How Far In Advance Should I Bake

Baking By kitty46 Updated 14 Oct 2015 , 1:10pm by rwpcoffee

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kitty46 Posted 17 Sep 2015 , 4:37pm
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Hi all...I'm making a wedding cake that's due September 26th. How many days ahead should I bake the cakes so they will be fresh??? Also, same question with my buttercream many days ahead of time should I make my icing?? Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks, Cindy

29 replies
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julia1812 Posted 17 Sep 2015 , 4:48pm
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I would say the closer o the date the better...but don't know the size of the cake etc. Maybe even bake it tomorrow and freeze them... depending on the amount of work that'll go into it. What buttercream  icing are you planning to make? American,  swiss, Italian, French, German. ..?

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sweetmo Posted 18 Sep 2015 , 3:43am
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Hi kitty46!  This is the first time I've ever participated in this site's forum. I am a hobby baker (for now) and had the exact same question as you. I agree with Julia1812: do it as close to the date as possible.  

I normally do birthday cakes for my kids and bake them 1 day ahead. However, I just made my very first wedding cake last week for my sister's wedding. I baked it 3 days prior to the event. Her wedding was over 2 hours away from where I live/bake. My parents live close to the venue and I could have baked there, but I'm unfamiliar with their stove and baking time. To avoid any complications, I decided to bake the cakes at my house since I had my timing down and my stove is reliable. I figured I'd bake the cakes at home, travel, then decorate them at my parents house. The cake was 3 tiers (12/9/6) and 22" tall. I baked on Wednesday. After they were cool, I leveled each layer, wrapped them up and froze them (perhaps it was overkill to freeze instead of refrigerate, but I froze them anyway).  Thursday I drove to my parents house. The 2 hour ride gave the cakes time to thaw. Thursday evening they were not frozen but cold enough which made them easier to handle. Thursday evening I filled and stacked all the layers/tiers. I loosely covered the entire stacked cake with saran wrap and let it settle overnight (about 8 hours). It was such a heavy cake I want to make sure gravity did most of the work in getting out the excess air. Friday morning I neatly unstacked the tiers and dirty iced each one. I did the final frost, covered with fondant, and then proceeded to cover the entire cake in ruffles. I kept each finished tier in the fridge overnight until the moment I packed them in boxes for delivery on Saturday around noon. The cake was very moist and very delicious. I hope this sheds some light. My situation was a bit different since I had to travel. It was my first wedding cake and there was NO WAY I was confident enough to try and finish it with decorations and then drive through the mountains for 2 hours. That may have been a disaster. I ended up boxing up each tier once they were complete on Saturday morning, and then assembled the cake at the venue. It was the right decision for me. I wish you the best of luck!55fb885b74663.jpeg

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kitty46 Posted 18 Sep 2015 , 5:51pm
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Thanks for your response.  I am using American, crusting buttercream on the cake.  I've attached a picture of the cake I'm doing.  The numbers will be black fondant.  There's really not a lot of detail work, it's just that I want to give myself enough time in case something doesn't go right.  Since the wedding is on a Saturday evening, starting to bake like on Tuesday should be early enough...don't you think?



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kitty46 Posted 18 Sep 2015 , 6:05pm
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Thanks for the response and...Oh my gosh!!!  That cake turned out gorgeous!  Great job!!!  I have a question though.  You said that on Thursday evening you filled and stacked each layer/tier and stacked the entire cake and let it set overnight.  So are you saying you did like a "dry fit" to the entire cake?  Did you have any of the structure put in the layers, i.e., dowels/straws?  And you let it set out on a counter, not in the frig? Since I am using buttercream, I will wondering if I should fill and crumb coat and let the layers set in frig overnight to make sure there was no bulging between layers.  I am going to damn each layer and fill with chocolate buttercream.  Do you think that's a good idea? 

Since I only have about a 20 minute drive to the venue, I was going to assemble the whole cake Saturday morning, minus the black ribbon at the bottom of each tier.  I'm planning on putting a final dowel all the way through each layer for extra security.  Then when I get to the venue, I will add the black ribbon.

Thanks so much for the advice.  Anything else you can think to tell me would be greatly appreciated!!!


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kakeladi Posted 18 Sep 2015 , 9:40pm
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I haven't read all the responses through so I hope I'm not repeating advice.  You actually can start baking NOW and freeze the layers.  You even could put them together into tiers depending on the filling being used.  Wrap them in plastic bags.  When you are ready to proceed with decorating them remove from fzr early on the morning of work or even the night before so they can defrost before icing them.  You can make your b'cream now - even any of the decorations going on.  If gumpaste, just put into a covered box to keep dust free, if fondant then  keep them covered with plastic. 

The filled, crumb-coated tiers can set out (room temp) overnight w/o any problems.  You don't have to put them in the frig - in fact in my opinion you should not as most friges will dry out the cake.  Using choco b'cream is a fine idea:) 

I usually would completely ice each tier separately (and maybe decorate it) then stack the cake to do any decorations(depending on how it's decorated.    I usually liked to have the cake completely done the night before delivery.   

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sweetmo Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 2:40am
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Hey there kitty46. First off, I love, love, love the design of the cake you are doing. Thanks also for the compliment towards mine :) 

I agree with kakeladi—with buttercream you can let the cake sit out overnight. Also, freezing them would be fine and doing any sort of decorations you can ahead of time is great. 

Yes, I think starting on Tuesday should give you plenty of time. Your plan sounds good in regards to damming/filling/resting.

Yes, I suppose I "dry fit" mine. I've not heard that term before :)

I did not put any dowel support in my cake when I let it rest overnight. All I did was fill in between the layers with lemon buttercream and place oversized cake boards in between tiers so I could easily lift them apart after they settled. See my photo. I left this monster on the table covered in saran wrap overnight. I use a level covered in saran wrap to make sure everything is even.

The next day I dirty iced each tier individually and put them in the fridge (because it was a very humid weekend). One by one I'd take them out and cover in fondant, then decorate.

I inserted my dowels after the fondant was applied to each tier and then ran a center dowel through the middle once it was all assembled (just as you are doing).

Good luck and post pics once it's complete. I'd love to see your cake!


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Apti Posted 19 Sep 2015 , 4:11am
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Kitty46~~I love that design.  Can't wait to see your version.

SweetMo~~Welcome to the forum!  Your cake and your very detailed instructions are perfect.  I especially like the photo above with the level because it shows EXACTLY what cake people do before the cake is decorated.    Your entire process is exactly what I would do in the same situation.

I also hobby bake and nearly always bake my cakes ahead and freeze them.  I get short of breath very easily, so I must do everything in stages.  Baking, torting, leveling, freezing my cakes ahead of time can take me 1-3 days.  I ALWAYS put 2 pieces of parchment paper between layers or torted layers so they come apart easily.  Then I wrap in plastic wrap, and again in aluminum foil and place in the freezer. 

When I'm ready to crumb/dirty ice, I remove the wrapped cakes from the freezer, LEAVE the plastic wrap/aluminum foil on, and place on the counter.  Leaving the wrapping on allows any condensation to form on the outside of the wrapper, not the cake.  Although working with chilled cakes is much easier, it takes me so darned long that they have usually defrosted by the time I get to them. 

I also pre-make my American crusting buttercream and  make twice as much as I "think" I'll need because if I don't use it, it's in the freezer ready for the next cake.    If there are a lot of different colors for the cake design, I will pre-mix the colors and place them in plastic wrap "bullets" that are then frozen. This is a HUGE time saver.   Here's a tutorial:  

*Last edited by Apti on 19 Sep 2015 , 4:14am
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Juli2527 Posted 23 Sep 2015 , 2:04pm
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@sweetmo, hi, i have a question, once you dirty iced your cakes you placed them in the fridge, you placed them wrapped? You placed each tier in a box? I am concerned about drying out :( please let me know, tks!

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-K8memphis Posted 23 Sep 2015 , 2:37pm
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sweetmo, wow wonderful work on your first wedding cake -- congrats --

especially when i see a post like this -- i'm so glad cameras hadn't been invented when i did my 'firsts' including the first time the dinosaur nibbled on one --

congratulations in advance to kitty 46 too

but i have a pet peeve -- see in the black & white cake picture -- it's beautiful work and a lovely cake -- nice 'hook' with the date in the 'just the facts' mode --

but as so often happens the cake plate is recessed so it eats up an inch or so of the bottom tier height sorta -- so i try to compensate for that with a well placed piece of foam or a few extra cardboards -- i usually like my bottom tiers nice & tall -- or at least a flat bottom cake board -- so, just a thought

*Last edited by -K8memphis on 23 Sep 2015 , 2:47pm
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kitty46 Posted 23 Sep 2015 , 7:51pm
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Thanks for your response.  I agree with you on the cake stand above.  The cake stand I'm using is tall and completely flat, so the bottom tier will not be hidden at all.

Sweetmo -- I just finished torting and putting filling between all my layers.  I have each tier sitting out on my counter right now.  I want to do what you did above...placing each tier on top of each other and let it set overnight...but I am so afraid to do it!!!!!   If I do what you've done above, nothing will happen to the tiers, correct????

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-K8memphis Posted 23 Sep 2015 , 9:05pm
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put the dowels in if you stack it

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sweetmo Posted 25 Sep 2015 , 1:41am
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Hi all! I'm a bit behind in checking messages. Kitty46, you may have already gotten your answers and seem further along, but I'll answer your question. 

1. When I dirty iced my tiers, I placed them in the fridge uncovered. I alternated taking each tier out so that I could apply 2nd and 3rd coats of buttercream (I'm still working on the art of smoothing my cake better prior to putting on fondant). Not sure this is right or wrong but that's what I did. I'm still learning. What I've been reading more and more is that the fridge can dry out a cake. By how much I'm not sure? 

2. I would follow K8memphis's advice and put dowels in if you stack it on the table. I didn't with mine until the fondant was on; everything was fine with mine but I'm still a newbie.

Good luck!!!

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-K8memphis Posted 25 Sep 2015 , 11:58am
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when you want to be sure the air is out of your cake before you final ice it -- you assemble the layers into individuàl tiers (not the tiers stacked up) leave this on the counter not in the fridge and do whatever -- put a weight on top -- do a rain air dance, whatever then you can final ice, put in fridge or whatever --

ok wait -- ganache makes a beautiful and firm coat on a cake that makes smoothing fondant over it particularly easy -- for buttercream under fodant however -- myself, i put one coat of buttercream on a cake before fondanting and i spend very little time smoothing because the fondant will sort that out for me because buttercream is maleable more so than ganache --

y'know two coats buttercream maybe -- crumb coat and next coat -- but three coats geez you could do three cakes with all that energy expended -- see what i mean -- i rarely crumb coat even -- even for non fondant cakes -- why bother kwim -- maybe for red velvet which can get ahead of you with the crumbs but still --

and dowels go in last

so just some energy saving tips 

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kitty46 Posted 25 Sep 2015 , 2:53pm
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Okay Sweetmo and K8memphis...I did the stacking of my tiers overnight with dowels in it and everything came out great!!  I final iced all 3 tiers last night and that's done.  Now I'm ready to insert the dowels.  One question though...Sweetmo said the refrigerator tends to dry out the cake.  The wedding is tomorrow evening...if I decide to stack my cake tonight, should I put the whole thing in the refrigerator overnight or just leave it out on the counter all night?  Since this is my first wedding cake, I can't decide whether to finish the cake at home (stacking) or take all 3 tiers to the venue tomorrow and finish it there.  

By the guys are great!!  All your advice has been so helpful to me...thank you soooooo much!!!!


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-K8memphis Posted 25 Sep 2015 , 4:58pm
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cindy -- everybody does it different -- all the way through i keep my cakes cold right up to delivery so that's how i do it -- the icing has the cake all sealed in and sometimes you can get them all sealed into a box too -- it's ok for a day or two in the fridge if that's the way you wanna do it box or no box -- some people never chill their cakes --

if you have any pets or hyperactive children lock it up tight in the fridge blush.png

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-K8memphis Posted 25 Sep 2015 , 4:59pm
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and you know dowels are cut to the exact same height as each other per tier 

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kitty46 Posted 25 Sep 2015 , 5:56pm
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Thank you so much K8memphis!!!  And yes, I do know to cut the dowels the exact height of the tiers!!!  Wish me luck!!!

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-K8memphis Posted 25 Sep 2015 , 6:08pm
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wait -- dowel are cut to exact height of each other --

after you measure ONE in the cake and remove it they are all cut that height

don't make me nervous

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kakeladi Posted 25 Sep 2015 , 11:15pm
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Oh I'm sooooo glad to see K8 catch your reply.  Yes!  Each dowel used in one tier needsw to be cut to the same heighth of one measured in the tier not to the heighth of the tier itself .  I agaree don't make any of us nervous :) 

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-K8memphis Posted 26 Sep 2015 , 11:28am
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picture me & kakeladi

(picture was taken a few years back my hair's not that color anymore hahahaha)

looking over the top of our glasses at yah

with the caption

"don't make us come down there"


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Apti Posted 26 Sep 2015 , 5:17pm
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K8memphis and kakeladi, You folks are Funny.....  It is wonderful that both of you chime in to help everyone.  Between the two of you there must be 1,000's of cakes and LOTS of experience.

@kitty46, Can't wait to hear how wonderful your cake was and how pleased everyone was at the wedding!   They don't know all the agonized hours/days/weeks you've put into that masterpiece, but we do!

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kitty46 Posted 29 Sep 2015 , 7:23pm
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Well everyone, I did it!!  I have to thank all you wonderful ladies for your help and advice.  The cake made it to the venue in one piece and looked great on the table.  It wasn't perfect, but I'm proud of how it turned out.  Thank you all so much for your advice and words of wisdom.560ae53870112.jpeg560ae539c9f4d.jpeg560ae53ad5c45.jpeg560ae53c239b7.jpeg

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-K8memphis Posted 29 Sep 2015 , 7:43pm
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thank you, apti

cindy -- you did a great job and wow  i love the floating table top -- i'm sure your bride was thrilled 

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-K8memphis Posted 29 Sep 2015 , 7:45pm
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was it ticky* to put the cake on that -- i'm sure i could have figured out a way to break it -- was it glass or acrylic? bet it cost a fortune either way --

*meaning did it make you a little nervous -- it's making me nervous

*Last edited by -K8memphis on 29 Sep 2015 , 7:46pm
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Apti Posted 29 Sep 2015 , 8:01pm
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@kitty46 -- WOW!   You totally nailed it!   Applause!!!    I hadn't picked up on the floating table top until mentioned by K8memphis, but WOW again!

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kitty46 Posted 29 Sep 2015 , 8:07pm
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K8memphis - The table was already set up for me.  The venue put all that together.  All I had to do was set my cake up.  The table was fabulous...picture doesn't do it justice.  I was a little nervous that someone would walk by and bump it, but everything went great!!!

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kitty46 Posted 29 Sep 2015 , 8:08pm
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Apti -- Thank you so much!!!!

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-K8memphis Posted 29 Sep 2015 , 8:09pm
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that table makes me want to do a cake...

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rwpcoffee Posted 14 Oct 2015 , 1:10pm
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Hi all!  I am about to make my daughter's wedding cake and I have a question for you sweetmo if you don't mind.  (Your cake was gorgeous by the way! As was yours Kitty46!)  It sounds like you put the dowels in AFTER you did your fondant-can't you see the holes in it?  Also, when you decorate the layers and put them in the box-how do you assemble it with out messing up the ruffles?  Lastly, can I make the fondant Ruffles ahead of time and just attach them to the cake the next day if I keep them covered in plastic wrap?

I am going to do a trial run to see how it goes spread out.  I made a ruffled cake for my moms 80th birthday party but I did the whole thing the day before and it took all day.  I don't want to do that again!

Thanks for your help!

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