How to Freeze Cake Slices, According to Pastry Pros
Did you throw a birthday party or celebrate a special occasion and somehow have the unthinkable happen? Leftover cake.
You know there's no way you're going to be able to eat all the cake slices that remain, but it's way too good to go uneaten—or, worse, end up in a trash can. You're left wondering, "Can I freeze cake slices?" The answer is a definitive yes.
Now, you'll want to follow some specific cake-freezing steps because how you freeze cake slices makes all the difference in how it will taste later. Proper freezing will also ensure the baked good's texture is still acceptable when you pull a slice from the freezer several months later. After all, you'll want the cake to taste just as it did on the day you served it to all your guests.
We spoke with Jason Smith, a self-taught chef and baker from Grayson, Kentucky, who won Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship and is part of HUNGRY's Virtual Xperience. We asked him to share the best way to freeze cake slices and what to know so you can enjoy a delicious piece of cake as if you had baked it the very same day.
How to Freeze Cake Slices
1. Cut slices, and prepare to freeze. "Place cut slices of cake on a sheet tray, and place [the tray] in the freezer for three to four hours," he says. "This firms up the frosting and decoration and keeps it looking good." Frozen cake is also easier to wrap without the risk of it falling apart.
2. Once the cake is frozen, it's time to take the tray out of the freezer and wrap up the slices. "Remove [the tray] from the freezer, and wrap slices or whole cake in cling film, tight but not too tight," he says. "Then wrap in heavy duty foil. Place wrapped slices in a zip-top bag."
3. Write the type of cake and the date on the bag so you'll know what you're pulling out of the freezer the next time you want to reach for a slice.
Ta-da! That's it—your cake will be preserved until you're ready to enjoy some.
How to Defrost Frozen Cake Slices
Just as you need to carefully freeze and wrap cake slices, how you defrost the cake slices will make a huge difference in flavor and texture.
"Make sure to take [the slice] from the freezer, unwrap it, place it on a serving platter or tray, set in the fridge, and let thaw for at least two hours,'' Smith says. "Never leave [it] wrapped or on the counter to thaw because this will allow the cake to dry out."
Can You Freeze a Whole Cake?
The same steps to freeze individual slices can be applied to a whole cake. The only change that Smith makes is in step 2, since finding a zip-top bag that fits a cake can be difficult.
"For the whole cake, use two layers of foil, and one more layer of cling film over foil, unless you can find a large enough zip-top bag for the whole cake," he says.
Southern pastry chef, baker, and author Lisa Donovan takes a slightly different approach after freezing a whole cake and preparing to wrap it up to store in the freezer.
"I like to gently put the cake between two round cardboard cake boards that exceed the circumference of the cake by an inch or so, and then I wrap the entire thing in kitchen film several times to make sure it is safe from frostbite and freezer smells."
How Long Do Frozen Cakes Last?
If you have cake in the freezer, you're surely wondering just how long a cake can stay in the freezer if it's stored correctly. Well, the answer may surprise you.
"Once the cakes are frozen, wrapped properly, and stored, they will keep for nine months to a year and still be as fresh as the day they were made," says Smith.
That's reason enough if your creativity is flowing and you're in the mood to bake cakes to go ahead and bake away because you can always freeze the entire cake—or slice it up and freeze it—so you always have a piece of cake waiting for you when you want it (or need it) most.