If I am freezing a cake to make ahead of time, how long should I allow for it to thaw out? Also wondering if the icing will be affected as the cake thaws.
i normally fill and crumb coat while the cake is still frozen. if you frost before the cake is completely thawed it may affect your ability to smooth the cake as the frosting will get cool and hard, so I'd wait for the cake to thaw before applying final frosting layer. thaw time depends on the size of the cake.
Thaw time is affected by the size of the cake ... anywhere from 30 minutes for a 6" cake to 2-3 hours for a larger cake. It doesn't take all day, like hamburger, though!
I also fill and crumb coat while frozen or partially frozen, but prefer to let it thaw before icing. The coldness of the frozen cake will prevent the icing from crusting properly .... the moisture from the freezing process (condensation) keeps the icing in a "wet" mode and prevents it from drying properly, ergo prevents it from crusting properly.
I freeze all of my cakes. Before I leave for work in the morning, I lay the cake out on the table completely wrapped in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 2 layers of foil. When I get home in the afternoon, the cake is ready to frost.