Good Morning all!!! I have a "small" cake decorating business in addition to my 40 hour a week job. This week I think I have finally taken more business than I can handle. I have a 1/2 sheet Mardi Gras cake due Friday evening. I have a "large" birthday cake for two girls to share (it has to include two different themes) that is due Saturday at 10:00am. I have a 4 tier wedding cake and a grooms cake due Saturday at 3:00. Then I have another birthday cake due Sunday around lunch. What my question is is how far in advance can I bake my cake without having to freeze it to keep it fresh? I have NEVER frozen cake before and I really don't want to have to start now. How do I wrap it to keep it fresh?? Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!!!
wrap the layers in saran wrap a couple times making sure all edges are sealed and put in the refrigerator. Make sure to bring them to room temp before filling.
I think you better start baking tonight or tomorrow morning. I would wrap them very well in saran wrap and then in foil. If you have any decorations going on the cakes, make it now and put them in an airtight box. So you don't have to worry about that.
I would freeze. I have found that I can bake on Monday and freeze the cakes and they are just as good as if you didn't.
I would suggest freezing too. I had never done it before until my last wedding and the cake was just as fresh as the day I made it, maybe even better. I was very shocked. I know this year when I do weddings I am going to freeze most of them. I know I had asked the same question before and quite a few members do freeze their cakes and no one can tell! I have been in the same situation before like you. I work full time and have 2 young children, you can do it (just might not get alot of sleep) But just plan and be organized and anything you can do early get that done now.
Good Luck and let us know how you make out!
I was a die hard non-freezer too until I got busy and had to. The cakes really aren't any worse for the wear. I'd start baking now and freeze, that way you won't be pulling your hair out baking them all in one day. And honestly, cake baked on thursday and left un-frozen isn't going to fair well come Sunday.
You've just described my typical week and life ! Definitely freeze--double wrap in saran wrap and then foil. For wedding cakes like you described I usually bake and freeze the weekend before (or on Monday). If they only have BC icing as the filling, I even freeze them with that in the middle! Then pull the cakes out of the freezer on Wed. night, allow to thaw all Wed. night and Thurs. day., then ice on Thurs. night, decorate on Fri night and final deco, stacking on Sat. AM. I usually just fit baking and decorating the other cakes I might have in and around the wedding cake. I also make all of the frosting I'm going to need early in the week--Mon or Tues. and then bake as needed. You can do it!!! I know you can!!! However, this kind of schedule makes my family refer to me as "The Cake Nazi"
Freeze. The freezer is the baker's friend. when properly wrapped and thawed, the cakes are actually more moist.
A CC'er posted info from Cooks Illustrated that basically said the process that causes a cake to go stale is halted when the cake is frozen .... but it is excelerated when the cake is refrigerated. Which means if you refrigerate the cake in an attempt to "keep it fresh", you are actually making it go stale faster.
the process that causes a cake to go stale is halted when the cake is frozen .... but it is excelerated when the cake is refrigerated. Which means if you refrigerate the cake in an attempt to "keep it fresh", you are actually making it go stale faster.
VERY good to know!
Freeze.. freeze freeze! I always bake my cakes for the week on Monday and freeze them. I have never had anyone say they did not taste good. I actually think they are most moist also!
The opposite of frozen is room temperature.
The opposite of fresh is stale --temperature has nothing to do with it.
Cakes improperly frozen are a problem.
Just do the freezing right and you're fine.
Like pastry chefs don't use freezers and friges for everything. The freezer is a great tool.
I see folks who advertise, "Always fresh never frozen" >> that's apples & oranges. There's no comparison there.
To survive you need to first have all your icings & fillings & boxes & boards ready then on the next day bake all your cakes for the entire week.
Then as they cool, get them torted, filled and crumb coated ready for the freezer. Well wrapped several times, put 'em to bed in the big box ready to come out & play later. Voilalala
PS. I test freeze my fillings to be sure they will thaw ok.
And remove all the onions and fish from the box--if it's a home frige -- those smells can travel throughout from the frige to the freezer.
a nice fresh box of baking soda too.
It'll be fine.
I NEVER refrigerate my cakes, as I believe it dries them out. So of course I don't use perishable fillings. Freezing is an excellent option. I normally don't do it (I'm not in the business so am not normally pressed for time) but I froze my DD's birthday cake last week before decorating. Double wrapped in Saran Wrap and single wrapped in foil. It was super moist and yummy. HTH.
I freeze my cakes. 1- their easier to frost. When they thaw they are heavier and softer, I've been asked everytime if I made my cakes by scratch. That few actually were boxed. Good Luck!
I too am a freezer person. Everyone loves the cakes and is always wanting to know my secret of such moist cakes. I freeze every cake no matter when they are needed. I also, put them in right away when the come out of the oven. I don't wait the 10 minutes to take out of the pan-it's popped out of the pan onto a paper towel on a cooling rack and frozen. When it's finally cooled then I seal them in the saran and foil.
k8memphis - has a great plan laid out for you. I agree and that is exactly what I'm doing today. I over booked this week, you are not alone.
Good luck and stay focused-YOU CAN DO THIS!
Between Thursday and yesterday, I made six cakes. Plus another one for today and several I want to make for Valentine's Day. No business involved (maybe someday), but it just happens that a lot of my friends and family have birthdays between the 5th and the 10th. I'd go crazy if I couldn't freeze, and it's true: there seems to be no difference in the taste and the moisture level, but frozen cakes are more settled and easier to manage. I usually torte the cakes and put the resulting layers between a double sheet of waxed paper, wrap them in 2 layers of plastic wrap and put them in Ziplock bags. The double layer of waxed paper means I can pull them apart while they're frozen, if I need only one of the torted layers for a project. HTH.
Along w/the fervent encouragement to fz I suggest you:
Make your icing now! You don't have to fz it, but it won't hurt if you do. Just take out of fzr the evening before you want to use it and re-whip small amounts a few minutes (until it is smooth as silk) just before using At one bakery I worked, they would make like 50# batches, then use a 9 qt mixer for the day.....refilling &/or re wipping every 30 minutes or so.
Color the parts/amounts you need NOW!
Make any flowers &/or decorations you can NOW!
If you don't freeze you won't be able to do all the cakes you need to get done for this weekend. It just won't be possible for a one person operation, especially if you don't have a commercial kitchen to work in. You will be quite surprised at how much moister your cakes will actually be due to the freezing process, and they will stay fresher longer!
OMG!!! I can't believe all the amazing advice. Thank you guys so much!! I will be sure and post my pictures and let you all know how it goes. I feel much less stressed now. Thank you!!!
I'm traveling to Austin on Saturday morning to visit family, who is by chance have a bday party for one of my little cousin's which i'm doing the cake for. If I bake thursday evening, ice on friday do you think i should keep the cakes in the fridge until sunday?
Question.... once you remove cake from freezer, do you let thaw in refrigerator for 1 day or on the counter (still wrapper, of course)?? I've heard different accounts, so I've always been afraid to freeze.
Azeboi--if the fillings aren't perishable and you're using BC, your cake will be fine at room temp. Ladybug--I let my cakes thaw at room temperature, completely covered until they are also at room temp. Smaller cakes take way less time to thaw than large cakes, but because I work full time I take my cakes out of the freezer on Wed. night, allow them to thaw Wed. night and Thurs. day and then work on them Thurs. night. That's just how I do it, others will have different opinions! HTH!
Another problem that I am having is with pricing. I hate to keep beating a dead horse about this but.....One of my most popular cakes that I do is a single layer 16" square cake. I don't do ANY fondant so all my decorating is done in BC. What would you charge for that? My husband as well as my customer tell me that I don't charge enough for my cakes. How do you gain enough confidence in yourself to charge what you feel like you deserve?? Oh Lord, could I ever get on a soap box about that!!!! Thanks!!!
How do you gain enough confidence in yourself to charge what you feel like you deserve??
You utilize the Nike Method: "Just Do It"!
If you don't appreciate the value of yoru work, how do you expect others to appreciate it?
What kind of decorations do you put on the cake? Buttercream, royal icing, gumpaste flowers or any kind of sculpted figures? How long does each one of these take you? Assuming you have a certain degree of agility (not like me: it takes me forever to decorate because I'm not very good at it yet), I'd set a decent price per hour for design time and labor, plus the actual cost of making the cake (including the ingredients and the gas and/or the electricity used, plus wear and tear on your equipment). Does that sound reasonable? It might take you a while to figure all of this out at first, but then you would have a list of prices that you would only have to revise when costs go up. And, of course, don´t forget to give yourself a raise as you get better at the job.
Ethynsmom--the best way to feel good about what you charge is to continue to read everything you can on this site! If you can't convince yourself, CC certainly will! The price you charge also depends on what other bakers in your area charge and what you can offer. I charge a lot less than many on here, but it has to do with what other decorators charge in my area (Oklahoma) and my very low overhead.....Just don't sell yourself short. Know what your ingredients cost, how much time you put into your creations, and what your time is worth to you and your family!!
On that 16" sq is it 2" or 4" tall?
If it's 2" it will yield 64 servings @ $2 to 3 ea serving = a minimum of $130.
Double that if 4" tall.