How to Freeze Cakes

We’ve frozen plenty of cakes and have made enough mistakes to know what really works. Let’s learn how to freeze cakes so that they taste the freshest!

stack of frozen cakes wrapped in plastic wrap

You need a cake, but life’s busy and spontaneous plans pop up. We totally get it.

Making desserts ahead of time for a gathering or party is a wonderful way to avoid stress, the last thing you need before an event. So let’s talk about freezing cakes ahead of time.

The best and easiest way to make a cake ahead of time is to freeze the unassembled/undecorated layers. Over the past few years, I’ve tested multiple different ways to freeze cakes including changing factors like the cooling process, the wrapping, the container, the length of time, thawing, decorating, etc. Last year I found the best method when I was prepping and practicing cakes for my daughter’s birthday. I’ve frozen plenty of cakes– all different sizes– and I’m really excited to share the most successful freezing process with you today.

Let’s learn how to freeze cakes so that they taste the freshest.

slice of vanilla cake being served from a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting on white cake stand


How to Freeze Cakes

Step 1: Bake and completely cool a cake/cake layers. These step-by-step photos show round cakes, but you can freeze square, rectangle, Bundt cakes, etc. See 10 Cake Baking Tips for best practices on baking and cooling cakes.

Step 2: Once the cake(s) cools completely, wrap it in Press & Seal. From one baker to another– this is the best product for wrapping cakes. Maybe it’s just me, but thin plastic/saran wrap is incredibly clingy and frustrating. And I always feel like I need to double wrap food when using it. It definitely works, but Press & Seal is so much easier to use and I’ve honestly found that it keeps my food fresher. (Not working with this brand, just really love it.)

stack of wrapped cakes for freezing

Step 3: Write the type of cake and use-by date on a large piece of aluminum foil. For best taste and texture, don’t freeze cakes for longer than 3 months. You could stretch it to 4 or 5 months, but the sooner you serve it, the fresher it tastes. I write on the aluminum foil before wrapping the cake just in case the ink seeps through. (It has before!)

Step 4: Wrap the cake in the aluminum foil.

wrapped cake in foil for freezer

stack of cakes wrapped in aluminum foil

Step 5: Place the cake(s) in a freezer-safe container. Or if you don’t have a big enough container, wrap in another layer of aluminum foil. Of course make sure the foil with the date on it is what’s on the outside. 🙂

container of frozen cake layers in the freezer

Step 6: Freeze for up to 3 months.

The cakes are wrapped in two layers: Press & Seal, then aluminum foil. The first layer keeps the cake tight and fresh and the aluminum foil ensures no condensation will seep in. This is also how I wrap banana bread and other quick breads, too. Double layer = maximum freshness and no freezer burn. Moisture is the enemy, so don’t be afraid to add another layer of Press & Seal or aluminum foil.

plastic wrap and aluminum foil products for freezing cakes


How to Thaw Cakes

Thawing cakes is easy. Transfer the wrapped cakes from the freezer to the refrigerator one day before decorating/serving. I usually take them out of the freezer container to thaw. The cakes take at least 8 hours to thaw completely in the refrigerator. Sometimes I forget and just let the cake(s) thaw at room temperature, but it’s better they thaw at a slower rate in the refrigerator.

This is important: Make sure you’re thawing the cakes while they’re still in the wrapping. You see, condensation forms as foods thaw. This way the condensation will form on the wrapping, not the cake. Wet sticky cake, anyone?


Best Cakes to Freeze

You can freeze just about any cake after they’ve cooled completely. Mega flavorful cakes such as banana cake, chocolate cake, carrot cake, and pumpkin cake freeze and thaw beautifully when wrapped in a couple layers, as detailed above. I find their flavor is even better after the freezing/thawing process! Bundt cakes and pound cake freeze wonderfully as well, just make sure they’re completely cooled and wrapped tightly before freezing. For cheesecake instructions, see “How to Freeze Cheesecake” in my cheesecake recipe.

Baker’s Tip: For absolute best taste and texture, avoid freezing delicate cakes like angel food cake, vertical cake, and pavlova. Though you definitely COULD freeze these (and the recipes instruct how), they taste best when freshly made.

All of our cake recipes include make-ahead and/or freezing instructions.


Vanilla cake slice on white plate

#1 Success Tip

Don’t Freeze Decorated Cake: For the absolute best taste and texture, assemble and decorate the cake as close to serving as possible. That’s why I recommend only freezing the cake/cake layers. A completely decorated cake will contract and expand during the freezing/thawing process, ruining some of your hard work. You can make the frosting ahead of time and refrigerate it for 1 day, but fresh frosting really does taste best. Freezing leftover frosted cake is completely fine, though. (Because it’s just leftover and doesn’t need to impress anyone anymore!)

Pictured: Vanilla Cake

Print
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stack of wrapped cakes for freezing

How to Freeze Cakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cake
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Use this guide to freeze your cakes so they taste the freshest possible.


Ingredients

  • baked & cooled cake(s)
  • Press & Seal wrap or plastic wrap
  • aluminum foil

Instructions

  1. Bake and completely cool a cake/cake layers. These step-by-step photos show round cakes, but you can freeze square, rectangle, Bundt cakes, etc. See 10 Cake Baking Tips for best practices on baking and cooling cakes.
  2. Once the cake(s) cools completely, wrap it in Press & Seal. This is the best product for wrapping cakes. Thin plastic/saran wrap is incredibly clingy and frustrating. Regular plastic wrap definitely works, but Press & Seal is so much easier to use and I’ve honestly found that it keeps my food fresher. (Not working with this brand, just really love it.)
  3. Write the type of cake and use-by date on a large piece of aluminum foil. I write on the aluminum foil before wrapping the cake just in case the ink seeps through. It has before!
  4. Wrap the cake in the aluminum foil.
  5. Place the cake(s) in a freezer-safe container. Or if you don’t have a big enough container, wrap in another layer of aluminum foil. (Make sure the foil with the date on it is what’s on the outside.)
  6. Freeze for up to 3 months. For best taste and texture, don’t freeze cakes for longer than 3 months. You could stretch it to 4 or 5 months, but the sooner you serve it, the fresher it tastes.
  7. When ready to thaw: Transfer the wrapped cakes from the freezer to the refrigerator one day before decorating/serving. Take them out of the freezer container to thaw, but leave them wrapped in Press & Seal/aluminum foil. The cakes take at least 8 hours to thaw completely in the refrigerator. Make sure you’re thawing the cakes while they’re still in the wrapping. Condensation forms as foods thaw. This way the condensation will form on the wrapping, not the cake.
  8. Assemble, decorate, and serve cake.

Notes

Don’t Freeze Decorated Cake: For best taste and texture, assemble and decorate the cake as close to serving as possible. A completely decorated cake will contract and expand during the freezing/thawing process, ruining some of your hard work. You can make the frosting ahead of time and refrigerate it for 1 day, but fresh frosting really does taste best.

Keywords: cake, vanilla cake

155 Comments

  1. Hi! I have baked your vanilla sponge cake and have frozen the layers as suggested. I plan to serve it Saturday, however was hoping to defrost it overnight tonight (Wednesday) to them decorate tomorrow (Thursday) using fondant icing…with jam and buttercream in the middle. Would this work ok?..I can’t decorate the Fri as I am out all day and won’t have time! Will it be ok stored in a cake box or covered in foil until Saturday?..
    Thankyou!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Serena! We don’t decorate with fondant, but it usually is best practice for fondant to be stored at room temperature. If you can, we’d recommend decorating as close to when you’ll be serving the cake as possible. Store in a cake box as you mention for best freshness.

  2. Hi,
    Is it ok to freeze half a coconut cake by
    Wrapping in plastic wrap, freezer paper and cover with aluminum foil?
    Thank you

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Sure can!

  3. Should the cake be leveled before or after freezing?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Isabella, either way works!

  4. Because of a party having to be postponed due to covid, I have quite a large decorated cake I would like to keep a couple of weeks. I know it’s not ideal but can I freeze it ?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marlene, If the cake is already decorated with buttercream or cream cheese frosting you can certainly try freezing it. Place it in the freezer until the frosting is hard and then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and place it back in the freezer. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

  5. Hi,
    I’m making my own wedding cake and want to get as much done as possible in advance. Can I freeze the cakes with the filling and crumb coat so that all I have to do once it’s thawed is the ‘pretty’ bit of the decor?
    Thanks!
    Tamsin

    1. Hi Tasmin, that shouldn’t be a problem. I would let them thaw before frosting though.

  6. Thanks for some great cake freezing ideas. Just one thing, can you freeze cakes with fruit or veges in the mixture eg Ube a purple yam or mango, or carrot or zuchinni.
    Thanks again.
    Diana

  7. Hello,
    Is there any issues with freezing eggless Victoria sponge cakes? I have successfully frozen other types of cakes before, but this will be my first attempt at an eggless sponge (for a kids’ birthday at a childcare Centre).
    Thankyou!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda, we haven’t tried freezing that particular kind of cake before, so we’re unsure of the results once thawed. If you do give it a try, we’d love to know how it goes!

  8. Sarah Gradis says:

    Do you have any specific recommendations for freezing cupcakes?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah! Cupcakes are easier to freeze as they don’t dry out as quickly. Bake and cool cupcakes completely, then place in a freezer-friendly bag or container. Once they are relatively frozen, you can remove them and then layer them between sheets of parchment paper if your container is large enough. You can individually wrap them too, if desired. We usually don’t.

  9. If i need to syrup my cake layers when should i do that? Also if i need to make a 3d cake,can i sculpt thawed cake or should it be freezed when filled and shaped?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elena, we recommend adding the simple syrup after the frozen layers have thawed. We haven’t tried freezing sculpted cakes, but we suspect it would be best to sculpt it after, so that the shape and filling are not compromised during the thawing process. Hope this helps!

  10. I love to bake and make all my own bread, pie’s, cakes and biscuits but have never frozen any. I look on the internet for info on if you could free Bundt cake and found the answer on this page. Many thanks.

  11. Can I freeze an orange vegan cake that includes fresh orange zest in batter?

  12. Is it possible to freeze blueberry cake that has egg whites in the batter? Does freezing the cake dry it out?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Wendy, it should work just fine to freeze your blueberry cake. As long as it is tightly wrapped and thawed properly, it shouldn’t dry out the cake.

  13. I am making an eggnog cake for Christmas, and to save time on busy Christmas day i want to make the layers in advance. The recipe calls for pouring eggnog on the baked and cooled cake layers. Can I do this before freezing the layers or should it be done after thawing?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gail, we typically recommend adding simple syrups after the frozen layers have thawed, and we imagine it would be the same with the eggnog here. Hope this helps!

  14. We just had an event postponed for 2 weeks. Last night I finished a 14 layer cake with icing. Can I freeze it?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Eloise! THere’s a risk of the frosting separating from the cake if frozen assembled, but its definitely worth a shot!

  15. I would like to make a chocolate cake in a 9X13 pan for my daughters’ birthday. If I make it early and want to freeze it, can I keep it in the pan or must I get it out of the pan before I freeze it? If I need to get it out, what is the best way to get it out while keeping it in one piece?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lori, If your pan is safe for the freezer then you can go ahead and freeze the cake in the pan. Just wrap it as we described all the way around the pan.

  16. Would drizzling eggnog be best after the layers have been thawed? I saw someone else’s question about syrupping (is that a word ) and you indicated to wait. I’m assuming it would be the same for drizzling eggnog. TIA

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sonya! Yes, we would wait until the cake has been thawed.

  17. Thanks so much for the tips. I was pretty spot on with how to do it, but your tip on thawing them in the fridge was so helpful!

  18. Question, I placed a practice cake in fridge (in twice plastic wrap) rather than freezing for just overnight but the layers became very dense. Do you think the fridge instead of freezer made the cakes dense/hard? Because they were light and spongy out of oven and cooled? Thank you.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Keat! How was the texture after bringing back to room temperature? Storing cakes in the fridge will dry them out – especially if not covered in buttercream/frosting. If you’re making cakes ahead just one day in advance, you can cover them and let them sit at room temperature instead.

  19. NATALIE PHUNG says:

    Hi Sally, May I ask: for shorter time periods, i.e. a few days between baking and serving, what would you recommend? Do you ever refrigerate cakes for shorter periods or always freeze?

    Thanks in advance. Regards, Natalie

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Natalie! If making cake layers one day in advance, we usually cover and leave at room temperature overnight. Any longer than that and we’ll always freeze, as cake layers will dry out in the fridge. Hope this helps!

  20. Hi! In your wedding cake recipe, you mention crumb-coating a cake and then putting it in the freezer, but here it says not to frost it at all. Which is the better option for a wedding cake? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Beth! Freezing the crumb-coated cake works well for a large cake like our wedding cake recipe – we recommend sticking with those instructions!

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