No matter how good a cake tastes, sometimes you just can’t finish it before it goes bad. Instead of throwing it out when it gets a few days old, freeze it and save it for another day.
This is everything you need to know about freezing cakes, including what does and doesn’t freeze well, how to freeze your cake to maintain the flavour and texture of your baked goods, and how long your cake will last in the freezer.
Whether you have freshly baked cake layers or a complete, frosted, decorated cake, you wrap them up and store them in the freezer for a later date.
In fact, bakers will usually bake the cake layers a week or more before they need them to avoid stress and minimise the risk of mistakes on the day the cake is needed. Also, frosting and decorating a cake when the cake layers are still frozen will often make the decorating a lot easier.
How to Freeze an Unfrosted Cake
You can freeze cake in any shape or form: round, square, or bundt cake all freeze perfectly, but for the sake of this article we’re using a layer cake for reference! Freezing individual cake layers is often a lot easier than a finished, decorated cake. You don’t have to think about the type of filling in your cake or worry about ruining the decorations before freezing your cake.
- Bake your cake and allow to cool completely before moving on to the next step.
- Once cool, wrap the cake layers individually in cling film, making sure to wrap it tightly (without squishing the cake!)
- For best results, wrap the covered cake in a layer of aluminium foil and write the date and type of cake on the foil.
- Place the wrapped cake layers in an air-tight container or zip-lock bag and place in the freezer.
- I don’t recommend freezing cake for more than 3 months to keep optimal freshness and taste, but it’s still safe to eat for up to 5 months in the freezer.
The reason we wrap the cakes twice (first in cling film then in aluminium foil) is to avoid condensation and freezer burn. We want to keep the moisture out, as if condensation seeps in you can end up with a soggy, sticky cake, and no one wants that!
When you’re ready to use the cake(s), simply move the container to the refrigerator the day before you need them. You can remove them from the air-tight container, but leave the cling film and aluminium on.
If you forget to take the cake out of the freezer the day before, you can thaw them at room temperature in a pinch, but generally you will want to thaw the cake slowly in the fridge.
How to Freeze Assembled/Decorated Cake Leftovers
I wouldn’t recommend making a cake before it is needed so that you need to freeze a fully assembled and decorated cake. This is because the process of wrapping, freezing, then thawing the cake is likely to leave some imperfections in the decoration, which no one wants if they’ve worked hard on creating a cake for a special celebration.
But after a celebration, you might be left with some left-overs that you don’t want to eat straight away. In this case, freezing it is a great way to minimise food waste and save that delicious cake for a rainy day. That being said, you’ll want to freeze the cake as soon as possible and don’t freeze cake that’s more than 4 days old!
Stable frostings such as buttercream or cream cheese frosting tend to freeze better than meringue-based frosting. If you have a cake with a frosting that isn’t suitable for freezing, you could always scrape it off and freeze only the cake, then thaw and serve warm with custard or use it to make cake pops. In other words, you don’t have to throw perfectly good cake away simply because the frosting isn’t freezer-stable!
I recommend freezing decorated cakes in slices, for simplicity’s sake. The process is similar to storing cake layers.
- Place the cake in the fridge for at least an hour before packing to freeze, to harden the frosting.
- Cut the leftover cake into serving-sizes, and wrap each slice tightly in cling film.
- Wrap the cling-filmed slices in aluminium foil and write the date and flavour on the foil.
- Place in an air-tight container or zip-lock bag and freeze for no more than 3 months for best results.
- To thaw, place the cake in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for at least two hours if you’re in a pinch.
What Not to Freeze
You can freeze pretty much any baked goods, but you might want to avoid delicate cakes such as angel food cake, pavlova, and chiffon cake, as the freezing process is likely to compromise the texture and flavour of these cakes.
You also don’t want to freeze meringue-based frosting, as it will turn into a sticky, wet mess once thawed.
I hope you’ve learned everything you need to know about freezing leftover cake and can now save those last few slices of cake before they go bad. There’s nothing better than craving a sweet snack and remembering you have some delicious cake in the freezer from a birthday party. Trust me, it’s always a good idea to have cake in the freezer.