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

160 Comments

  1. Hi Sally, I’m using your naked cake recipe for my wedding cake and ideally want to make it a week or so before. Can I freeze the decorated cake and it still be okay?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jade, since the naked cake style is less likely to separate in the freezing and cooling process, it should be fine being assembled and frozen ahead of time. See Make Ahead Instructions in the recipe notes of the Naked Cake recipe!

      1. Thank you. Also would you have any recommendations on how to smooth off the top of a cake? I get it semi smooth then do the sides and then the top needs doing again and same way if I do it the other way round.

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        The video tutorial in the Naked Cake blog post should be helpful, it can take some back and forth. If you’re adding any decorations on top (like flowers) they can help hide any imperfections as well. Happy baking!

      3. What are your freezing tips for cupcakes? I was thinking of doing a dog cake and kitty cup cakes for twins bday party. How many days in advance can I make the dog cake and cupcakes and decorate them in advance? They also need to be transported.

  2. Amanda Elliott says:

    Hi Sally! I am baking my daughter’s wedding cake. I have baked many wedding cakes in the past and am a FAN of freezing layers (when done properly of course!) and I will be making these layers ahead and freezing. Normally, I would decorate the day before the event so the cake isn’t sitting more than a day before serving. The wedding is on May 1st (Saturday). Since it is my daughter’s wedding, I am going to be really busy on the Friday before. I was considering icing the cake on Thursday afternoon/evening, taking it to the venue on Friday…finish decorating/assemble, then it would be served on Saturday afternoon. Like I said…I never spread it out quite this much and I’m questioning if my plan is ok, or if I should just suck it up and figure out a way to do all the icing/decorating on Friday. HAHA I tried to get my daughter to let me have someone else do the cake, but she has had her heart set on me doing it since she was a little girl. This mama is stressing over this cake, so any thoughts or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda, How special to make your daughter’s wedding cake! After decorating anything with buttercream or cream cheese frosting, it’s fine for 1 day at room temperature. After that, we would refrigerate it. But, use your best judgment and whatever you are comfortable with- we’ve never had any problems leaving frosted desserts at room temperature for a day And with buttercream or cream cheese frosting you can store the frosted cake in the refrigerator for two days as long as it’s covered.

  3. Hi Sally I just wanted to know I froze my cake after apllying cream and jam in between each layer and now I have defrosted it after more then 12 hours . But touching the cake it seems like wet and soggy on the outside is that common or is the cake ruined .ovisoulyi wouldnt know how the inside of the cake would taste like ? Would it still be ideall to serve after aplyin fresh cream

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kalam, it sounds like the cream you filled the cake with may have let off moisture during the freezing and thawing process. It’s hard to know without cutting into the cake, but it may be a bit wet. In the future, it’s best to freeze cake layers separately and assemble close to serving as detailed in the post above.

  4. Alisha Hill says:

    Hi Sally,
    If I do t have press and seal can I just use glad wrap and then aluminium foil? Also when defrosting can I leave it in the glad wrap or will that make it sticky?
    Can I ice the cake frozen and put it in the fridge to continue to thaw then when I’m ready to cover in fondant can I take it out to come to room temperature?
    Eg ice frizen Friday, cover in fondant Saturday and party on Sunday?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alisha, you can certainly use glad wrap and then aluminum foil to freeze. 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. We do not recommend frosting the cake while still frozen — you’ll run the risk of the frosting coming off during the thawing process. Best to decorate cakes once completely thawed!

  5. Hi Sally, I am making cupcakes to send to someone 4hour drive away, some with buttercream and some with cream cheese topping. Is it ok to freeze them overnight as I live in a very hot climate so they remain fresh and the frosting doesn’t melt and it upholds its shape ?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Taaz! Yes, you can freeze frosted cupcakes – make sure to cover them tightly or store in an air-tight container so they don’t dry out. We usually recommend thawing overnight, but in your case it may make sense to let them thaw on the drive. If you live in a very warm climate, they may thaw too soon and could still get too warm. Let us know if you give it a try!

  6. Do you recommend putting simple syrup on the layers prior to freezing or after the layers have thawed?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gwen, we recommend adding the simple syrup after the layers have thawed.

  7. Love all your cake recipes! I’m new to freezing them, and I was wondering what size of rubbermaid container (pictured above with the red lid) you froze your 3 layer cake in? Looking to purchase something similar so I can freeze cakes more easily. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amy, The container pictured is just a large Tupperware container. But if you can’t find one and extra layer of aluminum foil works just as well!

  8. Hey Sally, Im new to cake decorating and I am making a mud cake for my brothers 21st!
    I have frozen my cakes and made a dark chocolate ganache. I was wondering how do I fill and crumb coat the cakes with ganache, do I wait until the cakes are completely thawed or thaw them in the fridge for a few hours? Ill also be placing fondant on top so I’m not really if the condensation will make any difference, At the moment where I live its wet and quite cold.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jasmin, you’ll want to make sure the cakes are completely thawed before decorating. Have fun!

      1. Hi Sally, thank you so much 🙂 How would you recommend I store the cake once the fondant and decorations have been added?

      2. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Jasmin, 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.

  9. Hi Sally, I’m making a chocolate cake for my sons 40th in June. Can I make the cake now and freeze it? Will chocolate cake freeze as easily as a vanilla sponge? The cake will be decorated with chocolate icing and fondant icing to make it look like a barrel.Many thanks for your help. Jo

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jo, cake layers stay well in the freezer for up to three months, so that should work well for your son’s birthday this coming June. However, we recommend just freezing the cake layers and not freezing a completely decorated cake. The freezing and thawing process could tamper with decorations, so it would be best to decorate right before you plan on serving the cake. Hope this helps!

      1. That’s great thank you… I will be decorating it nearer the date so will just be the sponge that will be frozen! Thank You x

  10. Your advice for freezing and thawing cake layers works so well! Thank you! Would freezing cupcakes follow the same steps as cake layers?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Heather, We’re so happy you had great success with freezing cake layers! 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.

      1. Thank you! I really appreciate it!

  11. Hi I’m making a layer cake where the 2 layers are split in half to make 4 thinner layers. Would you split the 2 layers into 4 before or after freezing?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Monica! I would split them after freezing – the layers will the easier to wrap and handle without being cut thinner.

  12. What style of cake (Victoria sponge, Genoise, butter cake, etc.) would be best for an ice cream cake? I used a box cake mix once for an ice cream cake, but it seemed dry and lacked a sponge quality when it defrosted. I am looking to make a white or yellow cake from scratch this time around and would love some advice. Thank you in advance!

  13. Does this freezing method also apply to doctored cakes?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mel, we don’t see why not!

  14. Thanks for all of your tips! Just wondering, after freezing the layers, then thawing and icing, does the finished cake need to be refrigerated? Would be using a buttercream type of frosting which I know is OK not refrigerated for a day or so but just wondering since cake had already been frozen and refrigerated during thawing. Thank you!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi TJ, we would still recommend refrigerating the completed cake if not consuming right away. You can always bring it out of the fridge a little before serving to bring it back to room temperature. Hope this helps!

      1. Thank you for the fast response. Very helpful!

  15. Hi Sally
    I have 4 days until my son’s birthday. I want to make the cake today. Should I freeze it or just keep it in the fridge?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nasrin, for the most freshness, we’d recommend freezing the cake layers and then allowing them to thaw overnight in the fridge the day before you plan to decorate it. Hope this helps!

  16. Hi!
    I like soaking simple syrup on my cakes as I find they keep the cakes moist. Is it fine if I freeze the cakes with simple syrup? since you said moisture is not good. Or should I use simple syrup after thawing?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ayesha, we recommend adding the simple syrup after the frozen layers have thawed.

  17. Christina Theophilus says:

    Hi Sally, is it okay to leave my cakes to thaw in the fridge for up to 24 hours?

    Christina

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Christina, that should be fine — just leave the cakes in the fridge until you are ready to decorate them. Keep in mind that you’ll want them room temperature when frosting. Hope this helps!

  18. Hi Sally,
    I baked and froze the layers for my daughter’s birthday last week. I put them in a cooler to transport to the beach where we are staying this week. I’m sure they will have partially thawed on the trip so my question is should I put them back in the freezer when we arrive, or just keep them in the fridge to continue to thaw. I’ll be frosting/serving the cake on Tuesday (today is Saturday)?
    Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathryn, we’d pop them back in the freezer when you arrive, and then put them in the fridge to thaw overnight on Monday into Tuesday. Hope the cake is a hit!

  19. Hi!!! I’m making a number cake next weekend and I’ve done a practice run which I’m in love with but the edges of the cake could be a lot cleaner. I’ve watch so many videos that say to cut the cake into a number while it’s frozen. What do you recommend? Thank you in advance!!!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jazz! We don’t have much experience with number cakes, but I could see how cutting cold cakes would give you cleaner lines. Let us know if you give it a try!

  20. Marianna Campbell says:

    Hi Sally, thanks for the great post! I’ve frozen a cake with a crumb layer of buttercream icing, and plan to defrost overnight tonight, before decorating with fondant. Is it ok to decorate a fridge temperature cake with fondant, then leave til the next day out of the fridge? Or should it be room temperature before the fondant goes on (I’m worried about condensation). Many thanks!!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marianna, we don’t decorate with fondant, but it usually is best practice for fondant to be stored and worked with at room temperature. Hope this helps!

  21. Hi Sally, when making vanilla buttercream frosting, should all ingredients, including heavy cream be at room temperature.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Janet! Correct — when making vanilla buttercream, the heavy cream should also be at room temperature.

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