When I made wedding cakes I never froze any type of cake, but if you have to do it, the best method is to be slow and patient about it.
And freezing cake is one thing, but thawing it is another place where you can mess the cake up.
If unfrosted or decorated cakes are frozen correctly it can avoid any problems with freezer burn and absorbing odd flavors from the freezer, but there’s also a correct way to thaw the cake out.
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To thaw cakes for decorating, wrapped cakes should be removed from the freezer and placed on the counter at room temperature, but still wrapped. As the cake thaws, it can develop condensation on the outside surface as the cold hits the warmer air. By leaving the wrapping on the cake it will prevent water droplets from forming on the thawed cake itself, and that will result in fewer soggy crumbs on the outside of the cake.
For best results if there’s time, you should put the cake in the fridge instead of putting it in a room temperature environment when it’s straight from the freezer.
Be patient, and start the day ahead of time if the cake will be decorated the next day so that you have enough time to defrost the layers slowly.
The slower you can defrost the cake, the less likely it will be that it will absorb too much moisture.
The best way to thaw a cake for decorating:
- Remove the frozen cake layers from the freezer, but don’t unwrap them.
- Put the cake in the fridge to thaw out slowly.
- Remove it from the fridge when it’s soft, but leave it wrapped.
- Leave it on the counter at room temperature until it’s completely thawed and at room temperature.
- Unwrap the cake and place it on a cardboard cake round to decorate the room temperature cake as usual.
When you remove the cake from the fridge, it’s possible that condensation will start to form on the surface depending on how warm the outside air is and how humid it is.
Keeping the condensation off of the cake surface is important because if the cake absorbs moisture into the surface, it can make it soggy.
This will, in turn, make it difficult to ice the cake because the wetter outside of the layer can pull away from the cake when the icing is dragged across it.
By leaving the wrapping on the cake until it’s totally at room temperature, you can allow any condensation to form on the wrapping and not on the cake itself.
When the layer’s thawed, the unwrapped cake won’t have absorbed any additional moisture, which can make it easier to decorate.
Can you freeze and thaw a decorated cake?
A lot of brides freeze the top tier of their wedding cakes, so you definitely can freeze a decorated cake.
However, how well the results will be will depend on how well you follow the instructions! For the best cake flavor on your first anniversary, make sure to do it the right way!
A lot of brides freeze the top tier of their wedding cakes, so you definitely can freeze a decorated cake. However, how well the results will be will depend on how well you follow the instructions!
For the best cake flavor on your first anniversary, make sure to do it the right way!
You can freeze a decorated cake by putting it into the freezer uncovered for 1-2 hours, or until the icing is hard.
When the icing can be wrapped without damaging it, cover the entire cake with three to four layers of plastic wrap, making sure that it’s completely wrapped and no air can get in.
Then wrap it in a layer of aluminum foil for good measure.
It’s NOT enough to only use an airtight container for this! Put the cake back into the freezer and leave it for a few more hours, then wrap it in tin foil and maybe even another layer of plastic wrap.
If the cake is small enough, you should try to fit it into a freezer bag too.
What should you NOT try to freeze on a cake?
DO NOT freeze anything with wafer paper on it! Wafer paper won’t hold up being frozen and thawed out, the moisture that forms will ruin it.
Wait until the cake gets back to room temperature before putting wafer paper decorations like edible butterflies on it.
Gumpaste decorations are also a little dicey…It’s better not to freeze those since it’s pretty likely that they can absorb moisture while they’re thawing out and soften up.
Do I really need to take all these precautions?
This might seem excessive, but the better you wrap a cake, the less likely it will be to absorb an “off” taste from other things in the freezer.
Part of your concern will be to make sure that the cake stays wrapped airtight when you thaw it out, but the flavor of the icing can really be affected if freezer air gets into it.
The longer that a cake is frozen, the more possibility that it will develop freezer burn or nasty flavors if air is allowed to touch it. Wrapping it airtight is really important.
You should also make sure that any fillings in the cake are freezable. Some fillings don’t freeze well, and if that’s the situation you should avoid freezing the cake.
Here’s my true confession…I once made a birthday cake and the customer called to say that the party had been delayed
So I was stuck with the completely decorated cake and nowhere to take it, but I didn’t want to have to remake the whole thing.
I took the whole cake, put it in the fridge, and the next morning I wrapped it with cling wrap and made sure it had a tight seal. After adding tin foil for extra protection, I froze the finished cake, and the next week I defrosted it with the process I describe here.
I wouldn’t do this and freeze cakes for an extended period of time, but for a few days it was fine.
After thawing out, the room-temperature cake looked like any regular cake, and the customer was very happy.
How to thaw a decorated cake.
Thawing a decorated cake is a little more complicated because the decorations can get ruined if the wrappings press into the icing as it softens.
To thaw a decorated cake out, you’ll want to remove the cake from the freezer and unwrap it, then put it in a box that you can close, or any sealed container.
A plastic freezer-safe container like a cake-keeper works fine if you have one. You basically just want to try to prevent condensation from forming on the surface of the iced cake.
With the cake in the sealed container, put it in the fridge to slowly start warming up.
After it’s at cold fridge temperature, you can remove it from the fridge and put it on the counter, still leaving it in the container.
Any condensation will form on the outside of the container, and will stay off of the icing.
If you have to thaw the cake out faster, you can put it out on the counter straight out of the freezer, but it’s still best to leave it in the box or container, especially if it’s a warm day.
Can you freeze and thaw a fondant-covered cake?
You can freeze a cake that’s covered with fondant, but you need to make sure that the cake is allowed to thaw out without forming a lot of condensation on it.
This can be done by thawing it inside of a box so that the condensation forms on the box and not on the cake.
This method will work with both buttercream frosting and fondant cakes, but fondant might need to have a little additional work.
If you thaw out a fondant cake and condensation does form on the surface, you can either ignore it or try to blot some of it up, depending on how bad it is.
The danger of trying to dry it off is that you might leave marks on the surface of the cake.
The best thing is to just leave the cake in the container and allow any heavy condensation and water dropletsto form on the outside of the box.
If you take the cake out and any moisture forms on it, DO NOT TOUCH IT!
Fondant-covered cakes will often form a light layer of condensation on it that will make it look shiny, but if you leave it alone, it will eventually dry out.
If you touch it while it’s damp, it will make marks on it that will ruin the surface.
It’s tempting to do it, but resist touching the fondant if it has moisture on it! Just don’t look at it and trust that it will eventually lose the shine and dry out on its own!