Friday, September 4, 2009

Freezing Cakes

Sponge Bob Squarepants Home Cake by Funky Bundt Lovin owned and operated by my dear friend John Lee.

For next week's boat ride, John Lee has taken on the task of creating Mad Tea Party themed cake. Actually, he is planning on doing a couple of shaped cakes since the boat holds up to 120 people. I think he will need approxiamately 12 cakes. Unfortunately, we have so many things to do in the days leading up to the boat ride that it would impossible for him to bake all those cakes the day before. So, he asked me for ideas of how to bake them ahead and store them so that all he will be left with is putting them together and decorating them the day before and day of the boat ride.
I immediately suggested freezing the cakes allowing us to begin them as early as this weekend. He was nervous about this as he had bad luck with freezing cake in the past. When I was in college, I worked in the bakery department of a grocery store. We always froze our cakes. The waiting for a cake to cool and set so that you can ice the cake is often the lengthiest time of the baking process. Freezing the cake ensures a cool enough cake every time. If you think that is the reason bakery cakes tend to be dry, you are wrong. They do not use enough fat. A moist cake requires a lot of fat generally in the form of butter, mayo, or oil though applesauce and other lowfat options can work well. Lowfat cakes using applesauce or other fruits will not freeze as well. The higher the fat, the beter the cake will freeze. If you are concerned about your cake being dry, add extra fat it probably needs it anyway. (hehe) I will freeze just about anything I can. My freezer currently has an odd mix of items in it including 2 blueberry loaves, biscuits, flour, cornmeal, and soups as well as your usual packaged frozen fare like tater tots.
I also recommend freezing cakes undecorated as not all icing freezes as well not will it be as fluffy as I prefer when it comes back to life.
Here's my process for freezing cakes and other baked goods like the blueberry loaves.
  1. Allow the cake to cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Placing a warm baked good in the freezer will cause the temperature to raise and possibly compromise your other frozen goods.
  2. Prewrap your cake with plastic wrap to seal in moisture and out air.
  3. Wrap in another wrapping or container which is airtight to prevent odor from leaching in cause this will definitely ruin your cake. I recommend either aluminum foil then a plastic freezer bag or a plastic container such as a cake carrier.
  4. If you use a plastic container, you can avoid this step. I recommend placing the cake on top of a solid sheet like a piece of cardboard. My freezer has wire racks and the last thing you want is to discover wire lines on your cake when you go to decorate it. The plastic container will prevent the need for this and also prevent any damage that might happen if someone knocks into the cake while in the freezer especially in the first few hours before the cake is frozen solid. However, I know this is not always a possibilty like with the numerous cakes my friend will have to freeze.
  5. Do not freeze your cake for more than 2 months as it will definitely begin to dry out at that point.
  6. When you go to thaw out the cake, simply place at room temperature on a solid surface until thawed. The time to thaw will vary based on the size of the cake from 2-5 hours. Do not try to force the cake to defrost faster by microwaving or reheating the cake. This will ruin your cake.
  7. After the cake is thawed, decorate as desired.

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