Learning to bake is an art, but baking ahead is a skill. Freezing cakes and cookies can free you up to enjoy a special occasion or allow you to bake in a quiet time and still have a freezer full of great treats in a busy one, but knowing how to freeze your baking means mastering a list of dos and donts.
You can safely say that the maximum freezing time for any cake is three months. Most cakes are best consumed within a month. If you need to freeze cakes on a regular basis, then learning the Madeira sponge cake recipe may be your secret weapon as it’s one of the few cakes that improves with freezing: it retains its moisture content but actually has a finer texture after being frozen.
- Ensure that a cake is completely cool before wrapping it in several layers of cling film before freezing. Also ensure it is frozen flat with nothing placed on top of it, or you risk getting cracks or dents in its surface.
- Seal cardboard cake boards and trays by covering them in foil or plastic wrap to ensure that the cake doesn’t stick to the absorbent base or take on a nasty cardboard flavour.
- Thaw at room temperature for the best taste and texture.
- Fill cupcake cases to at least two thirds full, as this ensures the cake batter rises to the top of the case, which stops it peeling away from the cake when it thaws. When baking cupcakes to freeze, make sure you take the cupcakes out of their pans as soon as the cakes come out of the oven. If you let them sit in the pan to cool, the hot moist air between the case and the pan will cool and settle as steam, causing the paper case to loosen.
- Put any cake in a freezer until it is completely cold. Warm cakes sweat and the moisture they give off forms ice drops in the cake which damage texture and taste.
- Cover a frozen cake with fondant as the condensation of the thawing process will make the icing fall apart. Ensure cakes to be iced are fully thawed.
- Remove clingfilm from your cake when thawing. While it seems tempting to let your cake ‘breathe’ the condensation caused by the cold air the cake gives off can cause water droplets to form from the air and if the plastic wrappers are still on, that moisture can’t damage your cake.
You can choose whether to make cookies and freeze them or make dough and freeze that so that the pre-shaped cookies can be cooked from frozen. Whichever you choose, don’t freeze cookies or dough for more than three months.
- Cool your cookies before wrapping and freezing. Just like cakes, warm cookies will sweat if put in a cold freezer.
- Seal well before freezing them. Wrap each cookie in clingfilm before sealing them all in a plastic freezer bag or rigid plastic container.
- Cookie dough freezes well for 4 to 6 weeks. Rolls of dough should be sealed tightly in clingfilm. Unbaked drop or cut out cookies can be frozen on baking trays before being transferred to freezer bags. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.
- Remember to defrost cookies with wrappings in place to ensure that any moisture resulting from defrosting condenses on the wrapping, not the cookies.
Ice cookies with fondant or glace icing before freezing as the icing will crack when thawing.