First Time Cake Baker Needs Party Prep Advice

Decorating By Ligreclm Updated 26 May 2016 , 4:38pm by kakeladi

Ligreclm Posted 25 May 2016 , 1:10am
post #1 of 16

Hi All -


I am a NEW baker and froster FYI. I am baking the cakes for my daughter's first birthday party. I already have 5 cakes frozen and I have 5 or more batches of swiss meringue buttercream frozen for filling and frosting. 

My question is in regards to the order of operations in which I should do everything for the cakes. 

Her party is Saturday at 4PM.

1) When should I thaw the cake and frosting?

2) I plan to store them wrapped in the fridge until ready to use. That's a good method, right?

3) When should I frost the cakes?

4) Where and how should I store the frosted cakes? Fridge? Freezer? Counter?

5) How long can I store the cakes frosted like above?

6) When should I pull them out and put them on display for the party?


I really appreciate everyone's help. Any tips and tricks are appreciated!

15 replies
Ligreclm Posted 25 May 2016 , 1:54am
post #2 of 16

I'd like to add that my cakes are as follows:

1) Devils food chocolate cake w/ hazelnut (Nutella) SMBC (not sure of filling yet, any suggestions?)

2) Vanilla bean cake w/ salted caramel SMBC (not sure of filling yet, any suggestions)

3) Strawberry cake w/ rhubarb curd filling and strawberry rhubarb SMBC

4) Vanilla cake w/ vanilla pudding and vanilla bean SMBC

5) Vanilla cake w/ lemon curd filling and blackberry SMBC

I thought I'd get that out there, in case any of my combos are idiotic! Thanks for your help everyone. 

PattyCakes88 Posted 25 May 2016 , 2:16am
post #3 of 16

Hello!! 

I just started on my baking adventure as well!!! Congrats! So after I did tons of research about freezing cakes when to freeze when to take them out. This is what I have done. Because I'm a full time employee and mother of three I bake a freeze all the time. I bake let them completely cool the wrap them in plastic wrap. I don't freeze them while hot or warm they need to be cool if they are hot or warm ice will form and as the cakes thaw it will get soggy. I typically pull them out of the freezer and frost them a day before they are needed. The BC I use is a crusting BC so it holds well when it's not refrigerated. Also, when I frost my cakes they are semi-frozen and it's so awesome because there aren't any crumbs and easy to frost! I've never used SMBC so I'm not sure what to tell you on the display part. Hope this helps! Happy Baking!

Ligreclm Posted 25 May 2016 , 2:42am
post #4 of 16

@PattyCakes88 ‍ thanks for your reply and congrats to you! I froze the cakes when they were warm. Some people said cool and some said hot, so I chose warm. Lol! Thanks for the tips about frosting while frozen. Hopefully I'll be able to post some decent pictures here and they don't all turn to shit!

sweetceces Posted 25 May 2016 , 2:53am
post #5 of 16

ive been decorating and baking for over 7 years. i recommend letting your cakes cool completely before freezing. scientifically (sorry i went to culinary school so this  is how i always explain it :) ) when you freeze a warm cake the extra moisture trapped in the plastic creates ice shards which destroy the crumb  of the cake making it dryer in the long run. 


as for the prep. i would give yourself plenty of time, because your new, a frosted cake can last up to a week in the fridge without to much happening to it. that way your not rushing and you feel more comfortable. is say pull the cake and buttercream out tomorrow and let them defrost during the day. the next day cut fill and ice them. and possibly start fondant decorations if u have any and let them dry. on friday i would decorate the whole thing. saturday, i would pull the cake out about an hour before serving so that it can come to room temp. especially if you are using real butter in your buttercream.

joeyww12000 Posted 25 May 2016 , 8:04am
post #6 of 16

I pull my cakes out of the oven, cool for 10 minutes, wrap in plastic and straight to throw freezer. I unthaw on the counter in the plastic completely till no moisture is felt on the plastic. The top of the cake will be sticky from all the moisture but after you cut off the tops your left with a cake that is super moist. I've never had anything but great reviews. This is just my experience.

-K8memphis Posted 25 May 2016 , 10:43am
post #7 of 16

just for the record -- cakes should cool completely before storage or wrapping -- i know entire bakeries that wrap hot baked cake and toss in the freezer however it is not food safe -- not to mention it is pushing up the temp in the freezer and warming up everything in there over and over with each cake -- this according to servsafe, the fda and your local and state health department regulations

Apti Posted 26 May 2016 , 3:44am
post #8 of 16

@ligreclm and @PattyCakes88 - Welcome to the stressful (and rewarding/challenging/frustrating/wonderful) world of cake baking and decorating.     I started from scratch (bad pun fully intended...heh heh heh) in early 2010 with Wilton classes at a local craft store.  Just like you I found out right quick that logistics are a huge part of a successful project.

The advice received above is good, especially from SweetCeces.  I'll add (or reinforce) a couple of things:

1.  Get the ENTIRE project completed the DAY BEFORE the event.  This means everything is done.     This may also mean that you are up until 4 am getting everything done since this is a big part of the learning curve.   You may find that it takes far longer to get all the elements completed than you ever anticipated. 

2.  Take several photos as you are setting up the cake.

3.  Breathe. 


kakeladi Posted 26 May 2016 , 5:17am
post #9 of 16

I'm sorry to see other newbees answering this - where are our more experienced people to help out a new one??  I have well over 30 yrs in this business so I can help w/'old fashioned' ideas and suggestions :)

Her party is Saturday at 4PM.

1) When should I thaw the cake and frosting?

........take from fzr to frig Thurs evening.  Please, please do NOT frost fzn cake.  It must defrost or there is possibility the icing will not adhere properly.

2) I plan to store them wrapped in the fridge until ready to use. That's a good method, right?

.............By now they should have been fzn for days.  It's not great idea to store for more than 1or 2 days in frig.

3) When should I frost the cakes?

...........Do this Thur evening or Fri a.m.

4) Where and how should I store the frosted cakes? Fridge? Freezer? Counter?....5) How long can I store the cakes frosted like above?

.........On the counter since it is this late in your schedule.  For future knowledge you can bake, fill & ice cakes up to 1 month ahead then thaw in the frig overnight before decorating.

6) When should I pull them out and put them on display for the party?

.........Well you should have decorated them Fri and left them on the counter so you are not pulling them out or either frig or fzr but if not, An hour or two before guests arrive.



kakeladi Posted 26 May 2016 , 5:19am
post #10 of 16

Oh, and waht Apti said for sure!

julia1812 Posted 26 May 2016 , 5:31am
post #11 of 16

Not much to add but I'm applauding to your cudo to do 5!!! different cakes for your daughter's party. You've taken on quite a challenge here and I hope it all works out nicely and you don't stress to much. 

Ligreclm Posted 26 May 2016 , 10:43am
post #12 of 16

@Apti ‍ and @kakeladi ‍ thanks so much for your responses!! I was hoping that experienced cake bakers would respond, lucky me!


Can I bug you with a couple follow up question? 

1) I wasn't aware that I could leave a whole frosted cake sitting out all night without it getting all blah. I will likely be using pudding and other fillings in the cakes too, is it safe for those fillings to sit out for about 12-24hrs as well? Is it better for the cake for them to sit out on the counter rather than in the fridge? I can also make room in the freezer for these too if freezing on Friday and then thawing 2 hours before the party is best. 

2) Should I just store them in a cake box? Kind of a dumb question but I have cats and would hate for paw prints to end up in them!

Thanks so much for the tip about filling and frosting a cake and freezing it. My girls party isn't actually until Sat 6/11, is it too late to do this method because I've already frozen the cake separately? Or should I consider making all the cakes this weekend and freezing them?

thanks again!!!!!

Ligreclm Posted 26 May 2016 , 10:47am
post #13 of 16

@joeyww12000 thanks for the tips! I actually made and froze more cake than needed, so I might practice my thawing method and make an entire cake this weekend for a holiday bbq that is around the same time frame so I can really narrow it down. Everyone seems to agree that the fridge really destroys a cake, so I will try your method of thawing first this weekend. I will report back! Thx again.

-K8memphis Posted 26 May 2016 , 3:18pm
post #14 of 16


Quote by @Ligreclm on 4 hours ago

@Apti ‍ and @kakeladi ‍ thanks so much for your responses!! I was hoping that experienced cake bakers would respond, lucky me!


Can I bug you with a couple follow up question? 

1) I wasn't aware that I could leave a whole frosted cake sitting out all night without it getting all blah. I will likely be using pudding and other fillings in the cakes too, is it safe for those fillings to sit out for about 12-24hrs as well? Is it better for the cake for them to sit out on the counter rather than in the fridge? I can also make room in the freezer for these too if freezing on Friday and then thawing 2 hours before the party is best. 

2) Should I just store them in a cake box? Kind of a dumb question but I have cats and would hate for paw prints to end up in them!

Thanks so much for the tip about filling and frosting a cake and freezing it. My girls party isn't actually until Sat 6/11, is it too late to do this method because I've already frozen the cake separately? Or should I consider making all the cakes this weekend and freezing them?

thanks again!!!!!


most of your cakes that you described have to be kept cold for food safety -- yes you need to keep them away from the cats but most will be in the fridge anyway -- i never work with nutella so that may or may not need to be fridged seems like it would but idk --

refrigerated cake can get dry faster freezing is better for cake freshness however if you use the type of filling you described you have to keep that cold so it's a quite a dance to the end to keep all the plates spinning on the end of the poles without crashing  kwim -- 

in other words for long term storage you freeze 

for assembling a cake and keeping products food safe you refrigerate

-K8memphis Posted 26 May 2016 , 3:20pm
post #15 of 16

oh yeah and if you freeze an already decorated cake you thaw gradually 

put it in the fridge the night before then room temp but still boxed so it goes more gradually then to room temp

and you just have to test all your fillings & cakes to be sure you get the same result after the freezing and fridging that you wanted -- that you bargained for when you made it all

best to you

that rhubarb stuff sounds amazing

kakeladi Posted 26 May 2016 , 4:38pm
post #16 of 16

Yah, k8 brought up something I overlooked - the fillings you are using.  Pudding types should be friged.  It will not hurt a cake to be friged for a day or two.  Of course, it does depend a bit on the frig but for the most part you are better off friging because of the filling then worrying about the cake drying out.  

Definitely a cake can sit out one or two days if covered (lightly) w/plastic wrap or in a cake box - depending on the filling used.  From your list cakes #1 & 2 would not need to be friged - just leave boxed on counter (up to about 36 hrs) if you wish.    The others probably should be kept cold mainly due to the filling.

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