on my counter for one week. I wouldn't mind if it was for ME. But for a client no way. Just wouldn't risk it being stale

Putting a baked cake in the fridge will dry it out faster than leaving it at room temp, though. If it's wrapped well and not iced there's no reason it can't sit out for a few days if you have to do that. If you put it in the fridge without icing it, the moisture will be drawn out of it. You could freeze it for a few days if you don't mind freezing things.

If it's iced and filled it should go in the fridge, but some of the recipes that are given on here (that "gourmet flavors" thread that makes my skin crawl with all of the jello and coffee creamer involved in those "gourmet" recipes for example) wouldn't need to be refrigerated because there's nothing perishable in them as far as dairy in the icing. Think of the supermarkets that put iced cakes out on displays for days at a time...no dairy in those, they're full of chemical preservatives, and they don't need to be refrigerated. They shouldn't be eaten, either, but that's another story :roll:

RubinaD Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 1:10pm
post #11 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr_Hfuhruhurr 
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by RubinaD 

Really? food safe is not an issue for you after having a cake baked 5 days before it's eaten with no refrigeration?

Well, no, frankly. But am I wrong? I'm not a professional baker, but I've never heard of any reason that a baked cake can't be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days (Sun - Tues, maybe Saturday at the outside). If I were using some sort of filling or frosting that required refrigeration, that would concern me, but I'm not. Hence my comment about food safety.

I'm eager to hear if I'm wrong, though. I've already decided to refrigerate the tiers individually, for maximum freshness, but more information is always better.

(And just to be clear, I'm not sure where you're getting 5 days from. I may bake Friday night, but that would only be four days. And, I never said I wouldn't refrigerate prior to decorating--I usually freeze the cakes until I'm ready to tort and ice, and then I refrigerate until time for fondant and decoration. I was just curious about the point after decoration until the party, which should be about two days. I probably should have been more clear)

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr_Hfuhruhurr 
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by RubinaD 

Really? food safe is not an issue for you after having a cake baked 5 days before it's eaten with no refrigeration?

Well, no, frankly. But am I wrong? I'm not a professional baker, but I've never heard of any reason that a baked cake can't be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days (Sun - Tues, maybe Saturday at the outside). If I were using some sort of filling or frosting that required refrigeration, that would concern me, but I'm not. Hence my comment about food safety.

I'm eager to hear if I'm wrong, though. I've already decided to refrigerate the tiers individually, for maximum freshness, but more information is always better.

(And just to be clear, I'm not sure where you're getting 5 days from. I may bake Friday night, but that would only be four days. And, I never said I wouldn't refrigerate prior to decorating--I usually freeze the cakes until I'm ready to tort and ice, and then I refrigerate until time for fondant and decoration. I was just curious about the point after decoration until the party, which should be about two days. I probably should have been more clear)

Hi there, I am not a professional baker either, but I do use food safe practices all the time, especially if I was to serve the food to other people. I got 5 days from you, you said you were going to bake them on Friday, doesn't matter if they were baked in the am or pm, it's still a day for me, and you didn't mention anything about freezing. So by the time you serve this cake it will be 5 days from the baked day. I will not eat a cake that has been out for the long, even if I have a piece still sitting at home.   Someone mentioned that grocery store cakes last on the shelves for a long time due to preservatives and such, but would you buy a cake or any baked good with a date stamp that says it was baked 5 days ago? I know I don't. I don't want to create a huge issue here, but ingredients can go funny regardless if there are any specific perishable creams or fillings. 

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 2:50pm
post #12 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by RubinaD 
 

 

Hi there, I am not a professional baker either, but I do use food safe practices all the time, especially if I was to serve the food to other people. 

 

Well, so do I.  I've seen no indication that baked cake kept at room temperature for 2-3 days (without perishable ingredients) is not food safe.  I realize I asked for advice, and I appreciate your input, but the 'nose-in-the-air' attitude is unnecessary.

Quote:

Originally Posted by RubinaD 
 

 

I got 5 days from you, you said you were going to bake them on Friday, doesn't matter if they were baked in the am or pm, it's still a day for me, and you didn't mention anything about freezing. So by the time you serve this cake it will be 5 days from the baked day.

 

Well, that's just bad math.  If they're baked on Friday night and eaten on Tuesday night, that's four days.  No two ways about it.  I concede I wasn't clear about storage until decoration, though.

Quote:

Originally Posted by RubinaD 
 

 

  Someone mentioned that grocery store cakes last on the shelves for a long time due to preservatives and such, but would you buy a cake or any baked good with a date stamp that says it was baked 5 days ago? I know I don't.

 

Definitely no, but mainly because I'd be afraid of getting stale cake and I don't know what's in the icing/filling.  But, I will buy fresh baked goods and keep them for days and days at room temperature.  We have a local cupcake shop, for example, that says their cupcakes are best day-of, but will last for up to a week covered, at room temp.  We've definitely eaten those after 2-3 days.

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 2:52pm
post #13 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rohini 
 

Hi! Just thought I'll chime in here too :) I've just recently baked a cake, filled, covered with fondant, added fondant + tylose decorations to it, used edible paints to paint on it, used dusting colors to dust the cake and then frozen and defrosted it. It was in the freezer for about 4 weeks. It turned out perfect!! No condensation at all and the cake was really moist.

 

I made sure to follow the directions found here on CC when freezing a cake. I made sure to put the cake in a cardboard cake box. I then covered the box with several layers of plastic wrap and two layers of aluminium foil and in it went into the freezer. I then took the cake out 48 hours before the party and kept it in the fridge to defrost slowly (still covered in the plastic wrap and the aluminium foil). I then took the cake out the day before the party and cut away the wrappings, added the rest of the decorations and kept it overnight in the fridge. Took the cake out of the fridge and kept it in room temperature for a couple of hours on the day of the party before cutting it and eating it. It worked like a charm :)

 

I didn't follow the last step given in the directions that is to leave the cake out still in it's wrappings in room temperature for a couple of hours so the entire cake is at room temperature before removing the wrappings and taking the cake out. I guess it worked for me because I live in Gothenburg, Sweden where the air is quite dry and humidity is very low. Just wanted to know that it can be done!! Good luck with your cake!


This is incredibly helpful advice!  Thank you very much.  I definitely don't have a large enough freezer to fit a decorated tier, but I will use the 'wrapped box' method for the refrigerating them. 

howsweet Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 2:59pm
post #14 of 23

AI did the freezing thing a few months ago. I gave the customer the cake in the box with all the instructions (because I wasn't available when she wanted the cake). Everything worked out great. The fondant topper was not frozen. After defrosting she had no trouble sticking on one fondant piece with tylose glue. It worked out wonderfully!

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 4:30pm
post #15 of 23

I bake from scratch and generally leave my cakes out at room temperature.  For a victoria sponge (vanilla cake), I'd usually bake on Wednesday pm, fill on Thursday AM (no fresh fruit fillings, only jam/buttercream), ganache coat Thursday PM, Ice on friday AM, decorate Friday PM and serve on a Saturday.  While I'd love to leave the baking until the last minute, they need a certain amount of time to rest and let each stage set up.  I've never had any isues and the majority of bakers I know do not chill their cakes around here either.  Could it be a cultural thing?  From what i gather from the TV, cream cheese/fresh fruit fillings etc are much more common in the US?  Maybe that's why chilling cakes over there is more common?

RubinaD Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 4:38pm
post #16 of 23

AWell then, we agree to disagree. Sorry if you feel i have an "up in the nose attitude". Good luck with your cake.

costumeczar Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 5:52pm
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowflakebunny23 
 

I bake from scratch and generally leave my cakes out at room temperature.  For a victoria sponge (vanilla cake), I'd usually bake on Wednesday pm, fill on Thursday AM (no fresh fruit fillings, only jam/buttercream), ganache coat Thursday PM, Ice on friday AM, decorate Friday PM and serve on a Saturday.  While I'd love to leave the baking until the last minute, they need a certain amount of time to rest and let each stage set up.  I've never had any isues and the majority of bakers I know do not chill their cakes around here either.  Could it be a cultural thing?  From what i gather from the TV, cream cheese/fresh fruit fillings etc are much more common in the US?  Maybe that's why chilling cakes over there is more common?

It's probably at least partly a cultural thing...Americans are hysterical about refrigeration and orthodontia. But if you're using perishable fillings it's a spoilage issue too.

AZCouture Posted 24 Apr 2014 , 8:42pm
post #18 of 23

AI just think if you're going to make a cake for people, tou owe it to them to serve freshly made product. If life is getting in the way, which it does, then either buy something that day or freeze it. I don't think you're wrong, or that I'm right, I just personally wouldn't do it, for my own party, and certainly not for something others will be eating.

That said, I like raw hamburger and steak. Doused with salt, it's manna from heaven. I also like left over pizza that wasn't in the fridge overnight. But cake that's been sitting out with filling..no, doesn't sound appetizing. If it had been in the fridge the whole time, sure. Probably a bit stale and dried out, but whatever.

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 25 Apr 2014 , 3:36am
post #19 of 23

A

Original message sent by AZCouture

I just think if you're going to make a cake for people, tou owe it to them to serve freshly made product. If life is getting in the way, which it does, then either buy something that day or freeze it. I don't think you're wrong, or that I'm right, I just personally wouldn't do it, for my own party, and certainly not for something others will be eating.

That said, I like raw hamburger and steak. Doused with salt, it's manna from heaven. I also like left over pizza that wasn't in the fridge overnight. But cake that's been sitting out with filling..no, doesn't sound appetizing. If it had been in the fridge the whole time, sure. Probably a bit stale and dried out, but whatever.

Yeah, I agree with you. I want to provide fresh cake, certainly. That's why I started the thread, really--I've always heard that covering in fondant seals the cake and keeps it fresh, but I've never decorated earlier than same day. I'm definitely going to follow costumeczar's advice and refrigerate after I decorate on Sunday. Food safety issues notwithstanding, I want to serve tasty treats.

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 4:56pm
post #20 of 23

Thanks again to everyone for the helpful replies and suggestions.  Once all was said and done, I baked the cakes on Friday night and Saturday, then froze until Sunday.  On Sunday, I thawed out the cakes, torted, filled with ganache, frosted with BC and covered in fondant.  Then, with a lot of trepidation, I stuck the cakes back in the fridge (inside of airtight tupperware containers.

 

Late Monday night, I removed the cakes from the refrigerator and set them out, with the containers cracked to provide airflow, in a room that was ~72 degrees.  They did develop some condensation, but less than I'd feared, and it evaporated within a couple hours--even though humidity that day was around 60%.  The only negative impact was some slight poring of the fondant, where I assume the condensation ate away at the sugar a little bit.  Once the cakes had completely thawed, though, I used a fondant smoother to touch them up, and the "pores" were no longer noticeable.

 

On Tuesday evening, I stacked and decorated the cake at the event.  It was delicious and still tasted fresh, although the cake may have been a little dry.  I'm not sure if it was due to the storage time/methods, or just the cake recipe (which substitutes graham crackers for some of the flour, and tends to get really dark due to the inclusion of brown sugar and orange juice).

 

S'mores cake for my son's bridge ceremony (from cub scout to boy scout).  10-8-6, graham cracker cake, milk chocolate ganache filling, marshmallow-flavored buttercream, covered in MMF.  The red and blue fondant for the flag were Fondx, since I hate making bright colors from scratch.

howsweet Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 5:02pm
post #21 of 23

ALove your design! Great looking cake)

I thought the thawing was supposed to take place without opening the box?

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 30 Apr 2014 , 5:44pm
post #22 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 

Love your design! Great looking cake)

I thought the thawing was supposed to take place without opening the box?


Yes, I'd read that, and considered leaving them closed.  But, I wasn't sure what to do, because in the past when I've stored cakes in plastic tupperware at room temperature, they get very 'sweaty' and sticky.  I'm not sure what causes that, so I was torn on whether sealed vs. not-sealed was the better way to go.  Since I've had first-hand experience with cakes getting nasty in plastic containers, I opted for unsealed. 

 

Thanks very much for the compliment.  As for the design, I got the idea for draping the flag down the cake from another photo online, so I can't take credit for that.  :)

howsweet Posted 1 May 2014 , 2:02am
post #23 of 23

A

Original message sent by Dr_Hfuhruhurr

Yes, I'd read that, and considered leaving them closed.  But, I wasn't sure what to do, because in the past when I've stored cakes in plastic tupperware at room temperature, they get very 'sweaty' and sticky.  I'm not sure what causes that, so I was torn on whether sealed vs. not-sealed was the better way to go.  Since I've had first-hand experience with cakes getting nasty in plastic containers, I opted for unsealed. 

Thanks very much for the compliment.  As for the design, I got the idea for draping the flag down the cake from another photo online, so I can't take credit for that.  :)

That's completely air tight - I see your point. I did do one in a cardboard box wrapped in plastic wrap until it was thawed and it came out fine, fwiw.

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