You can actually freeze cake and cupcakes without getting freezer burn. As long as you follow a few easy tips, you can defrost them and you won’t be able to tell they were ever frozen.
I love freezing cakes and cupcakes. It makes things so convenient to work ahead, or to just save leftovers. I actually think they taste better and are more moist when they’re frozen first.
In this post, I want to give you my best tips for how to freeze cake layers plus cupcakes before frosting them.
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So, I like to do things ahead of time. I like to bake my cakes in advance and I thought why not share with you how I freeze them.
I think there are a lot of people who don’t realize that you actually CAN freeze cakes and cupcakes successfully.
It’s an absolute time saver, especially if you have a cake business as a side job, or if you just like doing things ahead of time.
I never have freezer burn on my cakes, probably because I go a little overboard on wrapping them, but I thought I’d share with you my tips and tricks.
Psst…this post will show screenshots of the tips, but don’t forget there is a video close to the end of this post that shows my process.
- Glad Press-n-Seal (or plain plastic wrap)
- Cake layers or cupcakes (Some of my favorites are my vanilla bean cake recipe, moist white cake recipe, or chocolate butter cake recipe)
When I pull my cakes out of the oven, I set them on racks to cool for 10 minutes. I don’t let them sit in their pans any longer than that.
After ten minutes, I then turn them out of their pans and onto the racks to cool completely.
I’ve heard of people actually wrapping their warm cakes and sticking them directly into the freezer, but honestly that makes me a little nervous.
Isn’t it moisture that causes freezer burn? I just don’t want steam in there when I wrap them up, so I let them cool almost completely before wrapping them.
I may have mentioned it a time or two, but I have a love-affair with Press-n-Seal Wrap. I can’t seem to work regular saran wrap (plastic wrap).
Call me weird, but it always just crinkles up on me and sticks to itself. I find TOO clingy. Press-n-seal is just so much easier to use.
Now, if you can’t get press-n-seal where you live, don’t worry. Regular plastic wrap will work just as well. I just don’t find it as easy to work with.
Now, take a large piece of press-n-seal and set it sticky side down on the counter, set a cake layer on it and wrap it up.
Oh, yeah, you can also go ahead and cut the domes off the cakes, if there are any. You don’t have to do this right now though. You can certainly do this after you’ve defrosted them.
Next set a second piece of press-n-seal sticky side up on the counter, set the cake (seam side down) on it and wrap it up.
Now take a strip of foil and wrap them up.
Here’s my method for the foil: Press down the ends of the foil, fold them in like a present and then roll up the ends. Wrapping it like that, keeps the foil from denting into the cake, or causing the cake to get misshapen.
After you’ve wrapped it once with foil, place the cake layer (seam side of the foil face down) and then wrap it up all over again. At this point you’ll have two layers of plastic wrap and two layers of foil.
This may be a little overkill, but I just feel like it’s better to me safe, than sorry and I definitely don’t want any chance of freezer burn.
You can then stick a piece of tape on the top and write what kind of cake it is, the size and the date.
I do use a lot of materials, but like I said earlier, I never get freezer burn.
It’s possible you only really need one layer of foil, and that’s totally okay if you’re making cakes for home, but when I was selling cakes, I always wanted to be dang sure, they were as fresh as I could get them and just went the extra mile.
Yes, you can make cupcakes ahead of time and freeze them. Freezing cupcakes is almost the same procedure as freezing cakes.
Take the cupcakes out of the oven and let them set in the pan, on the rack for about ten minutes.
Then take your cupcakes out of the pan and set them on the racks to cool completely.
Spread out a strip of press-n-seal (sticky side down), or you can use regular plastic wrap, and set 6 to 8 cupcakes on it and then wrap it up.
Set another strip of press-n-seal on the counter (sticky side up) and wrap them up again. At this point you’ll have two layers of press-n-seal, or two layers of plastic wrap.
Next, place one or two of these cupcake packets into a gallon freezer bag. Then label the bag with the flavor and date.
Again, it may be a little overkill with the wrapping, but I’d rather be safe than sorry and I’ve never had a cake or cupcake come out of the freezer with freezer burn.
Freezing iced/frosted cakes & cupcakes:
It’s not my first choice to freeze frosted cakes and cupcakes. It can be done though.
I have known people to freeze whole frosted and decorated cakes before, although I wouldn’t do that unless you absolutely needed to.
Rose from Rose Bakes has a wonderful tutorial on how she froze an entire fondant covered cake and you can see how she did it here: Can You Freeze a Fondant Covered Cake?
You can also freeze iced or frosted cupcakes as well. You have to think ahead a little, but it can be done. I honestly prefer to freeze them without icing and then ice them once they’re defrosted, but sometimes you don’t have that option.
I have an entire post about how to store cupcakes that goes through what to store them in and what to freeze them in. You can see that post here.
In short, you want to place them in a container that won’t squish them.
How long can I freeze cakes and cupcakes?
Personally, I don’t like to keep cakes or cupcakes frozen over three to four weeks.
Yes, technically they are still fine to eat after that, but if you’re selling these, then you want them as fresh as possible.
I have an entire post that goes through how far in advance you can bake cakes (and decorate them). If you like to work ahead, then you’ll want to check that out here: How Far In Advance Can I Bake a Cake?
How to defrost cakes and cupcakes:
I think most people would assume you just take the cakes or cupcakes out of the freezer, unwrap them and then just let them defrost that way. YOU DON’T WANT TO DO THAT! Ok, I’m sorry I yelled at you, but I had to get your attention.
Here’s what you DO want to do: Take your cakes or cupcakes out of the freezer, but leave them in their packaging to defrost.
The reason? Well, defrosting will cause some condensation and if you leave them in their packaging, then the condensation will form on the outside of the packaging and NOT on your cakes or cupcakes.
Too much moisture on your cakes can cause air bubbles when you try to ice it. The icing may go on smoothly, but a couple hours later, you’ll look at the cake and there will be a blow out or icing bubble on the side of it.
For more info on why that happens and how to prevent it, you’ll want to check out this post: Should I Refrigerate my Cakes before Decorating Them?
As for cupcakes, if you allow condensation to build on the actual cupcake, it could cause the liners to pull away from the cupcake, or perhaps the icing won’t stick to the cupcake.
And unless your cake or cupcakes have perishable fillings in them or are frosted with them, then it’s not necessary to let them defrost in the fridge. In fact, keeping them there can sometimes dry them out.
Ok, now it’s your turn to try freezing your cakes and cupcakes and tell me what you think! I think you’ll be surprised at how fresh they taste…like you just baked them actually.
Hi! I’m planning on baking some mini Yule log cakes for the holidays. Some will be eaten on Christmas Day, but I’m saving others for Sunday. Do I need to freeze the ones I’m saving for Sunday? Is it better to freeze them already rolled with the ganache inside or as a flat sheet cake and then roll it and fill it after thawing? Thanks!
Hi Alexis, if you’re baking them on Thursday night or Friday, then they’ll probably be fine for Sunday. You’ll just need to wrap them real well so they don’t dry out and keep in the fridge if they have a perishable filling. As far as freezing them, you could do that if you want. I don’t make a lot of cake rolls, but I’d probably fill them and roll them up and freeze them that way, then once defrosted, you can frost and decorate them…although I guess it really depends on what you’re putting inside them though. Not sure I was a huge help, but those are my thoughts at least. 😉
Hi there !
Can I please ask you. Once you defrost a frozen cake, how long can it last ? Will it still last say 3-4 days like if you were to bake it fresh?
Thanks ! 🙂
Hi Anne, It will just depend on the type of cake, but generally cake can last for several days or a bit longer. I think you’re asking whether it will last longer than a freshly baked cake? I don’t think so. Once it’s defrosted, it lasts about the same amount of time as a freshly baked cake would. I have a post on how long cakes last etc. if you want to check it out. It goes into more details: https://iscreamforbuttercream.com/how-far-in-advance-can-i-bake-a-cake/
I have a similar question, how long before the party do I take the cupcakes out of the freezer? The day before? And how soon after I take them out can I frost them? I’d rather do the day before so it’s done, not day of party. Thanks!
Cupcakes can be taken out of the freezer at least several hours before you frost them or plan to serve them. They need to fully defrost and several hours will allow them to do that with enough time to frost them. You can pull them out of the freezer the day before if you like as well. Once they defrost (which probably won’t take more than an hour or two), then you can frost them. Just make sure they’re stored in an airtight container so that they don’t dry out.
Do you have a video on how to make Rumcake and how to store and freeze it and how long can you keep Rumcake in freezer?
Hi Sharon, I only have one rum cake post on my blog at this time. There is a video in the recipe card when you scroll down though. https://iscreamforbuttercream.com/chocolate-rum-cake/
It doesn’t really go into how to store them or freeze them, but I stored mine in the fridge. If you do want to freeze it, personally I’d just make the cake and freeze it without the rum soak, then once it’s defrosted, you can add the rum soak.
Hey from the UK,
I want to freeze some cupcakes I made on the wrong day….we don’t have press n seal (i wish we did) here would the same rules apply with conventional ‘cling film’ (which I think is your ‘seran wrap’)?
Hi Elaine! Yes, regular plastic wrap (cling film) will work just fine. 🙂
Thanks for the article, very helpful.
I wanted to note that freezer burn is caused by dehydration, not by additional moisture. You can prevent freezer burn by making sure packaging is air tight to avoid sublimation.
However, if you put a hot, moist item into a cold environment, then the surface of the food item that’s in contact with the cold environment will have a buildup of moisture due to condensation. I’d guess this might make soggy cake walls. So it’s likely best to let the cake cool completely as you mentioned, but not because it might cause freezer burn.
Thanks, Jay for that info!
I am making cupcakes and the couples cake for a wedding in July. (My son’s wedding.)
First of all, how many cupcakes do you suggest for 200 guests? Some will not eat cupcakes (would rather drink alcohol) and there will be many children.
Second, I was going to make them on Thursday, transport (2 hours) to the reception venue on Friday, and the wedding reception is Saturday evening. Will this be okay?
Hi Georgia, as far as how many to make, you’ll just have to make your best guess. If there will be cake as well as cupcakes, then you won’t need to make as many. Just think about the percentage of people who will eat cupcakes verses how many children will eat more than one and sort of estimate from there. So for the timeline, it’s always best to bake the cupcakes as close as you can to when the event will occur. If Thursday is as close as you can bake them, then that will have to do. They dry out quicker than cake, so you’ll just want to make sure to keep them all in an air tight container. Also the fridge can tend to dry them out. I do have a post on how to keep them from drying out so quickly. Here’s the link to that: https://iscreamforbuttercream.com/keep-cupcakes-from-drying-out/
I hope this helps!
Great tips! Just curious–have you ever frozen filled cupcakes? I’m doing an order for 72 cupcakes, 80 macarons and a 6″ cake, so trying to do as much as I can ahead. Can I fill and freeze the cupcakes, or should I fill after defrosting?
Hi Erin, I haven’t done it but I’ve heard others have. I did a quick search on Cake Central and there were people on there saying they’d done it and it worked out fine. I wonder if you have an extra cupcake sitting around from another order and can try it out though. I’m always big on testing first because I get super nervous about messing up big orders.
Hii can u plzz share your eggless buttercream recipe
Hi there! You can find my vanilla buttercream here: https://iscreamforbuttercream.com/vanillabeanbuttercreamrecipe/
It doesn’t contain eggs.
Your Cinnamon Roll Cake from Scratch – total success and a total hit!!!! I have given the recipe to five other people. Thank you so much for that recipe.
Freezing cakes: I agree with you re: the way you prepare the cakes for freezing.
I made 13 cakes for my daughter’s dessert table for her wedding and I wrapped them the same way as you have suggested and after three months and two months in the freezer, they were perfect. However, each of my cakes had been iced before freezing. No problem whatsoever.
Oh I’m so glad you loved the cinnamon roll cake…I was really happy with that one and ate WAY too much. And that’s great to hear about freezing cakes…so glad I’m not alone in that! It really is the way to go and makes everything else so much less stressful. 🙂
Hi Kara Jane, thanks for another helpful blog post! I read your press N seal posts before and started using it, especially to keep fondant pliable while I’m in the decorating phase. But talk about overkill?? I double wrap my cakes in cling wrap, then double press n seal, then a ziplock with the air sucked out…lol. This blog is also timely since I’ve just finished a marzipan cake (frosted and covered with some marzipan and sliced almonds) for my step dad who lives 800 miles from me. I’ve crazy wrapped the cake, put it into the deep freeze and now have to figure out how to pack it to courier it to him. Say a prayer for me! Always love your posts! Thank you. Arlette (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Hi Arlette! Oh wow, I love your wrapping method! So glad I’m not the only one that goes crazy with the press-n-seal and wrapping. 🤣 I might have to try the ziplock trick now! Best of luck with sending that cake to your Step-Dad. Do you usually send it with ice packs in the box? I’ve got a friend that sends me a care package each fall and she sends the goodies frozen and adds an ice pack or two sealed in bags. Don’t know if that would work or not for you. Anyway, I will cross my fingers it gets there in good shape. Can you believe I’ve actually never tried marzipan? I’m allergic to almonds, but it sounds so good. It was my mom’s favorite…she just loved it.
Aww, so sorry you cannot partake of marzipan and almonds. It surely is a treat, but there are so many other yummy things 🙂 Funny it was your mom’s favourite, cool! My family is German descent, so marzipan is a big deal at Christmas…lol Your care package friend sounds very nice!
Ice packs are on my list of packaging methods. I called the UPS office and the man gave me some wrapping ideas. I found the marzipan frosting stayed cold a long time when I thawed it out previously, so that’s a plus. Thanks again! Arlette
Oh I’m so glad the post office gave you tips. That was nice! I hope it makes it there ok. Oh and my mother was German too, so that was part of why she was so fond of marzipan. I am not German (I was adopted), but she did like to make a lot of German foods, so I tried a lot of different things…just not the almond things. lol! 😉
Wow, you have an interesting family and history 🙂 Your mom must have been a good cook…mine was. She just never taught me! lol
She was an excellent cook. She tried to teach me, but I just wasn’t interested (I only cared about cakes lol)
Hi! Thank you so much for your tutorial! I’m just wondering when the cupcakes thaw, do the liners stay on or do you find they start coming off while thawing or when serving?
Mine have pretty much stayed on…so far. I do have a few here and there that loosen, but for the most part, I haven’t had many like that. I just use the regular white cupcake liners you can get practically anywhere. (I normally just get mine at the grocery store.) I’m not sure how it would work with the silver ones or specialty liners though. Hope this helps!
Hi there! I’m making a few cakes this week – one with individual layers that I’ll freeze as suggested, but the other is going to be a “sheet” in a disposable pan. Do you think if I wrap the whole cake and pan tightly as you suggest after it’s fully cooled that it will be okay to thaw out?
Hi Kelsey, I think that would probably work just fine. I’d wrap it in plastic wrap well and then in foil and freeze.
i cant remember which post i originally posted my question on, but i asked about fridge vs freezer re a wedding cake layers i was making, anyway i have your mantra in my head now, ‘the fridge is not your friend” hehe
so freezing the cake layers worked a treat, but it was your defrosting method that i think did the trick leave in packaging at room temp. OMG the cake layers were easy to handle and when the wedding cake was cut (i was a guest so i could sample the fruits of my labour) the cake was the softest cake i have ever had at a wedding! i was so proud, thank you so much for your tips!
i may have also prayed a little to the Cake Gods as well 😉
Thank you Kara, your advice is invaluable!
Oh that’s wonderful! I’m so glad it all worked out. Thanks so much for letting me know. 😊 💖
I am making cupcakes to serve on Saturday and today is Friday.. I plan on frosting them Saturday morning… should I freeze the cupcakes? Or just wrap them good and keep in frig overnight? Thanks
Hi Sharon. No, it’s not necessary to freeze them if you’re serving them the next day. Just put them in an airtight container to keep them from drying out. I usually just store my cupcakes in a container with a lid at room temperature (as long as it’s not super warm in the house) and as long as they don’t have perishable filling or frosting on them. Storing cakes and cupcakes in the fridge isn’t really necessary unless they have perishable filling or frosting on them. The fridge can dry them out otherwise. So, just use your best judgment on that, but I usually just keep mine at room temp. unless they have some kind of fruit or cream filling or something like that, that would go bad when left out.
Can you use wax paper to freeze cakes or cupcake.m
I probably wouldn’t as it just doesn’t seal as well as plastic wrap or foil does.
I know this article is several years old but I was curious if there’s another option for preserving a cake without using so much plastic? I’ve recently started selling my cupcakes but always making them fresh is becoming overwhelming. I want to start freezing them but cannot fathom using so much single use plastic, just makes me sad the damage it causes. So if you have another method I would absolutely love to hear it
Hi Stephanie, I do use a lot and it’s probably a little over-kill. I think you get away just fine with wrapping cake layers in just one layer of plastic wrap, then foil for sure. As far as cupcakes go, instead of using plastic freezer bags or plastic wrap, you could get those clamshell type containers for cupcakes and just freeze them inside those. That works too, although that’s also plastic. The thing is, plastic forms a good barrier between the cake/cupcakes and the air. Using something else like paper or boxes, just doesn’t protect it enough and it just sucks all the moisture out of them. But it is possible to use less plastic than I stated in this post. I do go a little overboard because I get funny about freezer burn.