Wether you want to bake in advance, have a TON to get baked or you’ve inadvertently made a cake on the wrong date (guilty!), freezing cakes and cupcakes can be a handy tool to add to your skill set.
It requires a little patience and preparation but can save you a lot of time in the long run allowing you to bake ahead of schedule, perfect for a large orders, weddings and parties.
Also, flash freezing fruit cakes is a quick way of ‘maturing’ it! Well, the defrosting process is. If I bake a fruit cake and don’t have months to let it come to it’s best, a quick overnight trip to the freezer does the job!
You will be able to freeze most cakes. I find that madeira cakes (and their chocolate and lemon counterparts) freeze wonderfully without too much hassle, as do most cakes with a high fat content. It is very important that once your cakes are baked, you leave them to cool completely. If they are still warm this will create condensation which can cause cakes to get the dreaded ‘soggy bottom’.
Once they are cooled, it’s also important to wrap them well, otherwise they may get very dry when frozen (freezer burn isn’t tasty), which isn’t what we want. I find the best way to do this for sponge cakes is two layers of cling film and then a tight layer of foil. However for fruit cakes, I tend to use a layer of greaseproof paper and then a tight layer of foil.
It’s also ideal to freeze cakes that you plan to carve, mainly because the crumb structure is more solid so it will keep it’s shape better and there’s less chance of it crumbling when shaping and crumb coating.
If you are freezing cupcakes, firstly make sure to bake them in greaseproof or foil cases as this will prevent the dreaded peeling cases when you defrost them, (for more cupcake troubleshooting, check out my other blog post here) then pop them in a sandwich bag and make sure they have enough space on the freezer shelf and they aren’t squashed.
Here’s a few key hints and tips that will help you chill your bakes;
- Freeze naked! I find to get best results, freeze cakes and cupcakes un-iced and before you split them to fill them. This will stop them going dry and also stop any frosting and icing ‘sweating’ over your cake when it’s defrosting.
- Take your cake or cupcakes out of the freezer a few hours (preferably overnight) before you plan to decorate them. This will ensure they have fully defrosted.
- To defrost, leave on the kitchen side and not in the fridge. Also, I take off the layer of tin foil but leave it wrapped in cling film.
- Make sure they are fully defrosted before decorating as again, this can also cause condensation and promote mould growth.
- Don’t freeze for longer than three months. Everything has a shelf life and I find if you leave it longer than this, the cake is simply past its peak. Anytime before this will taste fine, however.
- Label and date your cakes. This is good practice for all food health and hygiene. Pop on a little sticker saying what it is and when you put it in.
- Putting your cake back in the tin once wrapped then putting the whole thing in the freezer can help it keep its shape if you’ve got quite a ‘busy’ freezer.
Does a frozen cake taste different? I honestly would say no. I’ve tried all manner of cake over the years and I have never been able to taste a difference if a cake has been frozen or not, some argue that it actually makes it taste better! If you’re unsure, give it a practice run. Any excuse to enjoy a slice of cake!
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