Can I Freeze a Fully-Decorated Birthday Cake?

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Q: I want to make a birthday cake for a friend. Problem is, her birthday is not for two weeks, but I’m seeing her tomorrow.

Is there a way to freeze a fully-decorated birthday cake so that it will thaw into something beautiful? Are there certain cake or icing recipes that work best (my friend loves carrot cake).

Sent by Carolyn

Editor: Carolyn, the short answer is yes! Many cakes freeze very well even after being decorated. In fact, the icing can even help preserve and insulate the cake — it will stay moister after being frosted. Many baking companies ship fully-frosted cakes after freezing.

Having said that, I would choose a moist, dense, and rich cake that will stand up well to freezing. Carrot cake is actually ideal. And its traditional icing — cream cheese frosting — is also ideal for freezing. It is sturdy, with plenty of fat, and it will do better in the freezer than a more delicate meringue-based icing. Buttercream also freezes well.

The best way to freeze a cake is to bake the layers as usual, let them cool completely, and then ice them. Then clear out your freezer and put the iced cake on a tray in the freezer — completely unwrapped. Let it freeze until solid — at least four hours. Then remove and wrap securely in plastic wrap and a final layer of aluminum foil.

Readers, any tips or suggestions for Carolyn? Maybe some recipes?

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