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

129 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.

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