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
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon
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

124 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!

1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×