How to Freeze Cake
Cake is a very special thing. It's there to commemorate important moments, like birthdays and weddings, but cake can also express love and condolences. And sometimes a cake is so significant that you want to savor it in the future.
That's the value of freezing cake, from the top tier of your wedding cake to a few slices you just can't bear to throw out. You can freeze a cake while looking to the future, too — whip up the batter and save it for later, or go ahead and preserve an entire homemade cake. Whatever your reason — whatever the cake variety, from angel food and carrot cakes to pound cakes, pineapple upside down cake, and even cake pops — here's the best way to freeze your cake.
How to Freeze Cake
First things first: Let your cake cool completely before you get any plastic wrap out. A hot cake is a messy cake, and it's also potentially disastrous. If you've baked multiple cake layers, store each layer separately. Cake freezing only requires a few items: plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and an airtight container that's big enough to fit your cake. If your cake is frosted or decorated, you'll need to take an extra step.
Grab your clingiest plastic wrap (or non-plastic wrap!) and wrap the cake tightly, at least two times. You can throw in an extra wrap for good measure.
Next, wrap the cake with aluminum foil (this adds another layer of protection from freezer burn and helps your cake not absorb freezer smells).
Grab a marker, and label and date your cake. Once your cake is foiled up, place it in a freezer-safe, airtight container (multiple wrapped cakes can go in the same container). If you don't have a freezer-safe container, wrap your cake in another layer of foil.
Before you can freeze a frosted cake, you'll have to set the frosting. Place your cake in a freezer, uncovered, for an hour so the frosting will hold in place. Then, continue with the plastic wrap and aluminum foil as normal.
It's important to note that certain frostings won't freeze: whipped cream and meringue-based frostings won't freeze well. Buttercream and cream cheese-based frosting, however, both freeze well.
If you're freezing a wedding cake, go for the top tier and freeze it as soon as you can. It's not dangerous to eat cake that's been in the freezer for a year, but it won't be the same. Expect a dryer texture and muted taste.
How Long Does Cake Last in the Freezer?
Cake will last up to three months in the freezer. But the universal law of freezing applies here as well: the longer you freeze it, the duller it gets. It's better to freeze a cake one week before your event than, say, two months in advance.
How to Defrost Cake
Remove your cake, frosted or unfrosted, from the freezer and transfer it to the fridge the day before you want to serve it. Don't unwrap your cake just yet — as your cake thaws, it will remove moisture in the form of condensation. Those water droplets have to go somewhere, and if you defrost an unwrapped cake you'll end up with a soggy cake. So despite the temptation, leave the wrapping on and let that water stick to it instead. Your cake will take at least eight hours to thaw in the refrigerator. Then you can unwrap your cake and serve.
Can You Freeze Cake Batter?
It depends on the batter. Butter or oil-based cake batter can be frozen and will last for up to three months in the freezer. Cake batter that leavens with egg whites, like angel food cake and chiffon cake, is too delicate to withstand the freezer. Batters that use ingredients such as vinegar to lift will not perform after being defrosted. Your best bet is a batter that doesn't need to lift when it's baked.
Cake batter can be frozen immediately after it's prepared. Once it's ready, you can relocate it to airtight, freezer-safe containers. Distribute the batter according to its intended use. This will make the defrosting process easier, especially if you will use it for differently sized baked goods.
For example, batter intended for cupcakes should be stored in multiple, smaller airtight bags, but batter that has a future as a sheet cake can be stored in one larger container. Be sure to leave an inch of space for when the batter expands in the freezer, and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing your baggies. Label your bags and containers so you'll know what they're holding in the future and put them in the freezer.
How to Defrost Cake Batter
To defrost your cake batter, remove the stored batter from the freezer and relocate it to the refrigerator the night before you plan to bake with it. Once you've defrosted your cake batter, do not add any extra ingredients. Otherwise the cake may deflate in the oven. Once it's thawed completely, it's ready for the oven.